Friday, May 18, 2018

German Fever: Visiting Leavenworth [10/18]

Welcome to the Ultimate Holiday Town in the USA: Leavenworth in Washington State. After a 5 hour drive from Portland, Selma and I arrived relatively late into town. We would only spend one night here so we had to make sure too see it all. Leavenworth is a small mountain town. That would be charming on its own, but there is more to it then just location. The town is inspired and build after Bavarian villages from south Germany. It was very interesting to see this, as both Selma and I used to live in Germany as kids, and I only recently traveled to Bavaria. This of course is the American twist on it. In the beginning I was unsure weather I wanted to visit a splashy tourist attraction, since we wanted our road trip to be as authentic as possible, but in the end I'm glad we visited as the town did charm us. Let us enter into Leavenworth.


Leavenworth is part of the Wenatchee−East Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,965 at the most recent census, and as I said, the entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. Leavenworth was officially incorporated on September 5, 1906. A small timber community, it became the headquarters of the Great Northern Railway in the early 1900s. The railroad relocated to Wenatchee in the 1920s, greatly affecting Leavenworth's economy.

In 1962, the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed in partnership with the University of Washington to investigate strategies to revitalize the struggling logging town. The theme town idea was created by two Seattle business men, Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, who had bought a failing cafe on Highway 2 in 1960. Price was chair of the Project LIFE tourism subcommittee, and in 1965 the pair led a trip to a Danish-themed town Solvang in California to build support for the idea.

The first building to be remodeled in the Bavarian style was the Chikamin Hotel, which owner LaVerne Peterson renamed the Edelweiss after the state flower of Bavaria. You can see the images from this hotel at the end of my nighttime images in this post. We didn't sleep in it, I will show you our motel later.

A Night Out in Leavenworth

We had dinner at "The Loft" a small pub in midtown. There was a comedy show there that night, which we sort of got coaxed into staying at. Not gonna lie, it wasn't that funny as the comedians were young amateurs, but we did enjoy the food :) After dinner I had some free time to take quiet night time images from the city. There weren't that many people there so Selma and I had the town center pretty much to ourselves.

Leavenworth is home to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which opened in 1995 and contains more than 5,000 nutcrackers dating from prehistoric to modern. The town also hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration, which of course isn't that shocking given its origins. Leavenworth's transformation into a theme town was inspired, and assisted, by Solvang, California (which was inspired by Denmark). Later, the Washington town of Winthrop followed Leavenworth's example and adopted a town theme.

The Next Morning...

After our night out, we did in fact want to take a stroll through the town center in the daylight. It's a beautiful and well maintained town both at night and during the day. I can only imagine how magical this place must be during the Christmas season. Our walk started from Der Ritterhof inn, where we spent the night and ended at the edge of town. In some parts you can really be fooled into thinking you are in the Alps. The fresh mountain air was very much needed, and we even had some fresh sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops.

We packed our bags, checked out, and headed for Seattle. But before we arrived there we did visit one more place. A place I have been dreaming about visiting for a long time. It's a place where birds sing a pretty song and there is always music in the air... (maybe you can guess it, if not stay tuned for part 11 from another place)

End of Part Ten
To be continued...


  1. Hello, your photos from Leavenworth Washington are beautiful. I love the night shots and the view of the mountains. The town is very pretty, thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

    1. I was really in awe at the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

  2. Delightful, authentic looking town...and the mountains, whoa..magnificent!!

  3. when i saw the title i was expecting a visit to the only Leavenworth I have ever heard of, the prison in Kansas... i had not idea this town exists and WOW what a town it is... thanks

  4. Funny to see a Bavarian town in Washington! Looks like a really fun place to visit.

  5. what a beautiful place, all of the buildings are so charming!! the closest i have come to visiting germany is epcot...and, well, i'm sure you know which visit finished first!! your pictures are beautiful, captivating. the mountains are stunning!!!

  6. It's nicer without the summer crowds---- I think you saw it at its best! And you caught the feeling of the place very well.

  7. What a great way to reinvent a town. Great photos too. My hubby would love to go there and eat german sausages.

  8. It IS quite spectacular during the Christmas season (the only time we’ve been there and only once). Of course, sadly for us, we haven’t visited the real thing to compare it with.)

  9. Oh we just HAVE to visit there! Loved learning about this charming town, and seeing your awesome photos!

  10. The town is beautiful, and what a wonderful location. With those mountains surrounding it, I can see why it would feel a bit like the Alps. Stunning night shots, Mersad, as always.

  11. We've passed through Leavenworth on our way to Spokane but have never taken the time to go into the German themed section. - Margy



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