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Tales of the Traveling Tote: Ann Arbor and Frankenmuth

Friday, December 1, 2023

It's December, My Lovelies!
Welcome to another edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote!

I am hosting the giveaway, and you can read more about it at the bottom of this post.

We spent Thanksgiving in Ann Arbor with our daughter and son-in-law.  We had a great time because it was a HUGE college football weekend, and we took a little side trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan on Black Friday.  If I had to describe Frankenmuth, I'd say it's like Gatlinburg and a Hallmark town had a love child.  My Southern friends will understand this comparison, haha.  I'd also compare it to Helen, Georgia.  It's a Bavarian-themed town that pays homage to the Germans who settled the area, and there is a calendar full of events and festivals year round.  We saw the Christmas tree lighting, we had a lovely dinner at Prost, and we did a little shopping.  We found a couple of darling boutiques, and everyone enjoyed cider and hot chocolate.  

One thing that was very funny about Frankenmuth is that they have an obsession with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and The Grinch: if you wanted to do so, you could purchase very creative merch based on these movies.  Everyone was nice and excited about the weekend's activities.  The outdoor ice skating rink looked lovely, but I was too cold to skate.  We did a whole lot of walking, though.

We had a family member warn us not to go to the world's largest Christmas store because everything they sell is way overpriced, so we're probably the only people to visit Frankenmuth who didn't go.  

I suppose I can purchase a few new ornaments locally.

Let's look at a few photos from Frankenmuth:

Mr. Bookish, Santa, and a giant mouse took photos with La Countess de Monet.

The town is very quaint with a German theme.

We enjoyed watching artisans make fudge at Zak and Mac's.  We purchased a few treats and enjoyed the sipping chocolate.

The Christmas decorations and lights were very pretty.

This is the covered bridge leading into town.
The weather was beautiful during our trip, but it was very cold.

We always enjoy Ann Arbor, but you have to plan ahead on game day because Shanley Belle and Christopher live close to the Big House (University of Michigan's stadium), and the police shut down their street at times during the day.  This was perhaps the biggest grudge match during the weekend with the Michigan Wolverines ranked number two and the Ohio State Buckeyes ranked number three.

Prepping for Game Day at Pioneer High School, just a short walk from the stadium

A beautiful day for football
Trip and Christopher walked down there, but I was too cold and walked back and watched the game from the comfort of Christopher and Shanley's house.  It was a fantastic game!  We could hear the Michigan fans as they cheered their team to a 24-30 victory.

Next, we watched an incredible come from behind win for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide v. the Auburn Tigers.  Roll Tide Roll!

I guess you've noticed that all of my photos are taken away from Shanley's house.  That's because I just got a brand new phone days before the trip, and Shanley and Christopher's Golden likes phones.  I kept mine locked in our room when we were home. 

Of course La Countess has been my helper while running all over Birmingham prepping for everything Christmas.
Stop by next week for a look at our Christmas decorations!

Please link over and visit the other Traveling Totes.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader (You're here!)

Below is the prize for this quarter.  For a chance to win, please leave a comment below, and if you are an anonymous blogger, leave your email in your comment so I can contact you.

Join us for our next adventures March 1, 2024.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Sounds like a fun time! I have heard so much about Frankenmuth but have never visited, which is sad because we are only a few hours drive. We have a local Christmas all year round store here and this time of year it is so packed you can barely get in the door, but it is definitely the place to go if you are looking for a specially themed ornament!

  2. Glad you were able to travel up north!! I have never been to that area, so it was fun to see your photos. They certainly have COLD winters there!! The covered bridge into town is charming! I am looking forward to seeing your holiday decor! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  3. I'm so glad you got to go visit Shanley Belle and Christopher! Frankenmuth looks so charming, I love the way you described it! I was glued to the TV on Saturday, and was cheering for Michigan to win! The Alabama game was a stunner too, Roll Tide! I don't like cold weather, I'm sure you were freezing but I know it was beautiful. That's funny about their dog liking phones, I guess it's curious because everyone always has one is their hand! I wish you and your family a very merry December!

  4. Your trip sounds very special and very cold! I loved how you described Frankenmuth so I know I would love it there! I don't think I could handle the cold for a game either, being cozy inside sounds good to me. And, how about our game!!!! Yes, Roll Tide, I will be watching this Saturday. Looking forward to seeing your Christmas decorations, your work always inspires me. I'm looking forward to our lunch together, see you soon........RTR

  5. What a charming little town! Santa would be so happy to know you played in his Michigan home away from home! Merry December to you - enjoy the beautiful days ahead!

  6. How fun to visit Shanley Belle and Christopher. Frankenmuth looks like a lovely town to visit with it's old world charm. The weather looks so cold, I would prefer to be cozy and warm. Glad you enjoyed the game. We are not football people. So fun you, Jenna and Emily can meet up for lunch. I am looking forward to seeing your Christmas decor. Merry Merry.

  7. You were that close and we didn't connect? Oh, I know how it is with kids. But honestly, one of your visits, we have to meet up. Chelsea is close to A2 or I'd come there. Frankenmuth is such fun. But I'm sorry you didn't go to Bronner's -- not to buy anything. Things are pricey there. But it's something everyone should SEE! Even just a wandering about. Loved that you met up with Jenna and Emily. Merry Happy!

  8. Lol , I did laugh out loud at your comparison of Frankenmuth to Gatlinburg and a Hallmark town having a baby. Too funny! The town looked like the perfect place to enjoy the start of the holiday season, and those Michigan and Alabama wins the icing on the cake. I have a niece who is from Cincinnati, who was at Michigan while her husband was in grad school. Talk about a house divided - her older sister and bil went to OSU. Makes for great family banter. I bet Shanley and Christopher have a love/hate with their proximity to the stadium, but what a way to immerse into the town's culture! The cold.....yah, I bet that was a culture shock for you! Naughty golden with the phones - wonder how many he's destroyed? Funny, not funny. Love your photos and illustrations in this post, Ricki JIll. Happy holidays and Happy Advent, my friend!

  9. I'm so glad you got a chance to travel and visit your daughter! What a fabulous town and it really gets you in the holiday mood! Happy December my friend!

  10. It looks like a fun trip, but my eye was really drawn to your beautiful artwork! How pretty!!

  11. Thank You for sharing the photos of Frankenmuth. I enjoyed them

  12. Love the photos of Frankenmuth. Everything is so pretty there.

  13. Sounds like a fun trip! I've not been to Michigan, but woud like to. It's on my list for a summer trip. I envy your lunches with Emily and Jenna. So happy your girls make time to get together. Love your darling Daphne's Diary Advent Calendar. Happy Holidays!

  14. What a fun visit you had in Michigan spending time with your daughter and Christopher. I haven't been to Michigan but it's on my list since we want to visit Isle Royale National Park. Love that you met up with Jenna and Emily. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  15. Chomping at the bit to get to be able to decorate. I am always decorated before Thanksgiving as we go away for Thanksgiving. They are supposed to do the final and cleaning on Monday and Tuesday - woohoo. I told Kirk he could do the moving and I wanted to decorate for Christmas.
    Frankenmuth looks so amazing. I love that they have kept it so quaint and celebrate the German heritage.
    That would be crazy to have your house blocked off for the games! I know our game traffic is bad. Sadly we lost our last game at BYU! Not their best year starting the Big 12. Have a wonderful Christmas season!

  16. What a fun time. I absolutely love that covered bridge!

  17. been to Frankenmuth several times. Love just strolling around the town. Have a Merry Christmas!!

  18. What a fun trip, Ricki Jill! When we lived in Michigan for a short time, we did get to visit Frankenmuth and I enjoyed it. Happy December!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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