Our friends who live on Whidbey Island (north of Seattle) wanted to meet us somewhere as we came through the state. None of us had been to Leavenworth, and we’d heard it’s a beautiful mountain town – a Bavarian village, it’s called, so we chose to meet there. Marsha and Claire rented a cabin at the Leavenworth RV Resort and we got a camping site right next to them. We had seen Marsha in Texas in May (see Austin with Marsha) and I’d seen Claire in Santa Cruz (see Achievement Award in Santa Cruz), but neither of us had seen their miniature golden doodle, Zoe, in over a year. Bailey went ape-shit to see them all. I thought the whining would never end, and she and Zoe raced through an open field like lunatics. Gypsy kept her cool and her distance, but she must have recognized Marsha, because while the dogs were having their gleeful greeting, Gypsy went right over the Marsha and stood on her feet.
Leavenworth is a small town nestled in a beautiful valley in Washington’s Northern Cascades. Founded by Bavarian immigrants in the 1800s, the town replicates the look of a historic Bavarian village, especially with the backdrop of steep mountain peaks. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the RV park, through a beatific hills and farmland, past dark timber homes and barns, rail fences around lush green fields, butterscotch spotted cows and pinto ponies.
My first sight of Leavenworth was a Holy Shit moment. It really did look like a little Bavarian village, at least what I imagine one would look like. Brightly painted buildings with turrets and balconies and roofline brick-a-brack. Hanging flower baskets and window boxes. Elaborate wall art depicting fairy tales and men in Lederhosen. Disney couldn’t have done better himself. And in fact, the town had a very Disneyland feel to it with all its souvenir shops and restaurants, Sunday tourists filling the sidewalks.
We hadn’t quite prepared ourselves for the tourist scene it was, but we enjoyed walking up and down the streets, and we had a great German dinner at the Bavarian Bistro restaurant (thanks to the recommendation of our new friends at Little Diamond).
We came back through two days later with the dogs, and the town was much quieter. We hiked park trails all along the Wenatchee River and enjoyed a quieter side of the town. The natural setting of this town is equally spectacular to its architecture.
When Claire and Marsha were leaving, we drove along with them back through Leavenworth and down to Cashmere, just 12 more miles south. We had burgers at the 59er Diner, a fun nostalgic burger joint where we could eat outside with the dogs. We then went to the Pioneer Museum in town. The museum building houses what started as a private collection of Native American artifacts and has grown into an impressive presentation of area relics. The outside area is a small village of relocated and restored pioneer cabins. You can walk through the village and peek in doors to see furnished homes, a saloon, church, barber shop, jail, and more. A fun place to wander around for an hour.
Here was where we had to say goodbye. Always sad, but this time, we’ll only be a few hours’ drive away, and I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.