Nestled in the eastern shadows of the Cascades, Leavenworth, Washington, exudes an infectious charm (think timber-framed buildings and accordion-accompanied German dinners).
Summer’s 80-degree days and crisp mountain breezes bring honeymooners, other couples and families to Leavenworth’s pedestrian-friendly lanes filled with boutiques, cafés and pubs. The heart of town was modeled on a traditional Bavarian village, from the Maifest pole to the town pavilion, center stage for the village’s revelries.
Fall’s cool breezes signal Oktoberfest, when the village celebrates the harvest with Bavarian brats and locally brewed beer. Christkindlmarkt—the weekend after Thanksgiving—kicks off Leavenworth’s winter season. Snow spreads like frosting on gingerbread stores and restaurants; indoors, couples canoodle over pasta, crêpes and other European delicacies.
The surrounding area also boasts breathtaking splendor and welcoming communities. Lodged along the Wenatchee River, the town of Plain is ripe in all seasons with wine tasting, mountain biking, and even dogsledding. Trout-stocked Lake Wenatchee offers five miles of equestrian trails and more year-round hiking, skiing and sledding opportunities.
In the Wenatchee National Forest, jays squawk from pines and wildflowers sway in the breeze. And as fall arrives, trees toss gold and crimson confetti from their boughs—nature’s version of an oompah band’s curtain call.
Photo credit: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce/Ben Smith