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Leavenworth was a dying town back in the early 1960s. The Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) Committee was born in 1962. 

Project LIFE's decision to turn Leavenworth into a Bavarian tourist town succeeded beyond anyone's expectations, turning Leavenworth into one of the most prosperous tourist towns in the world, hosting events year round, including an Octoberfest that is one of the biggest outside Munich, Germany.

 click thumbnails to enlarge 

Leavenworth is located on the east side of the Cascade Mountain range in a valley formed by the Wenatchee River. Leavenworth is also the eastern end of Steven's Pass, arguably the most scenic of Washington's mountain passes.

On the day these photos were taken Leavenworth was acting as an operations center for forest fire fighting efforts. Thousands of acres were on fire, hence the hazy, smoky air where usually there is no air pollution.

You can also see that despite the fires that day's festival was still running. Leavenworth is known for its year round schedule of festivals, celebrations and events, like the International Accordion Celebration, Kinderfest, the aforementioned Octoberfest, Christmas Lighting. And the state of Washington's oldest festival, the Autumn Leaf Festival.

Winter, spring, summer or fall Leavenworth has a lot of visitors. With all its flowers both in huge hanging baskets, planter and int the ground Leavenworth may be the most colorful town in Washington, rivaled only by the Skagit Valley's springtime tulips. In winter snow often covers the ground turning Leavenworth into a cross country ski destination.

Project LIFE mandated that every business in Leavenworth, new or old, had to adopt the Bavarian theme. That includes the Starbucks you see here, the McDonalds, the Safeway, the gas stations, everything. The combined effect makes it almost impossible to drive by Leavenworth without stopping. It would take a long visit to try out every restaurant, every bakery and every beer at the brew pub.

To illustrate just how big and successful a tourist town Leavenworth has become, and keep in mind this is town which the 2000 census said had a population of only 2074, we will list some of the restaurants you can eat at in Leavenworth. If the restaurant has a website you can click on it to check it out.
Cafe Verona & Bakery  Katzenjammer's Steak & Seafood Soup Cellar
Ducks & Drakes Kristall's Starbucks Coffee Company
Gingerbread Factory Renaissance Cafe Tumwater Inn Restaurant and Lounge
Gustav's  O'Grady's Pantry Uncle Uli's
Helen's Big Y Cafe Leavenworth Golf Course Grill  Andreas Keller
J.J. Hills Restaurant & Catering Sandy's Waffle & Dinner Haus King Ludwig's
Munchen Haus Cafe Christa Cafe Mozart Restaurant
Mountain Home Lodge Mountain Springs Lodge Pavz
Los Camperos South Alley Cafe  
Shakti's  Visconti's of Leavenworth  Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant
Dragonfly Bistro Kodiak Haus Leavenworth Pizza Company
Willis Sausage Haus und Euro Markt Cold Stone Creamery Heidleburger Drive In
Kodiak Haus McDonald's Tinkers Best of the Wurst
Viadolce! Bavarian Bakery Cafe Verona and Bakery
Gingerbread Factory Visconti's  Cheesemonger's Shop


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