Specializing in "Gemuetlichkeit"
By Charlotte Kohnhorst
in a cozy narrow valley at elevation of 1100 feet with
surrounding wilderness of rugged, majestic mountain ranges
reaching 5,000-8,000 feet, lies a quaint Bavarian Village.
Snake-twisting rivers, deep azure lakes, crystal-clear crashing
waterfalls, lush green rolling hills dotted with flourishing
orchards alive with buzzing bees seeking sweet nectar provide
the magnificent backdrop for this active community.
Houses here display pointed peaks with large wooden over-hanging
rooflines on stucco/ timber combination structures. Main street
finds hugging gingerbread-style buildings on one side and
beautiful park abundant with variety of trees on the other. One
finds scalloped trim on the rooflines, intricate folk art
cutouts on balconies, exterior wall murals, window boxes and
barrels with profusion of flowers everywhere!
main street visitors admire the 96 foot Maibaum, (May Pole)
dressed in blue and white stripes ( traditional Bavarian colors)
with attached placards depicting town's history. These include:
logging, railroading, skiing, mining, dancing, the town band and
church - all denote role of significance to community. Plaque at
base of Maibaum offers traditional Bavarian blessing:
"Maibaum steh auf, zum weissblauen Himmi
zoag naug, dass in's zu jeglicher Zeit d'Hoamat gedeiht."
Translation: "Maypole rise to the blue-white sky, so our
homeland may forever prosper.
Continuing along main street one discovers shops filled with
nutcrackers, dolls, beer steins, music boxes, candles, candy,
cheese, toys, specialty clothes, gifts, and collectibles to
tempt shoppers. One can always find the unusual exceptionally
unique gift for that special person here. Restaurants, cafes and
side street "wurst-stands" offer German cuisine from sausage
with sauerkraut to finest dessert fruit filled pancakes
delicately dusted with powered sugar. Delicacies of every
gastronomical desire are easily found and enjoyed. Hungry
visitors always find "Haxen oder Huhn," delicious goulash
accompanied by "Spaetzle oder Kartoffeln," at one of a variety
of good local restaurants specializing in"Gemuetlichkeit."
If you are lucky you might also spot the local German Bierwagen
four horse team going through the downtown area. The harness on
the bierwagen is all handmade in Sud-Tyrol, the German speaking
part of Northern Italy. You might also spot a
small 200 year old German carriage pulled by Haflinger horses
going through their paces. The wonderful harness for these
horses come from the town of Wallgau in the heart of Bavaria and
are handmade. In the summer you can be assured of entertainment
in the Gazebo in the heart of the downtown. It may be a German
group visiting, or a world class yodeler and a visiting high
school band. There's always a surprise for the visitor to
Depending upon season, one discovers skiing, sledding, skating,
hiking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, rafting, canoeing, bike
riding, horseback riding, bird watching, and generally
thoroughly enjoying and appreciating nature. There is possibly
no greater spectacular burst of autumn color than Tumwater
Canyon in fall.
Sound like you are in Germany? This is Leavenworth, The Bavarian
Village of Washington! Situated in the heart of the state at the
base of the eastern slopes of Cascade Mountain Range, 118 miles
east of Seattle, one can easily drive to Leavenworth via
Interstate 90 or U.S. Highway 2. Both routes guide one through
beautiful terrain and are exceptionally scenic. Mountains and
valleys of this area resemble parts of southern Germany so
closely one feels immediately transported abroad.
Leavenworth celebrates many festivals throughout the year.
January brings Icefest and February brings Fasching. Springtime
means Maifest, with Grand Parade, street dancing and great
entertainment. Summer brings Kinderfest, International Accordion
Festival and International Folk Dance Festival, and numerous
productions by local Summer Theater Group. As leaves turn, we
celebrate Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival with huge parade
and wonderful entertainment. Oktoberfest follows and by
Thanksgiving week-end we offer Christkindlmarkt. December brings
two special week-ends with magic of Christmas Lighting.