It’s been a while since I wrote a Throwback Thursday edition but, since I’m going to Leavenworth this weekend, I thought it only made sense to share a throwback to last year’s Leavenworth getaway, partly because I’m super excited (!!!) and partly because you need to go there.
You may be asking yourself, what is Leavenworth? Well, friends, it only happens to be a charming, Bavarian-themed village nestled in Washington’s cascade mountains. It is quaint, absolutely over-the-top kitschy, and delightfully scenic. If you are contemplating a weekend getaway, and live near the west coast, I think I can sell you on the Leavenworth experience.
If you’re looking for an active weekend, there’s a variety of ways to get your caloric burn on. If you’re a skier, the Stevens Pass ski area is nearby. I can’t vouch for whether it’s good skiing since I am terrified of downhill skiing and have no desire to hurl myself down a mountain on thin slats of whatever-the-hell-skis-are-made-of-these-days.
For winter hikers/snowshoers there are ample trails both around the town and towards Stevens Pass. There’s everything from easy strolls to more advanced routes. Many are well-travelled and do-able with spikes if you don’t own snowshoes (of course, depending on what snowfall is like at the time you visit). There’s also trails for all skill levels, so you can casually stroll or give yourself a killer cardio workout.
There’s even tubing/toboganning options, not that I consider it exercise, but I guess that depends on how many times you walk up the hill before sliding down. I’m sure you could turn it into windsprints for an extra boost of exertion.
Food & Beverage Scene
Let’s be honest, outdoor activities are great, but the real fun is in the food and drink. All the suggested outdoor activities are really just creating space for you to ingest more calories. I’ve only been to Leavenworth once so I can’t say this is a definitive list of food and drink hotspots, but I can tell you that I had good experiences in all of these places. And I eat a lot, so I know food, and I drink…a reasonable and appropriate amount, so I know my drinks.
Andreas Keller: If you aren’t interested in schnitzel, you probably don’t want to go here. But it’s also possible you’ve just never had good schnitzel so maybe just verify your stance on meaty delights by dining here before giving up on it entirely. Also, get the giant pretzel. Oh, and Fridays and Saturdays feature live accordion music. If that’s not a selling feature to you, this restaurant is probably not your jam in general. You may also, in fact, be no fun.
Icicle Brewing Company: The fun of this place is winter outdoor seating (don’t worry, there are heat lamps). It’s got great energy. I had a flight with two great beers, one mediocre beer and one passably drinkable beer. But, hey, you can get good beer anywhere these days. Pick places for ambiance. Arrive early on a weekend if you want prime outdoor seating (i.e. near the heat lamps).
Los Camperos: I can’t say whether this was at all authentic Mexican but, quite honestly, when it comes to Mexican-style food I’m easy to please. What I can say is this place had a home-cooked feel, absolutely ginormous portions, and one of the tastiest seafood enchiladas I’ve ever stuffed into my face.
Second only to food, the highlight of a themed village is embracing the kitschy-ness of a themed village. If you like to roll your eyes at over-the-top, largely inauthentic stereotypes, don’t even bother reading on…and probably don’t go to Leavenworth. If you share my love for the unabashed cheese factor, this town will steal a place in your heart.
Kris Kringl: A year round Christmas makes my heart swoon. I love Christmas, not so much so that I want to celebrate it year round, but enough that I willingly stroll through giant Christmas stores even in the dead of summer. If you don’t agree, you may actually be dead inside.
Village of Lights(!!!!!): I also love magical Christmas lights. I don’t believe the village of lights has anything to do with Christmas, but it certainly creates a festive magic. Lights. Are. Everywhere. I mean it. Everywhere.
Nussknacker Haus: This suggestion will make no sense. I hate nutcrakers. I find them terrifying. Somehow, an entire store of nothing but nutcrackers is so oddly fascinating that I simply must walk through it even though I solemnly swear that I will never allow one into my home.
So there you have it. If you’re looking for weekend adventures in the mountains with a healthy side of kitsch, look no further. Can’t wait to get back and dive into faux-Bavarian fun!
*It probably goes without saying, but I am in no way affiliated with the town of Leavenworth, nor did they pay me to write this. I just love themed towns, schnitzel and snow.