Saturday, April 24, 2010
While I was in Washington my daughter took me up to Leavenworth. The main part of town is centered around an area built to look like it is in the Alps. With the snow tipped mountains it is easy to imagine really being in Europe.
Leavenworth has a lush history going back to the P'squoso who came to the area to hunt, pick berries, and catch salmon in the Wenatchee River. Gold was discovered in 1860 and miners flocked to the area. Leavenworth was named in 1892 when the Great Northern Railway began construction. Timber drew hundreds and the town boasted the second largest sawmill in the state. In the late 1920s skiing became the mainstay for many years. The town then looked to its mountain surroundings for the idea of building the Bavarian town to draw tourists to the area.
It worked and now the town is a lovely escape to another world. We spent the day strolling in and out of the many shops, but the highlight to me was lunch at King Ludwig's Restaurant on Front Street. I like to try new things and was looking forward to an authentic meal.
I ordered jagerschnitzel with spatzle and rotkraut. (Please forgive that I don't know how to add the dots over the a's.) The description in the menu was a delicately seasoned and pan fried pork cutlet, topped with mushroom sauce and served with German pasta and red cabbage. I was in heaven and hope all my German ancestors were looking down with pride.
The accordionist, Frank Calapristi, was a great addition to the surroundings of wood, tapestries and old world charm.
As we were getting ready to head back to Yakima we stopped in the Bavarian Bakery to get an apple strudel. A great dessert to end a beautiful day in the mountains.
I will probably never make it to Europe but I appreciate the people who have brought the diversity of their own lands to this country. I could stop and look at the mountains, smell the bakery, feel the nip in the air and imagine what it was like for my families to leave their heritage behind.