Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Michigan 2013 Trip - Day 1

We started off for Michigan today.  Mom, Grandma, Jan and me.  Our starting point was Mansfield, Ohio, although only two actually live there, myself being from North Carolina and Jan being from Florida.   A group of "Golden Girls" or in my case, a ways away from being quite Golden.  Maybe my tarnished silver will get there eventually.  But anyways, back to the trip.

(That's us by the way...Jan (friend close enough to be family), Diane (Mom), Marilyn (Grandma), and Me (Melissa).  And we'll talk about the place where this picture was taken later.

After a lackluster drive through cloudy skies for a few hours in Ohio we ended up across the Michigan border and immediately to the town of Dundee (where there is also a Cabelas), where I begged for a stop when I saw the sign advertising Beef Jerky Unlimited.  This is where the Good Food part of this blog really comes in, I am truly led by my stomach.

Peppered Beef Jerky
Inside were barrels and barrels full of different flavors and types of jerky.  On the floor in the barrels they had beef, chicken and pork jerky of numerous flavors and types; Cherry Maple (fabulous!), Teriyaki (definitely could taste the sweet soy flavor), Honey (very sweet and sticky), Sweet & Spicy (had a bite), etc.  From these barrels you could fill up a paper bag (better for the jerky to breathe and not become moldy) for $20.99 a pound.  There were also cases with Elk, Bison and other types of jerky that you could buy prepackaged, tons of hot sauce, spice mixes and a few other assorted items.  But the jerky was king here.

We all loaded our bags and had a nice treat on the way to our next stop...Frankenmuth Michigan, a few hours up the road.

Frankenmuth is a tourist town.  It is best known for its Chicken, the biggest Christmas store you'll probably ever come across, and the German atmosphere.  Our first stop was Bronner's Christmas store.  It was pretty much what would happen if Santa puked up all those cookies on his Christmas rounds.  It was huge.

The West Wing of Bronner's, there's more.

Everything here is done in multiple languages because of the draw from all over the world.

Can't resist a photo op.

Or Jan.
Neither can mom.

The Snozberries taste like Snozberries!

Bronner's does have a few dangerous
 bears running about.
Poor mom, she still hasn't quite recovered.

And we can't forget the beautiful music box.

After Bronner's we were all starved.  It takes a lot to walk around that gigantic place.  So we headed over to Zehnder's, where they are supposed to have world famous chicken.  With the exception of myself, everyone ordered the two piece chicken meal from the personable waiter (I opted for the French Onion Soup as I am the garbage disposal for everyone else).  Before the meal even came, included appetizers of Cabbage Salad (don't let them fool you, it's coleslaw) and fresh baked bread (two kinds!) with homemade preserves came out.  We stuffed ourselves on that and then out came the food.  My onion soup was flavorful and filling with a nice gooey cheese layer on top and the ladies who got the chicken.....well they got three pieces each because the chef's decided that the pieces were small that day.  When you combine that with the huge scoops of stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy that came on the plate too, nobody cleaned their plate entirely.

I always knew mom was a chicken.

We had to walk off that meal, and the Frankenmuth streets were charming and filled with shops. We found a few interesting things along the way, and I may have bought some cheese from the Cheese Haus.  There was also a lovely mill converted to a brewery and museum.

I love cheese.
Did I mention I love cheese?

The mill and brewery.
With a full belly and a full day we headed off in search of a place to stay the night and ready ourselves for the next adventure.  After almost giving up hope of finding a decent affordable place to stay we finally found a place.  But that's a post for another time; gotta prepare for tomorrow's adventure!

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