It’s less than three hours from Seattle and it contains rock climbing, chocolate and pastries. Also white water rafting, more rock climbing, hiking, wine and mountain views from main street. If you’re still guessing where I’m talking about, you need to read the title again, This little slice of heaven can be found nestled in the Cascade mountains of Washington state with a big old dollop of Bavaria thrown on top and goes by the name Leavenworth. Or if you fancy, Leavenworth.org. That’ll give you all the general info you’re looking for. Uptake also has some handy info and they link to me so I like them.
I’ll save you the boring details of my weekend in town and skip the the highlights:
There’s a lot of rock climbing in them thar hills. Are you looking for traditional, gear placing climbs, bolted sport routes, top ropes, multi-pitch or bouldering (did I leave anything besides ‘gym’ off the list?)? You’ll find what you’re aching for along the Icicle River. This weekend we headed up to Playground Point for some of the easier stuff and weren’t disappointed. Ok, we were confused at times trying to find our way to the particular wall, but not disappointed.
The nice thing about Leavenworth is we started the day watching TV because it was raining, hard at times. With the unbearable thought of canceling a whole day of climbing we decided to wait it out and see if things got better. After an hour of watching infomercials (remember, I don’t watch TV so every time I do watching me watch TV is like watching someone from 1920 come to the future and be amazed at the moving pictures on the box on the wall) and church services, we couldn’t stand it any longer, so we headed into town. (described next, but all I really remember is the chocolate) Around noon time the rain had stopped and we headed up canyon to the crags. As luck would have it, the rock at Playground Point was dry and climbable. Hooray for the east side of the mountains!
We wandered around downtown Leavenworth. I bought some wine. The details pale in comparison to buying chocolate. Then eating it. We eventually ended up at Rocky Mountain Chocolates . Oh my. Ashlie is the queen of getting multiple samples and we worked the gals working there into giving us what seemed like 10lbs of samples. Ok, that’s exaggerating. There were so many choices but I held fast to my standards and got some Bear Clusters (they don’t use real bears, don’t worry) and something else that ended in cluster. Both with peanuts and plenty of chocolate. When it comes to chocolate I’m a “pay the price, never count the cost” kinda guy, so this isn’t an in-depth review. Let’s leave it at, the chocolate was yummy and I’d gladly go back, but there’s another chocolate place in town I need to check out.
Homefires Bakery on the outskirts of town (man, I’ve been waiting to use that quaint phrase for so long) is the real deal. It’s not a bakery trying to be a coffee shop, trying to be a gathering point, trying to be an espresso stand, trying to be a strip club, trying to be a bar. They have one small table with room for maybe three slim people. But they do have fresh, fresh baked goods. And if you’re nice they’ll give you pie by the slice. Cookies, muffins, and more cookies fill the small display case. And good golly, they have a huge mixer! We grabbed some cinnamon rolls for the morning and I chowed down on cookies. Again, Zaggat I am not, but this place is worth a stop.
I’ve since been back to Leavenworth once this summer and plan a few more trips. I really like it there and the place has a good feel. It’s a kick ass base for hiking, climbing, rafting and all kinds of other ings.