Yesterday we went up to Cottage Grove to the wrestling tournament at the high school and then walked around downtown Grove. We’d been wanting to try the Fleur De Lis, a bona fide French bakery, rumored to be owned and operated by actual French people not associated with the University. The Napoleon pictured here indicated that rumors may be true. It was really good. The turkey sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread was more of a cultural crossover.
On Facebook, one friend made fun of how long it would take to tour downtown Cottage Grove (“what did you do with the rest of the hour?”). But we goofed around in antique shops for quite a while and if we had stayed any longer I would have tried Big Stuff BBQ. They were smoking meat in the parking lot next to their place. It hit my Kansas City BBQ neurons hard. There were also places to stop and have a high-end (artisanal hand-crafted) beer along with places to have a Budweiser and some chicken strips.
We also happened upon the old National Guard Building, which looks like a potential McMennamin’s Hotel waiting to happen. Or it would be if Cottage Grove were closer to a metropolitan area. You can tell lots of TLC has been put into the old downtown, and it is a fun place to stroll around. The Ax and Fiddle is there on the main drag, too--a fine venue. Dead Moon and Danny Barnes have played there, what else is there to say?
People can make all the wisecracks they want about how small it is, but The Cottage Grove downtown may be more comfortable than Eugene’s. Eugene is at war with itself in bizarre ways that only become clear when you take a break from it. I’ve even heard Eugene described as “twenty square miles surrounded by reality.” This hypothesis really grabbed me: people moved here from the Bay Area in the very early 70’s when speed was introduced to the LSD people were taking. Everyone freaked out and moved here to stay home and tend their kombucha and be at odds with change. (I moved here because I tasted a fresh raspberry in July and was impressed that The Kiva sold Wright Morris novels along with the organic kale, not knowing it is wet and cold for nine months of the year.)
I didn’t intend to compare the two downtowns and make totally subjective wisecracks, but somehow that happened. Anyway, both downtowns are fun. And in Cottage Grove you won’t get a parking ticket, because parking is FREE.
Speaking of free parking, the $5 sale goes on at my cdbaby store. Let's refresh some inventory in 2013.