by Weam Namou
Last weekend we stepped, slightly, into the heart of Germany when we visited the small city of Frankenmuth and had dinner at the Bavarian Inn. Frankenmuth’s population is less than 5000, and it the place to go to if you want to stroll through 13 acres of beautiful riverfront, or “Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland” which bills itself as the world’s largest Christmas store, listen to the hoof beats of horse-drawn carriages, and enjoy family-style chicken dinners and authentic German dishes.
The city’s name is a combination of two words. “Franken” represents the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, home of the Franks, where the original settlers were from. The German word “Mut” means courage; thus, the name Frankenmuth means “courage of the Franconians.” The area was settled and named in 1845 by conservative Lutheran immigrants from Roßtal area of Franconia (now part of Bavaria) in Germany. The group of settlers left Germany on April 20, 1845 and arriving at Castle Garden seven weeks later.
The nearby villages of Frankenlust, Frankentrost, and Frankenhilf illustrate that the area remained a magnet for other Germans from the same region even after it lost its original purpose as a mission post for the spread of Christianity to the Chippewa tribe.
Although we didn’t get to do any beer tasting that day, we ate and ate and ate until we could barely breathe. Then we were served ice cream! Word of advice, do not wear tight jeans if you plan on eating at the Bavarian Inn.