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Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, WA – More Than a Mock Bavarian Village

We have been to our fair share of themed towns and while some will transport you to another time or place, others just leave you with a sad (just encountered a drunk Santa) feeling.  Leavenworth was a whole different experience!

Leavenworth was just a normal city until 1962.  In an effort to revitalize the economy; Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) turned the city into a Bavarian village.  And what a brilliant and well executed move!  Leavenworth feels like a real Bavarian village and the locals really take pride in their relatively new cultural history.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington

From the free live music in the village to the horn blower at the Enzian Inn, these are not hap hazard paid talent.  These are real community members who have taken a deep interest in Bavarian traditions and love to share their passions.  And if you crave authentic experiences as much as we do…then you won’t want to miss our Leavenworth faves!

 

Nutcracker Museum

This little museum is North Americas Largest Nutcracker collection and is well worth a visit.  We don’t typically visit very many museums, much less write about them, so when I say it’s well worth a visit, I really mean it’s well worth a visit!  Arlene Wagner and her late husband have spent a lifetime traveling the world in search of unique nutcrackers and now display them for all to enjoy.

nutcracker museum

If you are lucky enough to visit on a day Arlene is there, soak up as many stories as she is willing to share.  After all, she is famous!  Arlene has been on morning shows, David Letterman and Jay Leno just to mention a few.  She knows the history (those soldier looking guys are new to the scene), the famous makers and has some very fascinating stories.

 

Enzian Inn

Each morning at 8:15 and 9:15 a man dressed in full Bavarian charm heads out on the balcony to play a little Alphorn welcome.

alphorn leavenworth

So get out of bed a little early and go see it,  because this isn’t something you are going to see very often.

 

Brats

I have never seen or wanted to taste so many mustard’s in all my life!  Typically German cuisine can be difficult for us vegetarians but Munchen Haus had us covered with some of the tastiest veggie brats ever (I would be willing to put money on it).  If they can make veggie Brats that good, imagine the real deal.

german brats

If you leave town without stopping in here…well…just know I am disappointed in you.

 

A Trip down the Wenatchee River

This region of Washington is so beautiful you have to explore it every way possible and that includes at least a float down the river.  Luckily Osprey Rafting offers more than just rafting.  Sadly, we were a little late in the season for jumping in on a rafting trip, so we settled on some kayaks instead.

raft leavenworth

raft leavenworth

We weren’t flying down any crazy class 4 rapids, but it was still enough excitement to lose a go pro to the Wenatchee River Gods (I would tell you the whole story, but I would hate to embarrass Jason like that).

 

Wine Tour 

There is really no excuse for drinking and driving…so we had no problems letting someone else do the driving while we did the drinking!  Le Tours escorted us (in a Limo 4 times the size of our car) to 3 local wineries where we sip, savored and pretended we were celebrities for less than cab fare!  Our tour guide (after the 3rd winery we totally forgot his name) was great.  He would fill us in on each winemaker, their stories and how long they had been around before we arrived at each location.

wine tasting in leavenworth

Our stops were Icicle Ridge, Wedge Mountain and Silvara Vineyards.  We enjoyed them all but really had a soft spot for the mom and pop feel of Wedge Mountain.

 

South

We thought this place looked cool and always seemed packed when we first noticed it.  So we waited for a weeknight to get a reservation and here is what you need to know:  Fantastic Latin food, a super cool vibe, fresh juice and made from scratch cocktails, 5 different salsa’s, and most important to us…quality ingredients!

south

Our one regret, we only ate here once.

So, there you have it, our Leavenworth faves.  Overall, this was definitely one of our favorite stops in Washington and if you are even remotely close, we would highly recommend you take a few days to check it out!

Have you been to a themed town like Leavenworth?  Was it good, bad, or awesome…tell us about it in the comments below.

After all, a trip to a town like Leavenworth is a whole lot cheaper than a ticket to Germany!

Disclaimer: While we were compensated to film the campground (thanks Thousand Trails!) and the Leavenworth Visitors Bureau helped with our itinerary…all of our experiences and opinions are NOT purchased and are still our own.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (18)

  • Leavenworth is an awesome destination! Great job highlighting some of the great things to do there. Great info!

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  • We would LOVE to visit Leavenworth, but we work on the road and would be staying at the Thousand Trails Leavenworth. Would you guys happen to know how good the wifi is at the TT up there?

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  • Staci

    Solvang, CA is a quaint danish town in the Santa Ynez Valley. We have visited twice, lovely shops along the streets, plenty of sites to see, farmers markets in the streets midweek, great eats. Danish Days Celebrations in September. Great for anyone. I notice you like your wine tasting 🙂 and it is right in the middle of Santa Barbara wine country!! With plenty of wineries. Very lovely relaxing place to visit!!

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  • Nice work, Nikki & Jason! Looking forward to checking out some of these spots soon and to seeing your Burning Man content, especially if there’s any of Ashram Galactica there! 🙂

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  • You are just don the road from us! We are in Roslyn, WA home of the TV series Northern Exposure. If you are still in the area it is worth the visit.

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    • Thanks Jennifer, we’re actually in CA. You can always see our current location on our website sidebar (its on the right side of any of our articles).

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  • Jan

    We have just bought our first Motorhome and looking forward to lots of travelling next year when my husband retires. I went to Leavensworth 30 years ago with my first husband and so excited to be able to show my new hubby where we are going to go again. We are still setting it up and learning the operation etc, next week we get our solar panel so as we can enjoy boondocking like you do.

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  • Steve

    I am a big Germanophile myself and will definetly put Leavenworth on my trip list. I live in North Carolina and we have our own Leavenworth here on the East Coast in a place called Helen, Georgia. When I saw the video of Leavenworth, it looked extremely similar, except people tube on the Chatahoochie River in the summer, Helen has great German food, shopping, and hosts Bavarian bands for it’s Oktoberfests too. You can get a room overlooking the river and watch all the people tubing, which is a lot of fun too.

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  • mary

    This looks like a great place to visit! I can’t wait to get back up to Washington and Oregon and get to some of the places you have posted! Will be heading that way in May.

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  • Lisa

    Hi Nikki,

    I am sure you guys have been crazed , between transitioning to Roy and everything else, but It was so helpful to see those real life costs of living in an rv. I am sure you have incurred some out of the ordinary costs,(new solar panels, etc) but for those of us aspiring to transition to an on the road lifestyle, it was super helpful and generous of you to post your expenses.

    I really appreciate your openness and thanks for giving me the inspiration to move toward this way of life.

    All the best,
    Lisa

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  • Terry

    Thanks for the run down on Leavenworth, WA. We’ll definitely have to check it out when we head back to Vancouver in the late spring.

    So…. what happened to the GoPro?

    I nearly lost mine too.

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  • Steve

    Thanks, it is now on our 2014 visit list.

    Go ahead, tell us what happened to the GoPro camera.

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  • Steve

    Thanks, it is now on our 2014 visit list.

    Go ahead, tell us what happened to the GoPro camera.

    Enjoy New Mexico.

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  • Rick

    You brought back some great memories from this past summer. Leavenworth was one of our stops along our route and we loved it. So much to see and do up in and around that area. If you find yourselves in that part of the country again be sure to check out Lake Chelan. It is a 55 mile long lake and there is a boat ride that goes the length of it to a small little community called Stehekin at the far end which is only reachable by boat or float plane. Thank you for sharing your travels,

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