As you’ve guessed by the title, we made it to the US! Where we currently live is only 6km from the Blue Water Bridge, so we come here often for walks. Finally we ventured further and we crossed the bridge.
With no traffic on the road, crossing was very easy. Immigration not so much, but that’s always the way right? Before coming to the US, I had filled out an ESTA online. From 1 October 2022, everyone is required to do one of these, so if you’re headed that way, make sure you do one! Mitch already had one from his previous visa run however, due to someone’s terrible handwriting (sorry to moan but you’ll see why) the officer who was helping us, read the expiry date as September 2021 rather than 2022. This meant poor Mitch had to fill out a very long form, only to have it torn in half when they realised the error.
With some exasperated laughs and shaking of heads, the 1 became a 2 (not today Spice Girls) and we were free to go.
After such a stressful start, we needed to stop for coffee. So whilst in America where else would we go but Tim Hortons?
Now caffinated and able to laugh at what had just happened, we headed to our first stop, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. This is the world’s largest Christmas store and definitely lives up to its name as a wonderland. My blog seems to be following an unintentional record breaking trend lately and I am loving it.
The store was founded by Walter (Wally) Bronner and opened in 1945, it is incredibly popular all year round and is one of the most exciting places I’ve ever visited. When we entered the store, I seriously underestimated how large it is. I was handed a map which I thought was a nice, touristy keepsake… Well I actually needed it because it is so easy to get lost when under the hypnotic spell of Christmas glitter. It was hard, but I managed to refrain from buying too much. I bought salt shakers for one of my best friends, Mitch bought a Bob Ross decoration for his and of course I bought my Nanny a post card. If any of my close family/friends are reading this and thinking “hey, where’s my gift?!” Mitch and I will be returning closer to Christmas for a shopping trip. They also run a Christmas lights drive, which I think will be much more magical closer to Christmas, rather than in the sweltering heat of August.
After over an hour of browsing, we peeled ourselves away and headed for lunch in the Dead Creek Saloon. Christmas shopping is hungry and thirsty work. Of course I got the fish and chips (typical Brit) and Mitch got the burger with bacon (typical Mitch). Full of nick knacks and with classic Rock playing in the back ground, this was a really cool place to sit and enjoy a bite to eat. It was also great to sit by the window and watch the motorbikes come and go and dream about our next big trip. In fact it was so great I forgot to take some photos – whoops.
Heading out of the saloon we then made our way to Germany… I mean Frankenmuth. We only planned to stop here for a walk around but after seeing how beautiful the town was and how much there is to see, we quickly came to the conclusion we were coming back here as part of our Christmas trip.
I love the nostalgia of a penny press machine and you can be sure I will always use one. They seem to be everywhere in the US so whenever I’m here, I will need to keep a stache of change for my collection.
The day that we visited was in the 30s so walking around was hard work. After hiding under the beautiful thatched bridge and watching the water, we decided to head to our hotel to settle in and cool down.
After watching a couple of episodes of below deck with air con on high, we headed to something that had sparked my curiosity. After seeing many signs for it, we made our way to Northwood’s Wholesale Store to find the Sasquatch.
Mitch and I are in no way hunters and not particularly interested in that kind of thing, but being from the UK and seeing the weapons on display in the US is fascinating for us. This store has everything you could ever need for survival. That being a paranormal encounter, the apocalypse or just fishing out in the wild, you can find it all here.
There will be a part two of this post in the week where we explored more of Michigan. I was trying to post every Friday but my work schedule has been crazy, so hopefully I can get back on track with that as I have been on many adventures since this trip!