Through-out the course of a lifetime we experience different memories that add to our story. This last weekend Nancy and our friends Marty and Lisa were blessed to go on a very memorable excursion.
Expectations are not always met when planning any trip. Despite the best laid plans of mice and men we sometimes set the bar too high. That is when we are met with a journey that is not what we thought it would be. That was not the case when traveling to Leavenworth Washington.
We picked up Marty and Lisa at the airport in Spokane Washington and then continued on the path to our destination. We never told Marty and Lisa where we were going hoping the surprise would be epic… and it was.
The hotel we stayed at was the Icicle Villiage Resort. The suites were very nice with fireplaces and balconies that faced the Cascade mountains. Bathrooms included jetted jacuzzi tubs and of course the rooms had king size beds. Breakfast was included as was miniature golf, a heated pool, and other amenities you’d expect in a luxury hotel.
The night we arrived we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. I’d been driving for a few hours and welcomed the ease of traveling downstairs to the meal. The meal was average (probably should have gone into town), not bad, just nothing spectacular.
The next day everything aligned with the stars as we were again on a secret mission to surprise our friends. We first had a reservation at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm.
This Reindeer Farm experience was an unparalleled interactive bucket list adventure that included education, fun facts, and a delightful feeding of the reindeer. The gentle giants would come up to us in anticipation of their feeding. All guests would hold willow branches over their heads while traversing around the pen. In addition to the willow branches which the reindeer would suck into their mouths we were given a small feed cup that the reindeer devoured in seconds.
There were chickens to feed, pigs to view, huge turkeys parading around and of course the beautiful gentle giant reindeer. I have never felt more connected to nature than that day at the Reindeer Farm. This is a must see as it is the only Reindeer Farm in the United States that allows you to feed the animals inside the pen they live in.
Next up we went to the Leavenworth Adventure Park, the first Alpine Coaster in Washington State. We had our own individual coasters with covered windshields to protect us from the rain. The ride reached speeds of 27 miles per hour as we zipped through the beautiful mountain landscape as exhilerating as it was fun. To feel like a kid again is certainly worth the price of admission.
Then we went to the bavarian village downtown where there were retail shops an art show, and restaurants. We had lunch and then went back to the hotel… because it was nap time for Bonzo. Well, the next part of the trip was also completly unexpected as I had booked this restaurant in March.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, as most restaurants have creative menus but can’t execute the dishes. The restaurant I chose was called Larch Handcrafted Pasta and Cocktails. This restaurant was in a league of its own.
The chef, Ben Herreid is a culinary artist that deserves James Beard consideration. The hostess/manager was delightful (always a good way to start.) We were ushered into the bar/dining room and proceeded to be blown away by the food and surprised by the excellent service.
We had the following dishes:
Arincini which were croquettes of saffron coriander risotto filled with gruyere cheese with a Sicilian sauce of pomodoro, capers, pinenuts and olives.
Roasted Local Mushrooms with a wildflower honey, thyme cream, and aged balsamic sauce.
Roasted Cauliflower with an aged balsamic and bleu cheese aioli.
Entrees included 1. Campanelle with a boscaiola sauce, smoked ham, wild mushrooms, crispy shallots and pecorino romano. 2. Mushroom Ravioli which was a ragu filled ravioli with a marsala cream, sauteed mushrooms in a balsamic reduction. 3. Squid ink Tagliatelle with manila clams, white wine citrus and herb brodo. 4. Home made pasta with fresh vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, and pecorino romano cheese.
We finished with desert which consisted of a Tiramisu and an Affogata…delicious!
Truly a memorable journey into the Cascade Mountains to a town so many have told me about. Now I know why!