I had heard that Leavenworth was a "charming Alpine-inspired" town and since it is located about 2 hours East of Seattle, I thought that it could be a fun day trip for us.
Then I read an article by Fodor's Travel choosing Leavenworth's Oktoberfest as one of America's best Oktoberfests. Some of my ancestors are from Germany and the thought of real potato pancakes sealed the deal. Oktoberfest is celebrated the first 3 weekends in October and we were able to visit on opening weekend.
So cute! You can ride in a horse drawn carriage around town. Or...
Have a carb-laden German meal at The Tumwater Restaurant. This is chicken schnitzel with mashed potatoes, vegetables and a side potato pancake. It was satisfying and delicious.
The town itself is beautiful. I read that the town reinvented itself in the 1960's as a way to bring tourists to a struggling town surrounded by mountains. The goal was to rebrand itself into a "bavarian village." What I imagined a pre-planned town to look like is far from the charming area I visited.
From the design of the buildings to the colors of the paint, the town looks like a real alpine village. There are hand-painted murals on the buildings as well as "picture frame" paint around the windows and the flower boxes are brimming with color and texture. Leavenworth, Washington would make any bavarian village proud.
This was one of the large gathering places, a biergarten with long outdoor tables and ping pong. Many of the visitors come to Oktoberfest dressed in German clothing and I saw at least 75 men (of all ages), proudly wearing Tyrolean hats, complete with pins and feathers. Some of the hats looked as if they had been passed down from their grandfathers.
I didn't go shopping while I was in Leavenworth. The fresh air and beautiful mountains, live music and happy citizens made me want to stay outside.