So 2020, the year of travel! Yeah… NOT. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s travel plans have been completely squashed or seriously altered. Not only have flights been cancelled, hotels been closed, and businesses shut down, but people have become nervous – some may even say terrified – to travel. This honestly breaks my heart so much… we were all meant to explore the world! While we may not be able to readily venture off to other countries right now, that doesn’t mean we have to completely curb our wanderlust.
There is still travel that can be done all around us… we just have to look for it! And guess what? I found the perfect location for your next getaway! Even better… I found a place that is on top of their game in terms of safety and responsibility related to the pandemic. Because in order for us to all travel right now, we need to travel to places that take the pandemic seriously, and have a visitor's safety in mind, first and foremost.
So, without further adieu, I present to you… Frankenmuth, Michigan!
Frankenmuth, Michigan coined “Michigan’s Little Bavaria," is truly a hidden gem inside the Mitten State. Frankenmuth is a small town, located about 90 minutes north of Detroit, Michigan. What makes this cute and quaint town stand out are the cultural German roots and Bavarian-styled architecture. The second you arrive in Frankenmuth, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
What else makes Frankenmuth such an ideal place to visit? THE BEAUTY. Besides the stunning architecture and German touches, you’ll be surrounded by natural wonder. The Cass River runs right through Frankenmuth, and is home to a plethora of Frankenmuth activities. And if water isn’t really your best friend, don’t worry… there’s gorgeous natural elements waiting for you in every direction! My favorite aspect of Frankenmuth? The colorful flowers that will follow you everywhere. Literally, wherever you look… there’s flower beds, flower boxes, flower pots, and so many flowers! It will truly take your breath away.
And I know you’re all waiting for it… one of the top reasons people visit Frankenmuth? Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland. Bronner’s is the world’s largest Christmas store! Can you believe it?! And it’s right here in Michigan! People come from all over the United States, and internationally, to visit this whimsical Christmas wonderland. It spans over a total of 27 acres, and there’s Christmas magic there for everyone!
But while Frankenmuth is such a delightful place to visit, what exactly are they doing to keep all their visitors safe? What are their new safety protocols? Can you still have fun while visiting during COVID-19 or are there too many restrictions? Long answer made short… you can still have so much fun AND stay safe while visiting Frankenmuth… and I’m about to tell you how and why!
Let’s first talk about the safety aspect… because really, that’s what most folks are concerned with in the present day. I’ve been to plenty of cities and towns ever since the pandemic started, and I can honestly say that Frankenmuth has left me feeling the safest… and I mean that wholeheartedly. There are so many different initiatives that the town of Frankenmuth is implementing… and I can’t wait to share them all with you!
- Community-wide signage expressing the common standards (physical distancing, wear a mask, stay home if you feel sick). These signs are seen all over the town of Frankenmuth… on the sidewalks, along the streets, on benches, and lining the sidewalks.
- Providing hand sanitizing and wash stations for public use. Wherever you look, you will see an available place to wash or sanitize your hands.
- Wearing masks and providing them to guests. Signs around the town are posted requiring you to wear a face mask in public spaces. If you don’t have a face mask, stop by the Visitor Center for a complimentary Frankenmuth-branded mask.
- Physical distance measures of 6 feet apart, with barriers where necessary. There are numerous signs around Frankenmuth that remind visitors to social distance… and there are also markings in stores and restaurants to aid in the ability to social distance.
- Protecting and educating employees. Employees are screened and their health is always being monitored.
- Restricting occupancy. Facilities throughout Frankenmuth have limited capacity to promote social distancing, and the safety of their guests.
- Vigorous disinfection and sanitation procedures.
- Designated entry ways and exits for stores and restaurants.
So, all these new safety protocols are amazing!
But what about if you want to stay overnight in Frankenmuth? How are the hotels ensuring guests' safety? I stayed at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, and was thoroughly impressed by their various safety initiatives. When you’re headed to Frankenmuth next, seriously consider spending the night or multiple nights! You will be able to experience all that Frankenmuth has to offer, and you won’t feel rushed in anything you’re doing. Trust me… the next time I visit Frankenmuth, I’m staying for a few nights!
During my stay at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, I felt extremely safe and well taken care of. The staff were beyond welcoming and helpful during this time of uncertainty. I would 110% go back and stay with the lovely folks at the Bavarian Inn. Not only did I feel completely safe while lodging there, but the hotel is super fun and a fabulous option when visiting Frankenmuth. Here's some of the safety and sanitation procedures Bavarian Inn Lodge is upholding:
- Guests are required to wear a face mask when entering the building and in all public areas, including but not limited to hallways, lobbies, retail shops, and the fun center.
- All guests are to abide by the 6 feet social distancing rule. There is signage around the property as a reminder of this. There are also floor markers to assist with maintaining the appropriate amount of social distancing.
- The front desk check-in area, along with all retail cashier stations and redemption areas, have partitions for additional safety.
GUEST ROOM SANITATION
- Guest rooms undergo multiple cleaning procedures, and take extra time with all high touch services.
- Changes have been made to guest room set up to assist with sanitation. Frequently touched items have been removed from rooms, but are available upon request.
- All guest room directory information may be viewed online during your stay.
- Disposable cups have replaced glass cups in all guest rooms.
- Each guest room will be left vacant for a single night after each departure, then cleaned and sanitized.
- Guidelines for proper sanitation of high touch areas and surfaces have been created specifically for each department. There has been additional manpower to increase the frequency of cleaning in all public areas. This includes, but is not limited to doorknobs, railings, buttons, public restrooms, video games, countertops, and all recreational areas.
- Menus are thoroughly sanitized between guests. At times, disposable paper menus or reader board menu choices will be offered instead. No buffet services are available at this time.
- Hand sanitizing stations are available in all public areas of the restaurants and hotel.
- Dining rooms, the fun center, and recreational seating areas all incorporate appropriate social distancing measures.
- Signs are posted throughout the fun center to remind all guests to stay 6 feet apart from members not in their group, and to wear masks (not when in the water).
- Video and arcade games are sanitized frequently and gloves are also offered to guests in the fun center.
- Mini golf putters and balls are sanitized after each game.
- All staff members go through daily health check-ins. Staff will be sent home immediately if displaying any symptoms of sickness.
- All staff members are required to wear masks, along with appropriate social distancing practices.
- Frequent hand washing is monitored, and hand sanitizer stations are available in each department.
- Guidelines for proper sanitation, and frequency of high touch areas and surfaces have been created specifically for each department.
Now, let’s chit chat about the FUN part!
More Than Just a Day Trip
I sincerely believe Frankenmuth is a multi-day destination… and I really got that feeling during this last trip! I was there for just a single night, and there was still so much I wanted to do by the time I had to head back home. And when I finish this blog, you’ll understand why I believe Frankenmuth is more than just a day trip destination!
There are a handful of lovely hotels to stay in when visiting Frankenmuth. But I wanted to touch on the hotels that are near and dear to my heart… waterpark hotels! I’m such a big kid deep down, and am game for anything that provides extra fun and laughs. And in Frankenmuth, there are two waterpark hotels: Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark.
I would describe the Bavarian Inn hotel as delightfully cozy with wonderful amenities such as multiple pools (including an adult-only one), multiple types of room set ups like whirlpool rooms or family suites, three restaurants on the property, free nightly entertainment in the Lorelei Lounge, and an arcade in the lower level.
Zehnder's Splash Village is conveniently located right next to Bronner's, so you'll be around Christmas 24/7. And if you want to head downtown, you can utilize the complimentary shuttle service. The hotel features 50,000 square feet of water park fun, two retractable roofs over their waterpark facilities – one of the only of its kind, private cabana rentals, a super loop speed slide, a delicious cafe on property, and so much more.
Now, let’s get talking about the food situation in Frankenmuth!
And let’s just say, you have some great options. While there are so many various places to dine in this Bavarian town… I’m going to tell you about some of my favorites! And always remember… if you want extra information on the food scene in Frankenmuth (or any other Frankenmuth information), just keep exploring this website you're already on (that's frankenmuth.org!)
Zehnder's of Frankenmuth: One of the CLASSIC chicken dinner establishments in Frankenmuth! Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know… Frankenmuth is known for their family style chicken dinners. Now, you might be asking… what the heck is that?! Essentially, you get served a feast! All the fried chicken and tasty sides you could ever dream of!
Bavarian Inn Restaurant: Another fabulous option for a family style chicken dinner! The Bavarian Inn Restaurant is known for their lovely and comforting home-cooked meals.
Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie: An amazing wine bar and charcuterie board haven! Prost specializes in tap wines, and “build your own” charcuterie boards. It’s truly the perfect place to relax and socialize with friends.
Honey B's Eatery: A quaint and cute establishment… this restaurant places a significant emphasis on supporting local farmers and sustainable practices. Honey B’s is an awesome choice for all my vegetarian and vegan friends visiting Frankenmuth!
The Cheese Trap: This food truck is literally my new favorite thing! If you’re a lover of all things cheesy (like I am), you must stop here! It’s a cheese lover’s paradise!
Frankenmuth Brewery: Are you looking for a brewery where a weenie dog is the main focal point? Then look no further than the Frankenmuth Brewery! I’m not kidding… it’s a Doxie loving place! Just check it out for yourself!
N'Orlins Beignets & Coffee: Are you in the mood for a tasty treat?! Then you’re in luck! N’Orlins specializes in fluffy and powdery beignets. Don’t forget to dip your beignet in one of their yummy dipping sauces!
La Crepe du Jour: Looking for a taste of Paris in this Bavarian town? La Crepe du Jour is where you need to go! This Parisian influenced street cafe will fulfill all your crepe needs! Grab a crepe, and stroll along your way… just like you would do in Paris!
Jaami's Ice Cream & Treats: Walking around town and looking for something sweet? Then you better stop at Jaami’s! From their ice cream sundaes, to their waffle cones, to their jazzed up shakes… this ice cream shop has something for everyone!
Let's not forget the activities!
Pretzel Rolling: Looking to get in touch with your German roots? Then you must try a pretzel rolling class! These daily pretzel rolling classes are located at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. To participate costs $6.49 per person. It’s about 25 minutes for the pretzel rolling experience, and then a 30 to 45 minute bake time for the pretzels. This class occurs at 2:30 PM every day. To make reservations, please call (989) 652-9941. (Availability varies due to staffing and demand)
Frankenmuth Aerial Park: If you’re an adventure seeker, you must check out the Frankenmuth Aerial Park on your visit! This outdoor park is a climbing ropes course with various zip lines included. There are 6 courses with 4 various difficulty levels. Get ready to soar through the trees!
Shopping: You honestly can’t visit Frankenmuth without doing some shopping! There are so many adorable shops to peruse through on your trip here. Besides the shops lined along Main Street, don’t forget to check out the Castle Shops, and the Frankenmuth River Place Shops. And don’t forget to grab your coupon book at the visitor center for some amazing deals throughout Frankenmuth!
Indoor Waterpark Day Pass: Not spending the night, but still want to partake in the waterpark fun? Don’t worry… you still can! At Zehnder’s Splash Village, you are able to obtain a day pass!
PedAle Trolley: Grab a group of your friends and try your hand (or foot) at a pedal trolley around downtown Frankenmuth! There are a few 2 hour tours to choose from: Pub Crawl, River Ride, Main Street Mixer, Attraction Trek and more. Hop on and off as you wish, and have the best time ever!
Visiting Bronner's: Now… you MUST do this when visiting Frankenmuth!! You just have to! Bronner’s is the largest Christmas store in the world… and it’s so glorious! Looking to do more than shop? Visit Bronner’s after dusk to marvel at all their outdoor lights!
Cass River adventures: Looking to venture off to the water? Try out kayaking with Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures. Or hop on board Frankenmuth FunShips, an awesome wine and chocolate boat tour! How fun would that be?!
Chocolate and Cheese Tasting: Speaking of food tastings… if you don’t do a food tasting on the boat, you must do it on land! There are so many delightful places to please your palate with some delectable cheeses and chocolates. Try out the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus or Zak and Mac’s Chocolate Haus. Or even better… try out both!
Horse Carriage Rides: What better way to see the sweet town of Frankenmuth than by horse and buggy! Head on over towards the direction of Zehnder’s Restaurant, and you’ll see all the horses of Fantasy Carriage Company lined up… ready to give you a beautiful ride. Or, go across the street beside Bavarian Inn Restaurant for a ride with Frankenmuth Carriage Company.
So, have I convinced you to visit Frankenmuth?!
And have I convinced you that it genuinely is a safe place to visit during this time? If not… we need to talk some more. I sincerely love Frankenmuth so much… I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl, and I plan to continue visiting until I’m a little, old lady. Thank you so much, Frankenmuth, for providing tourists with a safe (and fun!) environment during this time of COVID-19!
– Ashley, @ohdarlingletsseetheworld