I am currently on a road trip, crossing Canada with my hubbie and our dog.
We are taking our vintage camper trailer to Quebec to visit hubbie’s friend and relatives, and then we will come back through the northern United States. We are covering a lot of kilometres, and that means more than a few snacks in the car.
My go-to travel snack is popcorn – not too messy on the hands, it keeps well, and it’s fun to eat. (Even the dog likes it.) If we splurge, that becomes “Chicago Mix”, a blend of caramel corn and cheese corn. It is intense flavours of sweet and savoury and I find a couple of handfuls is enough to satiate my taste buds for a while.
Trail mix is also good on long driving days if we don’t have a lunch planned. Cashews, raisins and chocolate chips give me the perfect midday boost so I can be a sharp navigator at all times and keep conversation going if hubbie is feeling bored.
Often our snacks involve a stop at a local business, giving us a better chance to see the places we pass along the way. Sometimes, we spot places in a town on the main street, or I might look up what possibilities are nearby.
Here are some highlights so far:
• Butter tarts at The Copper Eagle in Greenwood, B.C. It also has great coffee and tea to go with them.
• Sausage rolls at Red Cliff Bakery in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The chocolate puffed wheat squares it makes every day looked amazing too.
• Soft serve ice cream at O’Rudy’s Creek House in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. It has 24 flavours.
• Old-fashioned ice cream floats and shaved ice at Summer Rays in Regina Beach, Saskatchewan. It also has delicious lemonade.
These local stops also give us a chance to see the ambience of a place. In Greenwood, we walked along the street and saw the beautiful display of antique kitchen appliances in an old storefront. In Medicine Hat, we found the bakery in an industrial district, with plenty of friendly locals who work nearby. We were charmed by both.
O’Rudy’s is in Riverside Park, which has a splash zone to play in and picnic tables under huge cottonwood trees. Kids squealing under the sprays and folks relaxing in the shade reinforced that laid-back summer vibe. I could have been looking at a Norman Rockwell painting.
Regina Beach reminded me of beachside towns in movies, with a main street that goes right to the pier. There were local kids hanging out at a street corner on their bikes, laughing and swapping stories. The end of the pier was decorated with a smattering of guys of various ages, all dangling fishing poles.
We have many more days on the road, and I know we will see many more beautiful scenes. It’s not all about the food, but I do love how food brings people together, how it represents the ambience of a place.
I hope you are taking time out of your days to soak in the hometown vibes. Even if you don’t go anywhere, these heartwarming scenes are waiting to be savoured.
And I’ll talk to you next week, further down the road.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.