Have you ever felt you are in a place of a different era or land of magic? Well, I felt that when I visited Leavenworth during this Christmas.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian village in the cascade mountains of North America, known as one of the winter wonderlands in the world. It is a beautiful small Alpine-inspired architectural hamlet encircling Stuart range, Wenatchee mountains, and swathing the Icicle Creek and Wenatchee River. Folks said when the Great Northern Railway Company pulled out from the village, and a sawmill and logging industry crumbled, the buzzing and vibrant Leavenworth turned into a ghost town.
History of Leavenworth
Leavenworth was not always this gorgeous looking Bavarian town. It was a land full of towering peaks and full of Deer and Elks. The Native American tribes such as Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi all hunted this bountiful land and fished Icicle Creek for salmon. In 1885, a trading post was established and was named Icicle Flats. Setters came from many other states to look for Gold, Furs, Timbers, etc. The land become like a bustling city when the Rail line came near the town but with time human greed turned the once this lively land into a place of Deadwood. Once the Rail line moved out of the area and the town becomes almost a ghost town.
In 1962, community leaders and two businessmen from Seattle, Washington, started the Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone (LIFE) project and advised to renovate the town into the bavarian style to attract tourists and uplift the moribund economy. They started many festivals, including the Autumn Leaf Festival, Maifest, Oktoberfest, and the trendy Christmas Lighting Ceremony.
Leavenworth is approximately 190 Kilometers from downtown Seattle by road, and you can get there by three commutes, train, bus, or car. Amtrak’s snowy train route is one of the captivating journeys through the icy rivers, snowy dykes, and wildlife frolicking through the pine trees. So, I took a three and half hour long train from King Street Station, Seattle, to Icicle Station, Leavenworth. It was magical to see moonlight reflected off the snow while the train blew its way through the mountain range of Western North America. Once I reached the Leavenworth station, I was shocked when I saw no Uber or Lyft service available. But fortunately, there was a local shuttle service, which took me straight to the Airbnb hotel. Silly me! At around 9 PM, the whole town got wrapped in a snowy shawl muffled into a starlit night. Words are just not enough to describe the unearthly beauty which I witnessed. I must say it was enchanting!
This small village has many tourist attraction spots, activities, and recreational things during winter, including Backcountry Skiing, Birding, Dog Sledding, Ice Climbing, Nordic Skiing, Skiing & Snowboarding, Sledding & Tubing, Sleigh Rides, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing. But this year, due to COVID, most of them are closed. Some of the places I safely visited are Front Street Park, Waterfront Park, Enchantment Park, Reindeer Farm, Blackbird Island, and Nutcracker museum.
I had one of the best experiences while walking through the snow trails from the waterfront park in blackbird island to the enchantment park. The circumferential beauty was surreal. The lakes and the Wenatchee River was flowing down the frozen pine woods, children were bustling around the ski-hills, and people were having their best time around the parks. On Christmas day, when the dusk was slowly turning into a night, snowflakes started flurrying around all over the town. All the trees lit up with the unique Christmas lights, and a mild Christmas carol played as the background music of downtown Leavenworth. This moment could be perfect for you to devour into a pizza and grab an authentic german beer from a brewery, and quietly live in that time.
After a long and peaceful sleep the next morning, I woke up with a breathtaking view of the mountain range, Stuart, out my window. With a hot cup of chocolate in my hand, I could sit there and stare at those beautiful mountains for the whole day. So, I am convinced that this blissful place is perfect for the detoxification of technology and city life chaos.
This was the last day at Leavenworth, and in the evening, I left for the Wenatchee, the world’s apple capital. But before leaving, I walked through the snowy trails again and visited the Reindeer farm. This was my first-time encounter with reindeer, and I must confess that it was no less than a quintessential Christmas movie scene because of Santa Clause’s presence there.
Leavenworth could be one of the best getaways during the holiday season, especially. If your 24 hours revolve around work, technology, and stress like many of us, then unplug and shutdown every gadget except cellular service definitely, and take a long weekend trip to Leavenworth. Relish the beauty of nature, guzzle various cuisines, do stargaze without skyscrapers, and have a whale of a time.
I have shared the Amtrack website’s official link to book a train or bus in the resource section. Also shared some other resources as well. In my next blog, I will share my experience of a short trip from Leavenworth to Wenatchee and share the list of places you can quickly visit. So, Stay Tuned!