Little Bavaria continues to charm
by Deborah Stone
Leavenworth is the perfect winter getaway for our family and each year we find ourselves returning to this little slice of Bavaria east of the mountains.
We always stay at the Enzian Inn, an ideal lodging for families with children of all ages. With its spacious rooms, complimentary full buffet breakfasts, swimming pool and hot tub, indoor basketball/racquetball court, free cross-country ski rentals and cozy lobby, the Enzian easily meets everyone's needs.
After a hearty breakfast of omelets cooked to order and homemade breads and pastries, accompanied by the sounds of the alpine horn (the hotel owner, Bob Johnson, attired in Bavarian costume, plays this special instrument twice daily out on the deck), we grab skis and head for the Nordic trails at nearby Icicle or at the local golf course and take in views of the surrounding area.
We have found cross-country skiing a great activity for all ages as everyone, from youngest to oldest, can go at their own pace and not be bothered with lines or crowds.
The kids like to move fast and enjoy the challenge of the rolling hills, while most of the adults are in the "steady is as steady does" mode, trying to keep an even rhythm, while avoiding landing in a prone position.
Upon return, we ease our sore muscles in the inviting hot tub or curl up with a book in front of the inn's crackling fireplace in the main lobby. Kids head for the pool or the basketball court to expend more of their unlimited energy.
Wandering through the shops in town is also a treat, with their variety of interesting and unique European goods. You can find wonderful unique gifts for that special person or simply window shop with latte in hand. In the evenings, after a hearty meal in one of the town's many restaurants (there's choices that will satisfy all appetites from ethnic eateries to Northwest cuisine and good old pizza), we leisurely stroll the streets, capturing some of the finest moments of the town's splendor.
At night, Leavenworth is truly a wonderland and the oohs and ahs continue to escape our mouths no matter how many times we have seen the mammoth trees all aglow and the gingerbread storefronts, festive in their decorations.
Even the older kids, often jaded in their views, pause in silence to gaze at this enchanting scene. Later on, we return to the inn and parents and kids team up to put their wits together in a series of high-spirited interactive games.
Leavenworth, with its picturesque river and mountains as a backdrop, continues to charm visitors and begs to be revisited. With its close proximity to the Seattle area, it's easy to get there and yet, once you arrive, you feel as if you're somewhere far away, perhaps in a small village high in old Bavaria. It's the ideal escape for a day, a night or a weekend.