A taste of America

Last weekend was our change of scenery and pace; we drove down to Washington State.

We had no real agenda aside from the fact that we wanted to attend a sock-hop dance in Wauconda, population a hand full, and then on to Winthrop for some blues music, population a few handfuls.

Martin and I always enjoy sampling the culture anywhere we travel. Being in the land of plenty, we decided to indulge in a few good American treats.

We tried a few funky chocolate bars we had never heard of, and tasted different chips and an avocado tomatillo salsa. We even stopped at a drive-in for milkshake.

Silly man, Martin totally forgot where he was and asked for two large milkshakes. While we advanced to the pick-up window I thought, wow, I hope that large is not too large.

It was 32 ounces. But it was also thick, rich, and really tasty — a good, old-fashioned milkshake. Next time, I think we’ll just share a medium.

Our first event stop was the Vintage Car Show and Sock Hop in Wauconda, which has four buildings. The old school still stands, but has been empty a long time.

The cafe, which also houses the post office, is for sale. It might be a fun project for someone looking to be a part of a rural community.

The church is still a gathering place, and many of the parishioners support the community hall too. The hall was built in 1917 and is host to the longest running annual Flag Day celebration in the county. How is that for patriotism?

We love the chance to drop in and enjoy the enthusiasm in this little community.  

I pulled out my bobby socks and swishy skirt (no poodle, though) and tied up my ponytail so that I would fit in. It was a truly spectacular evening of family fun with kids and grandparents and lots of laughter.

Lots of people were obviously remembering old times, but even the kids danced and engaged in the fun.

The crowd spilled out into the field to cool off, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary was kept busy serving lemonade (they sold out of pie in the afternoon during the vintage car show).

I felt as though I had entered a wonderful time warp where life was indeed simpler and everyone was happy.

It sounds corny, but you know, it was magical to see such strength of spirit in a community of people.

They were so proud that their little country event was a success. At one point one of the singers said to the crowd, “Do you think anyone in America is having as much fun as we are?”

 It made my heart swell to be a part of it all. That kind of spirit doesn’t belong to America, after all, it belongs to a community.  

Our next destination was Winthrop and it too had a retro feel. The town has been redecorated western style, in keeping with its history from mining days through to current farming and ranching.

This tight-knit community hosts the longest running rhythm-and-blues music festival in Washington, one weekend in July.

It’s a bit like a mini-Woodstock, with a huge stage in an open field next to a small river. Many festival goers camp for the weekend and cool off in the river when it gets too hot to sit in the sun and tap their toes to the tunes.

There are vendors with carnival style food, but many families bring their picnics. And of course you can get a gypsy skirt or funky crystal jewelry if you’re so inclined.

This year we heard Allen Stone serenade the crowd as the sun set behind the stage. We gave in to the urge for a bag of mini donuts, served with chocolate sauce and toasted coconut – retro with a modern twist. Divinely inspired!

We had a wonderful retro trip. It was like going back in time where adults relaxed and kicked back and kids ran around with no city worries.

I strongly encourage any one wanting a change of scenery to visit the towns across the border. There is about a dozen of them and all with a little something to offer.

If you'd like to join in the fun, you can take our trip back in time too. Check out Wauconda Community Hall on Facebook for their event dates. Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival is on Facebook, too.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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