Detour Surprise

Sweet Pea Farm

sweet pea farm4 First it was just a little chalk board, balance against a stone at the junction of the main road and our rural road. After a few days, I followed the signs and arrived at a dirt road that I remember from my old real estate days, and thought, "There isn't anything down there," turned around and went home.

A few weeks later, the Sweet Pea Farm sign was bigger, with more offerings and I thought, "I really should go and check this out."

Yesterday I finally made the minor detour, and what a little treasure we have, withing walking distance of my house.

This time, I continued beyond where I had originally turned around and found a little country store, complete with goats and chickens, tucked up near the trees. A pumpkin patch snuggled up to an old windmill and pretty produce and craft displays bordered the store.

As I walked up to the what-looked-deserted building, the goats bleated and I gave their heads a rub before entering the building. Opening the door, and following the direction to turn on the light which was on the left, I was surprised to see a wide assortment of goodies, all displayed in country store fashion. Crates of onions and tomatoes; coolers of fresh lettuce and fresh-picked chantrelle mushrooms; fresh eggs from the resident chooks and so much more.

Every horizontal surface displayed local goodies - preserves, jams, chutneys. One area even offered freshly baked cakes.

And it wasn't just food. An old wood bookshelf held used books which overflowed onto old chairs alongside it. Artsy-craftsy items were incorporated throughout the store, with a lovely metal rooster, keeping watch over the honor-system payment box. Yes, all this and not a soul in sight!

I bought some fresh lettuce and zucchini (time for a loaf of zucchini bread) and a jar of chutney to go with my curry, paid and took my change from the jar sitting beside the cash box, turned off the light and went back outside.

The goats came running to the fence and I heard someone call out for them to stop! That's when I met Laurie, whose enterprise this is. And as we got chatting I heard about her future plans and envied her her enthusiasm for the project! Next year, she plans to have a farmers market in the field with small local growers. A local baker is going to be supplying fresh bread. Even through the winter, she plans to stay open, providing eggs and other non-seasonal goodies.

My little excursion is such a reminder that often detours, even small ones, can yield great surprises.

I promised Laurie that I would help spread the word about her Sweet Pea Farm.

Sweet Pea Farm 153 Seattle Dr Port Ludlow, Washington (360) 437-0645

Local Tripping: Bainbridge Island

Last weekend I played tourist on Bainbridge Island, just 45 minutes away. The town of Winslow is the connecting port for the Seattle Ferry, so there is a fair amount of traffic on the main road as people make their way back and forth. A lot of commuters live on the Island, too, avoiding the city hubbub.

I have spent little time there, mostly driving to and from the ferry and visiting a friend who lives there. And once, many many years ago, went to a very larny restaurant there. So it was a real adventure for me and Susan who joined me for the get-out-of-Dodge day.

The first road after we crossed Agate Pass, we went right. And that was it. Blue highways all the way. We ended up driving around the entire island and were amazed at the diversity of the houses. On one lot or parcel, an expansive farm with barns, horses, llamas. On the next, a dilapidated tear down, with moss and trees shrouding it, ancient vehicles rusting back into the earth. Then a brand new Craftsman-style for one of the neo-wealthy, probably a Microsoft employee! And right next to that, perhaps a lovely old Victorian lady all dressed up in pretty colors. It was surprising to see how many homes there are, tucked away in the woods.

As we looped our way around the island, we ducked into coves with docks and amazing views across the inlets. Some looked across the still waters to more houses. From other vantage points, across at the amazing Seattle skyline. We looked for the restaurant from years ago, but discovered by googling it that it had closed.

People of all shapes and sizes were enjoying the pretty day, at the parks, biking, running and walking. Dogs were enjoying the beaches and frigid waters as owners tossed sticks for them.

To end our outing, we went into Pegasus Coffee down on the waterfront in Winslow. Sunday afternoon with a very loud band encouraged us to sit outside on the patio under the heaters, welcome warmth as the sun went over the yardarm.

For everyone who has grown blasé about their local surrounds, I can only encourage you to get out and about, look at things through a tourists eyes and you will be amazed at what you might find.