Monday morning of our Michigan trip began with another walk along Frankenmuth’s Main Street while we waited for some of the shops to open. It is such a beautiful place!
We stopped at the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, where we picked up a few things to try at home. It’s an amazing store!
We also visited beautiful, historic St. Lorenz:
The main event of the day, however, was stopping at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, A store I have wanted to shop at for years! And of course I had just the right outfit to wear:
There are many photo opportunities throughout the store, and I took advantage of several of them:
Some people say Disney is the happiest place on earth, but I think Bronner’s is. It’s always Christmas there!
We also visited their Silent Night Chapel, a reproduction of Oberndorf’s monument which stands on the site of the former St. Nicholas Church, where “Silent Night” was first sung.
All too soon, our time in Frankenmuth drew to a close, and we had to say “Auf Wiedersehen.”
Our fun for the day wasn’t over yet, though. We stopped for lunch at Big Boy!
And stopped to see beautiful Lake Michigan from its eastern shore:
And then, for the second time in less than a week, we got to eat at Portillo’s!
It was quite late by the time we reached home, but we got to cheer the St. Louis Blues to victory along the way, which helped the time pass. Look for more details about our visit to Frankenmuth in the coming days!
Last Sunday was a very busy day! We started with breakfast at the restaurant where Ryan had his first job as a teenager. I had a Greek skillet, which was basically gyros for breakfast…delicious!
We then headed over to Christ the King’s second campus, where the retirement festivities were held, beginning with the Divine Service, where both Ryan and his mom got to sing in the choir.
There was a very nice lunch reception after the service, and it was obvious even to an outsider how much that congregation loves their pastors. It was a lot of fun to be part of it, even if we weren’t members there.
After the reception, we drove through Detroit on the way to our next destination. We stopped at historic Fort Wayne on the Detroit River (not to be confused with Fort Wayne, IN, which was named for the same general), to see a place that had been built as a defense against Canada, of all places! Unfortunately, much of the fort is falling apart, but we still got a good sense of what it used to look like.
While we were there, we saw two fighter jets flying overhead, which seemed very appropriate:
We then headed over to the Detroit Riverwalk, where we once again got to gaze upon Canada, but this time, in a more urban setting:
We also drove past Comerica Park…I know it’s home of the Detroit Tigers, but I couldn’t believe just how many tiger statues they had outside!
And then after what seemed like a longer drive than it was, probably because I was so excited to arrive at our destination, we reached Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “Little Bavaria!”
Even our hotel, which is definitely part of a large chain, had a Bavarian look!
All of Main Street is in on the Bavarian architecture, and it was just as charming as I expected it to be!
We had late dinner reservations at one of the two restaurants in town that are famous for fried chicken dinners…the Bavarian Inn. Our dinner was amazing, but you’ll have to wait a few days for the full details!
Even though our dinner lasted almost two and a half hours, it was still light outside when we were done. We were so far north, the sunset was almost an hour later than it is here at home! So we were able to enjoy a nice after-dinner walk, and actually see the town. I loved the covered bridge…but I’m really glad we walked across it instead of driving over it!
We stopped at the Bavarian Inn’s lodge, where they have a huge fun center, and we found my favorite game…skee ball! I think the dinner weighed me down, because the best I could do was tie for first!
We needed to stop at the store and pick up a styrofoam cooler for our dinner leftovers, and I was tickled to discover that even the Kroger looked like it was built in Bavaria!
It had been a long day, and we were all full and tired, so we headed back to the hotel after that. I really wish we could have spent more time in Frankenmuth, but we did have a few more stops planned for Monday morning before we left town!
This year’s summer school is going to be a little different, because instead of focusing on books, we’re going to be focusing on episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe. Here’s a look at all the shows we’ll be watching (you’ll have to wait and see all of the different European recipes we’ll be trying to go with our viewing!):
Rick Steves’ Europe: The Blu-Ray Collection (70 shows!!!)
Rick Steves’ Europe: The Complete Collection (Which I only got because it was super marked-down, and contained some episodes that neither the blu-ray collection nor our other discs had).
Rick Steves’ Travel Extras
Rick Steves’ European Easter
Rick Steves’ Europe: 12 New Shows 2015-1016
Rick Steves’ Europe: 10 New Shows 2017-2018
Rick Steves’ Europe: 12 New Shows 2019-2020
Of course, there will be some books, too:
Europe Through the Back Door
Travel as a Political Act
French, Italian & German Phrase Book
Rick Steves’ European Christmas
Rick Steves’ European Easter
Rick Steves’ European Festivals
Rick Steves’ Europe Planning Map (yes, not technically a book, but I didn’t know where else to put it!)
And even a CD (perfect for Christmas in July!):
Rick Steves’ European Christmas CD
For fun, because I always like to have something hands-on as part of summer school, I got the Lego Architecture Paris skyline set for us to build. We’ve collected quite a few of these skylines now, in addition to the Eiffel Tower model we have, and I think it will make a nice addition to our display!
I also got the children travel journals to go with our viewing. My plan is to have them keep one page for each episode, and list specific places they would like to visit in the future if they are able for each location Rick highlights. My hope is that they will keep these journals, and someday, when they hopefully travel to Europe, they will already know which are must-see locations for them.
I’m really excited about this year’s summer school, and quite honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to come up with the idea, because I’ve been a fan of Rick Steves for quite some time!