Friday, September 30, 2011

Small Town Destination -- Leavenworth/Peshastin, WA

    Bratwurst, Hefeweizen,  chocolate, pretzels, cheese---fondue, pears, apples--apple cider...are your taste buds watering yet? After you enjoy your delicious German beer and pretzel, why not follow that up with some good German dancing, music, and a carriage ride--'Leavenworth, the Bavarian village smack dab in the middle of the Cascade Mountains'. Odd, yet super cool at the same time!
German dancing and music taking place in downtown Leavenworth

    We visited just last weekend during Leavenworth's Autumn Leaf Festival weekend and saw a big parade, that included marching bands from all over Western Washington, as well as an amazing magic show performed by Bruce Meyers. He honestly made a table fly--no joke! I'm still racking my brain to figure out how he did it...
    We camped at the 'Eight-Mile Campground', just about 8 miles or so out of town (go figure). It was $16 per night for a nice camping pad, picnic table, fire pit, and restrooms not far away (take note that there are no showers here). It was great to be in the middle of the woods, tucked into the mountains, and to hear nothing but a rushing river in the background.
    During our weekend stay, we were struck most by the beauty of the mountains that encompass the village. We were drawn to them, and couldn't help but climb up the slopes to get the next panoramic view.
The view on the drive up to the 'Eight-Mile Lake' hike

    The first morning there, we got coffee at O' Grady's Pantry and Mercantile on our way back into town from the campsite. There's a fabulous organic garden that belongs to the Sleeping Lady Resort just behind the shop, which is open to the public. From the garden, take a look up at the mountains and see if you can find the shape of the 'Sleeping Lady'. The peaks of the mountains come together here to form what really does look like a lady with long sweeping hair, sleeping soundly at the top. 
    (Something Fun: Look for Elvis on your way to the garden. You'll know what we mean when you get there.)
From the organic garden you can see part of the 'Sleeping Lady' on the right side

    The shops in town are great as well--there are tons of restaurants to choose from...there's a hat shop and an entire store devoted to nutcrackers (I've never seen so many in my life!). Two of our favorite places were the Munchen Haus--they've got a good beer selection and delicious pretzels, and the Cheesemonger's Shop. The Cheesemonger will let you taste any kind of cheese you like from their extensive selection (we love free samples!). They've got great service and the workers are extremely helpful.
The Munchen Haus has great pretzels served with hot cheese--one of our favorite spots

    If you find yourself getting a little overwhelmed with the Bavarian themed world you've just stepped into, drive about 10 minutes SE to Peshastin, WA. This is an adorable town filled with apple trees, pear trees, and vineyards. The river flows through the town making it more than picturesque. This is a great place for wine tasting. We fancy the "Just Peachy" and the "Three Blondes" wines at the Icicle Ridge Winery Also, there's a little tavern in town that offers $1 PBR beers every time the train passes by, just for something different.
 Grapes growing in a vineyard at Icicle Ridge Winery in Peshastin, just outside Leavenworth

Things to Know:
  • Leavenworth is about 2 hours East of Seattle
  • Beautiful at all times of the year--skiing in the winter; hiking/floating the river in the summer
  • Many campgrounds to choose from, especially up Icicle Creek Rd. just off Highway 2
  • Loads of festivals and activities happening throughout the year
  • Lots of free parking in the town; the trick is finding a spot on a busy weekend

 The gazebo in downtown Leavenworth surrounded by flowers and Autumn Leaf Festival decorations

 This blog post just scratches the surface of all the fun and interesting things you can do in in the town. Let us know what you think is the best part of your small town adventure on your next visit to Leavenworth.
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