Adam and I woke pretty early (for me -7am) and went downstairs to breakfast at the hotel. Make your own waffles, bagels, cereal, apple juice- I’m set. Call me crazy or weird but I’ve never made my own waffles or had homemade waffles before but why didn’t someone tell me that they were samples of heaven? I know they are just pancakes with abs but oh my!
So the first place we went was Bronners Christmas Store which was over 7 acres and we had to rush to see it all. We waited outside at 8:50am for it to open at 9am. Now I don’t want to be the first person in to anywhere that’s just opened. I find im being judged, like how I check out to see how fast other people’s windshield wipers are going so I can copy as to not be too dramatic lol. So of course everyone else thinks of this too. So we see one family get out and walk right into the store and right on cue, about 5 other families get out of their car at the same time (including us) and stretch as to pretend we’re not like Buddy the elf on the inside waiting to get Christmas stuff; this was July don’t you know. When people say this place is huge, they are not joking. I thought I lost Adam for a good 10 minutes, and I was this close to going on the speaker to find him. They have absolutely everything you can want there. We found a few plumbers ornaments so we got one for Adam, but we couldn’t find any security dispatcher ornaments (but honestly that is so narrowed down that it would crazy to find one).
We got the plumbers ornament for Adam, a Victorian door for me, and we got a statue of the Bronners Santa (that is on display outside the building is a whopping 17 feet tall) with the Bronners sign. We spent a good 1.5 hours inside and I think we missed a lot! They have my kind of size wreath at the front door for photo ops.
It’s about an hour trip that takes you down the Cass River and shows you all of the spots on the outskirts like Oktoberfest grounds, beside the Bavarian Inn hotel where you can see the water slides coming outside, and also the meeting place where the German families used to meet up for picnics in the summer decades ago. They sell popcorn and pop on board which made us more hungry with all the walking in Bronners that we just did. The boat took us up river and back where we got to see dense trees lining the quiet river. We passed a group of baseball games going on and I had to take this picture because of all things, this is how you relax between innings? I was laughing so hard at this and Adam just looked at me like I was crazy; he grew up in the country so maybe this is the norm?
I would definitely recommend the boat trip, it’s $12 and so well worth it to learn about the history.
After the riverboat, we went to the Riverplace shops. Now if I brought kids who I wanted to dump somewhere and have a romantic day alone with my husband, then this is the place I would do it. It’s very tacky and cheap and was thrown in there for people who demand McDonalds for lunch when they go to a foreign country. They have arcades, a huge warehouse like store that sells every kind of tshirt with neon lettering (very reminiscent of the Jersey Shore show), old time photos (of the Wild West?), and Yankee Candle. Now don’t get me wrong I love Yankee Candle, but not in a German themed tourist area. The only saving grace was the bakery N’Orlins (which is french but hear me out) which serves beignets which like the homemade waffles are a slice of heaven.
After the tour around the tacky shops, we went for lunch at Oma’s restaurant in the Bavarian Inn Hotel. This place has the best bratwurst ever! I ordered the brat on a bun with sauerkraut and Adam got the Southwestern Haystack burger (clearly sticking with the theme of the city lol). I’m weird and like my sauerkraut cold not warm so I waited for it to cool down first but it was delish! I don’t have any pictures unfortunately, but check out their menu: http://www.bavarianinn.com/files/7814/8191/3811/OmasLunchMenu_Dec16.pdf
I would love to have my own dirndl again but somehow I have outgrown my one from when I was aged 3, weird lol. So we went into Bavarian Specialties store to look for dirndls for me. Adam hates the look of lederhosen, so I’ll just have to rely on the cutout pictures for him. Now dirndls are the traditional dress for women where it’s a bodice, skirt, apron, and half blouse. It pulls in the waist and plumps up the girls. It’s very feminine to wear and it’s so comfortable. They are very intricate with the designs, hooks, and stitching that they are very expensive 😞. So much in fact the one I’m wearing below was just under $300. I plan on making my own or asking my mum for one for my birthday (homemade or store bought). I resorted to buying the blouse which was still $40 but I find blouses are the hardest to make for me, and I would find the material up at the German fabric stores in Kitchener near me. Now I saw all the waitresses and store girls wearing these and I had to buy one myself and yes I know, even I say “Coachella” in a hipster voice when I wear this, but it’s very cute all together.We walked around town and then circled back to Bronners after we went to all the authentic stores. It’s a small town and you can walk the Main Street in a good 2 hours unless like us you stayed trying on a lot of dirndls. We went back to Bronners because they have a replica of the chapel that Silent Night was first sung in from Austria. Walking up to the chapel, the lyrics are posted in almost every language you can think of.
We’re both not religious in anyway but this was very humbling to see. It’s a must see!
We came back in the night to Bronners again as they have an all year round Christmas light display and Christmas music pumping out from the building. They have placed it so you can drive though and see all of the lights from our car but getting out and seeing them up close is the best way by far!
After everything we did that day, we definitely slept well that night!