Friday, October 2, 2015

State #25, Michigan, Part 1

I flew out to Detroit this morning. The flight was quick and easy, and from the airport I had to travel just over an hour to a town north and west called Frankenmuth. After a couple of stops (lunch, shopping for necessities), I made it to my destination. Frankenmuth is a quaint Bavarian-style village near the dip between the thumb and first finger of the mitten half of Michigan. It is adorable and is filled with cute shops, hotels, restaurants and attractions. I chose this race in particular because my cousin's husband has family in the area, and they were going to head out with me. Unfortunately, plans didn't work out, so I ended up solo, but in a town this sweet, there was plenty to do just wandering around. 
Statue of mascot outside the Cheese Haus.
I checked in to my hotel and then decided to walk around a bit. I started off checking out the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus which was very close to my hotel. It was a great shop filled with hand made cheeses made on location as well as other local cheeses and all kinds of cheese and kitchen accessories. I was able to find magnets for my kids there as well as a postcard to send to a friend's son for his school project (collecting postcards from all 50 states). I also ended up getting a couple of gifts for other folks for Thanksgiving/Christmas. I won't go in to detail on that here, lest they be reading. 
Fall decor outside the Historical Museum.
Next, I walked by the Frankenmuth Historical Museum. I stopped in to the gift shop and spoke to a woman working there about the town. I asked how a little German town happened to end up in Michigan. She told me that the town began as a missionary town led by German Lutherans who came to the States to spread Christianity to the Native Americans. As they settled, they kept their heritage. Many of the buildings with the Bavarian architecture were constructed in the 1950's as more of a tourist attraction, but the original settlers in the area were from Germany. The name "Franken" comes from their home province in Germany, and "Muth" means courage. I told her I'd probably stop back tomorrow to tour the museum, and thanked her for the background info. 
Window display at Historical Museum.
Local directional signage.
I continued my walk along the main street, photographing some of the signs and sights along the way. Glockenspiel, anyone? The official Frankenmuth visitor's center was also in the Bavarian style and featured a fountain out in front of children running and playing around a maypole. Next was the Bavarian Inn which featured a lower level of shops. I stopped in there to look around and then stayed for a local pint at the bar while I wrote out my postcard. I ended up chatting with some local folks about where I could grab a decent plate of pasta. They gave me their recommendation, and I decided to check it out for dinner.
Visitor's Center
Fountain outside Visitor's Center.
Bavarian Inn
Protector of the Bavarian Inn.
From the Bavarian Inn, I had to walk to Heritage Park to pick up my race number.  It wasn't a far walk, and along the way I crossed the Zehnder's Holz Bridge, a wooden bridge spanning the Cass River. It featured covered sidewalks on both sides and the middle for cars. It was really picturesque. The Bruckelaufe Half Marathon actually features 13 bridges in the 13.1 miles of running. I bet the Zehnder's Holz is one of those I will be running over. I meandered along the road to the sports pavilion where I picked up my race number and shirt. From there I just walked back to my hotel to get ready for dinner. 
Side view of Bavarian Inn with horse and carriage.
Zehnder's Holz Bridge.
I found the restaurant that the folks at the Bavarian Inn recommended. It was called DaVinci's and wasn't too far from where I was staying. I had a hearty plate of spaghetti and meatballs, my usual. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped off for a few groceries and coffee for the morning. There wasn't a Starbucks nearby, so I had to settle for Tim Horton's. I hope it works out ok. I finished up the night getting things ready for the morning. Bed early after this busy travel and walk-about day.
Race number and shirt.

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