If anyone knows me they know I love being outdoors and in the magic of nature. While summer brings long hikes and camping, winter brings the magic of snow when the whole world turns white and sparkles. One of my very favorite traditions with my boyfriend has been to visit Leavenworth at the beginning of December each year to see the Christmas Lighting Festival. It is so very magical and beautiful and takes my breath away each and every time.
We usually get there on a Saturday afternoon to explore the town and check out our favorite shops. These include all of the different candy shops (of course!), the Kris Kringle Christmas shop, and the store with all the nutcrackers. I usually like to spend the most time in the Christmas shop, staring in awe of all the amazing Christmas towns set up in the back. I started my collection the first time we went to Leavenworth with a Department 56 North Pole Collection house. They’re so glittery and colorful and they’re my favorite decorations to put out each year. Although I went with the North Pole collection, there are MANY to choose from in the back.
Besides looking in the shops, we also usually walk down to the river and crunch through the snow along the trails. There are several bridges and mini islands to explore through nature. We even sat down and ate our packed lunches there this year. It’s beautiful and a part of the experience I look forward to each year.
Once the sun went down, the festivities began. There are carolers at the town center in the gazebo and the mayor comes to speak and assist with the ceremony. Everyone in the town sings together as the stars come together and light each and every tree and house in the downtown Leavenworth vicinity. While I know what to expect, having gone several times, it always leaves me speechless. The lights sparkle against the snow and everyone around is so happy and excited in enjoying the season. Children are on parents’ shoulders and loved ones snuggle close together. It’s definitely something to see at least once in a lifetime.
After the festival lighting, we walked around for awhile and admired the different lights throughout the town. I can only imagine how long it takes to get all of that magic set up each year. We then proceeded to pick a restaurant (Italian of course!) and sat down to a beautiful dinner. It was quaint and romantic in the tower of one of the buildings in town. We had front row seats to the festivities and lights below us.
Once we were finished with an extremely romantic dinner, we headed back down to take pictures of the lights and take in the magic. We walked through the entire town again, pausing periodically to really experience everything around us. As we headed back through one last time, my boyfriend pulled me into the gazebo in the center of town which, by then, was empty. What had been a central piece of the festivities filled with carolers and light was at that moment, just us. He focused in on me, saying the most beautiful words and got down on one knee. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be marrying this man. Here’s to planning a wedding and a life together! What a life-changing weekend away.