I was delighted to be invited to Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort in Leavenworth to experience the Taste of the Valley package this past summer. What a wonderful way to close the loop on a culinary/agri-tourism trip that had already taken me to Portland, Yakima Valley, SageCliffe’s Cave B Inn, and the Wenatchee Valley.
A Thursday arrival meant a chance to check out the Leavenworth Farmers Community Market. Friday featured an heirloom apple butter cooking class at Cashmere Cider Mill, and Saturday a cheese-making class at Alpine Lakes Sheep Cheese.
But, best of all, this was an opportunity for rest and relaxation at the resort. Sure, I made a couple of excursions into the town of Leavenworth, but the Bavarian Disneyland feel didn’t fit this food writer’s mood. There are a couple of culinary discoveries to be made in town, but mostly it’s the usual tourist-type shops selling tacky postcards and restaurants featuring traditional German fare.
Better was taking breakfast and dinner at Sleeping Lady’s Kingfisher Dining Lodge, where Chef Ken MacDonald utilizes fresh, local ingredients–many from the lodge’s organic garden. (You can take a guided tour of the garden on Saturdays to see the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers that get used in the kitchen.)
Service is buffet-style, resulting in meals that are hearty and healthy, though it’s easy to overindulge if you want to sample everything. There’s also a full-service bar. And the setting is beautiful. You can even eat outdoors at the creek-side meadow, where you might see owner Harriet Bullitt drop in on her private little chairlift (known as Harriet’s Chariot).
Previously known as Camp Icicle (used by the Civilian Conservation Corps), the property became a family-oriented dude ranch and then a Catholic camp before Bullitt transformed it into Sleeping Lady nearly twenty years ago. Built to blend with nature, the property contains clusters of cabin-like lodging on 67 acres of land. Sleeping Lady is in a spectacular setting amidst nature, perfect for strolling, birdwatching, and relaxing.
Scroll through the photo gallery, below, for more of the story about staying at Sleeping Lady.
A look inside the comfortable lodging at Sleeping Lady.
One of many interesting art installations at Sleeping Lady.
Chihuly’s Icicles at Sleeping Lady.
More art amidst the lodging at Sleeping Lady.
Chef Ken MacDonald of Sleeping Lady’s Kingfisher Dining Lodge.
Sampling of breakfast at Sleeping Lady. Note the blood sausage!
Steel-cut oats make for great oatmeal at Sleeping Lady.
Part of a dinner at Sleeping Lady. Absolutely fresh vegetables!
Zinnia. Cut your own herbs at Sleeping Lady.
An assortment of heirloom tomatoes for the taking at the salad bar.
Desserts are tempting at Sleeping Lady.
Hmm…how to choose from such a great dessert list?
The full-service bar at Sleeping Lady includes fabulous wines from Boudreaux Cellars, which is also located in Leavenworth (visits by appointment only).
The set-up for making apple butter at Cashmere Cider Mill.
The apple peeler at Cashmere Cider Mill.
Two jars of apple butter to take home from Cashmere Cider Mill.
Apple butter shake, anyone?
An assortment of ciders to sample at Cashmere Cider Mill.
The cheese-making class at Alpine Lakes Sheep Cheese is truly hands-on, and both fascinating and educational.
Cheese in storage at Alpine Lakes Sheep Cheese.
More of cheese-making at Alpine Lakes Sheep Cheese.
Curds overflowing everywhere!
In town: great charcuterie at Visconti’s.
The scene at Munchen Haus in Leavenworth.
More from Munchen Haus: so many sausages on the menu!
Even the Starbucks gets the Bavarian treatment in Leavenworth!
First published on TheSunbreak.com on October 27, 2010. (Thanks to Sleeping Lady for the top photo, as well as the interior lodging shot, the first art installation photo, and the photo of Chef MacDonald.)