We're in Michigan visiting Theresa's family, and as a special bonus my parents are here too! What shall we do, what shall we do?
Let's go to Frankenmuth! There's a lot to do there!
Lucky for us, there's a giant van available to take the whole crew. There's 12 of us going on this 2 hour drive north.
The signs on the freeway were getting us excited. Bronners is the largest Christmas store in the World! They have over 60 billboards across the USA, with the furthest being in Ocala Florida near Disney World! We'll have to keep an eye out for that one!
Ooh, and we're going to definitely visit the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. With 270 kinds of cheese I'm sure we'll find something we like!
Welcome to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland!
Welcome! In 76 languages! You can get "Merry Christmas" ornaments in 40 different languages!
Instead of sticking together, everyone split off into different groups to go explore the store on their own.
Some wanted to see the different ornaments (there's over 8000 different ornaments available).
Others focused on the Christmas displays and figurines. Those Mickey and Minnie pumpkins for Halloween are pretty cute!
Ian wanted to hear the story of Bronner's, so him and Pop Pop found the movie room. They announced a showing at 11am, but 11am came and went. They were in there for 20 minutes just hanging out together, but no luck. That was unfortunate.
Bronner's Hummel collection has over 1000 different figures!
Theresa and I, and the kids, have been here a few times before, back in 2014, 2016, and 2018, but you know, I haven't explored the outside of Bronner's yet. Theresa and I headed over to what looked like a small chapel. While we were walking up to it, the music from the Christmas Carol "Silent Night" was pleasantly filling the air.
This is the Silent Night Chapel. The original is in Oberndorf Austria. It stands on the former site of the St. Nicholas Church, where on December 24, 1818, "Silent Night" was performed for the very first time.
Bronner's asked and received permission from Austria to recreate a 1:1 replica here in Michigan.
Inside is a small display with four small pews. It was a beautiful thing to discover after so many trips here.
Bronner's has a new float every year to display in the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Grand Parade and the Children's Parade. After the parade it goes back to Bronner's for photo opportunities! There was plenty more to see, but we've got to start wrapping this up. It's almost lunchtime!
But before we go. Treats? Theresa was looking at this 12 cocoas of Christmas, but on investigation, there were only 4 different flavors!
The kids found something they wanted though. Flavored Candy Canes! They got flavors that they could do tastes tests with. Whose kids are these?
Let's go get some lunch! Just down the street is Zehnder's. It's traditional to visit here for lunch whenever we come.
The kids love getting something from the bakery. Ian got a bear shaped cookie.
And from the candy displays, Alli got a caramel apple to share with everyone.
Upstairs there is a restaurant, but that's a little more fine dining. We're not so formal. Downstairs there's a quick service station where you can get most of the same things as upstairs.
Donald bought lots of chicken and a whole bunch of different side dishes. It's a beautiful day, so we pulled a couple picnic tables together outside and enjoyed eating all together.
Whites, yellows, and browns are the color of healthy foods, right?
My Dad, who loves fried chicken, said this was especially delicious. They were able to get a lot of the flavoring into the meat, and not just the skin.
The kids had a small science experiment to see what the bees preferred more. Turns out the cherry cobbler is the favorite.
Let's walk down the rest of Main Street.
We're Smitten with the Mitten.
Ooh, Harvest Coffeehouse is offering coffees from the different Hogwarts Houses. Which would you choose? I'm feeling like a Hufflepuff Caramel Marshmallow.
As we were walking, we noticed some activity going on inside the Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen.
They're offering 34 different types of fudge here. The kids love fudge and have missed not getting it from the apple orchards we've recently visited. We got to watch as they performed the "cooling" phase of fudge making. This is their Mint Chocolate Chip fudge being made.
But of all the flavors, the kids picked Chocolate Peanut Butter. Everyone in our group tried a bit and it was very delicious. Theresa wants me to try making it over Christmas.
Taffy isn't something we've gotten that into yet, but it was fun to watch it get stretched in the window of the Frankenmuth Taffy Kitchen.
Here's the other place we've got to visit. The Frankenmuth Cheese Haus! Ian was here as a baby and tried some aged cheddar that was 10 years older than he was!
They've since moved to a larger location right next door.
What's this? As soon as entered, Ian was immediately drawn to... containers of freeze dried marshmallows?
Ah, here's what Theresa and I were looking for. All the aged cheddars! From 2 year old Wisconsin Cheddar all the way up to 15 year old cheddar.
Ouch! Aged cheese is not cheap. I guess like everything, prices keep going up. In 2014 when we bought 15 year cheddar it was $48.99 per pound. Seven years later, 15 year cheddar goes for $79.99 per pound.
My mother has been craving cheese curds and we were happy to see they had fresh curds in both yellow and white varieties.
I looked over to see what Pop Pop was doing with the kids. Okay, they've got a Flavored sugar tube station here. But oh my, that's the biggest sugar tube I've ever seen.
Oh and yes, Alli certainly needs one too. I was surprised at the pricing. The 12" tube was $3, 18" for $3.50, but this 60" tube only cost $5.99.
They sure are happy with their sugar sticks. Thank you Pop Pop.
Goodbye Frankenmuth! It's been fun! We hope to come visit you again soon!
And if you're curious, yes, Pop Pop bought him the marshmallows too.
And because I was curious, I wanted to know how big these sugar sticks really were. Once the kids were finished with it, I used a tape measure to check the size. Almost 5 feet, not quite. The sugar stops at 59".
And how much sugar are we really talking about? I filled the whole thing up with table sugar then dumped it into a measuring cup. These $6 sugar sticks hold 108g (3.8 ounces) or right about 1/2 a cup of flavored sugar. A half cup of sugar contains 387 calories.
Frankenmuth was a delightful visit...delicious "autumn" picnic food (browns & yellows :-) )..huge Christmas store (amazing decorations in there)...cherished replica of the Silent Night chapel...tempting aged cheese selection (quite a price jump; faster than inflation!)...enjoyed the aromas in a fudge shop (chocolate PB sounds yummy)...feast on flavored sugar (1/2 c of sugar would make me hyper!) and freeze-dried marshmallow (what a cereal treat!...I probably would have added more marshmallow than cereal in my bowl :-) ...Ian showed good restraint! ). Like that Welcome Sign in 76 languages...how neat. Too bad the Bronner's video was MIA :-( That was a beautiful opening picture of Gram and Pop Pop in front of the Cheese Haus. Glad Abby got an opportunity to join in the outing, too. EOMReplyDelete