Little Bavaria – Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth is a Bavarian themed town in the midst of mountainous scenery. If you forgot for a moment that you actually were in the U.S. you might believe this was Germany as the decorative roof-lines, flower boxes, Maibaum (blue and white maypole in the center of the town), and mountains do a decent job of being a little Bavarian town’s doppelganger although it seems to try just a little too hard. Either way, it was a nice ambiance for the few days we spent in this area.

We wandered around the town, looked into a few shops, and tried out both Gustav’s and the Icicle Brewing Company where we sat outside, enjoyed the views and people watching. Outdoor seating is a must when imitating Germany, and we both wish it were more common for restaurants in the states to have a nice outdoor area.

While in town we also went to the Nutcracker Museum. Now that’s something quite appropriate for a faux German town and only $2.50 so why not? It was so much more interesting than you’d think – or than we thought when we first decided to go. We were pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are some creepy and just plain strange nutcrackers; yes, you will get tired of looking at nutcrackers by the end as there are so many, but in those golden moments in between, you will be really glad you checked it out. We’re all familiar with the typical nutcracker (see the picture below), of which there were so many varieties: soldiers, mountain climbers, Darth Vader, doctors, holiday themed, knights, astronauts, hunters, princesses, and so on. But there were also so many other types of nutcrackers. There were stones with round grooves in them which had been used to crack nuts, some with a single pit and others with multiple pits that signified they had been communal nut cracking stones. There were metal nutcrackers, some thousands of years old, from all over the world, and some very ornate and intricately designed. There were sets of nutcrackers with nut picks and other utensils. Even more nutcrackers were made out of other metals or wood, often carved with faces or as animals. Other still, were screw nutcrackers where as one turned the top, the clamp is lowered and eventually cracks the nut against the baseplate. Anyway, much more variety than expected, and a fun little excursion!

We only spent an evening and another afternoon in the town itself, but spent another few days hiking and climbing in the area which we’ll post about in the next few days!

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