By Judy Smith
I just returned from the usual summer excursion to the coast, and as others travel out to the coast at this time of year I thought I would share some of the pit stops that might make the trip more enjoyable.
If I begin my journey in Castlegar, the first place I am ready for a break is in Greenwood, and Deadwood Junction is a perfect place to get a great cup of espresso and a home-made cinnamon bun or croissant sandwich. While waiting for my order to be made I can browse the collection of local arts and crafts in the store, including jewelry, stained glass, unique hats, leather work and wood carvings. I might pick up some delicious hand-crafted chocolates for the road or take to hosts in Vancouver. For those with a heartier appetite, the outdoor BBQ is open at lunch time during the summer where you can get fresh food made by a delightful cook wearing a bowler hat. The name, Deadwood Junction, gives honour to the men who worked in the local Deadwood gold mine. If you happen to be returning from Vancouver on a summer’s evening you might be lucky to enjoy a free music concert on the lawn.
I often take the opportunity to take a short walk down the main drag of Greenwood and stretch my legs while admiring the old store fronts. Once I checked out the museum and was rewarded with a free bottle of Greenwood’s famous “best water in the world.”
Carrying on to Rock Creek, a little café called Rock Creek Trading Company is situated before the Greyhound bus stop at the junction of Highway 33. The building goes back to 1880 during the gold rush, when it housed a Chinese laundry and trading post for Chinese miners. Several businesses have since used the building, but in 2003 it was purchased by its present owners who decided to roast their own Peruvian coffee beans and open a coffee shop. The idea has expanded to a café serving South American food and healthy lunch choices including vegan sandwiches and gluten-free desserts. Every winter the owners travel to South America and return with crafts and artifacts to sell in their store, so while waiting for your order, you can peruse a wide selection of interesting products and clothes made in Guatemala, Peru and other South American countries.
If you manage to get to Hedley before stopping for something to eat, The Hitching Post Restaurant is a good place to fill up with a substantial, western, home-cooked meal. You will need to leave the highway and go to downtown Hedley, but the old, sleepy town is worth the short stop. The building was one of the first in Hedley, built as a department store and dance hall during the gold mining heydays in 1903. After the mine closed, the town of Hedley shrank in size and the building became dilapidated. In the 1970s it was brought back to life as a restaurant serving laid-back health food. The owner during the 1990s made further improvements, adding wall murals painted by the owner’s wife. The restaurant now serves a full menu from chips to prime ribs in a classier-styled restaurant, but the floors remain the same as when the building was built: you can feel the bounce of the hardwood floors, and almost hear the rousing fiddle urging a wild jig.
Do you have any other favorite stops en route to Vancouver? Please share them by adding a comment after this article at www.castlegarnews.com or write a letter to the editor.