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Two Charming Towns

overcast 80 °F

Good Day!

Cashmere, WA has a delightfully restored downtown area with small businesses including a soda fountain, a bakery, and a couple of cafe's. To get some local flavor I decided to have breakfast downtown. Afterwards, I drove up the street to the Cashmere Museum to learn more of the vacinity. The area was inhabited by the Wenatchee Indian tribe for centuries before the arrival of the white settlers. For sustenance, they depended on fishing for salmon in the nearby streams and rivers.

The first outsiders were the white fur trappers & traders, then came the thousands of workers building the Great Northern Railroad in the 1890's. Harvesting giant Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees, then processing the logs in the many sawmills built grew into a large industry. The lumber was shipped by rail to eastern and western markets, i.e., St. Paul, MN & Seattle. The expansion of the apple orchards utilized the railroads to ship their produce to distant markets, as well. Today, this small town of 3,150 people is dominated by the fruit business with processing warehouses located along the railroad tracks throughout town. Another treat made here is one of my Grandmother's favorite candies, called Aplets & Cotlers. They are a confection made from fruit juices and nuts. I stopped at their factory store for a tour and they still make them, 'Since 1920', the girl told us, AND they are delicious!

An outdoor exhibit at the Museum is their Pioneer Village, a collection of 20 original pioneer structures, all over 100 yrs. old. They house antique objects, artifacts and furniture of that era. Numerous signs were posted on the property saying, "Caution, There are rattlesnakes in this area. Rattlesnakes are active throughout the year. They will seek out shady places during the day. Children should be warned not to go near any snake. Reasonable watchfulness should be sufficient to avoid snakebite." Needless-to-say, I was watchful!!

From Cashmere I drove about 10 miles to Leavenworth, WA, a small town of 2,000 people, also located on the Wenatchee River. It is unique in that the townspeople have transformed it into a Bavarian-themed community. It has a similar background to that of Cashmere. The community flourished in the days of lumbering and railroads but when the mountain forests were depleted and the railroads went into their decline the town suffered. It is situated in the mountains with beautiful scenery, not so unlike Germany. In the 1950's in the depths of decline one of the community leaders learned of a town in California that transformed itself into a Danish-themed destination for tourists. With Leavenworth's Alpine backdrop the Bavarian theme made sense. At first, 2 merchants said they would dress their storefronts in the German style. The movement caught on and today one would think that you traveled to Bavaria. The town has created annual festivals celebrating, for example, May Day, Mountain Film Festival, Ale-Fest, Earth Day Community Fair, Spring Birdfest, Spring Wine Walk, Bike & Brews Festival, International Accordian Celebrations, A Nutcracker Day, and several weeks of Christmas celebrations. In addition, they have Summer Theatre with an outdoor stage for 'The Sound of Music' production set with the mountains in the background. Also, 'Little Women', and 'My Fair Lady' are performed this summer season, the 3 on alternating nights. I tried to get a ticket for tonight's Sound of Music performance but it was sold out. (Probably weeks in advance).
Winter skiing facilities have been developed in the nearby mountains, both downhill and cross-country, and a Internationally-sanctioned 90 meter ski jump was built to attract world-class skiers to the area each winter. The little town has over 45 lodges and draws over a Million tourists a year. Pretty amazing for a small town of 2,000!!

Tomorrow I leave for 5 days in Seattle.

Posted by dixter 18:19 Archived in USA Tagged & cashmere leavenworh

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