Monday, November 7
Looking at these pictures you might think we took a weekend trip to Bavaria, Germany. We didn't. Washington State has it's own little Bavaria - it is called Leavenworth.
Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, just 2.5 hours east of Seattle sits Leavenworth. It was originally a logging town and then became the headquarters of the Great North Railroad. When the railroad moved it's headquarters to Wenatchee the economy of the town began to suffer. That was until someone in the 60s had the brilliant idea of turning Leavenworth into a mock Bavarian village. A pretend Bavarian village?!? Yep. And it worked, it turned the town's economy around and now Leavenworth is a popular tourist destination. It is full of festivals - autumn leaf festival, Oktoberfest, Christmas lighting, live music, art fairs, and more.
To be honest, Bryce and I always dismissed Leavenworth because it was "fake"and full of tourists and full of festivals. Need something to do? There is always a festival in Leavenworth. We'd also spent lots of time in the area so it wasn't a novelty to us. But this weekend we saw it with new eyes after having visited a handful of real German villages. We were surprised to find that Leavenworth was actually quite similar to real Bavarian villages. It had a shop full of Christmas decorations and ornaments, it had beer gardens, it sold curry wurst and sausages. There were freshly baked bretzels and I even spotted Gluhwein for sale. Instead of seeing it as corny and contrived, we felt nostalgic for our life and travels in Luxembourg. I thought about our trip to the Cologne Christmas Market with our good friends. I remembered my friend Sara's love of Gluhwein. Bryce and I recounted our amazing visit to Neuschwanstein Castle with the girls.
It's true, we'll always think of Leavenworth as corny but we'll also always be thankful for the memories it evokes in us.