Winter Wonderland in Leavenworth, WA

Visiting Leavenworth in Washington was on our list for a while, especially around the Christmas/holiday time. This town brought back some sweet memories of small villages of Europe because of its charms and cozy setups.

Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth is German village at the foothill of the Cascades. Its Bavarian style half-timbered colorful houses give this town an enchanting look. Shops and cafes along the road-sides and round the year activities attract thousands of visitors each year. Leavenworth is a popular getaway in Pacific Northwest because of magical Christmas lighting and other winter activities/sports.

Christmas lighting in Leavenworth, WA

If you are planning to stay in Leavenworth during summer break or winter holiday season, be sure to book your hotel ahead of time (way ahead maybe). We stayed in Ellensburg, WA, which was about an hour away from Leavenworth.

Artistic places of Leavenworth in Washington

Artistic places of Leavenworth in Washington

If you are planning to have either lunch or dinner in Downtown Leavenworth, try to make a reservation at a restaurant or cafe in at least couple hours before you are ready to eat. During lunch or dinner time, it gets pretty crazy with long lines, and waiting time in restaurants were at least 2 hours. We ended up having some pretzels and danishes at a bakery. Then made an early reservation at a Mongolian place, called Wok About Grill for dinner. But if time and energy allow, do try some Bavarian style food here, like schnitzel and brats and etc. One final tip about visiting Leavenworth in December is that, make sure to wear few layers of clothes with heavy jacket with other winter gears. It came down to 8 or 9 degree Fahrenheit when we were there.

Bavarian style houses in Leavenworth, WA

Bavarian style houses in Leavenworth, WA

We spent only few hours in the heart of Leavenworth to go around and to enjoy the Christmas lighting and festive atmosphere the town has to offer. I do plan to go back there during summer sometime soon. For now, these are the few places we’ve visited in Leavenworth.

  1. Downtown: This is the heart and soul of Leavenworth. Laced by lots of boutique stores and gourmet restaurants, downtown is the place where the stunning holiday lighting takes place every year. All the cafes and shops will catch your eyes with its decorations or names or their unique products. If you don’t want to be trapped by the crowd near the stores, enjoy the kids sledding on snow from a tiny hill near the gazebo or just sit down with a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy all the alpine beauties all around the city.

Christmas lighting in Downtown Leavenworth, WA

2. Nutcracker Museum: This is one of the coolest and fun museums we’ve been to. With more than 6,000 nut cracking devices, some dating back from the Roman time, this place will definitely make its guests excited.

The Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, WA

The Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, WA

The museum won’t take more an hour to visit and the ticket is only $5 per person. Watch the video before the tour to know more about the nutcrackers and its amazing history. Also, check out the souvenir shop before leaving which has some pre-owned and new nutcrackers from Germany and China. These nutcrackers come in different shapes, sizes, and colors…have fun choosing one for you or the loved ones.

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3. Waterfront Park: This is probably not very popular place to visit in December. We took a little walk along the Wenatchee River. It is probably one of the best kept secrets of this town.

Waterfront Park in Leavenworth, WA

Waterfront Park in Leavenworth, WA

Only few minutes from the main streets in downtown, this Waterfront Park is a quiet place with few trails and a bridge. I can imagine this place in summer time with incredible sceneries and fun outdoor activities.

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Christmas in Peacock Lane

After living in Portland, OR, for many years, I finally got to visit this place that becomes magical during the holiday season. It’s in a neighborhood in the SE Portland which becomes pedestrian only area for the last two weeks of every December.

This is an old Portland tradition since 1920. Every house here are fully decorated with extravagant Christmas lightnings and ornaments. My girls had a blast walking in front of every house and checking out all the different themes and dazzling scenes.

The event is absolutely free, but we had to park couple blocks away from Peacock Lane. It does get crowded pretty quickly as soon as it gets dark.

Check out the pictures of Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon…hope you like them.

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What’s Holding Back Your Winter Holiday Choice?

Deciding to go on holiday during the winter can be a bit of a strain for people. That is because winter is so traditionally wrapped up around Christmas and celebrating. It means that there can a be a lot of things that get in the way of taking a break. Maybe you are finding yourself wanting to take a winter break, but something is holding you back? Then read on for some advice that might just help you make that jump and get your winter break booked.

Family

So number one of this is probably family and friends. Are they going to have a problem with you getting away from the holidays? If so, there are several ways that you can deal with that. First of all, you can explain to them that it is your choice and while you gather what they saying it’s not really up to them anyway.

But if you are feeling a bit more diplomatic and like you won’t mind their company so much then why not ask the along too? There are plenty of winter holidays that can work for large groups of people.

You could rent a chalet out in the mountains in France or in Sweden and then all stay together. You can even get one where the catering is laid on for you so, you won’t have to worry about cooking any celebration meals, or the washing up either.

Weather

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It’s funny, but the weather is often the most important part of a choice about going on holiday in the winter. It can actually make or break your decision. This because people want specific weather on a winter holiday.

They either want the sun that they are missing or the snow that symbolizes winter to them. Happily, you can have the option you are looking for, just make sure to check the weather and climate forecast for your intended location before you book.

Cost

Something else that may be holding you back from booking a break where you can have some unique winter experiences is the cost. Winter can be an expensive time with all the presents and celebration to pay for. Adding a holiday on top of that can be a stretch too far for some people.

Yes, you will need to consider your budget before you book a break this winter. But you also need to ensure you are giving yourself enough opportunities to experience the wonderful things you can do on a winter vacation.

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For example, you might want to stay in an ice hotel, or one that is located the tree tops, which you can do in Sweden? Or you may want to visits Santa and his elves and take a ride in a reindeer pulled sleigh? Or it may be the only time that will get to see the magical northern lights. As the are known to be pretty unreliable, especially when we are in a decreasing solar phase as we are now.  Surely something like that is worth digging deep to pay for?

Holidaying In Sydney In Winter: 5 Fun Things To Do

When the rest of the word waits for the stifling summers to go away and pleasant weather to set in, Australia marvels on the winter season with a plethora of fun things to do, specifically in the sprawling city of Sydney. One of Australia’s biggest cities uniquely divided on either side of the harbor and connected with the world famous Harbor Bridge, Sydney has a lot to offer in winter season.

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Image Source: http://sydneysocial101.com/festival-101-winter-garden-brings-magical-winter-wonderland-to-cathedral-square/

So if you were thinking to get a breather from the summer engulfing the better part of the world and looking for some cool winter essence, head to Sydney and do the following fun things.
Whale Watching
Going to Sydney inevitably implies at least one whale watching session, without which a visit to this city is incomplete. You can hop on to one of the many whale watching cruises, designed especially for this purpose. Whether it is a slow moving vessel meant to relax, stand back and watch the whales in all their intimidating glory or the high-speed vessels that increase the thrill exponentially, options are numerous.
Visit ‘The Rocks’
For tourists with a quirky taste for old style pubs and cafes, historic architecture and arts and craft mini-shops, The Rocks has a lot to offer. During the weekdays, you can marvel on the artistic exhibits of artists from all over the country along with small clothing shops; while on the weekends you can enjoy the Rocks Markets that has up to a hundred stalls of different items from food to crafts to clothing and souvenirs. Totally accessible by a number of transportation options and located centrally, The Rocks is a favorite among tourists to Sydney.

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Image Source: http://firstdegreepr.com/2014/06/30/how-to-beat-the-winter-blues-sydney-style/

Shop at Queen Victoria
Located right in the middle of the central business district, Queen Victoria Building satisfies both the shopaholic and the history buff in you. The building itself is nothing like the typically modern shopping malls. It is rather a 19th century building, designed in the fashion of a cathedral. The typically arched ceilings like those in a cathedral and figurines gracing the entrances, Queen Victoria Building offers a unique shopping experience.

Relax at Darling Harbor
Stroll along the harbor at the suburbs of the Sydney business district and experience the essence of whole of Sydney in this one place. Whether you are in for some shopping, entertainment options, parks, art exhibition centers, museums, hotels and spas, or a peek into the wildlife, you will get everything at the Darling Harbor along with breathtaking views of the skyline of Sydney lining the harbor.
Hit the Centennial Park
Centennial Park will let you soak in the peaceful eastern suburban essence of Sydney along with a lot more. In addition to sprawling and open gardens, Centennial Park also has a number of historic statues and old buildings, and avenues. Also, there is a huge variety of flora and fauna, including rare plantings unique to Australia as well. Visiting Centennial Park is like peeking into the Victorian Era outdoor environment. Visit to Sydney in winters is incomplete without going to this park, which is one of the landmarks of this country.

This is a guest post article from Oz Whale Watching. Book and have a memorable whale watching experience today.

Home and Abroad: Bring Father Christmas To Life This Winter

Christmas is always a magical time, and it’s even more exciting when you have children who still believe in Father Christmas. From his jingling bells to his big round belly, and his team of reindeer to his promise of presents, Santa Claus is kids number one favorite man come Christmas! Bring Kriss Kringle to life in as many ways you can this Christmas, and reignite the magical spirit of one of the favorite months of the year. Let’s take a peek at how you can bring Santa into your home both home and abroad.

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Picture source: Hu.Wikipedia.Org

Father Christmas In His Own Home

At Journey Around The Globe we love making magical memories, and those that you can share with your children are all the more special. Take your children on a spellbinding trip across the globe to Santa’s workshop, and give them a true winter wonderland experience. If you want to see Father Christmas in the North Pole or in fact in his home in Finnish Lapland, then it’s time to take a winter holiday that will beat all others. In Lapland you’ll be greeted with a bewitching snowy landscape, reindeer sledding and cozy log cabins. All perfect for creating the true spirit of Christmas. In Finnish Lapland, your children will get to make snow sculptures, bake cookies and take snowmobile rides. They can even spend an afternoon searching and visiting Santa in his own home. Nothing beats meeting this magical man more than seeing him in action in his magical winter workshop. For the adults, there are roaring log fires, cross-country skiing and warm Finnish saunas. And for the kids? Copious amounts of snowy fun for an experience of a lifetime! They will be able to take husky rides, join in with Christmas crafts, visit the reindeer farm and eat their dinner in a restaurant made from ice. Take them across the globe this year for a white winter they will treasure forever.

In Your Own Home

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Picture source: Pexels

Christmas Eve is always such fun when you have children. As the suspense builds up, they’re barely able to contain their excitement. And they will want to stay up all night waiting for an appearance from Father Christmas. Luckily most will burn out by midnight, and you can get on with the Ho Ho Ho duty of bringing Father Christmas into your home. Be sure to make Christmas cookies with your children on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa. Let them have fun decorating with glitter and sprinkles too. Make sure you also go shopping for carrots and milk too. Help them pen a letter to Father Christmas to leave out that night. And make sure you have one written by the man himself to leave in return for them. Get your children to make reindeer dust out of glitter and oats and tell them it’s to lure the reindeer into your home. Leave trodden snow footprints outside their bedroom doors and by the Christmas tree. Make these with flour, talcum powder or fake snow. Get some jingle bells and give them a little tinkle just as your children are falling asleep. And make sure to leave half eaten cookies and carrots for them to find in the morning. If you have a fireplace also leave a few coal marks so, they can be sure Santa has been.

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