For most folks contemplating a vacation, the word calls to mind travel by airplane to spend one week a year on a sandy beach with tropical breezes and a cold beverage in hand. But sometimes all you need is a night or two away to return refreshed and rejuvenated. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best destinations to be had within a fivehour driving radius. These extraordinary getaways are perfect for a quick escape from your daily routine. So mark up your 2016 calendar, pack your weekender bag, and get out there.
1 hour and 50 minutes, via US-2 (100 miles)
Leavenworth is Washington State’s very own Bavarian Village. Here, it’s easy to find German beer and sausage, as well as Christmas charm with the year-round Kris Kringl store. “If you are looking for a quiet romantic experience, like staying at a European-style bed-and-breakfast with wine tasting, we can accommodate that. Or if you want a high-energy busy adventure like rafting or hiking the Enchantments followed by music at our local brewery we can offer that too,” said Jessica Stoller of the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.
Where to Stay
Mountain Home Lodge is just the place for a romantic getaway, with mountain view rooms and even cabins to rent. Stay in the heart of the village at the Bavarian Lodge, which overlooks the downtown center and includes the cozy, but very cool, Woodsman Pub.
Where to Dine
You’ll want to get what you came for. The Bavarian Bakery is known for its authentic German baked goods and fresh breads. Similarly, the Munchen Haus and The Sausage Garten are popular stops for sausage and beer. Finally, Andreas Keller’s menu offers authentic German food prepared by Chef Anita Hamilton, originally from Hessen, Germany. The dishes pair well, of course, with a fantastic selection on tap. Look for the restaurant’s Haflinger horses in local parades.
What to Do
In addition to the amazing opportunities for winter sports and even sleigh rides, you can also tour the Nutcracker Museum, which has a collection of more than 6,000 nutcrackers. Some are very old, dating back thousands of years. This museum is curated by a former ballerina and dance instructor who found inspiration in producing performances of The Nutcracker. Shop for Christmas-themed gifts and items at Kris Kringl anytime of year. Visit the infamous Hat Shop, and you’ll fit in with the crowds of hat-wearing visitors during festivals. Taste handmade European-style confections at Shocolat. They specialize in crafting delicious pralines and Belgian truffles. If Sound of Music is your favorite musical, you’re in luck. Leavenworth Summer Theater performs this production outdoors, under the stars every year.
When to Go
You’ll be greeted by a warm Willkommen anytime you go, but we think winter is tops here, when the mountains are covered in snow and everyone is eager to curl up by a fire after a day spent skiing, shopping the Christkindlmarket, or taking in the twinkling Christmas lights.