Ever felt like you got caught in a time warp? Whirled into a yester-year wind mill or stumbled onto Memory Lane?
I felt like that when Snugs and I wandered into the town of Lynden, Washington last week. We were celebrating our 36th anniversary hiking and exploring Whatcom County in the northwest corner of the Evergreen State.
We didn’t know this town even existed until the nice folks at our hotel in Bellingham, about two hours north of Seattle, mentioned it.
It felt like I had just fallen into a pool of memory. I could almost hear my grandmother’s rich Dutch accent. See her bright tulip beds rippling in vibrant color. Or smell her Rode Kool Met Appeltjes (red cabbage and apples) sizzling on the stove. Taste her fabulous Draadjesvlees (slow-braised beef) and hearty Erwtensoep (traditional Dutch split pea soup).
My maternal grandmother was from Holland. (You can read more about that at Hard Night: Growing Up in the Land of Endless Summer and The Small Things: What ‘The Waltons’ Taught Me About Writing & More.) So roaming the streets of this sweet little Dutch-themed town felt like I was tip-toeing down memory lane.
It was late in the day when we arrived. We were tired. the town was quiet.
But what a treat, right down to the graceful leafy canopies of trees lining streets near downtown. We asked the locals what they were. No one knew. But I recognized them (I think). I remember them from my last visit to grandma’s house in Michigan. In 1967.
They’re Dutch elms. Go figure.
Indeed, Lynden’s Dutch heritage is on display everywhere. This town is So. Darn. Cute. It features wind mills, colorful wall murals, Dutch bakeries and restaurants, verbiage, tulips, and all things Hollandish.
A walk down Lynden’s Main Street is like stepping back into the Old Country. I half-expected a little Dutch boy to appear around the next corner, holding the sea back with his finger in a dike.
It’s been a long time. Remind me to thank those nice folks at the hotel in Bellingham.