Frankenmuth

Little Bavaria - www.frankenmuth.org

Frankenmuth is famous for places like the Bavarian Inn, Zehnders, and Bonners, as well as my favorite, the World Expo of Beer. However, there are a couple of destinations in Frankenmuth that can be missed with all the crowds and excitement. Something is almost always happening in town, after all, they have 18 festivals each year. The three attractions that got me all wound up are a restaurant, a cruise, and a unique manufacturing operation dealing with wool off the hoof.

frankenmuth museum

The Old Christmas Station Restaurant is important to locate because a day trip to Frankenmuth is a day full of action and a dining break is going to be necessary. It is right at the main intersection up the hill. In a town with a plethora of dining spots, the Old Christmas Station Restaurant is still a standout. They prepare authentic European dishes from scratch, so you can count on delicious and top-notch quality. I can’t tell you about everything on the menu, because I keep going back for the same two dishes. They offer the best Schnitzel I have had outside Germany and seem to be the only people around who know how to make Austrian Goulash. I struggle over schnitzel or goulash, every time I visit. For those less fortunate who haven’t had it, schnitzel refers to thin cuts of meat, breaded and fried. Wienerschnitzel is Austrian Schnitzel made with veal. The German recipe, known as Schweineschnitzel, uses pork. Regardless of the one you choose at the Old Christmas Station Restaurant you will plan to come back for more. When I want to avoid fried and breaded, the Austrian goulash is my automatic choice. Hungarian goulash is common in Michigan and may be soupy and usually contains bell peppers. Austrian goulash only contains beef and onions. The tender beef is coated in a thick, dark, and smooth gravy, made without any thickening agents like flour or sour cream. All Christmas Station recipes are prepared from scratch, so plan on a little wait time, this place will be packed during season. The portions are big so you may have to get the Black Forest Cake to go.

Frankenmuth is inland from any of the Great Lakes or any lake for that matter, so that cool cruise is on a river. This isn’t just a ride on the water, this is a cruise that is built around two treats, wine and chocolate. The cruise “ships” are electric ducky boats called funships. The Frankenmuth FunShips can be found between the Frankenmuth Brewery and the Herzog Hotel at the top of the hill. The cruise boats operate on the river behind the hill, away from the chaos and frenzy downtown. You just climb aboard, kick back and enjoy the cruise while indulging in a wine and chocolate tasting.

There is so much to see and do on a getaway to Frankenmuth that many visitors miss the best kept secret of all, the woolen mill. The Frankenmuth Woolen Mill has been in continuous operation since 1894 making it the oldest woolen mill in Michigan. When you enter you are in a clean, modern showroom and retail shop. On display are samples of the products that are manufactured on site, pillows, comforters, mattress toppers and dryer balls. In addition, they offer custom wool processing, organic wool bedding, wool roving and wool batting. The real prize inside is the tour of the historic wool processing facility.