Beautiful sunny day in Seattle. Three day weekend. Oh my! What to do with our time? We chose a day trip to the east side of the Cascades for our first visit to the self-proclaimed Bavarian getaway of Leavenworth. You can read all about this town and its history here (it’s rather impressive).
Our two hour journey to the east side via Highway 2 was fantastic. We hit the road by 8:30am and arrived in Leavenworth by 10:30ish. We had almost no cars to slow us down, even as we crested the summit at Stevens Pass. I think everyone arrived before us because the ski resort parking lot was full. The snow capped peaks and alpine setting made the drive one of our favorite since moving here.
As soon as we entered Leavenworth we knew this wasn’t your typical American town. The town sign states “Bavarian Village” and cordially welcomes you in German, “Willkommen”. The building design and decor immediately remind you of decor only found in Germany (or Austria perhaps). Of course this is the reason we headed to this tourist destination. We wanted to enjoy a little taste of Germany. The entire town, with the focus being on the downtown area, is built like a Bavarian Village in winter. There are Christmas lights up year round and decorations in most shops. You really do get a feeling that you are visiting a European town. Of course, if they’d just block of the main street to cars, make it all cobblestone, and remove Starbucks, then we’d really be getting the full experience.
Our visit was filled with window shopping and eating. Honestly, there isn’t much more to do unless you get out of the immediate downtown area. There was still patchy snow spots. I’m sure that the town can really shine after a good snowfall. We strolled along and poked our heads in and out of shops. We enjoyed a delicious cherry strudel and some creme filled pastry that were awesome! We tried on oversized and larger than life hats in the Hat Shop. We walked along the Wenatchee River in the town’s waterfront park. Ethan enjoyed the Christmas lights, but kept telling us “They need to take their Christmas lights down, it’s not Christmas anymore!” A cute reference to our neighbors who keep their lights up year round.
The one thing we noticed is that many shops are not family friendly. These shops had the usual “No strollers!”, “Keep kids with you at all times!”, “No children under 12 allowed without an adult” signs posted on the front window. That’s cool. Ethan did just fine. I’d say that generally the town is geared toward 20 somethings and older.
In the end, we look forward to bringing our parents and siblings to Leavenworth. I think that they would get a kick out of it. We also want to go back again just before Christmas. The town is themed around a German Christmas so I’m sure this is when it is at its best!