May 2009

Anniversary Trip to Leavenworth

April ended on a sad note when we had to have Britt put to sleep after 2.5 years here with us in our home. He was a good boy and we miss him.

We decided to get away for the weekend before our anniversary (married 5 years ago, started dating 14 years ago). I looked around at places we've been talking about going and found a good rate in The Bavarian-themed town, Leavenworth, WA at the Best Western Icicle Inn, so I booked it. Around that time we heard that they were opening up the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) for the season after finishing the plowing. Our trip itinerary was set!

Saturday May 2, 2009:

We planned on eating breakfast in the car on the ferry to get going nice and early. They were doing a bunch of work on I-5 so we wanted to get an early start. Dan and I worked like a machine to get showered, dressed and everything loaded in the car. We even had time to stop and do some banking and post office-ing before getting in line for the ferry.

We headed north on I-5 and despite a little Lucy-poop-stuck-in-fur problem at a rest area near Marysville, we made great time. We arrived at our first stop just before 11am. I've been reading about a trail near Darrington for a couple of years now. It's the Boulder Creek Trail and in about 5 miles loops past several waterfalls. We decided to check it out as I had heard the road was washed out about a mile from the trailhead.

trilliumAfter a couple of tries, we were able to find the FS road up to the trailhead. They really do like to hide those roads. The road wasn't bad except for the last half mile or so. We just had to go slow as we followed another Corolla around all the pot holes and ruts. I was so surprised to be able to park at the trail head. We locked things up and decided to check out the trail for a little bit to let us all stretch our legs. We didn't make it the full 1.2 miles up to the first waterfall, but we had a lovely hike along a ridge littered with fallen trees, making a tunnel to walk through and enjoyed the trillium and the starts of wildflower growth.

The weather had looked a little promising as we were getting off the boat. We could see a little blue up north, but by the time we were hiking, the clouds were moving in. We even got rained on a bit as we were walking through the woods. It wasn't too bad, but we could tell showers would be the weather story for the day. But the trail was nice and it was a nice way to get outside a bit.

We loaded back into the car after having to let Lucy say hello to another little dog at the trailhead. Then we headed up to Rockport and onto the North Cascades Highway. We stopped in Newhalem to try to find a sandwich to solve my "turkey pesto" craving, but no luck. So we headed up to the overlook at Diablo Lake for a picnic of meat, cheese, crackers and some pineapple chunks. The weather was warm by our standards (probably around 60) as long as that breeze wasn't coming down off the snowy peaks surrounding us. Dan didn't take any pictures because the sky was the same color as the mountain peaks and those never turn out. :( But it was beautiful and a wonderful spot for a break.

From there it was up and over Washington Pass and down into Winthrop. There was quite a bit of snow at the summit, but again, no pictures. Sorry. It was so beautiful coming down out of the snow into Winthrop on the dry side of the pass. We usually make that plunge later in the summer when it's all hot and brown on the East Side.

We stopped in Winthrop and got a coffee at the little ice cream and coffee place on the corner. Then we took Lucy for a nice walk around town to window shop and stretch our legs. Dan was a little pouty when the glassblower guy went on his break just as we walked up. We've only seem him blow the same glass things about a dozen times before. :) After a potty break, we were back in the car and headed south.

We had talked in town about how Sun Mountain Lodge was nearby somewhere. We see the ads all the time in Seattle for this resort. I think the prices always seem high to me ($89 per person, per night Sun-Thurs. does not sound like a bargain to me) and I've been very anxious to check it out. I spotted the road on the map and we decided to drive the 8 miles up to the lodge and check it out.

First thing I noticed was the giant picture of a dog with a red circle & slash. No Lucy allowed. Boo! Hiss! We parked, left her in the car and took a walk around the property. We checked out the "360 degree views of the Cascades" as advertised and then walked around inside the lodge. It looked like a nice place with lots of bike trails around, but for the money I'd stay somewhere else. Like in Winthrop at a place where Lucy is allowed. :) Good to know.

It was starting to get late and I was starting to worry that we wouldn't be having dinner in Leavenworth. We talked about it and agreed to check out Chelan to see if anything caught our eye there. Nothing did, so we just drove on through after stopping at the park for a quick potty break for Lucy.

We got into Leavenworth about 6:30 and quickly checked into the hotel and unloaded our things. Then it was back into the car to go down to Front Street for dinner. I knew that Dan wanted the full Leavenworth experience so that means finding a restaurant with an oompa band, accordion player, beer, sausages and kraut. I had found three possible places. One was outdoors on a patio (Munchen Haus) where we could take Lucy, but with the rain hitting us off and on all day, we decided indoors was a better idea. That narrowed down the choices to Andreas Keller or King Ludwig's. I decided to put our name in with the nicer sounding place. :)

We had about a 15 minute wait so we wandered and window shopped. We found "A Paw Above" across the street and killed our time in there. I knew I needed a few thing I saw in there so we asked what time they opened and made a note to stop there in the morning before we left. Then it was off to dinner at Andreas Keller.

Andreas KellerWe were seated back in a corner so we weren't on top of the accordion player, thankfully! :) I thought everything on the menu sounded icky, except for the roasted chicken, but you can't order that at a bavarian restaurant. It's like getting chicken nuggets at The Palm. So I went for the Bavarian Brat and Dan had the Weiss Sausage. Both plates were served with a very generous portion of wine kraut and german potato salad. All of it was amazing and fantastic to Dan. He was making yummy noises while I was trying to swallow the kraut. ha ha. The things we do for love.

Oh, I forgot about the beer. Dan wanted a big old stein of beer and was trying to decide what kind to get. He had decided on the Dunkeles, which is a combo/cross of Hefeweisen and Dark Stout. It was interesting and he seemed to love it. We finished up dinner with a coffee and some dessert. Dan had the Apple Strudel and I had a slice of the lemon cheesecake. YUM! Finally something I liked. :)

After dinner, Dan ran back up to the car to get Lucy and we walked around town before heading back to the hotel around 9:30 for the night.

Sunday May 3, 2009:

We had a good night in the hotel despite someone whining at about 1:30 in the morning for a potty walk. Dan is my hero for making the walk in the middle of the night with Lucy.

We woke up and got cleaned up, then headed down to the lobby for the complimentary breakfast. The weather was beautiful! The breakfast food was pretty good. Dan had his usual waffles and I headed for a little bite of everything.

After breakfast we had about an hour to kill until the stores opened at 10. I went back to the room to get us all packed up and ready to go while Dan and Lucy headed down to find the park by the river and take a nice big walk. It took me about 10 minutes to get ready to go, so I sat around quite a bit until Dan got back. I found an old Twilight Zone on the TV and watched that until they got back.

LeavenworthThen we loaded up the car and headed into town. We looked at the art displayed in the park for a few minutes. Dan got into some sort of heated conversation with a photographer for some reason. I heard him ask the question and then the artist got all defensive, so I walked away. :) Sorry, Dan. Then we went into the pet store and bought some goodies for Lucy. She loved being able to come inside and sniff all the bags of food and toys all around. It's like doggie heaven!

We got back in the car and headed back down to Wenatchee. We've been reading about Ohme Gardens for several years, but haven't made it out there. Ohme Gardens is a piece of property on the top of a rock outcropping about 1200 feet above Wenatchee and the Columbia River. The Ohmes bought the property back in the late 1920's and wanted to build a house there in the 1930's. But because of the Depression, banks weren't lending money to build so they decided to wait on the house, but to build a garden up there where they could relax and unwind after working in the orchards. So their project began.

They would get boulders and flagstone from the Columbia River and load it in the rumble seat of their car and haul it up the mountain. Then they'd dig up trees and plants from the surrounding mountains and transplant them onto their property. Once the plants were in, they would haul 5 gallon milk jugs of water up from the river to the garden and water it all by hand. When you think about it, it's quite an amazing feat. It's a lot like thinking of Buchart Gardens just being a rock quarry before someone started planting. You can see the barren rocky ridge all around the property with this beautiful patch of joy in the middle of it all. Amazing.

We were there a little early in the season for the best of the blooms, but you could see life peeking out all over. We wandered around all the different paths and up and down the rock staircases, resting on the beautiful benches and enjoying the views. Here are some pictures we took. Jenn, you have to visit this place if you're ever in the neighborhood. It's quite inspiring. Dan said that the gardens reminded him of the mountainside meadows in the Sierras.

Ohme Gardens
Ohme Gardens
Ohme Gardens
Ohme Gardens
Ohme Gardens

After we left Ohme Gardens, we headed south over Blewitt Pass and down into CleElum. We drove on into Roslyn (you might know it as Cicely from Northern Exposure) and got a sandwich at a deli there. It was fun to people watch in town. Lots of characters in these small towns. I even saw a dog ride up in a sidecar. We took our sandwiches up to CleElum Lake where we found a pretty spot and ate our lunch. Both of us were getting tired, so we agreed to head straight home from there.

We got into Seattle just in time to get in line for the 4:40pm ferry back home. Perfect.

It was a nice, quick getaway. Sure made me look forward to the BIG trip to Bend this July. Can't wait!

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