So, it’s quite the winter wonderland in Seattle over the past couple days and it brings me back to our family trip to Leavenworth, WA this past December. My little Hauser family went along with one of my brothers and my dear mom. It was our first time going during the winter with all the snow and Christmas festivities. It was such a beautiful drive over there from Seattle too! One tip to share about the drive: BRING Snow Chains, just in case.
Leavenworth is a small Bavarian village with a unique history, German culture and it’s also known for it’s Oktoberfest in the fall and their Christmas Lighting Ceremonies during the month of December. There’s lots of restaurants and many with German specialties, like schnitzel with spatzle, bratwurst sausages, pretzels, imported beers and my favorite, Gluhwein, which is a hot-spiced mulled wine. A must try at many of the wineries and restaurants in the village.
The town is so cute and quaint with little shops to find unique and authentic goodies. There’s a very popular store that is like Christmas year-round called Kris Kringl. It’s a 2-story plethora of Christmas ornaments, decorated trees, lights, and more. You can find any ornament to match your hobbies or interests.A few years back, we found a glittery Sprite can ornament for my son, who was obsessed with Sprite at the time. This time, I was able to find a beautiful ornament of gold angel wings to remember my Dad on our first Christmas without him since he passed away last February. And yes, that’s an upside down Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling!!
One my son’s favorite activities was sledding right in the middle of Downtown Leavenworth. There were tons of kids zooming down this small hill, so we had to watch out or we would be swiped off our feet.
We had to be careful not to get knocked to the ground due to all the speeding snow tubers and sledders. I found it hilarious to see what I like to call the Sled Graveyard of all the broken sleds that didn’t make it to see another day.
Looking for some sweets? I recommend strolling into The Gingerbread Factory, home to one of the yummiest bakeries I’ve ever visited. It’s full of cookies like your grandmother used to bake and famous for it’s themed gingerbread houses.
We were here during the week, but if you want to really see a show, go on a weekend in December. Every Saturday and Sunday there is a tree lighting ceremony, carolers, Santa arrives to greet the children and lots of people flock to the area to take part. We chose to go to Leavenworth during the week since that’s what worked for our schedule and we wanted to experience it with less crowds to make it easier to have our 1 year old daughter along. We missed out on the big celebration, but we had so much fun all our own.
That brings me to one of my next favorite activities. You may have heard it in a song before…
“Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
Over the hills we go
Laughing all the way! Ha Ha Ha”
You guessed it! We went on a real-deal horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow. And we laughed all the way! Our sleigh had two horses! This was the HIGHLIGHT of our trip for me. I’ve never done anything like this. The office to pay for your trip was this old canvas tent with a wood-burning stove inside to keep visitors warm. Next to it was another canvas tent that offered hot apple cider, hot chocolate and cookies for after the ride. They provided thick wool blankets for the keeping warm during the ride as well. There are several places that offer sleigh rides and we chose Icicle Outfitters & Guides, Inc.
Check out some footage of the ride here:
If you’ve never made your way to Leavenworth, I fully recommend it! There’s lots to do, eat and experience. This was just a taste of what we did with our time there. I’ll have to share about our Leavenworth trip in the summer when we stayed at a KOA camp site in a later post to give you another perspective on this unique, little town.
Have you ever been to Leavenworth? What did you like most? Comment below!
Stay warm out there,