Saturday, May 28, 2011

In Which We Visit Leavenworth

Today Jeremy and I left Connor in Joanna's more-than-capable hands bright and early in the morning and headed out for our day trip to Leavenworth!

Visiting Leavenworth is one of those touristy-but-awesome things that you just have to do if you live in Washington state for any period of time.  It's a town nestled in the foothills of the Cascades, and the entire place is decked out like a Bavarian village.  And they take it really seriously, too.  They have professional yodelers.  Pretty much every single street sign and shop is named something like Der Wienerschnitzel Gas Stationhaus, and even the local McDonald's is decked out in white stucco and wooden scroll work.  They have an annual festival celebrating the accordion.  Their town mascot is a nutcracker named Woody Goomsba, and you wouldn't believe their tourism commercials

No really.  That's really one of their tourism commercials.  I am totally not making any of this up.

So basically it's like what would happen if a Disney World employee went to Germany, got really really drunk, and then doodled on a napkin and built the result.  A really, really drunk employee-- a quick google search for "Leavenworth winery, brewery and tasting room" brings up thirty-four results, twelve of which are located on or within walking distance of the main street of the town.  Some of them were literally next door to each other. 

Did I mention that Leavenworth has a population of just over 2,000 people?  If you assume a quarter of the population is under age, that works out to one drinking establishment per 44 people.  Whoa.  And the ratio of mural-to-person might actually come out at about 1:1, because pretty much every available paintable surface had some sort of Bavarian Domestic Scene plastered on it.  The mural painters in Leavenworth are probably living very, very well. 

Obviously Jeremy and I were not there for the beer.  Luckily there were plenty of other things to do there besides drink, though.  We ate lunch, which involved both wienerschnitzel and red cabbage (served to us by women dressed in traditional dirndls-- also known as Those Poofy German Dress Thingies).  Then we bought cheese.  They had really good cheese.  Also we bought some roasted nuts.  And some chocolate.  Basically we munched our way through Leavenworth.

The scenery was truly lovely and the town itself was charmingly picturesque, if a trifle overdone.  We found a lovely park to walk through that followed the Wenatchee river and strolled along the path for a while, stopping on a bench to soak in the view and watch a trio of rafters make their way downstream.  After that we made our leisurely way back to the town and wandered in and out of stores and through the small art market set up in the central park of the town.  It was lovely to spend so much time with no particular goal in mind: just enjoying the day in each other's company.

So we drove back over the mountain pass in early evening, stopped for dinner at a little restaurant in downtown Auburn, and then ended the night at (where else?) our local bookstore, sitting in the comfy chairs in the back with a hot drink in hand.  All in all it was a lovely day!

We might take the time to go back in the winter, when they have a lot of additional activities like horse-drawn sleigh rides and dog sledding.  We probably would not come back with Connor, though-- the town wasn't remotely handicap accessible from what we could see; most of the buildings were multiple stories (with shops on the upper stories that could only be reached by stairs), aisles were narrow and crowded, and many of the doorways into the ground floor shops had uneven thresholds.  So sadly I don't think it's a place we would take the little guy, and Jer might have trouble with the place a couple of decades down the line.

But Jer and I enjoyed ourselves, and now we can say we've officially visited Leavenworth, so we can check that off our list of Touristy Things To Do In The Pacific Northwest. 

Gute nacht!



leah said...

I'm not sure I'll ever get that commercial out of my head. "Cool like a kielbasa. Juicy like a brawt." ROFL!

I have this sudden, overwhelming desire to visit Leavenworth and listen to the "Von Trapp Rap."

Fiona said...

That commercial made my day (and coming from someone who actually lives in a country where people wear dirndls for real) that is high praise indeed.

Glad you had a good day out too.

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