Leavenworth: Quintessentially Odd
As we prepared for a weekend getaway to the mountain town of Leavenworth, I kept running into words like ‘quaint’, ‘charming’, ‘adorable’. But the one review that really made me excited described it as something like Alpine-weird. I was Alpine-interested.
Leavenworth was once just your regular run-on-of-the-mill timber town (pun fun!). But when the railroad relocated, the economy “fell” (sorry, folks, I had to). It “wood”n’t be until several decades later that they decided to turn over a new leaf. So, how do you save a struggling economy in a logging community? Rebrand it as a Bavarian town in Washington, naturally!
Leavenworth is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. Much to my delight, town streets were still lined with Christmas lights…in late February. There were festive suspenders and schnitzels everywhere. We cross country skied, hiked and enjoyed being in a place with a bratwurst-esq vibe. Since snow is fairly rare in Washington outside of the mountains, tourist kids made the most of each flake. In the town park was a small lump of ground that kids immediately claimed as a sledding hill. In the early morning JD and I walked past to see them excitedly sledding down with their parents happily sipping coffee and chatting nearby. We walked by again at ten o’clock at night on our way back to the hotel only to find the kids still going at it, although all snow had been sledded away. They were just as excited to sled on a mound of mud while their parents begged them to please let them leave.
Besides the mud sledding, I got a kick out of seeing the signs for normal chain stores redone in festive Alpine font. Only in Leavenworth can you be tricked into thinking Starbucks might be an old mom and pop coffee shop. Then there were the steins. Beer in Leavenworth seems come in sizes Giant and Oktoberfest Giant. I drank water, since I’d like Roger to be at least somewhat decent at math, and was impressed to see that even tap water is served a la stein. While some newer restaurants offered a cooler version of Alpine, Justin and I opted for good ol’ hokey. Our favorite was a beer hall complete with oompa-loompa band whose shirts perfectly matched the checkered table cloths. The tuba player was clearly the heartthrob with the Fraulein groupies.
Granted, Leavenworth is Ba”very”ian cute and JD I nestled nicely into the façade, but the quintessential Alpine charm mixed with the West Coast odd is what made our trip really (Leaven)worth it.