Friday, August 2, 2013

Top Five Places to Visit in A Cozy Town by Constable Molly Smith (From the Constable Molly Smith novels) by Vicki Delany

My name’s Molly Smith, and I live in Trafalgar, British Columbia.

Trafalgar is a cozy town, nestled in the mountains in the British Columba Interior, a haven for neo-hippies, wilderness adventurers, new-age travellers, and the comfortably retired. But there’s nothing cozy about my job. I’m a cop and I have some big decisions to make.

I love Trafalgar, I love being close to my mom, known to everyone (and I do mean everyone) as Lucky, and I have a boyfriend here, a sexy RCMP dog handler, but if I’m going to have a chance of climbing the ladder in my police career, perhaps even making detective some day or becoming a forensics officer, I need big-city police experience. And that would mean leaving Trafalgar.

In the meantime, if you’re planning a visit to Trafalgar here are the places you don’t want to miss.

Mid-Kootenay Adventure Vacations: Trafalgar’s a tourist town, for the sort of tourists who want to hike and kayak in the summer and ski in the winter. Whatever your outdoor needs, Mid-Kootenay Adventure Vacations has it all. I was raised in that store, crawling among the ski poles and hiking boots, and when I was a teenager I led multi-day expedition into the backcountry. The store was opened back in the 1970s when wilderness tourism was just getting going by my mom and dad, Andy and Lucky Smith, who, come to think of it, were also just getting going. My mom still runs the place. Mom’s one of the town’s number one movers and shakers. She’s an old hippy (I try not to mention that my real name is Moonlight Legolas – what a name for a cop!), and as passionately committed to the environment, to issues of peace and social justice as she was on the day she married my dad. Makes it awkward sometimes, me a cop and Mom on one side or another on every issue in this town. Don’t remind me of the time I was policing a riot – and there was Mom, behind the barricades.

Big Eddie’s Coffee Emporium. As well as great wilderness and fabulous scenery, British Columbia is known for the quality of its coffee shops. And Big Eddies can be counted on as one of the best. Fabulous coffee, huge breakfast sandwiches, home-made muffins and cookies, healthy salads. My favourite is the Special Hot Chocolate. Full of piping hot chocolaty goodness and topped with a mountain of whipped cream. Real whipped cream. Sergeant Winters tells me the coffee’s pretty good too. And, best of all, it’s right around the corner from the police station. So you can find cops in uniform sharing a table, and a joke, with a long-haired, heavily pierced Internet guru or a sleek Lululemon-clad Mom straight from yoga class with her toddler in a stroller the size of a small car.

Blue Sky Ski Resort. If there’s one thing better than Big Eddie’s Hot Chocolate, it’s driving out of town with a mug of that hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich heading for Blue Sky. It’s only about ten minutes out of town but one of the best ski hills in all of B.C. And that’s saying a lot. Blue Sky is famous for the amount of snow, as well as the quality of the snow. Champagne powder, we call it. All you’ll find at Blue Sky is superb skiing and a single building with a great cafeteria and hopping bar. No hotels, no restaurants, no fancy shops or wine bars. Just perfect skiing. And, to make things even better, as a police officer, I get to ski for free if I agree to carry a radio and help the security guys out if needed.

Hiking Trail above town. If you’re coming in summer, you won’t get to experience Blue Sky, but there are plenty of other things to do. If you’re short on time, or not the sort to want to go backcountry hiking, try the trail above town. It’s the old railway bed, now cleared and maintained for hikers. It’s built right on the lip of the mountain (Trafalgar is so steep, houses at higher elevations experience different weather than those below) with a wonderful view down the mountain to the town nestled in the valley, the river, and the mountains beyond. A great place to walk your dog or go mountain biking.

The Potato Famine. Okay, maybe the Potato Famine isn’t high on the list of places to visit put out by the Trafalgar Tourist Board. Not for those who don’t ride into town on a Harley looking for a drunken punch-up. But if you’re looking for me and it’s a Saturday night you’ll have a good chance of finding me there. Breaking up fights, checking on the bouncers, looking out for underage drinkers. Some nights we seem to run a taxi service between the PF (as we call it) and the cells at the police station. I’d recommend you do not try the burgers (I can’t vouch for the quality of meat that goes into it) or the beer on tap (where do they get that sludge?) but they can get some pretty good heavy metal music groups in.

If that’s your thing.

Alphonse’s Bakery. Last of all, my favourite place. A real French bakery run by a real Frenchman. Baguettes and croissants to die for. And best of all: I live in the apartment above. When I get home after night shift, I’m greeted by the marvellous smells coming from the oven. I fall asleep dreaming of warmth and rising yeast. When I get home after day shift, there’s often a treat of baking left on the step for me.

If I do leave Trafalgar, after the town, my mom, Adam, the guys and girls on the force (some of them, anyway), I think I’ll miss Alphonse’s the most.

As well as the Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press, Vicki Delany also writes standalone Gothic thrillers, and the Klondike Gold Rush series. The sixth Molly Smith book, A Cold White Sun, will be released on August 6th and can be pre-ordered at Amazon. Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com, https://www.facebook.com/Vicki.Delany, on Twitter @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave.

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