This is the Life – The big sales pitch

There is nothing quite like showing guests around the Creston Valley and East Shore to serve as a reminder of why we live here.

“We know, Lorne. We should move here.” My niece’s husband made the comment as we were driving from one place to another on Saturday.

There is nothing quite like showing guests around the Creston Valley and East Shore to serve as a reminder of why we live here.

Our guests—my sister and brother-in-law, their daughter and son-in-law—arrived on Friday from Calgary, and we had a busy itinerary planned. It started out with an afternoon visit on the deck to catch up on our summer’s activities, and then we headed down to Casey’s Community House for dinner. We all enjoyed our meals and drinks as I pointed out the many features that make the building so beautiful. “Superb,” was my sister’s comment about her steak. “Couldn’t be better,’ her husband said.

After breakfast on Saturday morning we set out on a more ambitious schedule, with the Cross Country Seeing art gallery tour and Yasodhara Ashram playing key roles. First stops after a wander through the amazing Creston Valley Farmers’ Market were to the home studios of fabric artist Anne Fetterly and Andrea Revoy, both in Erickson. These two artists are among my very favourite people in the valley, and we had delightful visits.

Then we headed up to Highway 3A to spend most of the day. An hour’s drive took us to Crawford Bay, where we had planned to have lunch at the Black Salt Café, always one of our favourites. No one was disappointed, and the mounds of shoestring potatoes were outstanding. We then wandered around to the neighboring shops—Dog Patch Pottery, Nordic Arts, Kootenay Forge, Barefoot Handweaving and, always a favourite—North Woven Broom, where it was amazing to see every young person in the shop begging their parents for a broom.

We signed in at the Ashram, then wondered around the grounds before making our way for the big reveal of the Temple of Light, where we sat in contemplation while a woman sang and played a chant on her euphonium, setting a perfect tone. Our guests were fascinated that supporters from around the world contribute in many ways to the operation of the Ashram.

As we drove back to Creston we made a stop at Wynnwood Estate Winery for a tasting and some purchases. Eventually back home, we tucked into the lasagna dinner I had prepared in advance.

On Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed out again. The first destination was a return visit to Anne Fetterly’s, where my sister purchased a shawl that she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about. Her daughter ordered a gorgeous blouse. Then we drove to West Creston for a visit to Carole Schloss’s home, where my brother-in-law, who paints as a hobby, was astonished by the oil pastels that Schloss, who organized the Art Seeing Tour with Karen Arrowsmith, produces. We also enjoyed the fabric creations of Ann Miller.

Kunze Gallery and the grain elevators are always a highlight, and we had a visit left a lasting impression on all.

Lunch? Where better than a spot on the patio at Baillie-Grohmann Estate Winery, where we enjoyed a huge charcuterie plate with our wine under shade from the hot sun. We followed that up with a visit to Skimmerhorn Winery next door, and regretted that we would not have time for a lunch on the deck on this visit.

As we sat at Baillie-Grohmann, our son, Evan, had texted that he had arrived at our house with his family, along with his mother-in-law and a niece. They were heading down for a swim at the Community Complex, which is always the first priority for our grandchildren.

Soon the 12 of us were back on our deck enjoying a brisket I had prepared, along with local vegetables and some of our wine purchases. Afterward, we still had enough energy to visit Millennium Park, where a blues band was entertaining. My family members had not visited the park before, and were suitably impressed.

Monday morning was the usual post-breakfast chaos of organizing and packing, with my family readying for the return to Calgary and Evan’s group continuing west for stays in Oliver and Naramata.

It was a pretty much perfect long weekend.

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