Monday, June 24, 2013

A quick weekend getaway–Run of the River Inn and Refuge, Leavenworth, WA

When Tom and started talking a few months ago about places we’d like to go to celebrate our 30th anniversary, lots of places were mentioned: Washington DC, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mexico, Hawaii (again).  But in the end, we chose to stay close to home – and get far away at the same time. 

We’ve been to Leavenworth, Washington many times.  It’s a Bavarian-themed town in natural surroundings that even my very Bavarian mother described as reminiscent of her heimat in the real Bavarian Alps.



The buildings and architecture are distinctly and almost exclusively Bavarian – and if there weren’t so many tourists around, it might even actually feel like a real Bavarian town.




As “cute” as the whole Bavarian theme is, it can get to be too much and the last thing we wanted was to stay in some motel with German kitsch all over. 

Instead, we chose to return for a weekend at the Run of the River Inn and Refuge just across the river from town. We had been there to celebrate our anniversary nine years ago and waited far too long to come back.

This is what greeted us as we drove down the windy drive to the inn:



See that watchdog?  That’s Ferocious Fanny. 



Adorable, ferocious (not!) Fanny.

Within a few moments of arriving here, I could feel the stresses of real life melt away.  It was as if my internal “off” button had been flipped and I was no longer receptive to any of the stuff that doesn’t matter – and none of it seems to matter once you walk into your room.


Breathe deeply, and I’ll give you a little tour of our suite, aptly named Up the Creek.

The robes were absolutely luscious…


…as was the bathroom!  The two-person shower has both a rain-head and a traditional handheld shower.  And the shampoo, conditioner, body wash and even body spritzers are absolutely wonderful and leave you feeling completely pampered (especially while wearing the robe)!


See that ladder in front of the river rock in-room two-person whirlpool bathtub? (Yes, I did say river rock, in-room, two-person, whirlpool bathtub!) 


That ladder leads up to what’s called a “play loft.”  Seriously!


The relaxation and lusciousness continues with the king-size hand-crafted log bed…



…and the river rock corner fireplace and reading corner.


How can you NOT relax in a place like this?


And what I can’t depict on my blog are the sounds.  Calming music played quietly on the sound system as we arrived.  But the really wonderful sounds came from here:


There’s a large porch outside our room with a cozy swing and a birdfeeder. (Bird seed – also shared by squirrels -- is included in the welcome packet.)  It’s just the right place to enjoy the wildlife…


read a book…


or sip a cup of coffee blow some bubbles.


From luscious to scrumptious, in the morning we were greeted with a delicious five-course breakfast.  When is the last time you had a home-made five-course breakfast?


I meant to take a few pictures of my food, but I was too busy eating it!  If you know me on Facebook, you know how often I take photos of my food, so you can imagine how delicious the breakfast must have been for me to plum forget to snap a few shots!

After breakfast, we decided to take a bike ride.  Can you see how this feels like Bavaria?  (And no committee “brands” this!)


We rode back into town and found our way to Blackbird Island, which is part of Waterfront Park, right in town but far from the commercial kitsch.  I had brought some cheese, crackers, dark chocolate, and fresh fruit from home, so we had a picnic close to town, but far from everything.



It was quite a warm day, and by this time we needed something cold to drink.  Which, in Leavenworth, as in Bavaria, means beer!

We found ourselves here, at Der Hinterhof biergarten, where we relaxed with beer and great live music, performed by Larry Murate, someone I’d not heard of before but anticipate hearing more from in the future.  He was great!


Tom even won a cap in a raffle put on by one of the many local breweries.



IMG_8088We then rode back into town, parked the bikes…


…did some shopping, where we saw stuff like this…


…and this (no, I didn’t buy it)…


…and made dinner reservations.

We had eaten the night before at Cafe Mozart, where we had fondue…


…and THIS, the “Amadeus Platter for Two,” which consists of  two apple-pork and cranberry merlot bratwurst, two petite pork shanks, pork schnitzel Jaeger art,” bratkartoffeln, rotkraut, and sauerkraut. 


As a first generation American of German parents, I grew up on German food (never had a taco until I was in college!), so I’m pretty picky.  But this stuff was pretty dang good!  (Of course NO ONE can match our own annual Sauerbraten und Käsespätzle dinners, but we’ve stopped expecting anyone to, either in Germany or in the US – sorry, but it’s true… ours IS the BEST!)


As good as the food was at Café Mozart, we wanted the louder, more genuine German Oktoberfest sort of celebratory ambiance on our second night, so we went to Andreas’ Keller, just downstairs from Café Mozart.  The food here was at least as good as upstairs, and their Käsespätzle was actually close to the real thing.  But the best part of the evening was this:

As we were leaving, accordion players were showing up in droves.  I shot this when just a few had arrived and unfortunately I didn’t shoot as long as I should have!  Apparently there was some sort of accordion conference in town and they all decided to come here late in the evening. I wish we would have stuck around, but we had no idea what was to come!

After a second great night’s sleep and a second decadent breakfast at Run of the River, it was time to head home.  But we will be back – and this time we won’t wait another nine years!

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