Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July trip to Holden Village, Washington

    Have you ever wondered what society was like, long before strip-malls, carbon footprints, and slow-food existed? Well the closest I can imagine is a quaint little place called Holden Village. Perhaps you haven't seen the road signs pointing the way, and that's because there are no road signs leading this way...in fact, there isn't even a road that will get you to Holden Village. First you have to take a boat ride 16 miles across one of the deepest lakes in North America, Lake Chelan.

Then when the boat drops you off, the faint of heart will be clutching their bags tightly as an antique school bus drives them up 11 miles of switchbacks. I mean switchbacks... But never fear, at least you will be riding in style...

Any hearty soul who makes it this far will be applauded as they step off the bus, greeted by a menagerie of villagers, who have gathered to see who has come to their village this day. On the day that we arrived, Holden was holding their annual 4th of July parade. The entire village dressed up in various attire, and stormed the main street, throwing candy to the young and old. Some made their own parade floats, while others used barely-running snowcats, reminders of the history of this place.

Why a village? you might ask...Let's see how well I can explain this....Holden Village was originally a bustling mining town during the 30's and 40's. After the price of copper dropped, the village became abandoned, and only a few caretakers stayed behind. In the late 60's, the mining company made a deal with the Lutheran church, and the entire village was sold for $1.00. Yep...a whole dollar. Since then, the village has changed in many ways, but still retains much of its' heritage. Villagers sleep in the same lodges where minors used to rest their weary heads, and all eat in the same dining hall. At night one can have fun bowling in the 2 lane bowling alley (but you have to go put the pins back up by yourself). Scoops is the ice cream shop, open each afternoon at 3:00, right when the hottest part of the day makes you wonder if air conditioning was ever really invented (because there is none in the village....no ice either).

This trip back in time is a yearly event for me, at least when life affords me the time to step back and relax. Of all the activities one can partake in at Holden, my favorite by far is the Craft Cave.....built into the bottom of one of the old mining lodges, it stays cool even during the hottest months of the year....come take a look...

Down in the craft cave lives every type of artistic expression possible. From giant kilns running off of the energy of the local stream, to walls full of weaving yarn, ready to be put in the loom.

This place has it all.

And what inspires all this creativity in a place that time seems to have forgotten? Well I'm sure you'll get a different answer for each person you ask, but it's hard to deny that the beauty and intimacy of the mountains might have something to do with it.

I loved finding this little quote, which someone had artfully framed with woven needles from a Ponderosa pine...

It reminds me that I should always work with joy, and never hesitate to stop, and enjoy the beauty around me.

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