I know I am prone to gush about our neighbor to the north, but Eaters: look at the scenery! Oh Canada!
Oops! I mean: Eaters, look at the scenery!
My sister and I went on a mini-tour of the Kootenay region of B.C. and, just as I suspected, it’s a woodsy and mountainous wonderland with gobs of fresh air. The lakes are deep and chilly,* the residents are friendly, and there are lots of hot springs. Sadly, the gasoline and beer cost three prices, and we always seemed to be in dire need of both. But otherwise, it’s paradise.
The Canadian border guard who eyed our passports and asked us if we had guns, gin, or cocaine** that we needed to fess up to, noted our last names and inquired if he sensed, “Sister trouble headed north.” Oh yes.
Cut to our return from three nights in an adorable tiny home in Nelson, (more on Nelson next time) as we paused in postcard pretty Rossland, a ski town an hour north of the border. We asked a local where to get pastries and fortifying hot beverages, and she recommended Alpine Grind. I complimented her lovely town and she sighed happily, “We drove in 27 years ago and never left. I raised children in this town, and now my grandchildren are here.” I was tempted to do the same, but then remembered I was 47, with a family waiting back in the states. Too late for another life, but not too late for a pastry.
The Alpine Grind was a cafe of surpassing deliciousness with a menu including a vegetable frittata pressed (Yes! PRESSED!) bagel sandwich that fairly groaned under the weight of so much cheese. Served with salsa, it was exactly what we needed at the outset of a 500 mile (804 kilometer!) journey home. After that filling breakfast, my sister and I each ordered a baked good to go, something we were unable to resist doing on this jaunt. “I am on vacation!” I kept telling myself, from deeper and deeper within my chins. It’s a good thing I don’t vacation more often.
On my way out the door, I was doctoring my coffee at the creamy (milk from local, grass-munching cows!) embellishment station, when I looked around at upwards of six new mothers with babies. I was impressed with the level of lactation, human and bovine, in the area. “What’s the deal with all the babies?” I inquired of the rugged man who was also tarting up his coffee. He looked like he slung refrigerators around for a living.”That’s what this town does,” he replied. “I am just trying to get out of here without getting pregnant,” I said, letting out my signature, self-conscious cackle-honk. And then, because I never run out of stupid things to say, I topped it off with: “I’m kidding; I am only here for ten more minutes.” Marycake! Shut up! He looked at me circumspectly, “You never know. You may meet the man of your dreams here.”
Yes, well, the man of my dreams was, at that very moment, back in Olympia with a congested and coughing daughter, and a similarly ailing dishwasher; I knew he was mightily weary of my wanderlust. Forget possible impregnation, I needed to get out before I used up my husband’s store of patience. I grabbed my scone and took flight, my sister on my heels, clutching her cinnamon roll.
I will have more to say about baked goods and Canada – I usually do. So stay tuned to see if we made it back, or decided to stick around and stalk Justin Trudeau while bakery-hopping.
*I asked a local where I could find a good place to swim and she said, “You can’t. By the end of summer the lake temperatures will be just up to…freezing.” That right there, is all the encouragement I require.
**No, just mace, beer, and SSRIs.