Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Trip: Leavenworth

Hello My Dears!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend. We went east of the mountains to the wee little Bavarian village of Leavenworth to get a little snow play in before the winter is official over. Ben has been asking to ‘go to the snowy mountains’ for the two months. The town itself is snow-free but there was plenty to be had at nearby Lake Wenatchee State Park and the mountain passes.

From Seattle we headed northeast to Monroe before hooking up with Highway 2 and heading over Stevens Pass.

This is definitely the tail-end of the ski season: the snow is on its way out and Spring will (hopefully) be here shortly.

The sledding hill at Wenatchee State Park is pretty tame. It’s great for the toddler set but older sledders might be happier at Snoqualmie.

Bring your own sleds and be sure to read the parking fee signs carefully as the payment policies have recently changed. Parking passes can be purchased in the parking lot.

Practicing for PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018. 

A trip to the mountains wouldn’t be complete without a good snowball fight. Unfortunately Ben neglected to tell the other sledders that they were participants and he managed to tag one kid as he was trudging back up the hill.

Ben had a personal hand-warmer. Life is tough for the toddlers, eh?!

This was Emma’s first snow experience. She was unimpressed. 

It’s a pretty drive from Lake Wenatchee down to Leavenworth as you’re following the Icicle River (a great summer float on tubes).

At last! Leavenworth! You can just see the top of Emma’s head peaking out of my coat; she was content to snooze away the afternoon as we walked through town.

We started off the evening with some proper German food at Munchen Haus. We tried the brats while Ben opted for the pretzel. It reminded us of the time in Germany when Chris and I requested cheese with our pretzels at the local beer garden. Evidently the cheese sauce is an American adaptation as they provided a few slices of cheese on the side, accompanied with several odd looks. Those crazy Americans!

Major props to our hotel, The Bavarian Lodge, which was located conveniently across from the main town park. The hotel staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. They had our room ready early and a crib (and bedding) was provided for Emma, free of charge. Ben and I also spent an hour in the pool, which was a delightful 86 degrees, great even for the littlest and skinniest of toddlers. 

The hot breakfast included in the room rate was magnificent. They’re currently constructing an additional wing to the hotel that should be finished within the next few months. 

On Sunday morning we ate a quick breakfast and then went south to Cle Elum before hooking up with I-90 and going over Snoqualmie Pass. 

We found a quiet trailhead so Ben could practice a bit of cross country skiing. This will be an activity better suited for next year but he was delighted to try them out before the snow is gone.

The nice thing about Leavenworth is it’s only 2.5 hours away so the travel time home to Seattle is pretty painless. We’ll definitely have to go back this summer to catch the harvest and do a bit of tubing on the river.



If You Go To Leavenworth


Sledding: Wenatchee State Park. 
Costs: Discovery Pass + $20 Daily Snopark Pass. The sledding hill is perfect for the smaller tykes; older kids will likely find it too slow. Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails also available.

Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides (Subject to snow levels. Call first)
Dog Sled Rides (Subject to snow levels. Call first)
Gingerbread Factory
Leavenworth Winter Sports Club (cross country skiing and sledding hill)

Things to do on the way out to Leavenworth:
Barclay Lake Hike (near Baring, WA, on Highway 2). A great hike for little ones, with little elevation gain and a beautiful lake at the end. Forest Pass required. (Buy one at the Baring General Store, near the turnoff for the trailhead)
Snoqualmie Sledding (off of I-90) Reservations recommended. $22/adult.
Monroe Reptile Zoo. This is another on-the-way-there activity off of Highway 2 in Monroe. The BBQ joint out front in the old school bus is also great!


Bavarian Lodge
Double Queen Rooms from $172 (including taxes). Fantastic kid-friendly hotel with excellent customer service, outdoor heated pool/hot tub, cribs available (free of charge), movie rentals (free of charge), and a sumptuous hot breakfast.


M√ľnchen Haus
When in Leavenworth one must eat at a German restaurant, right? Featuring brats, pretzels, and lots of cold brews. $.

Any of the ice cream shops. Bonus points for a gelato shop.

Zeke’s Drive In (Off of Highway 2, near Gold Bar). A great on-the-way lunch stop.