Discover the Hidden Gems of the Black Forest!
As a child I have fond memories of escaping with my father to the Black Forest. I remember traveling on a train and meeting new friends over a dining cart. I remember taking a bus to a visit a shop and their cuckoo clocks. When Honey Bear asked me where I wanted to go… I knew where my heart was yearning for!
The timing was a little off because we would be visiting a couple weeks before the tourist season began. We didn’t let that deter us. We packed up. Set our sights on a working farm near the Triberg area and *poof* we were rewarded with the romantic and rustic charms of the Schwäblehof.
There were many farms to choose from but the timing of our trip, the idea of a working farm, the farmer’s willingness to show the kids around, the lack of immediate access to the internet, and the coziness of the accommodations won us over.
The beds were very comfortable here -I didn’t realize how badly I was sleeping until our stay here. The new Black Forest tourism saying should be; “Come here for the cake and the clocks, but stay for the beds!“
On our first night we drove into Sankt Georgen to take advantage of their REWE to stock our kitchenette. The next day we decided to come back and try what turned out to be an awesome döner restaurant. With vegans in our midst, and the option for fresh ingredients -it made lunch or dinner options easy. (There is a döner stand in the nearby Platz but I highly recommend the Istanbul Kepbap and Pizza on Hauptstraße.)
On top of the friendly service, wonderful food and plenty of options to choose from, we were served on plates, not Styrofoam! Hands down this was the best döner experience we have had to date. From the coming and goings this place seems like a local favorite, but there is a bistro and other restaurants nearby.
Points of Interest
In the Triberg area;
- Walked the lower path of the waterfall (because of the ice the upper paths are closed during the winter season)
- Browsed several cuckoo and wood working shops
- Had a bite of the famous Black Forest Cake at Cafe Schäfer… and tried a couple of other scrumptious confections!
- Looked at the history of the area offered by Triberg’s Black Forest Museum Schwarzwaldmuseum
- The Sommer Rodelbahn is definitely a European experience. Outside of the tourist season it is open during the afternoons – only if the tracks warm up enough! It looks like birthday packages are available… but be advised, the snack hut has a limited menu during the off season!
- The Museum for Minerals and Mathematics was a great way to spend our time. We were very surprised at how much we enjoyed ourselves here!
- The Dorotheenhütte glass blowing workshop was a neat place to watch glass blowing in action! Take the tour! Keep in mind you can make your own vase during the tour for an extra 15 Euros.
- Hüttenklause is a restaurant attached to the glass blowing store. If you are interested in eating a sample of local cuisine, this is a great place to grab a bite. Plus it has a menu for children and a good selection of salads. I know. It’s a restaurant that caters to tourist… but Yum! If you are a fan of dark beer order an Alpirsbacher Klosterbrau Dunkel and you won’t be disappointed!
- Visiting the area in the off season means a lot of doors can be closed to you… and the same goes for Sunday. Except for the Hausach Municipal Museum. Here you will find insights on the local origins to WWII Allies bombing the Hausach train station as a strategic target. The museum is only open Sundays from 1400-1700 or by special appointment! Which makes sense as we saw the townsfolk out in number enjoying their leisure time in a small but cultured town. This little museum is packed with a plethora of information and is absolutely worth a visit if the timing works out for you!
- The Castle ruin Husen overlooks the town of Hausach with an amazing view! There is the long and easy stroll starting at the corner of Huflegwann and Waldstrasse (down the street from the Municipal building -see map in slideshow) or you can take the shorter but steep trail near the corner of Hauptstrasse and Kreuzberstrasse. Built in 1220 to protect the local mining operations. It was destroyed during the last days of Thirty Year War (1618-1648).
- I loved that the lady at the front desk of the Deutsches Uhren Museum handed the kids a scavenger hunt! There was a different booklet for the older kids too! As we explored the Clock Museum and paid attention to the clues, we began to see the history of the Black Forest clocks with new eyes. The original clock and the astronomical clock were my personal favorites. For the kids the savings clock and the time stamp clock were a win! Wrapping up our tour, we came back to the front desk. Come here if you want to find a good selection of souvenirs and books in English. Hungry? Try the Huy Vietnamese restaurant across the street for an affordable and tasty meal!
- Now you might be tempted to checkout the acclaimed source of the Danube River. There are actually several contributors… The road to the Donauquelle near Furtwagen is a bit out of the way. It will take you up on a windy mountain cliff… where you are force to share the road with oncoming traffic. At the top is a place for refreshments for dedicated skiers and for those who need a victory drink! Note: The Donauquelle near Donaueschingen appears to be more friendlier to the average visitor… complete with a Schloss Donaueschingen (known as Prince Fürstenberg’s Residence) and a brewery!
In Sankt Georgen
- The Georgen’s Phonomuseum was something we decided to reserve for a cold wet day. Well actually I offered the family a scenic ride on the train OR this museum, and they opted for the museum! We were able to tour the museum in English through an audio recording highlighting the technological advancements of the music industry. Several of the phonographic players were mesmerizing! The children took great pleasure building their own mini phonographic player while we toured the museum! Depending on the age of your child this might be something you want to do together after your tour. 😉
As you can see we had very full days!
We did manage to spend a comfortable amount of time in our Schwäble ferienwohnung (holiday home). Venturing out to play in the snow and feed the animals as it suited us. Before we left we visited the family store and availed us to our favorite honey products. The honey likor and balms were amazing! I have to go back just for this!!! This is a place we wouldn’t mind visiting again… yes even with the muck on our boots -this is a family favorite!
Staying longer than a day or two did help us to get to know the area better, but we ended up finding so much more than we bargained for. In my next post I’ll share how you can make the most of your Black Forest experience!