Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just Go Already | Leavenworth Festival of Light

If you ever check out our about us page 
or our FAQs
you would see that we claim to be the traveling type.
To that, it only makes sense that,
occasionally at least,
I write about that.

So here goes nothing!
Ready. Set. Go!

Where are we going?
Leavenworth, WA
Christmas Festival of Lights
(they will post a schedule here!)
(**hotel rooms sell out a year in advance**)
(***you can actually rebook your room at checkout***)

Who goes to Leavenworth, WA anyways?
Lots of people go.
Year round.
But especially on the weekends.
Back in the 60's
when this old railroad/sawmill town was
about to go the way of the ghosts,
the towns folks (cleverly, I might add)
thought up the kitschy Bavarian theme.
The natural surroundings suit the space:
the town is built on the Icicle Flats
the soaring Alpine'ish mountains and valleys
and the rushing rivers
all made Bavaria seem so real.

Now the towns people play the part.
Even with that little "Leavenworth rap" tourism bureau

(shhhhh...I actually LOVE this video!!)

Especially since this little Bavarian village
(they have goats, Kris Kringl lives here
and they have a Nutcracker Museum)
is so not original to the founding of the town.

This is how crowded it gets about 3 pm,
about 1.5 hours before the actual lighting starts

Those are people
(kids and BIG KIDS)
night sledding down the hill
into the party goers waiting for the fireworks.
Most of these folks are from Seattle
so they are nice and just laugh about it.

Not in New York.
Or Texas.
Or California.

Just. Saying.

Why are we going to Leavenworth again?
Because every weekend at the end of November, 
and most of December
it is fun to drink beer 
and pretend that you are German.

Or. it is fun to stand outside in the freezing cold
whilst it gets dark at 4 pm
(we are really far north folks)
to watch the magical moment when the lights come on.
It truly is magical.
I get goosebumps every time
(I've been twice)
and no, I'm certain they were not
the result of it being negative 59 degrees out.
It gets cold in the faux Alpines.

But seriously.
All the Festivals in Leavenworth are fun.
I particularly love this one
because it is during my birthday
and everyone is in a party mood
so it feels like they are all just 
celebrating me.

In my Santa hat of course.
They even set off fireworks for me.

There is actually a ton to do in Leavenworth
besides stand outside and freeze your tush off.
Some of my fave restaurants to eat at:

The Bavarian Bakery 
(for quick breakfast goods on the way out of town)

(great ale battered fish and chips. To. Die. For)

Leavenworth Pizza Company
(especially great night of lighting to take back to the room)

Sandy's Waffle Haus
(to sit and eat breakfast, who gets up that early?)

Los Camperos
(yes, Mexican food in Leavenworth. 
Someone didn't get the memo.
Because it is actually GOOD!)

Most of these places are really close to the big tree.
Really, everything in Leavenworth is really close
(as in walking distance)
to the big tree.

Which is good.
Because once you park,
you don't want to have to do that slow death again.

When is the best time to go?
It IS a weekend festival
so in this case you're off the hook.
That's the only time to go.

If you want to stay overnight
(which you will because it is far out there,
Highway 2 and i90 are never good enough to day trip it,

and it is far too cold for even people
with German ancestors to camp out),
then you MUST plan ahead.

Like a year or two.
There are ways to get rooms
(ie, people get punch drunk and book their next year room
at checkout. We had our own bought of buyers remorse
and sold our reservation on craigslist).
But don't just think you'll show up and find a space.

Unless you are that girl.
And who really wants to be that girl?

That all said, if you can be there during the day 
on Friday or Sunday when it is a little less crowded
then you can take in things like dog sled pulling

And even if you can only get there on Saturday, 
you should make time for a sleigh ride.
Pricey, but touristy and worth it.

Unless you are alone.
In which case you should just hang out in the pub,
be that girl (or that guy)
and find someone to share their room with you.

Just so long as that someone is not
a giant sized Ted.

Stop babbling and just show me more photos:
Alright already.

get friendly with the horses 
that will be pulling your dead weight around
on the sleigh ride.

a bit of hay goodness
is in order after the trek.

Fun times with farm animals and faux Bavarians.

Are you going this year?
End of November | December
is the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival

Google images of it.
You will NOT be disappointed.
Unless you were disappointed by that 
YouTube video.

Just saying.

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