Scenes From a Bavarian Village
Mr. K and I ventured out to Leavenworth today. For those of you good folks from outside our fair state, Leavenworth is a little town up in the mountains that was founded somewhere around 1900 or so, with both lumber and the railroad as the main source of economy. Around the time of the depression, the railroad decided to move both its main office AND the tracks, completely taking it away from the town. As if that wasn’t bad enough, all the trees that were close to the river had been logged by then as well—which didn’t do squat for the economy. The town limped along with a fruit packing plant and a fair amount of determination, but by the 1960s was known as a “welfare town”. Then some businessman (whose name I really ought to recall if I’m going to go around imparting local history….but I don’t) opened up a hotel and decided to give it a Bavarian theme. Way he figured it, the town is surrounded by mountains and lovely meadows and, well, it looked like he thought Bavaria might feel. Other town folk liked the idea so much that by 1968 fully 14 businesses had continued the theme. Nowadays, most people don’t know it any other way. The town ordinances are carefully written and so strict that it is illegal to open any business of any kind whatsoever within its borders without a Bavarian theme. Truly. Even the local Safeway has to have Bavarian lettering on its sign and a roofline reminiscent of early Bavaria. I won’t even tell you about the McDonalds. Ultimately, it is a kitschy little place, heavily dependent on the money spent by tourists and loaded with little shops selling all manner of completely unnecessary but frequently charming things. Just to make sure we grab our wallets and drive up there, the town holds festivals of all sorts, all year round. Oktoberfest is an obvious one; they also hold a salmon run and a whole host of other stuff. People eat it up. I find it tends to be crowded and once you’ve seen it, well, you’ve kind of seen it. But it IS cute, and about once a year I get the urge to while away an autumn Saturday there, usually purchasing at least one thing that tugs at me and then proves itself later to be utterly useless. Such is the world of American consumerism. That said, I do have more than a little admiration for the folks who managed to pull the town out of its downhill slide, all without taking a single dollar of government money.
In any event, the trip really does need to be taken in the autumn. The town is fun, but the drive up is breathtaking, particularly when the leaves are changing. See what you think:
Breathtaking scene number 1.....
....and two and three.....
...the devilishly handsome Mr.K........The actual town itself, at twilight (after that intro, you'd kind of think it was about time, yes?)
One of the charmingly picturesque horses that draws one of the charmlingly picturesque carriages....I'm pretty sure "charmingly picturesque" is in the town ordinance, too. Anyway, this guy thought I was pretty interesting and actually tried to come up on the sidewalk to say hello, much to the consternation of the buggy driver.
And lastly, me. Holding the obligatory unnecessary object--a cow for my collection--on my knee. I would take enormous pride in my obvious self restraint....but for the fact that the yarn shop really didn't have enough of anything good to do anything with.....not that I looked or anything.