Holy Mary, Mother Sunshine — I can’t believe I’ve found yet another scenic route. This one, the Goethewanderweg, is in the Thuringian town of Blankenhain. It’s not very long — a mere 28 kilometers, following the words of Goethe.
Blankenhain doesn’t just fall on this one scenic route. Nope, it’s also located on both the Thüringer Porzellanstraße (Thuringian Porcelain Road) and the Bier- und Burgenstraße (Beer and Castles Route).
Aww, you know what that means: a castle.
Schloss Blankenhain started off as a 13th century fortress, turning into the late 17th century building you see today. It has both an inner and outer courtyard; and tours are available on weekends from Easter to October.
On the second Saturday in September the castle plays host to a huge festival. Come Christmas, when it’s the venue for the Christmas Market.
The other must-see building in Blankenhain is the 15th century St. Severi Church, with its 16th century wood carvings and stained glass. Oh yes, and a trip to the Apothekenmuseum (Pharmacy Museum) is a good idea too.
You’ll have time to fit seeing those buildings in between Blankenhain’s festivals. The Village Festival comes in July, with another Dorffest (there are 23 villages, after all) around the same time. And they’ve got a Tractor Race & Folk Festival, Advent Concerts, Easter Bonfires, and even Maypole festivities too.
Fun and history meet up at the St. Anne Chapel. Built in 1503, it now hosts the annual Kirmes (Church Festival).
With all this stuff going on, you’re gonna need a place to stay. Why not spend a night or two in a historic inn? The Gasthaus Zur Krone even received the King and Queen (Friedrich Wilhelm III and Louise) of Prussia. And the Zum Güldenen Zopf has been here since 1541.
I know I’m missing something. Yes, the outdoorsy side of Blankenhain. In addition to its solar heated outdoor swimming pool (that’s open May – September). This one’s great — it’s got air bubble “couches” and an underwater bench.
Blankenhain also has two 18-hole and one 3-hole golf courses ready for anyone willing to hit the links.
I’m gonna go hit up a beer garden — and see which other scenic routes I can find that’ll lead me to fun towns like this.