P.S. I love that my girls get to have Grandma and Papa vacations. When I was growing up, we spent many a summer in Leavenworth (I turned both 15 and 16 there), and seeing my girls experience the same things I did at their age? I don't know, it makes me happy. They're going to have wonderful memories just like I do.
Here's a brief summary of our little trip (I'm sorry about the four part Washington State Adventure post and I'm trying to redeem myself) for those of you who've never gotten to experience the joy that is Leavenworth and its environs:
Day 1: August 13
Out of town by 9:30 a.m.! We had lunch at some rest stop along the way (we're not going to even THINK about what diseases we picked up in the bathroom. Washington needs to embrace Idaho's awesome rest stop policy. So does Oregon, for that matter), and rolled into Cashmere around 1:30.
What's so great about Cashmere? Ah, my friends, what isn't? This is the home of Aplets and Cotlets! There's a free tour and everything. (Fun fact: I fainted on this exact tour circa 1988.) It's pretty quick, but you get to wear fantastic hairnets (we donned paper caps in the '80s) AND there's free samples in the gift shop! This place is full of win.
|So. Much. Beauty.|
After purchasing gift boxes for our respective offices, and maybe a box for ourselves, it was a fairly quick drive to Leavenworth. We were too early to check into the Bavarian Lodge (that had to wait until 3 p.m.), so we just parked in the lot (after clearing that with the front desk, of course) and hit the town.
|Check it out! My kids are getting along!|
Leavenworth has kind of an interesting history. It was a railroad town... and then the railroad left, and the town was dying, and the people got together to figure out what to do next. They settled on a Bavarian theme, added in a good dose of yodeling, and wouldn't you know it, people from all over visit now.
As they should, because it is awesome.
Anyway, yadda yadda yadda, we looked around the shops, we had dinner, and we hung out at the pool. So basically just your average, perfect day.
Day 2: Aug. 14
Did you know the Bavarian Lodge puts out a really impressive continental breakfast? We're not talking cereal and bananas. It was like, food. And coffee! I brought my own organic plain yogurt in glass jars (sweetened with homemade jam because I am all kinds of poser)*, but did get to at least enjoy the coffee and smell what was on everyone else's plates. (Is that weird? Do I care?)
So after our fab breakfast, we headed out into the world once again. We've been H.O.T. lately, so the fact that it was overcast and kind of drizzly was sort of a nice change of pace. We hit the Ohme Gardens first (it also has an interesting history), which turned out to be a big hit, especially with Johanna. Ohme Gardens is basically a bunch of intricate, hand-lain rock pathways winding and weaving through all manner of bush, tree and pond. It's gorgeous. Johanna led the way, reading the map and deciding where we were going to go. This might have been her favorite part of the whole shebang.
|Seriously, this place was amazing.|
Right about the time we were thinking of heading back to the cars, the sky opened up and we got drenched. Hey, prefect timing! We drove to Rocky Reach Dam, had lunch under a picnic shelter (with what appeared to be three adults and ten preschoolers. Those kids were hilarious), and then toured the visitor's center.
This is another stop straight out of my childhood. And, just like my brothers and me, my girls enjoyed the hands-on exhibits about generating electricity the best.
After the dam (and more running through a raging downpour), there was some talk about going back out on the town (meaning walking around the shops in Leavenworth), but the Walker 4 decided to just hang out in our room and enjoy the quiet. And then we started watching Fixer Upper, which seriously was awesome and kind of fascinating. I didn't even take the nap I was prepared to take, that's how enthralled we were.
Next came dinner, and then the centerpiece of the entire trip: We had third row tickets to see the Sound of Music at the Ski Hill Amphitheater. You know what, people? It was stellar. Okay, Abby was creeped out by Georg's hair, and she thought Rolph was probably 30 going on 31 instead of 17 going on 18, but who cares? It was fantastic. It was just fun to watch a live performance outdoors, the cast was great, and even though it had rained practically all day long, it stopped right on time for the show. Yay!
|Here we are now. Entertain us.**|
So yeah, if you go to Leavenworth, try to go see the show while you're there. You won't be sorry.
Day 3: Aug. 15
Our short trip was coming to an end, but we were all still jazzed up on the Sound of Music. We don't sing well, but we do sing loud.
Check out was at 11 a.m., so after we ate, we did another tour of Leavenworth. The entire time we were there, I was on the lookout for a navy blue sweater. I did not see anything even remotely close to a navy blue sweater. But I did find a Le Parfait jar for $14 that I could not pass up because DEAL.
Bulk aisle, here I come!
Johanna's favorite thing to do in town was dance in the gazebo (self taught ballroom dancing, from the looks of it), so that was exciting, and we also went into the Bavarian Bakery, a must on my to-do list because Dad and I used to walk there in the mornings while everyone else was getting ready to face the day and have a pastry. The shop has maybe changed a little since the 1980s, and Dad and I can no longer eat the sweets, but obviously, we were going in there no matter what. No one had any regrets.
|So much talent! So few lessons!|
We checked out at 10:58 a.m., getting, as Dad noted, all we could out of our hotel experience. Thank you, Bavarian Lodge! You were lovely.
But we still had a couple more stops to make. The first was to Our Lady of the Snows. They have a Stations of the Cross garden that we wanted to check out. It was quite beautiful, actually, and I found $5 while walking around. I don't know, I felt like maybe that money was not mine to keep, so Dad found an envelope and put it in the church office box. That felt better. The altar society just happened to be having a rummage sale, so we went in for kicks. And there I found a navy blue sweater. Australian, 100-percent wool. Three bucks. Smells like a grandma.
Yep, that thing came home with me. And after I washed it and discovered the holes in the left sleeve, I didn't even feel bad. I think I can mend it, but even if I can't, I'll just roll the sleeves up because seriously, this sweater is awesome and perfect.
Our last stop was Smallwoods Harvest... and this was a fruit stand with A LOT going on. But basically we just had a picnic in the park area, stocked up on apricots and plums, and enjoyed some of the lawn games before heading on down the road for home. Just as we left town, the rain started coming down again (which is hard to feel bad about, since the Pacific Northwest is basically on fire). I took a rather pleasant nap. We were home around 4:30 p.m., sat around on the deck a while reading the newspaper (felt weird to read an issue I hadn't already seen 80 times before publication) and then tried to stir ourselves into making something for dinner. We ended up munching on toast and tomato salad. It did the trick.
So the moral of this tale is that A) Minimal Christmases are not so minimal, and 2) SO MUCH FUN. I'm serious, people, this was a perfect little mini-vacation. We did some stuff, but we had a home base where we could veg (we don't have cable so even TV was interesting); we got out of town, but we weren't away so long that anyone got homesick (looking at you, Johanna); and, best of all, we went nowhere near Port Angeles.
*I wanted to eat the breakfast, but I was scared. To recap: Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives kill me. Death is kind of a bummer when you're on vacation.
**Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Anyone?