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