© Brian Munoz
Feature Story: Staycation: Leavenworth
Leavenworth By Nikki Klock
f you’ve ever heard of the small central Washington town of Leavenworth, it was probably in the context of its elaborate Oktoberfest or
Christmas time celebrations. Permanently designed as a quaint Bavarian village, the town has made a
© Shane Wilder
name for itself in the tourism industry by providing an
Don’t Miss This Points of interest not to be missed in Leavenworth: • Smallwood’s Harvest, www.smallwoodsharvest.com The ultimate in the ever-growing attraction of “ag tourism,” with a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, hay maze, apple launcher, playground, farm fresh market, “cow train” ride and “small tike trike track” for kids, winery, and even farmhouse overnight lodgings. • Nutcracker Museum, www.nutcrackermuseum.com Over 6,000 antique and current nutcrackers from all over the world are on display. Arlene Wagner, a former dance teacher, was inspired by The Nutcracker ballet to found this unique attraction. Admission: adults $2.50, students $1.00, age 5 and under are free. • Enzian Inn, www.enzianinn.com An excellent breakfast buffet is accompanied by morning alp horn performances by the builder of the hotel himself, wearing lederhosen of course. • Fish Hatchery, www.fws.gov/leavenworth Guided tours, nature trail and snowshoeing hikes, and wildlife viewings. Horseback ride routes from the neighboring Icicle Outfitters (www.icicleoutfitters.com) pass by the hatchery as well. • Trolley Rides Free trolley rides through town. Find the schedule at www. icicleinn.com/activities/trolleyservice.htm. 8
atmosphere that makes the community’s 2.5 million annual visitors feel as if they’ve been transported straight into The Sound of Music.
Even with a population of just a few thousand, the burg has been consistently voted as a top destination by both Northwest and national travel media. Good Morning America featured Leavenworth’s Christmas lighting ceremony twice. “The town has a passion for who we are,” says Sherry Schweizer, media relations manager for the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce. “I had to call the local community to come out for the live [Good Morning America] lighting, asking them to arrive at 2:00 a.m. We had over 1,500 townspeople to celebrate the event.” It’s obvious that Leavenworth residents are proud of their identity. And with a community centered on celebration, no matter when you decide to visit, there’s bound to be a festival taking place, and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Leavenworth is known worldwide for its extravagant Christmas decorations and festivities. The lights, the mountains, the snow, and the unique architecture combine for a beautiful sight, with plenty to do as well. Sleigh rides, dog sledding, snowmobiling, skiing and other typical winter sports are available once the snow sets in. Winter festivities include the Christmas lighting ceremonies, with live music and Father Christmas appearances during weekends in December, and the January Bavarian Ice Festival, with snow sculptures, dog sled competitions, and fireworks.
Once the snow thaws, Leavenworth ushers in spring with MaiFest, featuring the traditional and historically Germanic Maipole (May pole) folk dancing, live music, children’s activities, contests, and more. Also in May is the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest, with bird-watching excursions, performing and visual arts contests, and nature education opportunities.
Vancouver Family Magazine • www.vancouverfamilymagazine.com • November 2010
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