Frankenmuth is a small town in the “thumb” of Michigan known for three things—Bavarian kitsch, chicken dinners, and Christmas. Whether it’s truly Bavarian is a matter of opinion, but it has kitsch down flat. It’s full of shops with over-priced merchandise, but there are treasures to be found and experiences to be had.
The first bit of luck we had was our hotel, Marv Herzog Hotel (http://www.marvherzog.com/). This well-laid out entry space was beautifully decorated, spacious, and airy. The man at the reception desk was pleasant and helpful. He quickly determined we were not candidates for one of the bustling chicken restaurants for dinner, but suggested a nearby restaurant that was quieter.
We had a little balcony overlooking the river, a very pleasant place to sit in the shade of a hot day and watch tour boats and sweating kayakers flow up and down the water. When we’d rested, we participated in the beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres on the patio. The beverages were average and the food heavy on sausage and cheese, but a nice touch.
As for the name? Marv Herzog was a popular accordion player born in Frankenmuth.
Dinner was at The Old Christmas Station (http://www.christmas-past-collector.com/) a short walk from the hotel. It was indeed quiet! Our waiter, Ryan, did a wonderful job, in spite of the fact that he was also handling a party in another room. We had the chicken flambé, which was excellent comfort food and beautifully presented. The restaurant’s owner checked on how we were doing and we had a pleasant conversation. The emphasis seemed to be on hospitality leading to a relaxed experience. The restaurant is not inexpensive, but a good value.
The next morning we strolled the town, stopping in shops and enjoying the atmosphere. One find was the Frankenmuth Woolen Mill. (https://wool-bedding.com/) As a knitter and aspiring spinner, I thoroughly enjoyed the brightly-lit store full of beautiful bedding, wool, and other comforting things. Another fun stop was the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus (https://frankenmuthcheesehaus.com/), kid-friendly and full of an array of cheese and sausages. Our favorite was a cheddar and horseradish spread.
You can’t visit Frankenmuth without going to Bronner’s (https://www.bronners.com/), a football field’s worth of everything Christmas, including any type of ornament you can imagine … or not. (The toilet baffled us.)
Hungry, we stopped by Wang’s Bistro (http://www.wangsbistrofrankenmuth.com/ ) and enjoyed fresh sushi and sashimi in an attractive array. We split a lunch special which provided ample food on a hot day at a bargain price.
Kitschy and charming, Frankenmuth is worth a brief visit during your Michigan visit.