Michigan's Little Bavaria

This past weekend, Eric and I headed over to my favorite place to visit around the holidays, Frankenmuth, Michigan. If you've never been to Frankenmuth or haven't heard of it before, it's a Christmas wonderland! It's home to Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store. During the holidays, the streets are completely lit up with Christmas lights, lines are out the door to shop at the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, or to eat a famous chicken dinner at Zehnder's or Bavarian Inn. Horse-drawn carriages are carting people around, tons of people are walking the streets, and there's just a festive spirit in the air. I love this little town.

Nicknamed "Little Bavaria" or "Muth", Frankenmuth is located just south of Saginaw in Michigan. The town was settled and named in 1845 by German immigrants from what's now known as Bavaria, Germany. There is a strong influence of Franconian-style architecture in the town. The buildings very recognizably resemble buildings found in Germany, with the use of timbers in "square" and "X" patterns on the outside of buildings. It's so quaint. Our first stop was to Bronner's World's Largest Christmas Store. We found a parking spot, and headed inside to browse! It was a total madhouse, but completely worth it. It's such a magical place!

Bronner's was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner, and is visited annually by over 2 million people. The building alone is 7.35 acres, and the grounds are 27 acres! When you drive past this place at night, it is completely lit up with lights. The only thing we ended up buying there was a small guitar ornament that Eric loved, but I just loved walking around and checking everything out! Afterwards, we headed downtown to check out the Frankenmuth Brewery for the first time. It was so so busy, so we could only stand and have one drink, but it was super fun. And the Moscato I had was great!

After having a drink at the brewery, we started walking down the street toward the Bavarian Inn. But first, we stopped to the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus to sample cheeses. I ended up loving the chocolate cheese and bought some for our January wine club! I love strolling through little gift shops. We got to Zehnder's to wait for a chicken dinner, but decided to go across the street to Bavarian Inn because we heard better reviews, and the wait was inside the building instead of out! If you're familiar with both, do you have a preference? I think we're sold on Bavarian Inn now!

We ended up waiting 1 hour and 45 minutes for a table at Bavarian Inn, but it was so completely worth it. They had a server who would bring people drinks in line, so we just ordered tall glasses of beer and wine and enjoyed the wait! It was actually so fun to people watch, talk, and just anticipate one of the best meals ever! Once we finally got seated, we both ordered the Family Style Chicken Dinner (what made both Zehnder's and Bavarian Inn famous) and it was amazing and SO much fun. Eric got up to put his coat on, and was like, "Are you ready?" And I didn't want to leave, because I just loved that night and the memory of that occasion so much.

This was definitely one of my favorite nights of the entire year. Afterwards, we made a quick stop to do a little shopping at the Birch Run Outlets and headed home. Perfect day. xo

Outfit details:

Diagonal Alley Coat in Black c/o ModCloth
Add Another Log Cardigan c/o ModCloth (similar)
Forever21 Black Dress (similar)
Madewell The Transport Tote
Urban Outfitters Belt (similar)
Aldo hat
Candy Cottages Tights in Ginger c/o ModCloth
Melina Cut-Out Bootie c/o White Plum

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

The final stop on our Thumb adventure was Fort Gratiot Lighthouse! It's located in Port Huron, by the Blue Water Bridge that goes into Canada, which was fun to see. We explored the outside of the lighthouse for a bit, walked down by the beach on Lake Huron (called Lighthouse Beach) and read about the great storm of 1913 and various shipwrecks nearby.

This lighthouse is actually the oldest one in Michigan, and it was beautiful. The restoration they completed recently is perfect. They just opened it back up for tours in 2012 after a five-year close down due to deterioration and falling debris. We weren't able to tour this one because of the time of day we got there, but the grounds were wonderful to explore!

I bought this vintage sailboat skirt when I was on a trip to Houston, Texas. I absolutely love dressing for different lighthouses and nautical locations, but I'm definitely getting excited for autumn. I've started planning outfits for the apple orchard, pumpkin patches, and other fall things we'll be doing! Plus, we're taking a few trips in October that I'm looking forward to. We'll be going to St. Louis for their fashion week, to Walker, Minnesota for a country competition Eric is playing in and we're heading up north to the "great northwest" for a fun weekend. Bring on fall!

Well, this is my final post from our trip to the thumb! We'll definitely be back someday to check out a couple more lighthouses we missed. Plus, I'd love to kayak to Turnip Rock and check out a few fun diners and what not along the coast. There is always something new to explore in Michigan, and I really hope to "see it all" someday. Next week will be a full week of posts from Mackinaw City. We took some of my favorite photos ever, so I'm really excited to share. Have a great weekend, guys!

Outfit details:

Vintage sailboats skirt
Sailor's Knot Top c/o ModCloth
ModCloth Bow To Stern Scarf
Sonia Flats c/o Loly In The Sky