Looking for answers to life's questions

Last weekend was my daughter’s birthday. We really like to celebrate. Our family sees each day as a gift and the more birthdays you have, the luckier you are. No one here lies about their age. We are grateful to have reached each and every one.

A birthday favorite. Thank goodness there were 4 of us to eat it.

A birthday favorite. Thank goodness there were 4 of us to eat it.

My daughter and I had made the trip to Leavenworth, Washington several years ago. We stayed in a room over the bookstore that time. You know how I love bookstores. This time we stayed in a regular motel/hotel that had a townhouse layout with enough beds to sleep all 4 of at a lower cost than the regular room rates. It’s a five hour drive each way and one way is easier on the nervous system than the other. I’m very uncomfortable in bumper to bumper highway traffic on a Sunday afternoon.

See, here's the sign. I can just smell the books in this little independent store.

See, here’s the sign. I can just smell the books in this little independent store.

Anyone for coffee and sweets first thing in the morning?

Anyone for coffee and sweets first thing in the morning?

This particular weekend was their “Taste of Leavenworth” event. Its pear country and my son bought us coupons to sample the wares of many of the shops that had everything from pear cheese to pear wine and strudel, though not all at the same time.

Bookstore is upstairs and around the other size of the building

Bookstore is upstairs and around the other size of the building

This little community worked hard to save their town. After seeing the town of Solvang, CA, the city council decided that might work to keep their town thriving and made the change in 1962. I loved Solvang too. Both towns have the flavor of old world Europe.

Everything here has a Bavarian flair to it. The green tall trees and the cascading mountains are very reminiscent of the areas in Germany I remember so well, giving me a bit of that “I’m home” feeling. Just my cup of tea or the beer I’d prefer. Even the sushi restaurant and the creperie look Bavarian on the outside. That made me laugh. I found the quilt shop again with so much eye candy that I was staggering out the door. The gingerbread cookies were saved from the bakery till later.

I looked at the town with slightly different eyes this time. Taking photos this time made me think about what others would see were they to want to visit. I took a bit more time to notice things like the clearness of the air.

They do Christmas here in a big way with an entire Christmas store and a Nutcracker Museum. Good Morning America and HGTV have both featured this town. I’m not fond of traveling in the snowy winters anymore so spring is the perfect time for me. The pear blossoms were in full bloom everywhere but we drove by so fast, only my son caught this.

There were fields of these.

There were fields of these.

First thing in the morning the streets were quiet but the smells wafting out of the bakeries and coffee shops was heavenly. The air was crystal clear and Sunday morning we saw fresh snow on the mountains. Everyone is behind on their moisture levels so snow was welcome on the Cascades.

The clouds played with us all morning. They were beautiful.

The clouds played with us all morning. They were beautiful.

My diet is postponed till after next week. I’ll be away again on a quilting retreat and food will be prepared for us. Can we all say woohoo! It’s sad when you are so busy with life you don’t have time to write about it. Well, maybe not.

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Have you ever looked at somewhere differently the second time you saw it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of a Second Look" (52)

  1. Marlene, that is such an incredibly cute Bavarian lookalike township! Isn’t it amazing to think it lies just a few hours away from you. It makes me happy to think that you too have had a wee travelling adventure! I love the idea of staying in a room above a book shop – wouldn’t you just want to get up in the middle of the night and wander down? Imagine the piles of books you would have time to scan and choose and add to the pile ….. And if it is a bookshop that sells coffee and delicacies too that would be just perfect. I would move in and never leave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was my first thought too, Pauline. To wander down in the middle of the night and read. There was a coffee shop and bakery attached next door. Unfortunately there was no interior access. Everything was locked up tight. I had wanted my son to see the town as he has never been to Europe. His ex was up for a visit and came along. The back way in was lovely. I have done a great deal of traveling in my life. Now short trips feel long. 🙂

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  2. Marlene, very nice slide show! Do I detect a new theme? I have never been to Leavenworth, but have been to Solvang many times. There is something special about the ‘old world’ atmosphere. I am glad you get to enjoy yourself at the quilting retreat this week. Robbie was over a week ago and looked so cute on one of the quilts you made for him! You do such a beautiful job!

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    • Theme has been up for about a month. Same one with a different picture in the header. Courtesy of Tech Support. I did the slide show all by myself. Some of the pictures were his, some mine. I loved Solvang too. Went many times for pretzels and beer. Hope you are feeling better. If I could get some breathing room, I’d make more quilts but…
      At least I’ll have 3 days to get nothing but sewing done as long as the eyes hold out. 😦

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  3. What a wonderful place! It reminds me of a town in Texas I used to visit. It too had a Bavarian theme, as many of the residents are of German descent. Have a wonderful time at your retreat Marlene, you deserve some time to yourself and quilts. Big hugs!

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    • Thanks, Jackie. it really is a long way from anything now but that won’t last much longer with the highway coming closer all the time. There are little Bavarian/German towns all over the country but this one was set up as a survival mechanism when the railroad moved it’s main station and there were no stops there anymore. I’m looking forward to 4 days away. This will be my first retreat.

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  4. So enjoyable! As a former City Councilwoman, I love reading about communities that revitalize and reinvent themselves.
    Your retreat sounds wonderful and rejuvenating!

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    • Thanks for reading and stopping by. Hope you are fully recovered from your lovely gathering of blogging goddesses. 🙂 I had hoped to see the community where I lived in Arizona would do something like it but they weren’t interested in new ideas. Or old ideas. I’m hoping the retreat is rejuvenating. I’ll let you know next week. 🙂

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  5. What a terrific little town! It really does look like a small corner of Europe. I spent a little time in Germany, twice: once on business and once for pleasure. I can see why this place makes you feel at home.

    It’s nice to hear you’ve been traveling, celebrating and relaxing. I hope your quilting retreat is just as much fun.

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    • Thanks Alys. I’ll let you know next week how the retreat goes. I miss Germany quite a bit but the cost of living was too high for a return. Besides, I want to be close to my family now. Germany is such a beautiful place and so clean. If I can find good beer, pretzels, and a bakery. I’m in heaven. Well, if you include a bookstore. 🙂 Hope you are fully recovered from your gathering of blogging goddesses.

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      • Hello Marlene,

        I might have my dates mixed up, but I think this is the weekend you are away. I look forward to hearing more about it.

        It’s hard to leave a country you love. I’m glad you’ve found some balance here with the food and beer you love, nearby bookstores and of course your family. I still think of Canada as home, even though I was only six when we left. It was still enough to feel I had a sense of roots there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was almost 10 when we left Germany the last time. Just baby roots. I was away during the week. Now I’m going through photos. I’ll try to get a post done soon.

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      • Roots none the same, though. I do understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! What a beautiful place, Marlene. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I’m in love with that book store! Happy Birthday to your daughter!
    By the way, I love your header.

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    • Thank you Jill. My son, Tech Support, helped me with the changes to the header. We have another in store later. I’ll let you know how the retreat goes next week. I’ve never done one so it’s a little scary.

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  7. Oh my-I am hungry now! Pear cheese-YUM:-) What a beautiful place love the photos and thank you for sharing this great get away.
    Oh, I can smell the old books, too:-) Nothing like an afternoon wandering a book store!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading Robbie. I pushed a wrong button and lost your comment. Finally found a way to retrieve it. Yes, the cheese was yummy. I don’t eat very much cheese but it was wonderful. Everything was wonderful in that great fresh air. My children and I are all addicted to books and bookstores are where you will find us should we become separated. It’s a given. Have a wonderful week.

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      • aww..hitting wrong buttons-been known to do myself. I do love the smell of an old book when you open the pages, but now I must confess my kindle is my reader at times:-( Well, our house is stuffed with books-lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t see the heresy in a kindle. I have several e-readers because my house won’t hold the weight of too many more books. The weight of books while traveling has to be taken into consideration as well. There is a time and a place for everything. I can make the print larger on the kindle which expands the number of books I can read. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

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      • Lol-amen sister-I agree!!!

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  8. Looks like you’ve had a really good time! The birthday favourite looks amazingly tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by. That dessert was pure decadence. It was a cookie ice cream cake with hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts. I’ve never taken anyone to that restaurant for their birthday that they didn’t melt when they started eating the dessert. The food is above par as well. All of that in a sports bar which I normally would not frequent. Mostly because they are so noisy. 🙂 Mostly, our time was wonderful. There are always a few hitches. 🙂 Have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reading this brought back such fond memories. We used to live near Solvang when our sons were very young. We had so much fun going there. The first real article and photos I ever sold to a major publication was a travel story about Solvang! I am happy to know that another town followed their lead so successfully. Thanks for sharing this delightful glimpse of a town I had never heard of until you told us about it. I’m so happy you are proud of each and every year! I never understood why anyone would want to lie about age; each year of life is a milestone to celebrate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and reading Julia. I used to live in Burbank so we made regular trips to Solvang for a few years. Thank you as well for the follow. I will start following you as well. Reading time will be limited this next week but I’ll catch up soon.
      My children lost their father at the age my daughter just reached. 42. So we all know how precious life is.
      I’m not surprised you are a published writer. You write so eloquently. Have a wonderful week.

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  10. Lovely read and pics. I practice seeing if I can see every place with fresh eyes each time- often a challenge to do so, but rewarding if you can see things as new each time….and this includes your own home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Stephanie. I’ve been away and away from the computer as well this week. I tried to look at the town the way my son and his ex-wife saw it. I tend to move things around in my home often to give it a refreshing energy. Good for the Feng Shui to keep seeing with new eyes and shifting things helps make one more aware.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Books, goodies and a gorgeous place? It really doesn’t get any better than that.

    I think you are on to something. So often, we only visit a place once, taking in the tourist-sites and missing all of the other wonders to be discovered. You have eyes that do that. Thanks for sharing Leavenworth through your eyes.

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  12. Woohoo! 🙂

    Marlene, you find the best places and things to do. When I sold used children’s books, we traveled all over NE Ohio to thrift shops, library book sales, and book stores! I love book stores, too!

    The “Bavarian town is so cool.” We have a town near us that is similar. It’s billed as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio. It’s always fun to visit a town that takes us away to someplace different for a while.

    I hope your daughter won’t mind that I’m going to take a bite of her birthday dessert. Today is my birthday – and I’m a proud 60-year-old grandmother! 🙂

    Have fun at your quilting retreat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness Maddie! I’m sorry I missed wishing you a happy birthday. Consider it done although belated. That would make you a Taurus though where my daughter is an Aries. I’d love to visit little Switzerland and see how close that is to the real thing. The ice cream cake is from a sports bar that gives them away for a celebration and it takes 4 people to eat. You are fortunate to have grandchildren. I’m a bit older than you but enjoying every minute. The retreat was wonderful. Now I just need to get my blog written. A week without my computer or time to work was hard. I would love to have the job of buying children’s books. I do anyway, just for me. The illustrations are wonderful. I give so many away. Books are the best. Reading your first book now. About half way through.

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  13. That is a gorgeous little town, and your super photos really made it come alive. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences there, and I just love the idea of a room above a bookshop!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s unanimous among writers. A room above the bookstore would be our pick. Had we not had my ex-daughter-in-law along, that’s where we would have stayed this time. Thanks for stopping by Clare. I’m still in catch up mode. Do you think it will happen? Catching up? 🙂

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  14. That sounds like a destination Mom and I would enjoy. I’m glad you got to spend time with your family like that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading I’d bet they have a town like that close to you. It was good even though my ex-daughter-in-law was along. She and my daughter are not the best of friends. A little tension there.

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  15. What a cute town! I have also been to Solvang and this reminds me of that too. Bookshops (even if I am not reading) are a favorite of mine when visiting old (and new) towns. Something about a book-I have not moved on to a Kindle style book yet. Something about a book in hand. It is fun to revisit places we love or want to spend more time exploring. My newest goal is to broaden my horizons to try some new places too. Maybe like a book…a familiar place is such a joy and comfort!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You find some of the most unique places to visit. What a cute town and so much to offer. I’d really love to sample some of those pear dishes. 🙂 With a five hour drive I would have stayed overnight too, that length of drive would seriously have limited how much celebrating and window shopping you could do. So did you get out of the quilt shop empty handed?

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    • I got out fairly empty handed for me. Only one piece of white on white that I use for most of my work at a significant savings. She did a lot of combination work with hand embroidery and quilting together. I’d love to stay long enough to take a class from her but that’s out of the question since I can’t drive myself. I have enough to do anyway. This area is so full of places to go that I would never run out. Have a grand weekend and thanks for reading. I”m even further behind but my next post will explain when I get time to write. Hugs to you my friend.

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  17. Oh Marlene, I lived about 2 hours north of Solvang and visited often, so my heart jumped when I read your post! Leavenworth reminds me so much of it looking at your great photos. What a wonderful mini-break and thank you for reminding me of a place that holds many happy memories of days out spent there when my children were young 🙂 xo

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    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the visit Sherri and that I could bring up good memories. My last husband took me there and I fell in love with the town. We were living in Burbank at the time. I think Solvang might have been an easier drive than this was. Maybe because I was doing the driving. 😉 I loved the pretzels and cheese and the Aebleskivers. We would buy the mix there then make them at home for the kids. Love the old European feel. I miss Europe a lot.

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      • I lived near Burbank in Glendale for a time in the 80s Marlene, so another coincidence 🙂 I did enjoy your post so much, thank you and I hope you have a good week. Things have been a bit fraught here, my brother was taken suddenly and unexepectedly very ill over a week ago and it threw me for a loop but he is recovering as am I and my family from the shock and worry, thank God. Getting back on track once again…Hugs…

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      • I’m sad to hear your brother is having health issues, Sherri. Hopefully that stays behind you all for a good long time. I do understand. Those health challenges remind us how short life can be and to cherish the moments we get. It’s funny, I worked in Glendale in the 80’s and even lived in a section called Montrose for a time. We may have shopped the Glendale Mall at the same time and not known it. It is a small world. Have a great week. I’m trying to get back on track too. Hugs to you right back.

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  18. Thank you Marlene for your kind wishes and hugs. And yes, we may well have shopped at the mall in Glendale at the same time…Glendale Galleria I seem to remember it was called? Its a small world isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Been over 10 yrs. Just as I remember it. Lovely pix.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have never even heard of Solvang before I read this post, but I have visited Leavenworth multiple times and love it, of course. You can “smell the books,” how perfect! I found the setting of the town on the river, surrounded by snowy peaks simply perfect for the Bavarian theme. I haven’t seen it at Christmastime, but boy howdy does it gear up for Oktoberfest!

    You are one of the busiest people I know. Sadly, you are dashing my hopes that peaceful days just come naturally as one matures. I have been fantasizing that in 10 or 20 years I’ll have nothing to do all day but take walks and naps. Then I could rest. I fear I’ll end up like you: constantly on the go, learning, doing, teaching, contemplating, and smiling at all the good stuff. I guess that’s not so bad.

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