Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weekend getaway

Saturday the three of us drove up to Leavenworth for an overnight getaway. For those not familiar with Leavenworth it's a lumber town in the Cascades that's about 100 years old. In the 1960's the town begah dying because the railroad pulled out of town. So, the people in the towny agreed to re-invent the place as a Bavarian mountain village and make their primary industry tourism. It was a pretty successful idea. The town itself is cute and quaint, but in a Disney sort of way. You know it's fake and didn't always look like that, but the setting is nice and it's a fun place to go. In the summer it's swarmed with tourists and gets old really fast. However, in the winter and specifically at christmas-time it's very different. The real charm of the place comes out with the christmas lights, which were everywhere, and all the snow covering the town.

We left Saturday morning and headed across Stevens Pass, which turned out to not be the best idea. The faster route across I-90, Snoqualmie Pass, was closed that morning so we went the only way we thought we could get there. Stevens Pass is notoriously bad since it's almost all 2-lane road. We did fine crossing the pass and the conditions weren't bad at all. It was snowing but the road was mostly clear. However, as soon as we headed down the pass we came to a complete stop, and sat in place for almost 90 minutes. In the end, it took us about 6 hours to make a 3 hour trip. But no matter, it was at least pretty scenery along the way, and when we got there.

We had booked at a small hotel a block from the center of town. It was basic, but comfortable and the location couldn't be beat. We were able to wander into town any time we chose and didn't have to deal with parking. There's not a lot to do in Leavenworth other than eat, shop, and wander around and look at things. We did all of those, except we didn't buy anything in the stores. The town has such a nicer feel this time of year than the rest of the year. It was busy but no one seemed to be in too much of a hurry and it didn't seem overly crowded. Plus, it really is beautiful with the snow and the lights. For the first time after many visits to the place it made sense so to speak.

Saturday night we just wandered around, looked at lights and such, had dinner at Bären Haus, and then went back to the hotel and sat in the outdoor hot tub at the hotel. That night it snowed close to 6" overnight so we woke up to a refreshed winter wonderland. After breakfast in town we spent the rest of the morning wandering around taking pictures. We slid around most of the main street and then wandered some of the trails down by the river in the city park. Every view seemed prettier than the last.

On our way home we stopped in Roslyn, another little old town in the Cascades, this one where the TV show Northern Exposure was filmed. We had lunch at The Brick, which has apparently been there forever. After that we drove through our final snow of the weekend going across the pass. Of course it was snowing as we crossed but the roads were remarkably clear.

As always, here are pictures from the weekend.

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