It’s true. I am obsessed with leherhosen and I live in a Bavarian-themed house. I love dirndls and cuckoo clocks. And, I blame it all on my parents.
See, when I was growing up, we never took family vacations to Disneyland or theme parks. Every single year, we visited the same quaint Bavarian-inspired town outside of Seattle called Leavenworth, Washington. I have so many great memories and the vivid images of the costumed locals, outfitted in their finest European threads, have stuck with me to this day.
I hadn’t been to Leavenworth in at least 12 years so when my dad and his girlfriend invited me along over the weekend, I couldn’t say no. We arrived just in time for Autumn Leaf Festival and little details of the town that I remembered as a child were pretty much still intact. The toy store, the local ice cream shoppe and the hotel we stayed at every single year are nearly unchanged to this day.
While we are on this little trip down memory lane, flash back to 1985 during one of my first stays in Leavenworth. Here I am in the old beer garden with my brother and grandma. When I recently inquired as to why I was allowed to leave the house without a shirt on, nobody seemed to have a good answer. The horror!!! The lederhosen were a gift from my parents when they visited Austria in 1983 — my obsession started young! Did you notice the dancing lady and children to the right?!!
Edit: If you’ve never been to Leavenworth, it has an interesting history. Originally a timber and rail town, it was in a steady decline for quite some time until the early 1960s. Fading away, the town tried to save itself by converting the downtown area into a tourist destination with a Bavarian theme. There are beautiful mountains surrounding the area, even giving the illusion of the Alps! It’s now known as “the most outstanding Bavarian village this side of the Atlantic.”
My favorite hotel in Leavenworth is the Enzian Inn. This time it was booked so we stayed at another hotel down the road. It’s been the place where my family has stayed since the mid-80’s and I always had the best time there. We stopped by for breakfast — check out the cute furniture and the amazing view!
The signs in Leavenworth are the best — no neon allowed. Nearly all of them are wooden. Even mainstream businesses including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Bank of America play along. This Starbucks was below our hotel room and I couldn’t tell if it was real at first but inside it was all standard issue!
We arrived during the weekend of the Autumn Leaf Festival so there was a parade through town.
Our hotel had a little private balcony — I loved waking up in the morning and stepping outside to watch people stream through downtown in their best Bavarian finery! Hopefully visits to Leavenworth will be a little more frequent from now on; it was definitely one of the highlights of my childhood. Even today, it still retains that indescribable magic.
Peace, Love & Nubs,