As those of you who read this blog know, I believe in exploring and adventuring wherever I happen to be. Recently, I've been moving around a lot, which gives me great opportunities to get out and discover what's happening.
Arriving in Eaton, Colorado ahead of the snow that hit the Rockies the day after I wound my way through them, I quickly got settled at Susan and Dan's, which is right in Eaton, a small, farming community. That doesn't mean bucolic, pastoral fields of cows grazing, corn growing and vegetable gardens in every yard. This is industrial farming. Miles and miles of flat, cultivated and irrigated land that is just now being turned and will soon be fertilized with heaven knows what! And with the oil and gas boom, just about every field is dotted with fracked wells. Not a pretty sight, but the locals are happy - megabucks pouring into the area and MacMansions popping up in place of corn.
Nothing is going to stop the exploring, so Susan and my first little adventure was into Greeley, a college town about 10 miles from here. Sunday morning and we got a recommendation for a good coffee shop (NOT Starbucks, or Charbucks, as I call it) and made out way into the University District to The Blue Mug @margies, a charming place that reminded us of Port Townsend. Funky furniture, high ceilings with wonderful old tinned tiles and most importantly...good coffee. It wasn't too crowded, being Sunday and the college students were probably still sleeping off heavy Saturday night parties. It wasn't really warm enough to b out on the delightful patio, though. Once it warms up a bit, that will be the place to enjoy sit out under the big umbrellas and enjoy the surroundings.
As I mentioned, Eaton is a tiny dot on the map, but one of Susan's favorite places is The French Corner, an antique-y store with some lovely stuff. It smelled so good, too as there are bowls of potpourri strategically places, as well as scented candles to brighten the dark corners. It's in an old building that lends itself to the decor. The prices, for the most part, were reasonable and there is a huge variety of goods. We spent a sensory-filled hour or so wandering, touching, smelling and just enjoying.
Eaton actually has two French Corners and we visited both, the second one appearing to have more of a "sale" appearance, although I don't think that is the intention. Either way, both locations are fun places to go.
Yesterday, we planned to go to Fort Collins, which is half an hour or so away as there is supposedly a Farmers Market right in Old Town. Well, we didn't find it, but Old Town is a place I plan on going back to explore. We found out later that the market was indoors! So no wonder we didn't see it.
We made a circular route back to Eaton, but as I had found a Groupon for a tea place in Greeley, we decided to do that instead.
What fun that was!
For Susan, who lived in the area 30 years ago, it was an eye-opener, as the area has grown up so much, getting gentrified and moving beyond being an agricultural town known for its meatpacking plant (which is still here to handle the animals from the local stockyards). There are lovely old building, many brick ones that are starting to house a lot of restaurants, specialty stores and places like Cranford Cove Tea Tavern.
What a delightful place that turned out to be! The Groupon worked getting us in there and I know we will go back. It's in a storefront location and has a surprising twist to the tea theme. Of course, you can get a cuppa but the specialties are alcoholic drinks made with various teas and spirits! My libation was a hot spiced rum drink made with the special chai blend (I always go for rum) and Susan's was a Lemon Drop made with green tea and ...hmm I forget but it was delicious!
Making the Tea Tavern even more special is that it is not-only-for-profit enterprise, that benefits Love Made Claim, a non-profit with "a mission to reach those in the sex industry with the truth that they are loved and valued." I do like to support social entrepreneurs as I believe this is the way of the future.
"Driving us home today from an outing Poulsbo, Susan had a very close call at Termination Point. Susan exhibited such amazing driving skills. Some guy pulled out right in front of us and with no time to pick a different course, Susan punched it just enough that he went behind us. I fully expected an impact. There was a semi coming toward us on 104 and we would have been shoved into its path had the other driver hit us. Still shaking but really glad it was she who was driving. I am not sure if I could have pulled that off. Thanks, Susan! I think you need to pull the name "Granny" off of anything you are involved with. You are far from what most folks think of when they hear "Granny". Thanks from me and my husband, kiddos and grand-kids!"
It happened very fast and I really didn't think - just reacted! I know Susan was more shook up than I was. I'm just glad her little Honda Fit had the get up and go I needed to blast us out of the way!
But it's also good to know my reactions are still good - despite being a granny!
Our little adventure into Poulsbo was otherwise very pleasant, with a stroll along the main street and coffee at Hot Shots cafe. Poulsbo is a great little town to visit. It has a population of about 10,000 and has a very Scandinavian flavor. The streets are lined with Danish and Norwegian-style buildings and you can get the best pastries at the bakeries.
There are also a lot of art galleries and Gallery Walk is the second Saturday of each month, so I have "calendared" it for the next one in 10 days. Should be a fun outing. I've been to the Port Townsend Gallery Walk (on the first Saturday of each month) but never gone to Poulsbo's.
The town is right on Liberty Bay and the marina is large and a popular place for boaters in the summer. In the winter, the docks are fairly empty but it is one of the few places that still has boat houses.
Poulsbo is also easily accessible from Seattle. You can come across on the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, then just a short 20 minute drive, over Agate Pass to town. Or the ferry to Bremerton and then up Hwy 3 about 20 minutes. Or... you can drive around through Tacoma, over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, through Gig Harbor. About an hour and half depending on traffic.
Today, I talked to my sister in New Zealand on Skype. It was really hard not to say anything! And she doesn't have a clue, so we are doing a good job keeping the secret!.