Monday, August 09, 2021
Somewhere between Aurora, and McMinnville, I pulled over at a promising looking barn, with a fruit stand sign out on the highway. I can't not stop at barns, and fruit stands! The reward here were cut zinnias, and even an affordable vase for transporting fresh flowers. I had to bring my Mom zinnias. I chose two bouquets, and we got back on the road.
On a roadtrip, I have to be a bit stern with myself, because I am pilot and navigator, as well as boss of the itinerary, but my favorite role is Smitten Traveler, which means every vista, every farm, lighthouse, riverside park, and State Park Visitor Center beckons me, calls my name! My rational side calls me, too, and says, "Hey! We can't stop everytime you exclaim 'Beauty!' We will never reach our destination, at least not before dark." And then I have to reign in my Smitten ways, and focus on the drive. It's a constant struggle. Which is why I sighed, audbily, when miles outside of McMinnville we drove past another farm, with zinnias growing in rows beside the highway. Beauty! I exclaimed, and pushed forward. But the sight of those flowers, and the big barn were too much. Even though we were already a couple of miles down the road, I announced, "I can't take it. That barn and flowers are never going to leave me alone! Should I turn?" William, very cool and reasoned, replied, "Of course." It was absolutely the right choice! Bernards Farm. We could have picked berries, and I can only imagine the magical days during pumpkin picking season! We strolled through the barn, then around the flowers beds where I first saw those zinnias growing! Maria got a basket of blackberries. We bought hazel nuts and dark chocolate covered hazel nuts, black beans, and our very own We Believe, Love sign, for home. I know that farm work is work, that weather and climate, and the whims of nature can throw up challenges at every turn. I know it takes long days to bring in a harvest, to plant, to tend, to bring it all to market. But indulge me, just a moment... this place was just the perfect slice of idyllic farm heaven! I am so glad I stopped, and chatted with the sweet woman who sold us our treats, and invited us to walk around. I am glad I have lots of pictures, and can recall the birds flying up into the trees, the shade, and breeze, the long views of fields, and distant hills. Here, at home, I play at farming, dabble in gardening, and have the luxury of keeping farm animals as pets. I'm lucky. It's fun. But I have genuine respect and admiration for actual farmers, the people tending large gardens, and growing food to sell, to sustain their families. I am in awe of the people that pick berries for a living, and lettuce, apples, hazel nuts, chard, and potatoes. I did that kind of work, a few times, as a girl, in Mexico. It's not easy. It's not a photo-op event, an halcyon outing, when orchards need tending, and cows have to be milked, daily. So, even if I am just stopping by a farm, or picking up a basket of fruit, I feel tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the farmers, for the laborers, pickers, for the daily chores, and obstacles met, to bring us food, and beautiful, welcoming, seemingly idyllic places to visit, and enjoy.
I am so glad I decided to turn the van around and visit Bernards Farm. These memories make traveling everything that is worthwhile.
Seriously, sometimes I don't know how we get from point A to point B, when everywhere I see beauty, attractions, stuff that makes me want to stop! We did not stop at Christmas Cottage, but when I saw the shop, I rushed William to take some pictures. I could resist pulling over, but I know that if I were 7 or 8 years old, this place would have tormented my curiousity! I would have convinced myself we were passing up the chance to visit the North Pole itself!
We did make more stops, though, especially to take in the views of the Oregon Coast. We walked along some beaches, and peered over some bluffs. Regretfully, I wasn't mindful enough about the names of every scenic overlook we stopped at. Just know that from Lincoln City all the way to... well, all the way South! there are countless places worth seeing, exploring, appreciating. I'd like to do this trip all over again, and see twice as many. If there's a next time, I hope all the family will be with me, and friends, too. I imagine a caravan, and all of us camping, hiking, beachcombing, and stopping at farms, for days and days.
Even with rest stops, sight seeing, beach walks, and day dreaming, we made it back, south, to Mom and Dad's home in the woods, and they treated us to a really good dinner out, with more views of the beautiful Oregon Coast.