Snow-clad scenery, relaxing travel and superb singing combine these next three Saturdays on the snow train to Leavenworth, and on December 14 travelers get the added bonus of hearing Stephanie Anne Johnson, Tacoma native and recent contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Johnson, who participated in the TV talent show last month, will be one of many entertainers strolling through the holiday-decorated train that takes travelers from Seattle to the Bavarian-themed fairy-tale town in the Cascades and the holiday lighting festival that makes it such a attraction. Among the other performers on the snow train are the Spoonman, Bonnie Birch and her Bavarian Band, sleight-of-hand magicians and the Small Time String Band with banjo and fiddle.
Johnson, an award-winning indie blues singer/songwriter and Stadium High/PLU graduate who makes her living singing on cruise ships, sing soulful music inspired by Etta James, Cab Calloway and Bonnie Raitt. Though Johnson left the show in an early round, her singing was praised by judge Christina Aguilera for its “unique tonality and interesting inflections.”
Catching the train to Leavenworth is always more relaxing than dealing with icy roads and parking hassles, but the regular Amtrak train – the Empire Builder going on to Chicago – leaves Seattle at 4:40 p.m., meaning a dark arrival in Leavenworth and at least two nights’ stay there, since the return train departs Leavenworth at the chilly hour of 6:08 a.m. The holiday snow train, however, leaves Seattle at 8 a.m., arriving in Leavenworth at 1:30 p.m. after an onboard continental breakfast. Visitors get three hours to enjoy the snowy, faux-German town – described by the New York Times as dressed to look like the interior of a snow globe – before shuttles begin taking travelers back to the train, which offers onboard dinner and entertainment before arriving back in Seattle at 10:45 p.m.
Snow trains run Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from King Street Station, Seattle; Everett and Edmonds. Tickets are $179 coach, $219 premium, $269 dome car; but are almost sold out. Contact Alki Tours on 800-895-2554 or alkitours.com.
For regular train trips to Leavenworth, see amtrak.com.