Welcome to Leavenworth! The many Bavarian touches to this fun city help make spending time there so much fun.
Tumwater Canyon is a beautiful drive most times of the year. You get to see the rugged rocky canyon walls, the raging Wenatchee River, and can even stop at places like Tumwater Dam, The Alps Candy Store, or Swift Current Picnic Area. Another spot worth checking out is one that usually just gets driven right by, the Tumwater Pipeline Bridge.
The entrance to the parking lot of this secluded little spot is just a couple miles west of Leavenworth. Find a parking spot, walk down to the little beach, there’s even a restroom there. Take a look around though. Look at the decaying walls and leftover building remnants that make up the spot where you’ve parked your car. You’re parked right where a pretty decent sized powerhouse once sat, making electricity from water from the Wenatchee River to use to help the electric trains get through the Old Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass to the west side of the mountains.
That water was brought to the power generating plant through a pipeline from the Tumwater Dam. That pipeline came down the south side of the Wenatchee River and crossed the river on a bridge before reaching this spot. The building is long gone as is the pipeline, but the bridge is still there.
Walk around the “Road Closed” barricade at the west end of the parking area and a very short trail leads you to the pipeline bridge. Basically, the bridge is just as it was back in the time of power production except for the top half of the pipe having been cut off. The lower section was then filled in with material to give it a flat surface and a pedestrian bridge was born. The trail continues up the path of the old pipeline grade on the other side of the river and offers a nice leisurely stroll along the Wenatchee River. When you reach a large rock pile, you’ve reached the end. Some people do scramble over the rocks while most turn around and return to the pipeline bridge and the parking area.
When water is lower in late summer, the beach area grows and offers enough space for a few families to enjoy the sun and the cold water of the Wenatchee River.
The Tumwater Pipeline Bridge is another of the many fun stops along Highway 2 in Tumwater Canyon.
We had a very cool opportunity recently to go out and visit one of the more talked about attractions in North Central Washington, the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm.
The Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is located just a couple minutes north from Leavenworth on the Chumstick Highway. When you pull into the driveway and park at the top of the hill, you’ll be overlooking a beautiful little farm surrounded by some of the best local scenery. Walk down the driveway and you’ll immediately feel welcomed, both by what you see and what you hear.
The tour starts with a brief overview of the farm before your guide breaks into a friendly, funny, and enjoyable talk about the farm, its beginnings, and of course the reindeer. After this short introduction, we were given a few tips on how best to get the reindeer to welcome us, including some ideas on the best methods of feeding them. Then, armed with bowls filled with feed pellets as well as willow branches with what we were told were very tasty leaves, we entered the reindeer pen.
The reindeer immediately recognized that it’s feeding time and some slowly meandered our direction while others came a little more urgently. Smiles came to the faces of the kids and adults alike as these very gentle creatures that you never think you’ll be this close to stand right in front of you, snout first in your bowl or lazily munching on the leaves from your branch. Reach out and touch them, though not their velvet covered antlers, and feel their fur. It’s something you’ll never forget.
The laughter from the kids as the reindeer followed them was about the only sound as the animals themselves are very quiet. After awhile, our hosts helped set up some great photo opportunities for the families and groups that were there. Soon the feeding time was over and we exited the enclosure.
The farm offers some great atmosphere as we saw other animals around too, including chickens, geese, pigs and one very friendly cat.
Soon it was time to go and as we were very near Leavenworth, a town packed with fun things to do, there were more entertainment options to be had. But you can bet the hot topic of the day, the thing that was discussed the most, was that amazing opportunity to have an up close and personal experience with real reindeer.
One of the top local destinations in North Central Washington is the community of Leavenworth. If you’re a resident here, you’ve probably enjoyed time there yourself. You may have also had the opportunity, or task, of taking visiting friends and family there to show them a good time. Don’t forget that this fun little community is there for your enjoyment too. Even though you may live in North Central Washington, you can still take a weekend off and visit there for a conveniently located vacation yourself.
If you’re thinking about going to Leavenworth to enjoy the outdoor recreation, great dining opportunities, fun shops, and more, then the top way to do so is by staying in a local vacation rental. A place you should really consider is The River Place.
The River Place is a remodeled Leavenworth home that puts you within just two blocks of a walk to the place everyone wants to get to, Downtown Leavenworth. This close proximity means you’ll be able to enjoy pretty much everything the town has to offer and then walk back to where you’ll rest your head in just a few minutes.
When you stay at The River Place in Leavenworth, you’ll enjoy some great views. Far off, you’ll see the Cascade Mountains and their rugged beauty. Lower your gaze and you’ll enjoy views of the Wenatchee River and nearby Blackbird Island. You can even access the river right out in front of the home, so bringing your kayak could be a very fun idea.
You’ll also enjoy how secluded you feel when you stay at The River Place in Leavenworth. Inside the house, you’ll enjoy the newly remodeled feel you find. A great kitchen, perfect for that early breakfast or nightly family meal, is a necessity in a vacation rental and you’ll find it here. The River Place sleeps four and comes with enough room that everyone can stretch out and find a spot for themselves. It’s also a great place to bring the whole family together too.
Leavenworth has a lot to offer and one of the best vacation rentals there is The River Place.
THE RIVER PLACE – LEAVENWORTH
Website: The River Place
North Central Washington has a long list of attractions and activities to see and do. You can literally travel all over the region and find a place to stay that will stick you right next to everything you need for a fun time away from home. The small Bavarian themed city of Leavenworth is one of those attractions that is fun to visit any time of the year.
A great place to stay near Leavenworth is the River’s Edge Lodge. This little home away from home offers a spectacular location. It is directly accessible from Highway 2 that runs east to Wenatche and just a few miles west to Leavenworth. It is literally right on the banks of the Wenatchee River and visitors there can enjoy the sound of the peaceful river, the sight of local wildlife, and also check out the kayakers and river rafters who float this section of the river. The lodge has a long balcony that overlooks the river and there is also some great grassy areas where you can even get right down to the water. Whether you packed a picnic lunch along or are bringing some take out back with you, having a meal or snack in the outdoors at the River’s Edge Lodge is a good idea.
The River’s Edge Lodge is perfect if you are coming to take part in any of the many local festivals that are put on by Leavenworth. These are all fun events for both couples and families and this lodge works perfectly as your base of operations.
Speaking of base of operations, the River’s Edge Lodge is not just for you if you’re going to Leavenworth. It is also within an easy drive of several other destinations and attractions including Lake Wenatchee, Plain, Tumwater Canyon, Stevens Pass, Wenatchee, Rocky Reach Dam, Blewett Pass, and all of the many hiking options that are out there in the surrounding mountains.
The lodge itself is clean and the staff is very friendly. The rooms are extremely comfortable too. You simply cannot go wrong with a stay at the River’s Edge Lodge.
Check out the River’s Edge Lodge online: River’s Edge Lodge
Getting the kids out and having a good time is an important job for a parent. In North Central Washington, there are a lot of places you could go to do this. One of the destination attractions that your little ones will really love is Smallwoods Harvest just east of Leavenworth on Highway 2.
Smallwoods Harvest sits right off the highway and as you pull in you will see bright colored activities that you and your kids can both participate in. There is a huge open grassy area with plenty of picnic tables (bring your own lunch!) and space to run around. There is a cow roping station where kids, and you if you’d like, can practice your roping skills. Tetherball is available in the playground area too. There is also a fenced area for the little ones with all kinds of trikes and ride on toys, as well as a large sand area. On special occasions the stage there will feature the sounds of some local musicians and you may just find a bonfire going in the huge fire pit. Take a walk around and check out the old tractors and farm equipment too.
The egg factory across the driveway is home to a chicken coop and an opportunity to throw some feed and watch them really go after it. Adjacent to that is the prop maze where you and the little ones can scramble about trying to find your way through a giant maze. Watch out for those dead ends! Next to that is the water balloon slingshot, gold panning, and bouncy house activities. A whole list of things that the whole family will love doing together.
Back up at the top of the driveway is the main attraction, the Smallwoods Harvest shop. Here you’ll find all sorts of tasty treats ranging from kettle corn to specialty relishes and hot sauces. The list of delicious treats available at Smallwoods is long and ever changing. You can even get yourself one of the best ice cream cones in the area too. This is called Smallwoods Harvest though so you can expect to find all kinds of fresh produce too. From apples and peaches to onions and asparagus, depending on what time of the year it is you can find all you’ll need right there.
On most days, leaving for rides near the main building is the famous cow train. Kids who go to Smallwoods Harvest repeatedly over the years have grown up riding the cow train. Once buckled up inside their own little cow cars, they are pulled all over the grounds, past many of the attractions, and the giggles of delight can be heard from far away. A ride on the cow train is probably what your child will remember about this fun little stop off the highway the most.
One special treat remains, and it’s one that parents and kids will both love. Right next to the main building is a petting zoo where you and the little ones can experience feeding miniature cows, llamas, goats, and more right from the palm of your hand. Whether you’re watching the excited looks on your kids’ faces or enjoying petting the animals yourselves, this can really be the highlight of the day.
Whether you’re looking for something to do in the region or if you’re passing by and needing a place to take a break, Smallwoods Harvest has all that you need to make it a fun day. Your kids will want to come back again and again too. There’s just too much fun available at Smallwoods Harvest.
Another Sunday saw us taking another Sunday road trip. This time it was a short drive just past Leavenworth and through the Tumwater Canyon which is an absolutely gorgeous part of North Central Washington. Tucked away on the west end of the canyon is The Alps Candy Store which is a very special place, whether you are traveling with kids or not.
You walk in and the shelves are filled with candies, hot sauces, relishes, and more.
In the basement is a cool little place called the kids candy room. It is filled with brightly colored treats, some famous brand names and some things you haven’t seen for probably decades. It may be called the kids candy room but I can tell you it’s for adults too.
Up at the front counter back upstairs is one of the most impressive sights you are sure to see. This is where the fresh homemade fudge sits just waiting to be sampled, purchased, and of course eaten. They have an incredible selection of flavors, some you would probably never even have thought of. Getting a nice sized chunk to take home or eat during your drive is a great idea. You can also buy just a small square if that’s what you want too. This is one of the things that will make you stop back at The Alps Candy Store the next time you go driving by.