In an attempt to get me and my family out of the house and away from our cozy neighborhood (which I love by the way) I came up with the brilliant idea yesterday of going on a road trip.
“A road trip? Where?” My husband asked warily.
“I don’t know. Just a day trip somewhere we haven’t been before. Get outside. We just need a change of scenery.”
“Ya sure. Sounds like a good idea. Lets talk about it in the morning.”
So the morning got off to a slow start and I didn’t push anything because I know from experience that that never end well.
“What are we doing today?” My daughter queries from her spot on the sofa.
Before I can answer my husband says.
“We’re going on an adventure to a fort.”
“Like in Little House on the Prairie?”
“Yes, just like that.”
And about an hour later we are dressed and ready to go. Twenty minutes later we are off the highway and following the signs to Fort Langley.
The town of Fort Langley is tiny. Surrounded by suburban farmland and a mixture of tiny ancient ranchers and shiny new mansions, it is a quant Fraser Valley town. There are maybe three or four blocks of stores and restaurants before you turn off the main strip to the Fort.
We pay our admission and the history lesson begins.
Fort Langley is the birth place of British Columbia. The Hudson Bay Company originally established it as a trad
ing post in 1824. It’s position on the river gave easy access for traders. Initially trading consisted of the Aboriginal people bringing in their fur pelts but it quickly grew to include exporting brined salmon to Hawaii and cranberries to San Francisco.
In 1858 the gold rush began and Americans flooded the area hungry for an opportunity to strike it rich. James Douglas was, at the time, the manager of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the Pacific region. The British government sense that things are changing and in 1858 revoked HBC’s license and made British Columbia a Crown colony with James Douglas as its first governed.
Aside from learning all of this Liv learnt how to make a candle holder from a blacksmith and how to make a barrel from a cooper. She got to dress up in period clothing and roast chestnuts over and open fire.
The fresh air was great but it was also bloody cold (there was no indoor heating in the 1800 apparently.) so we wrapped up our history lesson and went in search of some lunch.
There are no shortage of places to eat in Fort Langley. From the Japanese bistro to the upscale French restaurant to Say Cheese, a grilled cheese hole in the wall that sells…..wait for it…..grilled cheese sandwiches. We decided on a diner for our lunch and it didn’t disappoint. Burgers in red plastic baskets and ten scoop ice cream sundaes with names like the Cadillac and the Elvis Banana Supreme. I was disappeared that the booth size juke boxes didn’t work but loved the kitschy decor of Betty Boop memorabilia and travel pennants from around BC.
Of course what trip to a touristy town would be complete without a trip to the candy store. There are actually two within a one block range. One is the typical penny candy, pez dispenser, gum ball type and the other is strictly fudge and candy popcorn in a bazillion flavors. While the root beer flavour was spot on, it wasn’t my favorite.
We are back in the car and headed home by 3:00 pm. We have had fresh air, learnt a few new things (actually lots of new things) enjoyed some local culture and have a bag full of penny candy. Once again I realize that some of the Best Things in Life are not that far away if you are willing to get out and find them.