For years we have heard about Leavenworth, Washington and have wanted to visit it. This Bavarian-themed village is nestled on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains and everyone that we have met who has visited this place has described it as being a “magical” location. As I say, it’s been on our list of places to visit for some time but we were only recently given a very good excuse for visiting on a road trip to Idaho. Being rather tight on time, we figured on having about 36 hours to spend in Leavenworth and while that wasn’t necessarily enough it was far better than nothing!
We opted to stay at the Icicle Village Resort, in part because they could accommodate our family of seven with relative ease. We booked two family rooms side-by-side with a connecting doorway and found everything quite clean, comfortable and convenient.
- A kitchenette
- A washer/dryer in the room
- Free buffet breakfast
- Swimming pool
We’d stay there again in a heartbeat, should we visit a second time (and we’d love to). We suffer no qualms in recommending this establishment to other families as well. As mentioned, their rooms were clean, and everything you could think to need was provided for your convenience. The staff was helpful and friendly and we generally had a very positive experience there. When you like your accommodations and everyone in the family is able to get a good night’s sleep, the rest of the trip also proves enjoyable!
When it comes to Leavenworth, there are a lot of outdoor experiences available, but what to do when your kids are ten and under? We chose two different hikes to explore as a family.
#1 – Waterfront Park is a flat and easy 3 mile trail which takes you along the Wenatchee River and through some wooded areas. There is a pond and plenty of river banks to sit on as you soak your feet in the cool water of the river. We enjoyed this one so much that, although we had promised the kids some swim time at the resort swimming pool, we opted instead to spend our evening in the river.. Although it was August, the park was quiet and relaxing and we had a splendid time enjoying the water and the mountains.
#2 – We took the kids on the Icicle River Trail. The trailhead is located at the local fish hatchery which is interesting in it’s own right. This is an easy one mile trail, perfect for little ones.
Of course, no visit to Leavenworth is complete without exploring the downtown area. There is one main strip in town which includes all of the shops and restaurants. Everything in the downtown area is within easy walking distance. Eat, shop, relax and enjoy the atmosphere!
We ate two meals out during our stay:
First we took the family to Pavz Cafe Bistro which is a small establishment with delicious fresh, local food. I’m sure they were a bit nervous when they saw us troop in with our five kids in tow but our kids have been taken out enough that they understand proper etiquette and behaviors and they did great. The staff was ever so friendly and the food was amazing. Their crepes were such a hit with our children that they begged us to go back again.
Our second meal out was had at Gustav’s Grill & Beer Garden. Serving portions were large and we were able to split several sandwiches between our family members. It was tasty enough but nothing truly memorable. (Our kids are still talking about the crepes at Pavz.) For a decent meal at a descent price, Gustav’s is a fine option and we had no complaints. Great customer service and care. If you’re looking for a good family restaurant, this one is just fine!
A true Don’t Miss in downtown Leavenworth is The Nutcracker Museum. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect upon going in, but it seemed like one of those places that we’d regret not going to if we passed it by. In short, it was rather amazing. They have nutcrackers in their museum which were made and used over 4,000 years ago! Their collection of nutcrackers is truly quite stunning. Whether or not you’ve ever given a thought to nutcrackers before, this is a fun stop and our entire family enjoyed it. It’s a small museum but you can spend a fair amount of time in here all the same.
Lastly, our family had a great time browsing the shops downtown. Here are a list of shops for your perusal if you’d like to plan your stops in advance. We recommend just making some time to meander along in order to take in the sights and sounds.
So, did we find Leavenworth magical? Well, it is certainly quite beautiful and we clearly understood that we had only scratched the surface of things to do in the area. It’s one of those unique locales that grab your imagination somehow and make you want to be there. We’d like to go back again some day, perhaps when the kids are older and there are more activities open to us. But this was certainly a memorable stop on our road trip and we had a wonderful time.