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Old 10-11-2019, 03:04 PM
teela brown is offline
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Anyone ever been to Leavenworth, Washington?


Inspired by the concurrent thread about Solvang.

I've never been to Leavenworth, but I came across it when looking at travel videos on youtube. Apparently inspired by the town of Solvang, some folks started redoing a small town on the other side of the Cascades from Seattle to look like a cute Bavarian village. It looks fun on Google maps.

Anyone been there? Is it worth the drive over the mountains to visit?
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:19 PM
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I visited Leavenworth a number of years ago. "Solvang-lite" would be a good description. There are some nice bavarian style buildings, but it is only a few blocks on one street - much smaller than Solvang.

That said, it is worth a visit....so that you can stop by Roslyn, site of "Cicely, AK" where they filmed "Northern Exposure" ! I had much more fun walking around Roslyn. What was Dr. Fleischman's office is the Northern Exposure gift shop.

As I recall Leavenworth and Roslyn were not all that far from each other. The other nice thing is that both are on the eastern side of the Cascades, so the weather was gorgeous when we visited (whereas it was the typical cloudy, gloomy, drizzly weather closer to Seattle).
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:29 PM
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I find the actual town too touristy for my taste, and there's not much there there. But the area is breathtakingly beautiful, with places to hike, camp, etc. So is it worth the drive? Yes, if you enjoy a mountain drive (or buying beer mugs).
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cormac262 View Post
As I recall Leavenworth and Roslyn were not all that far from each other. The other nice thing is that both are on the eastern side of the Cascades, so the weather was gorgeous when we visited (whereas it was the typical cloudy, gloomy, drizzly weather closer to Seattle).
It's about an hour and a half between the two by going over Blewett (Swauk, to be excruciating correct) Pass. A beautiful drive.

I found Leavenworth to be entertaining for about an hour. I know others disagree, but it is small. Lots to do in the area for outdoorsy types though.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:48 PM
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I loved it in high school and as a young adult. Got married there at Wedding Haus back in 1992 as a matter of fact (that one didn't take and I had to find a different bride a few years later, but to be fair I don't think the ceremony was to blame). It IS touristy, but it's sorta cute and still worth spending an hour or five in if you're in the neighborhood. Gorgeous in the winter, and inviting in the summer after some hiking. It doesn't suck. I'd give it 6/10 stars. More if you find it by accident, fewer if you go there expecting an ancient rural village plucked from Southern Germany.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:56 PM
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Went there early this year. Small but extremely busy, lots of places to eat, a most excellent cheese shop, lots of wine and/or cider shops, and a Christmas shop to die for(I swear the thing is a disguised TARDIS because it goes back forever). It is a bit of a drive, but there is an Amtrak stop there if you like a very scenic train ride, and when you take photos of the main drag with the clouds not quite clearing the mountain tops in the background people will accuse you of using Photoshop.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:09 PM
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My wife and I have spent a couple nights there (or nearby) to be able to enjoy the fantastic road cycling loops available in the area. One trip we had free lodging and the second trip we paid because we enjoyed it so much the first time. As far as the town itself goes, it's fun to stop at if you are driving through but I wouldn't go just for the town. However, it seems to be always packed so it appears plenty of people go just for the town.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:41 PM
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If you are into the food, it's a great little town. Very picturesque as well. Been through there every time I've driven across Washington.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:06 PM
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I'm going there tomorrow for Oktoberfest, as a matter of fact.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:39 PM
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I loved it in high school and as a young adult. Got married there at Wedding Haus back in 1992 as a matter of fact (that one didn't take and I had to find a different bride a few years later, but to be fair I don't think the ceremony was to blame). It IS touristy, but it's sorta cute and still worth spending an hour or five in if you're in the neighborhood. Gorgeous in the winter, and inviting in the summer after some hiking. It doesn't suck. I'd give it 6/10 stars. More if you find it by accident, fewer if you go there expecting an ancient rural village plucked from Southern Germany.
This seems to be a good summary.

BTW, the town elders decided back in the 60's or 70's, that their town was dying. It's not like there were a bunch of Bavarian immigrants who came, stayed, and then built up little Bavaria. It was simply that the mountains and river reminded someone of Bavaria, and then a marketing campaign took over to come up with this Bavarian theme and voila. It's not a terrible day trip. Overnighting is probably good if you've got something to do.

The Christmas shop is huge and runs waaaaaaaay back in the store. My youngest loves that place.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:27 AM
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I went there once as a teen. Maybe that's something that won't impress a teen, but I don't think it's something I'd do if I had a full month in Washington.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:22 AM
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If you do go, you can take a short drive to Cashmere and visit the Libery Orchards factory. Of course, if you don't like their products, probably not worth it.

My parents visit Leavenworth about once every 3-4 years and the last time they also went on the tour and found it interesting. They bought bags of aplets to put in the freezer.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:14 AM
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Been there quite a few times, 90 minute drive from home. It's a tourist town, lots of shops selling lots of fake Bavarian stuff. And some sell genuine Bavarian stuff. It you like German food, there are a couple excellent places to eat. Places to visit is the Christmas store as mentioned, the Nutcracker museum is a hoot, had a much better time than I thought I wood. Pun intended. There is a hat store my wife has banned me from visiting. There is a distillery in town that makes a great hot buttered rum, the price is a bit steep though. Head west on Highway 2 about 5 miles out of town and there is a candy store that has whatever your sweet tooth desires. Head east on 2 to Cashmere and check out the Aplets and Cotlets factory. A little farther east near Wenatchee is Ohme Gardens, a wonderful place with great views to spend an afternoon on a nice day. River rafting on the Wenatchee River is very popular as are the fruit stands, Smallwood Harvest has a ton of stuff and a small zoo.



Christmas time is probably the best time to visit, make hotel reservations early. Everything has long sold out for this December. It gets cold too, bundle up. There is a reindeer farm just outside of town, the kids usually really like it . You get to wonder among the herd. There is a small ski hill on the edge of town, it's great for beginners.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:00 PM
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I've been to both Solvang and Leavenworth. "Solvang-lite" as described in another post is pretty accurate. It is smaller, to the point where while it is possible to winery/bar hop in and around Solvang, Leavenworth is smaller and you don't have the surroundings to make a drinking-holiday worthwhile. They do a holidays tree-lighting ceremony and shop-walks that are fun for many, but I don't like standing around in the cold for hours.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:56 PM
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It really depends on your tolerance for ersatz touristy locations. I don't much care for brats and bier and fakey German storefronts, and have strongly disliked both times I went. My companions liked it a lot. As others have said, the actual mountain locale is gorgeous, and Roslyn is lovely.
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:47 PM
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Itís beautiful country. Live in New Glarus, Wisconsin..mini Leavenworth.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:35 PM
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The saltwater taffy shop is worth a visit.
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