Sunday, July 5, 2015

Anniversary getaway brings oxygen deprivation, good burgers

The wife and I spent a couple of days this week in Idyllwild, a small mountain town whose name in Cahuilla Indian means "Scented candles half off with your purchase of wind chimes." 

It is a touristy little hamlet in the forest where, apparently, some city ordinance requires every store to have a carved wooden bear out front holding a sign. I guess it's so if you are a bear, you will know you are welcome to come in and freely buy the incense/dream catcher/shave ice/buffalo jerky which is on offer.

It was our 20th anniversary, and the traditional gift for the 20th is china, but in earthquake country that is like tempting fate with bacon and a red velvet cupcake. So we decided a couple of days in the fresh piney air away from the kids was a better call. 

I am writing this from the balcony of a foresty cabin overlooking a creek. Birds are twittering back and forth, as if to say "Yeah, for these prices I think the wi-fi ought to be stronger too."

A place like this can't just give you ordinary soap. No. The shampoo was made from coffee extract, and came from the dispenser like some kind of punch line to a motor oil joke. I have to say, though, it smelled great, and my hair never felt more ready to take the SAT.

Towns like this always have great food. There is something about the lack of oxygen which, ironically, really allows a chipotle-pineapple burger to breathe. 

In the mornings, they delivered a basket of still-warm scones to our cabin door. I have seen every season of "Downton Abbey," but I would still not call myself a "scone person." Until now. Random related thought: currants are so lucky to have even this one job.

We spent some time hiking peaceful nature trails and taking in the view from scenic outlooks. We poked around the shops, and it quickly became clear that, like the wooden bears, each store was required to play ethereal new age music and sell massage oils (hemp seed is a favorite), watermelon soap, tie-dye dresses or funny kitchen slogan signs. We held fast and were not seduced by these worldly temptations.

Anyway, happy 20 years, honey. Without you, I might have gone to my grave never knowing just how many types of probiotic tea they sell.

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