Thursday, October 12, 2006


Leavenworth, WA, with my YMCA group

When our exercise class leader at the YMCA where I go to my class told us about a bus tour to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, on the east side of Stevens Pass over the Cascade Mountains, I thought I would like to go. I bought a ticket to ride over on the bus with the group at a cost of only $35

There were 37 of us who met at 08:00 Saturday, Oct. 7th at the Y. The bus left at 08:30 and it was great to be able to be a passenger and just enjoy the view. By now the leaves are turning their fall colors, especially at the higher points while crossing Stevens Pass on US-2.

Leavenworth 01
Here is a photo taken through the bus side window just a bit east of the summit. I found it fascinating to be looking down on clouds from a bus, not an airplane.

Leavenworth 02
This is another from the bus window, just a little beyond where the last photo was taken. We were moving out of the clouds but you can still see a cloud cap on the top of the hill.

The total trip was about two and a half hours, partially because of heavy traffic and two lane roads. I think it could be driven in about two hours if there were no traffic concerns. Leavenworth is an old railroad, lumber and mining town that was dying in the 1950s when the railroad closed most of their facilities in the area. One townsperson who had visited the Bavarian area of Germany noticed how similar in appearance the two settings were and proposed they remodel downtown buildings in a Bavarian look. It took off and Leavenworth is now one of the most popular tourist places in the state. They are having various festivals all the time and this weekend was the middle one of their Oktober Fest. The weather was perfect, with a temp about 70F and sunshine, so the town was crowded with people. Again it was nice to just hop off the bus and not have to worry about getting my car parked.

Leavenworth 03
This is a street scene looking east showing people and part of the downtown area. The main few blocks of this street were closed to traffic, allowing only pedestrians and horse drawn carriages.

Leavenworth 04
Another street scene, this time looking west. This is one of the few towns I know of where you can easily find Christmas items on sale all year round.

Leavenworth 05
This is a part of our group, just below the steps from the highway level above. The blue thing in the photo that kind of looks like a telephone pole is actually the base of a vary large May Pole.

Leavenworth 06
Here is another view showing more of our group. The cute blond gal third from the right is Ginger, the Activity Director of the YMCA who setup this trip. It was well organized and a lot of fun.

Leavenworth 07
The main bandstand and pagoda for the town is active with entertainment, especially during the various festivals. Most of the entertainers wear old traditional Bavarian style clothing, as these performers are doing.

Leavenworth 08
Of course there have to be horse drawn carriages in a town like this to ride around in and here is one.

Leavenworth 09
Another street scene. There are lots of flowers around all the time.

Leavenworth 10
We wanted to get a group photo so took this just before we started boarding the bus for the return trip. If you count you will note that there are not 37 here as they sort of came stragling in over the next few minutes, but this has most of the group. Bruce, at the end on the left side, also is with the YMCA and was partially raised in Germany so speaks the language well. That isn't necessary in Leavenworth as everyone speaks English, although there are quite a few citizens of the town who were German born.

I got home a little before 18:00. It was an enjoyable day and something that I don't have much experience doing in the past (bus tours.) I think I will look into more of these tours as they are fun and not really very expensive. If you don't buy a lot of things in all those little shops!

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I lived in Wenatchee just a short ride away from Leavenworth, and loved to go wander around the town at least once a year.
The country side looks stunning Dick. Looks like it was an enjoyable day out. I have attended a number of Oktober Fest celebrations around the country and they were all a lot of fun.
Hi Dick
So many Beautiful photo's looking out the bus window just breathtaking and hope you were in the horse drawn carriage looks like u had a wonderful time
Take Care ill return to see more
Great shots Dick, glad you had a good time1
Those pictures of the mountains are stunning. I took a bus tour to the Tulip Festival one year and it really is a great way to travel. I should go visit Leavenworth, i haven't been there in decades.
What beautiful photos, Dick. I love the look of Leavenworth. It looks amazing. Being of German background (both my parents are German born), I enjoy places such as this. We have a few places here that seem quite similar. It's always good fun. Did you eat any German food while you were there ?
Have a wonderful weekend.
Take care, Meow
That looks like a beautiful place to visit.

I really like the mountain pics, especially the one with the clouds.
I want to go there. It seems so neat. It does look like you are in a quaint German town. You go to the best places. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pics.
I have never been to Leavenworth even though I grew up in Washington; so it was great to see the photos. Someday it's on my list, would be especially nice to see at Christmas with snow and lights.
Nice pictures of the clouds at the mountain pass. The German looking town was one of the place we want to visit during the summer. But it is a bit far from Shelton WA where our RV parked. I know my wife Willie would enjoy it since she is German. Oh well may be next year.
I am glad that you had a great time. I also hope that you DO decide to do more things like this! What fun..and of course, always bring your camera.

LOL, I was thinking how neat those shops looked. I'd be all over those and spending way too much. :)

The colors in the pic of the mountain and snow are absolutely gorgeous!
Dick I came by from Diane's blog. I love your photo's. We have a little town that looks just like Leavenworth here in GA. It is Helen GA and that town was going bankrupt also and decided to turn it into a tourist German town. Now it booms with people all year round, especially October. Nice to meet you.
How cool you aren't sitting around sulking and letting the rest of your life fly by. Your photography is wonderful (I've been there!) and your writing is interesting. I'm glad I found your blog (via Meno's). Have a great week and come visit me any time.
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