Early this year, the dad and I plotted and schemed a vacation that would be a little more fun than just sitting around the hometown. The husband and I only visit my family once a year (if that), so I wanted it to be, well, fun and exciting! And the dad loves travel as much as I do, so he was easy to convince.
The dad suggested Leavenworth, a charming little Bavarian village 2 hours east of Seattle. It’s all decorated in ‘ye olde’ Germanic style (even the McDonalds!), and it exists strictly for the sake of tourism. Which means you should totally visit! They need your money …
He found a house to rent, just outside of town. With 4 bedrooms, a loft, and 3 bathrooms, it was perfect for our family-reunion needs. There was no cell phone service and no GPS lock at the house due to the towering mountains on either side, but the location could not have been more gorgeous. The lake and mountain view were amazing. Having been out of the Pacific Northwest for the last 10 years, I now have a better appreciation for its beauty.
We saw wildlife, kayakers, and gondola-surfers glide by on the lake every day. The department of fish and wildlife stopped by one morning with their scuba gear to check on things in the lake. I watched people scuba dive! In a frigid mountain lake!
And the weather! The weather was perfect. I was a little wary, as we went in August, and Seattle had quite the heat wave right before we headed out. But, once we arrived, the heat wave crashed and we had lovely 60-70 degree days.
Leavenworth is a ski village in the winter, but in the summer, they have a theater festival. The mom got us all tickets to the three plays they put on this summer, so every evening, we had a show to see.
The first night was Singin’ in the Rain. It was on a lovely outdoor stage – complete with rain effects (probably unneeded on many nights …) and a gently sloping hill for natural theater-seating for the audience. We parked at a fish hatchery and walked through the fish hatchery grounds to get to it – so I suppose those are some very entertained fish. Verdict: good play! Liked all the leads.
The next night was Pirates of Penzance. I was most excited about that play, because all I knew about it was the Ray Stevens’ song. Unfortunately, the husband and I had skipped our afternoon nap that day (which is vital if you live on the east coast and are visiting the west coast), so the old, british, comic opera was a little lost on us. The actors did their job, but watching a 130 year old commentary on 130 year old times meant, well, that we missed a lot. Verdict: meh, but mostly because I had no background on the play before going into it, and I was fighting sleep for the last 40 minutes.
The last night was their showcase play, Sound of Music. They do it every year in a wonderful hilltop theater – so the hills are literally alive with the sound of music. It’s quite a hike to get up to the amphitheater, but once you do, it’s well worth it. They had some set changes that seemed unnecessary (2 minutes to change the set for a 3 minute scene), and there was a snafu where a nazi flag was left up after a set change. Overall, though, it was their best play. Verdict: if you only see one, see this one! Oh, and be sure to bring a jacket. Once the sun goes down, it gets cooooold up on that mountain, even in August.
So that’s the night-time review …
During the day, we took it easy with eating, b3 baked all manner of yumminess, and playing card games. Oh, and the shopping in town! They have toy stores, a crazy hat store, candy shops, ice cream shops, more candy shops, gift shops, tourist-souvenir shops, and a nutcracker store. I bought a pound of fudge at the. best. fudge. place. EVER. I’m thinking of joining their fudge of the month club … The sister bought a caramel apple at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. We are sooooo related.
I tried really hard to buy something from the yarn store, but every time I went, they were closed! I tried first on Wednesday, which happens to be when they are normally closed. So I headed back on Friday, just to find a note taped on the door to let me know they decided to close for the day. After some pouting (on my part), the mom convinced me that the quilt store around the corner had a small yarn selection, so we headed that way. I picked out some lovely (but expensive!) lorna’s laces sock yarn, that the sister said looked like ‘Jayne’s hat colors’. And I’ve just finished her socks! The heels turned out a little tight (it’s the first time I’ve done that particular kind of heel), but maybe some blocking will help. I’ve never blocked socks before, so this could be an adventure …
I highly recommend a trip to Leavenworth for a laid-back touristy fun visit. It is obvious that everything is done for the sake of tourism, but that doesn’t make it less fun. The one downside is finding parking in town, but once you get parked, let the shopping begin! (mmmmmm, fudge ….)