Claustrophobic Comfort

Wendel’s Books.  Fort Langley.  Glover and Mavis

It was a cold, grey, wet day out here in the Fraser Valley.  So I needed a place to pick me up.  A magical place.  I think I knew just where to go.

Fort Langley Village is such a place, a small strip of quaint historic buildings housing everything from boutique shops to a host of antique stores and a wide variety of places to eat.  It’s worth a visit, no matter what your taste is in shopping or food.  There is something for everyone.

However, I came for the coffee and a chance to experience two of my most favourite things: Eating and reading.  In other words, a café and bookstore all under the same roof.

Wendel’s is situated across the road from the CN Historical site in an old wooden building.  It’s easy to find.  Trust me.  It’s a big building with plenty of signage.

There weren’t a lot of people on the street but outside the cafe, even in the rain, people sat at the plastic tables wearing rain-gear.  They huddled near each other, warm drinks in hand.  It’s a good sign.  It shows either a local favourite or a hangout for rain-loving loony-toons.

Inside, it was dark and smelled of coffee and toasted bread.  It was loud and full.  Crowded even.  The bookstore is off to the left.   The café to the right.  The chairs and tables in the cafe are scuffed and old looking.  The paint around the window sills was chipped.  The floor looked worn and beaten up.

As it should be.

This is not a new Starbucks.  This is an old-school coffee shop and bookstore.

I looked at the menu written in chalk on a blackboard and made my choice.  A BLT with sourdough bread, salad with homemade creamy, honey mustard dressing.  Americano coffee.

Others ordered home-made soup.  A seated couple were sharing what looked like a tiramisu and discussing the Hunger Games.   Lots of choices for such a small place.  Healthy choices, too.    Or desserts.

I sat on a creaking bar stool at the window and ate.  My sandwich was delicious.  Fresh tomatoes.  Crisp lettuce.  Back bacon.  Light splash of mayo.  My coffee was perfect, strong and smooth.  My salad, well, saladie but with the dressing, quite yummy.  Good food for a good price.

But it’s really a place to go for the buzz, the atmosphere, the antique feeling, a comfortable place to sit and talk (or in my case, write.)   It’s a place to watch the trains go by.  It’s a place to buy a book and sit and read it.

Now it may be too claustrophobic for some, the tables are so close together, expect to bump elbows or chair backs with your neighbour but if you’re looking for an experience, something you won’t get in a Starbucks, a small-town, family friendly feel, check this place out.

Then go for a walk around the village and the Fort.  It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon, even in the rain.


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