Tuesday September 26, 2017- Travel Day 53
German to English translation: Welcome- It’s hot here today! And boy, is it. It’s as warm as yesterday with temps pushing 90 degrees with 50% humidity. Real feel is 101 degrees. Whew! And to top it off our coach here Pine Ridge Camp Ground, Birch Run is sitting in full sunlight absorbing all the heat ol’ Mister Sun can muster. It’s my fault. I requested a site where our satellite system would work. We arrived at 1030 hours- two hours before check in time. No one was in our site…. so we got scolded again for early check in and charged $5 extra. I said to the lady at the desk that since we would be leaving 3 hours before check out time would we get our 5 bucks back? Notta chance cowboy!
Yesterday we spent the evening in Harrison (2400 souls) at the Hill Top Camp Ground. Harrison was founded as a lumber town, with sawmills located on the shores of Budd Lake.
Hill Top Campground/ Art at Rest Stop
One of the lumber companies donated the land which is now Wilson State Park. The City of Harrison attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the state, with its “twenty lakes in twenty minutes” and large amount of state land for recreational sports. The most popular local events are the Clare County Fair and Frostbite Open Golf Tournament on Budd Lake.
The reason for the German language title is that we are in Frankenmuth Michigan, pop. 4900. The town was founded by German immigrants in 1845 who came from the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The name means “Courage of the Franconians”. Today she is also affectionately known as Little Bavaria or Muth.
Zehnders Famous Chicken Dinners Also Served At Bavarian Inn
The nearby villages of Frankenlust, Frankentrost, and Frankenhilf (now known as Richville) further illustrate that the area remained a magnet for other Germans emigrating from the same region. German, and in particular, the Bavarian culture of the town has been preserved and passed down through the generations. The German language is still prevalent in signage and speech. Even today, there are German-speakers residing in the town. The church of St. Lorenz offers monthly services in the German language.
Frankenmuth is Farm Oriented
The original Frankens would not recognize this place. It’s a very touristy town, the architecture very much that of nuevo Bavaria. Looking at the size of the parking lots, this place receives a lot of visitors. Luckily we’ve come off season and on a weekday so the crowds not so much.
Mural, Plaque, Park Field Haus
Coming into town from the south the first business we see is Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. And boy, is it! It promotes itself as the worlds largest Christmas Store and I will not dispute it. Bronner’s parking lot can accommodate over 1,000 cars and 50 buses. Some 100,000 lights illuminate Bronner’s half mile long Christmas Lane in the evening. On the Bronner property is a replica of the Oberndorf, Austria, Silent Night Memorial Chapel as a tribute to the Christmas hymn “Silent Night”.
Bronner’s and Replica of Silent Night Chapel
Driving through downtown Frankenmuth is reminiscent of a drive through a Bavarian town- except for the 4 lane main street with American built cars whizzing by. There are lots of stores featuring items not remotely related to Bavaria. Clothing stores, pet supply stores, ice cream stores, popcorn store? Okay, Bavarian style pastry shops and chocolate shops are here too. One can take a ride on a small stern wheeler down the Carr River.
Most Stores Not So German Culture Oriented
And the town has a whole lot of up scale, very large hotels, inns and I don’t know if one can call anything in town a motel. One of the largest is the Bavarian Inn Lodge, a 360 room, 4 swimming pool, indoor 18 hole miniature golf establishment that features nightly entertainment, 2 gift shops and two restaurants!
Bavarian Inn Lodge
And there are many others. The Zehnder family owns the and Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth which is famous for it’s all you can eat chicken dinners. The restaurant seats 1500 folks while the Bavarian Inn seats 1200- no wonder the parking lots are so large! By the by, the Zehnders also own Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark, Zehnder’s Marketplace, and maybe even The Fortress, a championship golf course.
Tomorrow we’re moving towards Dearborn Michigan. See you there!