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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...

Today we planned to spend most of the day in Leavenworth.  Back in 1962, this little town had a problem – it was an unknown way stop on the way to Wenatchee.  The local economy was pretty much dead and there wasn’t much in the way of business activity.  The town fathers decided to reinvent the town, way before that term ever became popular.  They decided to redo the town with a Bavarian theme.  All buildings and infrastructure would follow that theme.  The plan was that this would give the town some uniqueness and make it a tourist destination.

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Above is a sample of one of the buildings.  As you can see, it looks like it came right out of Southern Germany.

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Here is another building following this theme.  Even the local Safeway follows it.

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There are tall mountains on three sides of the town, so it really gives you the “alpine” flavor.

We had brunch at a place called Café Verona.  The current owners have no idea how it got that name.  But the food was good and that’s what really matters. 

After brunch, we went for a walk around town looking at all the shops.  It is much smaller than Solvang, CA which is a Scandinavian themed town.  But we were able to do it in about an hour or so.  Then we went down to Waterfront Park which follows the Wenatchee River as it goes through town.  It was a good walk on a gravel path.

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Above is a shot of the path.  Right now the trees here are just getting their leaves.  In another week or two, you won’t be able to see through so easy.

In the early 1900s, logging was big in this area.  Lumberjacks would cut the trees up in the mountains and then float them downriver to Leavenworth where they were milled.  This worked great as once the lumber was milled, they could ship it out on the railroad.  Unfortunately, during WWI, lumber was not a critical war commodity, so it wasn’t able to be shipped out and the mill died off, never to be resurrected.

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Here is an interesting shot of sunken logs as we crossed over a bridge on the path to Blackberry Island.  There are hundreds of these sunken logs here and one wonders why they weren’t recovered and processed years ago.  Now they are just an underwater hazard.

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You can see here the pilings where the logs were tied up waiting processing.  This barrier goes almost all the way across the river.

After we got back from our walk, we took the back road to the town of Plain.  There isn’t much there, but it was a nice 17 mile drive.  All the buildings there had either red or green metal roofs and wooden sides.  All were sort of, well, plain.  Maybe that’s how it got its name.

We went out to dinner to a BBQ place in Cashmere called Country Boys BBQ.  Good food and they have these fries that are actually like potato chips as one of the sides.  You get a ton of them and they really are good.  I suspect we will return to Country Boys for sure.  It is on Aplets way as you come into the town.  If you are ever here, be sure to check it out!

1 comment:

Russ Krecklow said...

The sunken logs are truly an interesting thing. A friend of mine used to make his living doing underwater recovery of old logs. Finally had to give it up due to all of the permits and costs involved. Limited time frames for doing recovery, etc. Although the logs are certainly a lot higher quality than most that are brought into the mills today, it's still a fairly expensive way to get the raw material for sawmills. Some guys have their own portable sawmills and are able to do some custom cutting, but even then, the recovered logs are pretty expensive.