Celebrating Maifest the Bavarian Way ~ Leavenworth, Washington

{Dates of Visit: May 8-11, 2015}
Downtown Leavenworth...
It had been a year since we were last in Washington State and we wanted to try a different route, especially since we were less than impressed with our decision to take Interstate 90 last time. I reached out to a small group of our nomadic friends and soon had a 5 star recommendation from Nikki Wynn to head to Leavenworth in the Eastern Cascade Mountains. Naturally, we were worried about the inclines and other challenges found on mountain roads but she assured us it was completely doable...and worth it. Well, she was right.
Our spot at Pine Village KOA in Leavenworth.
We went prepared with a new set of tires (all 6!!) on the Mutiny (read about our choice and prices here) but with no campground reservations. We'd had such a great streak of luck the past few months that we felt confident winging it. Little did we know Leavenworth is a popular place...especially on a Mother's Day Weekend...that also falls on May Day...a holiday this little Bavarian themed town loves to celebrate. We managed to snag the only spot left at the Pine Village KOA (no sites were available at the nearby parks) and had to bite our tongues about how unlevel and crowded it was...since it was our fault for not planning ahead.

The May Pole.
No Famous Starbucks "Green" here...
In the 1960's the townspeople of Leavenworth, seeking to revitalize the struggling little logging town, decided to model the town after Solvang in California (which is modeled after a town in Bavaria). The first hotel to get the Bavarian facelift was renamed Edleweiss in honor of the Bavarian State Flower. Nowadays, every single building sports the same theme...even the Safeway and Starbucks (don't worry, those seem to be the only big corporation stores allowed in the city limits). People walk around in lederhosen and dirndl dresses. And every morning at 815 and 915am a man in full regalia blows the Alpenhorn from atop the Enzian Hotel.

The Cascade mountain range make for a stunning Alps type feel to the whole thing. Make no mistake...this isn't a goofy, touristy thing going on...no, this town fully embraces the theme. There are goats on the putt-putt course and bratwursts offered at the restaurants. And if you manage to visit during one of the many festivals through out the year you'll really feel like you've managed to travel abroad with your RV. 

Parade of Mountain Dogs.
Everyone loves the Maifest!
 During our short stay we were able to celebrate Maifest with the townspeople (for anyone in the area NOW, Maifest is THIS weekend May 13-15, 2016). This festival included a Festzug, or parade, complete with horse drawn carts festooned with flowers and ribbons and hundreds of dogs (St. Bernards, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs). There was live traditional  music and dancing, May Pole dancing, flowers for sale, bouncy houses and, of course, food and beer. It was really a fun way to enjoy the area.

Eenie, meenie, miny, moe...
You can't even tell which is vegetarian, can you?
Wanting to fully embrace the experience we decided to eat at Muchen Haus where Clark could get an authentic brat and I could get a vegetarian brat. Yes, you read that right! With over a dozen mustard selections, German potato salad, fresh squeezed lemonade, local beers on tap and a selection of fine wines, all in a quaint courtyard surrounded by gorgeous flowers and Bavarian decor this is the place you'll want to eat.

There are many cute shops to browse through as well as a wonderful bookstore called A Book For All Seasons where you can grab a latte and peruse through new and used books. Nearby you'll find other adventures from kayaking to hiking, fishing to mountain climbing as well as opportunities to boondock. We really loved this little town and had a great time during the Maifest. Leavenworth also hosts a plethora of fun events like The International Accordion Celebration, a Bluegrass Festival, Kinderfest, a Wine and Food event, Oktoberfest, Christkindlmarkt and 3 full weekends of Christmas Lighting Festivals. There's something for everyone!

Labels: , , , , ,