leavenworth–all inclusive escape

“When are we going to Leavenworth again?” my son bellows out of the blue. “Uh, it’s only about five months away,” I reply. That’s how much he looks forward to our three-day getaway–it has all the right elements to make a kid count down the days until the next trip.

When I was in my young 20s, I made a random stop in Leavenworth while traveling along Highway 2. I was a little perplexed at all the hoopla. It seemed a bit contrived and I was surprised with the number of people who flocked to this little mountain village all done up like Bavaria.

But now–traveling with a family–I enjoy the town a lot more. In fact, I love it. Visiting Leavenworth is like going to an all inclusive resort. It’s a relaxing vacation spot and there’s no reason to get in your car until it’s time to leave.

I’ve also come to appreciate the conscious decision by residents years ago to turn their city around after their economy went in the dumps. Like many of Washington’s small towns, this place was devastated when the railroad pulled out of Leavenworth. This closed the local sawmill and jobs disappeared. Tourism offered a way for the community to emerge from economic doldrums.

Salmonberries’ recommendations: We stay at the Enzian Inn. It’s a great European-style hotel (think feather duvets, piano music in the lobby nightly) with certain fairy tale elements (like mountain goats, the owner’s morning ritual of playing the alp horn in his lederhosen), and activities (pools, 18-hole putting range, ping-pong, racquetball and more).

I’m sure there’re better deals in town, but there are amenities here that #1 equal real value and #2 are nice-to-haves because you’re there to relax. The real value is in the huge and fresh breakfast served daily. Be it sweet baked goods, made to order omelets, or the numerous other options–this breakfast makes the hotel a better overall value. The other added benefits are proximity to downtown and access to free activities like golf in summer or cross country skis in winter. These and other recreation amenities equal less money spent on entertainment.

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