Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 31, 2009

Big Fun in Michigan’s Little Bavaria

Smart Car-sized ornaments on the grounds of The World's Largest Christmas Store

I'm quite sure a Smart Car could fit inside each of these ornaments on the grounds of Bronner's, the World's Largest Christmas Store

The only thing small about Frankenmuth is contained in its nickname, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.” This city on the edge of Michigan’s Thumb area was settled in 1845 as a mission by immigrant Lutherans from  the Province of Franconia, in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The official history states that Frankenmuth translates to “courage of the Franconians,” but after a Girls Getaway weekend visit I believe Frankenmuth really means “ginormous.”

The world's largest family owned restaurant serves a million diners a year

The world's largest family owned restaurant serves a million diners a year

Six of us, friends since our days of the University of Detroit, got together at the destination of Carol’s choosing: she now lives in Virginia and craved Frankenmuth’s famous family style chicken dinner (especially the egg noodles).

So we headed to the Bavarian-themed town that is home of Bronner’s, The World’s Largest Christmas Store; Zehnder’s, America’s Largest Family-Owned Restaurant; the Bavarian Inn, which also serves the chicken dinner (the two restaurants serve about 2 million each year); Frankenmuth Cheese Haus with its gigantic mouse and endless selection of cheeses; and, mentioned in a previous post, Michigan’s Largest Sausage Display.

Frank mouse_2213We Girls ate too much of Zehnder’s bottomless platter of chicken, noodles, mashed potatoes, dressing, and other side dishes. We crossed the street to the Bavarian Inn for a glass of champagne punch, and retired to our suites at the Drury Inn for a gabfest in our PJs.

The next day we brunched and shopped a bit (Carol stocked up on bags of Zehnder’s egg noodles). We hugged and, as we said farewell, promised to make this an annual getaway.

It was fun. Big fun in Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

A larger than life tribute to the late and beloved Wally Bronner, founder of the massive CHRISTmas Wonderland

A ginormous ornament is a tribute to the late and beloved Wally Bronner, founder of the massive CHRISTmas Wonderland---the building covers the size of 5-1/2 football fields


  1. Thanks for spending your girls’ getaway weekend with us. (I must confess, I like the buttered egg noodles, too.)

    • Oh my, must confess I also brought home bags of egg noodles and we had some tonight with Swedish meatballs from IKEA!

  2. In all the years we’ve lived here I have not made it to Frankenmuth. I was close once but not close enough. Actually I am afraid of all the Christmas stuff and big chicken dinners 🙂

    • Not only big chicken dinners but a big chicken, too! Came and visited us at the dinner table. Not to mention the BIG angels, snowman and Santa at Bronner’s.
      Ya gotta do Frankenmuth once or they’ll take away your Michigan I.D. card.

      • Oh dangit, I guess I’ll have to. Maybe one day you’ll stop by with your bus/van/vehicle and pick me up. Anytime between November and April I can do, heehee

  3. Years ago, and I mean years ago, I did a newspaper story for the Port Huron Times Herald about Frankenmouth. And still have some Christmas balls hanging on our tree each year! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    • I have two friends who worked for the PHTH years ago—and I mean years ago! I’ll have to email you their names to see just how small this world is.

  4. Hey, did you try out that Bridgeport bakery? Hope you are enjoying your UP sojourn. J

  5. […] surfing through the numerous blogs on the internet these days, we came across this great article Big Fun in Michigan’s Little Bavaria that was published from the Great Lakes Gazette.  They provide some nice tidbits into what […]

  6. […] a recent trip to Frankenmuth I wandered into the Marv Herzog Hotel, located on Main Street and overlooking the Cass River. The […]

  7. […] of years ago. He never repeats a combinations but they’re always tasty. On my recent Girlz Weekend in Frankenmuth someone said her family loves Zehnder’s Chicken Seasoning on popcorn so I bought a shaker […]

  8. […] Polar Bear, and something to do with NASA? Finally, curiosity won out and on my summertime trip to Frankenmuth I paid a […]

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