Mid-winter break 1017. This is the school holiday they have in the middle of February so everyone can escape the cold gray days of winter for a week. In years past, we often would find ourselves enjoying the sun of the California coast this time of year, and I know many of SB’s friends were flying off to warm places like Hawaii on a quest for sun. But this year, when I came time to pick a place to go, I found myself inspired by a January snow day and a 5 foot snowman we build with friends. We decided to embrace the magic of winter and set off on a quest to find a winter wonderland. It was road trip time again. We rented an SUV, filled it up with our snow gear and a picnic basket, and up into the mountains we went to enjoy the winter magic of a little place called Leavenworth.
Leavenworth is definitely a place with its own character. Maybe a little too much character. A little Bavarian town set in the mountains not too far from some of Western Washington’s big ski resorts. Years ago, on my first trip to Leavenworth, I felt highly disappointed when I walked into a giant tourist trap of a town. Every store and restaurant looked just like the one next door. And the shopping…who actually buys all this stuff? After about an hour I was done with it, deciding never to return. But in 2016 SB and I were invited by her friend to go on a weekend trip to play in the winter snow. How could I say no to all SB’s excitement of going with a friend? On that trip I discovered the real fun is not in the little Bavarian town, but in all the outdoor activities surrounding the area.
On the second day of our trip everyone woke up itching to get out into the snow. Snow play was the reason we had all set out on this trip in the first place, and overnight a light dusting of snow had added a fresh layer to play in. After a quick breakfast in the resort’s dining lodge, it was back to our room to change into snow gear. Off to Ski Hill we went.
The tubbing at Ski Hill did not disappoint. For starters, it was just a short 10 minute ride from our resort without any of the mess of slippery mountain roads. And when we pulled into the parking lot we discovered the small crowds made for quick lines. The tubing run at ski hill was amazing. More like a ride really. The rope tow pulls you and your tube up to the top of the hill and instantly releases you for a fun ride down complete with an amazing “S” curve at the bottom. We have been to the tubing hill up at the big ski resort on the mountain in the past, but honestly this place was much more fun. After an hour of fun on the hill we all walked over to the little rustic lodge to warm up by the fire before heading back into town to sip hot chocolate at the Gingerbread Factory.
We woke up on the third day of the trip and found the weather outside to be beautiful. I had read good reviews about the waterfront park just behind the main stretch of downtown. I had also discovered that we could rent snowshoes at the little shop just across the street from our resort. This sounded like a good plan. We had a few hours to enjoy before we needed to get back on the road home. All bundled up and off to the waterfront park we went. GB and SB were the adventurous two on this hike, sometimes getting off the main path to wade into the deep snow, or attempt to climb a hill. Unfortunately, my bad knees prevent me from anything outside of a simple walk. After exploring the park we all headed over to the much raved about Andreas Keller for a giant pretzel and sausage lunch. Did I tell you we got to enjoy it seated inside a giant wine barrel! Could not think of a better way to end this trip.