Thursday, November 13, 2008

 

Return to Leavenworth, Washington

We decided to take a couple of days off and go back to the Bavarian look alike town across our mountains called Leavenworth, Washington. The big iffie was what Stevens Pass would be like as to snow and ice as we thought we would rather not go over if the road was dangerous. We set our reservation for Monday & Tuesday nights of this week, at the Enzian Inn where we stayed after our wedding. I checked the long range weather forecast on the weekend and it looked like the temperatures would be staying above freezing although there would be a lot of rain and some wind.

We took our VW New Beetle, after buying it new tires and chains to take along and had an easy drive. The temperature at the summit, which is almost 4100 feet high, was 34 about 11am Mon on our way over. That night the storm dropped the temps and Tue morning there was snow and ice but we were settled in Leavenworth by then. We did stop at our favorite gift/candy store, The Alps, which is six or seven miles west of city limits and purchased some more toads (Pat collects them- not the real thing!) and arrived in town about noon. I thought it was a little early to check into the hotel so we ate lunch at Gustav's, a nice place with good Bavarian food, although we stayed with a local ale (Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon) rather than trying a German beer. We are not big drinkers so we split one glass.

By the time we finished lunch we were able to check into our room. Here is a photo looking west, toward the pass we crossed to get her, taken from the fourth floor of the hotel.
Leavenworth 0 11-08
This photo was actually taken the next morning while we were up there for breakfast and it was raining fairly hard at the time. Some of the coastal storm did manage to cross the mountains, but it dried out soon after and the sun came out for the rest of the day. This photo shows a few of the local homes and some other commercial buildings although we are looking down on them from about the highest place in town. It does show a bit of the setting of this town and you can see how it really does look a lot like a town in the Bavarian Alps. I really like the way the clouds are hanging onto the foothills surrounding town. Notice that there is snow at the higher elevations of these hills. The elevation of Leavenworth is only 1200 feet but the surrounding hills are a few thousand feet higher.

Leavenworth 1 11-08
This street scene is looking west along the main downtown street. This isn't the highway (US-2) that crosses Stevens Pass and the state of Washington (it is one block to the right) but this is where most of the shops are located. There are all kinds of stores here, many selling various items imported from Germany, but there is also an Australian and a Russian store with products from those countries. We have found the prices are very high but you can find things you will not likely find anywhere else. It is a neat place for some Christmas shopping.

Leavenworth 2 11-08
Pat is looking into a store window as she walks down the street. Ahead is a very large beer garden, where we have never eaten. It probably does have an inside seating area but what is visible from outside is outdoors and this is not the time of the year to eat outdoors here.

Leavenworth 3 11-08
One of the most unique stores and one of our favorites is the Kris Kringle Shop where it is Christmas the year round. This is a scene in the store, one of their displays. These various Santas are for sale but expect to pay close to a thousand dollars for one. We didn't buy one. It would have been hard to get into the Bug to bring home (if you believe that is the main reason, let's talk about a bridge I have for sale!)

Leavenworth 4 11-08
Of course we bought things there. Here Pat and the sales gal are ringing up her purchases. Some of you relatives who look at this blog can start to guess what you may be getting for Christmas (NOT the 4' Santa!)

Leavenworth 5 11-08
Downtown Leavenworth at night. They make a big thing out of their annual Tree Lighting event which happens every weekend in December and they have started setting up the lighting displays on the buildings. You can see a little of it here. The town square, with the gazebo and a very tall May pole, are to the right outside this photo.

Leavenworth 6 11-08
This view is looking the opposite direction. The second building with many holiday lights is the Kris Kringle Shop. We found a wine store there that is connected to a winery that is here in our own Mount Vernon area, so through wine tasting, we found a couple of new wines that we can buy locally. How about that, we drove 125 miles to discover something that is 10 miles from our home!

Leavenworth 8 11-08
This is the gazebo in the town square where much of the festivities are centered. As you can see, lighting has started but it is not yet finished.

Leavenworth 7 11-08
And here is one of the hotels in town. You can see the blue lights along the eves in the previous photo. This place is across Hwy 2 from the town center, but our Enzian Inn is only about two blocks away, too.

Leavenworth 9 11-08
A night photo of one of the lighted display windows in one of the shops. I think this may be the Kris Kringle Shop but don't remember for sure.

We had fun and a pretty easy trip home yesterday, although there was a LOT of rain. Our Western Washington area has had very high rainfall and many rivers and streams are flooding. Our own Skagit River came close here in Mt. Vernon and did flood upriver in some of the smaller towns. But today was mostly clear and sunny and that is the forecast for the next few days. All together, we picked a perfect time for a short getaway "weekend" although it was actually Mon - Wed. Remember, as retired folks, our calendar starts with Sunday, then has six consecutive Saturdays. Somebody has to do it.

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Comments:
Fabulous shots Dick, I like your night captures and especially that last one!
 
Beautiful, Dick, and I'll bet it's even more beautiful when all the lights are up and there's snow on the ground. I wouldn't want to try to drive there with a big snow on though.

I wondered about you when I saw the reports of all the flooding in WA state. I didn't know if your area was affected or not. Glad to hear that you're okay and don't have any flooding in your immediate area.

Have a good Friday and weekend, even ALL your days are weekends. ;o)

Love and hugs,

Diane
 
Dick, you surely do take some beautiful photos, and visit some great places!
 
You did Leavenworth proud! Great pictures. I have been there during the summer, when the area was bright with flowers, and music was easy to find.
 
Haven't been to Leavenworth in years - great to see your beautiful photos!
 
Beautiful photos and the place is beautiful, too. But snow and cold, Brrrrr!
 
What a beautiful place! I'm jealous!
 
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