July 13 2017

Day Trippin’ to Frankenmuth

frankenmuth travel guide

 

We all have those places that are woven inextricably into our childhood memories. Frankenmuth is that place for Chris so it is mandatory that we visit at least once a year. If you are unfamiliar, Frankenmuth is a little tourist town dubbed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” that offers unique shopping and dining experiences. Recently, we found ourselves with a free weekend so we decided to hop in the car and pay Chris’s favorite little town a visit.

 

frankenmuth travel guide

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

Our first stop in Frankenmuth is usually Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. It dubs itself as the world’s largest Christmas store and it IS huge! If you can’t find the Christmas item you are in search of at Bronner’s, then it doesn’t exist. No seriously they have everything… and just to prove our point… here’s a toilet snowman ornament for your amusement:

 

frankenmuth travel guide

All five of us love Bronner’s so for us all to agree on something you know that it has to be good.

Bronner’s is open 361 days a year and is located on 25 Christmas Lane in Frankenmuth just a short drive off of I-75. In addition to Christmas items you can purchase, you can also visit with Santa (during designated dates and times) and visit the Silent Night Chapel.

 

 

frankenmuth travel guide

 

Chicken Dinner

If you talk to anyone about Frankenmuth they will tell you that you have to eat a chicken dinner while you are there. The two places you can do that are Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant which are located across the street from each other. On our day trip we had a chicken dinner lunch at Zehnder’s.

 

frankenmuth travel guide

The main dining room at Zehnder’s reminded us of a banquet room for a wedding with the staff dressed in Bavarian clothing. The chicken dinner is served family style and includes appetizers, the main course and dessert. Unfortunately we felt that the dinner did not live up to the hype, especially for the price. But of course, lots of people love the chicken dinner at Frankenmuth so you will have to decide for yourself.

 

frankenmuth travel guide

Shopping

Frankenmuth has a good assortment of shops in the downtown area and across the river in the Frankenmuth River Place Shops. You are sure to find a souvenir to take home from your adventures. For the foodies, you will find salt water taffy (Betsy’s favorite), fudge and cheese amongst other goodies.

 

frankenmuth travel guide

There is More

There are a few other things that we would recommend that you check out while you are in Frankenmuth. The Bavarian Inn Glockenspiel Tower is a much see. At noon, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm each day the clock plays music followed by a figurine show of the Pied Piper. Just steps away from the clock tower you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets or you can take a riverboat tour down near the River Place Shops. Both the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder’s Splash Village have indoor water parks although Zehnder’s is FAR larger and more extensive from what we’ve read (we’ve never been).

 

frankenmuth travel guide

Final Thoughts:

Betsy:Ā While I am not emotionally attached to Frankenmuth like Chris is, I do enjoy going to Bronner’s and walking around the downtown area. Do I feel a burning need to visit every year? No. But I suffer through it because I love Chris. šŸ˜‰ I do think itĀ is somewhere you should visit at least once though.

Chris:Ā Frankenmuth has changed A LOT over the years and is hardly the place I remember as a child. Even the famous chicken dinner wasn’t how I remembered it growing up. Despite all that, I still love to visit at least once a year. It’s not that bad of a drive for us so there’s no excuse not to right?

Category: Day Trips, Michigan | Comments Off on Day Trippin’ to Frankenmuth
July 11 2017

Day Trippin’ to Port Huron

 

port huron travel guide

 

We kicked off Betsy’s birthday week celebration with a trip to Port Huron in an attempt to satisfy her two birthday requests: beach time and adventure time. Technically she had a third request, a Kate Spade purse, but that doesn’t really line up well with our travel blog does it?

 

port huron travel guide

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Last year we went on a Michigan Fall Color and Lighthouse Tour so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. It is located just a short drive off of I-94 along Lake Huron. The Fort Gratiot’s Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan and the 2nd oldest on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse is open year round but the hours vary based upon the season. It is free to view the lighthouse and tour the grounds but there is a fee for the official tour and to climb the lighthouse. Unfortunately we were not able to partake in the tour and climb because we were both wearing sandals and closed toe shoes were required. We did however, take in the sights and stop in at the gift shop. For those of you who are beach buffs like Betsy, there is a small beach near the lighthouse.

 

port huron travel guide

Lakeport State Park

We opted to forgo the beach near the lighthouse and instead made our way over to Lakeport State Park which is where Chris spent a lot of time during his childhood. Lakeport State Park is a Michigan State Park that offers beach access and camping. A Recreation Passport is required to enter ($11 annual fee) or you can purchase a daily pass for $9. We entered the park on the east side of Lakeshore Rd and walked over the bridge to the park. In addition to the beach there is a large grassy area with picnic tables, grills, play areas, bathrooms etc. The beach area is not large but it is clean and scenic. An added bonus is that you can see freighters going by in the distance. This was Betsy’s first time at Lakeport but it won’t be her last. You should give it a try too!

 

port huron travel guide

Freighters Eatery & Taproom

We love restaurants that provide an experience and not just a meal. Freighters Eatery & Taproom was the perfect fit for our lunch as it sits along the St Clair River overlooking the Blue Water Bridge. We were seated at a great table by the windows so we were able to see the freighters as they passed by. The food was excellent too and the menu had a wide variety of offerings with a focus on local Michigan items. Betsy had the Chicken CaesarĀ Salad and Chirs had the Mac and Cheese. Both were excellent choices. We also both had Ā a Faygo Float.

The restaurant is connected to a hotel which is near the Blue Water River Walk. We recommend parking down by the River Walk and then walking across the street to the restaurant. After lunch we walked the River Walk and saw several more freighters as well as many pieces of artwork. It is a fun little area to visit!

 

port huron travel guide

Lexington

Our last stop of our day trip was a visit to Lexington. Lexington is a small beach town just north of Port Huron. We heard that it was a good place to visit so we thought we would give it a try.

We discovered that it has a cute downtown area with unique shops and small restaurants. We also visited the beach area which was very small and very crowded when we visited. The beach had a nice boardwalk to walk on, a playground area, a marina and an ice cream shop. While we had a good time in Lexington it was a little too crowded for our tastes. We preferred the beach at Lakeport State Park and our time in Port Huron over the craziness of Lexington.

 

port huron travel guide

Final Thoughts:

Betsy:Ā I was surprised with how much I liked Port Huron. I had only passed through before on my way to Canada and I didn’t realize it had so much to offer. I grew up just south of Mackinaw City so I spent much of my summers at the beach. While I love living in the Detroit Area, I ‘ve always missed having a nice beach to go to. Lakeport is small but nice so I will definitely be spending a lot of time there now that I am aware of it. I also loved the River Walk in Port Huron. It was fun seeing the freighters up close while taking a leisurely walk along the water. Lexington on the other hand was not a good fit for me.

Chris: While technically, we’re just minutes from Lake St Clair… the beach nearby really isn’t a great place to go swimming. Lake Huron is so much “cleaner” and it’s really not that far of a drive for us… I can’t believe I haven’t taken Betsy up there sooner. Growing up we’d go to Lakeport every summer but I haven’t been back there in years so I was surprised how much Port Huron has changed since way back when. I’m sure we’ll make multiple treks up that way this summer for sure.


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Category: Day Trips, Michigan, State Parks | Comments Off on Day Trippin’ to Port Huron