Standing armies of tiny white and purple flowers invade every inch of the yard, melodious frog-song ripples through the still evening, baby lambs and piglets frolic and romp in the pastures, and love hangs in the air as thick and heavy as the warm, mossy scent after a gentle rain. It is finally Spring here at the Hollow, and our hearts are as light as the breeze that is gently flowing through the window as I write.
It makes perfect sense to me that Valentine’s Day just happens to herald springtime. It is by its very nature the most romantic of the seasons, as is evidenced by the baby bunnies and quail chicks in the backyard. And when my thoughts turn to love and romance, I can think of no better way to celebrate it than a day away from having to cook and wash dishes!
Food is a part of every celebration in every culture and corner of the world, so it should come as no surprise to find happy folks roaming this way and that way in search of the perfect location to enjoy the tasty treats that will lovingly complement any happy occasion. When it is my turn to find the perfect spot, I always tend to follow the “locals”. Better than Michelin stars hanging proudly on the walls, a burgeoning parking lot is the highest testament to great food. And if it also happens to have a place to tether your horse, then you really know you’ve found something special.
Located just minutes up the road from our quaint town of Duncan, BC, in a charming and eclectic little place called “Whippletree Junction“, sits the famous Pioneer House restaurant. Food-savvy locals here have been taking their sweethearts to this rustic log house since the 1970’s. Current owner Gerald John, and until recently his mother Shelagh, have been the reason folks have kept coming back since 1977. Featuring a menu of mouth-watering home-style cooking, the only problem is trying to decide what to order first!
Coming through the ornate front doors takes you on a trip back in time to when guns and whiskey glasses dotted the bar and cancan girls danced gaily to jovial piano tunes. This antique bar, found quite by accident in a deserted mining town near Butte, Montana by Whippletree Junction founder Randy Streit, brings authentic wild-west charm and feel to the log building that was specifically constructed to showcase it. Still shining proudly with the original finish, it has undoubtedly witnessed many an evening filled with much merriment, and as legend has it, perhaps the occasional gun fight as well, as it graced the St.Francis saloon from 1890-1971.
The dining room is warm and cozy and the large fireplace makes a great place to sit and snuggle with your beloved as “Frank” the buffalo, a celebrated antique in his own right, keeps an ever-watchful eye on the goings-on beneath. Western-themed artifacts and antique bric-a-brac adorn the walls and shelves creating a unique atmosphere to complement the hearty food and cheery chatter.
With nooks and crannies abound, it is an easy task to find the perfect spot to suit any occasion. And if you happen to be dining without a family of your own, it is not unusual for the one at the next table to adopt you for a spell! The friendly staff knows most of the patrons by name, and even if it is your first visit, you quickly feel welcome and a part of the festivities.
If you and your sweetie happen to have any room left after your dinner, you can enjoy a romantic tete-a-tete and steaming mug of coffee over a colossal cinnamon roll made just for sharing!
So if you happen to be near Whippletree Junction anytime soon with a tired horse and a hungry sweetheart, mosey on down to the Pioneer House restaurant, order up a cold sarsaparilla and set a spell. Gerald and his friendly team will be more than happy to take care of the cooking and cleaning, and your honey will think you’re sweeter than a heart-shaped box of bon-bons!
Thanks for joining us today as we ride off into the sunset with full bellies and warm hearts. As always, please do share your thoughts and comments as we love them all dearly!
Until next time!