My kids and I are on vacation this week, exploring all that Washington state has to offer.
Yesterday we went to Aberdeen.
Not a ton of reasons to go there, except on the way to someplace else. We were on our way to Westport, a quiet coastal town with fabulous seafood (get the chowder), decent beer, and ... um ... great big rocks.
Aberdeen has none of these things. It's a logging town, and these days it's mostly gray and sad. Its biggest claims to fame are that it is the birthplace of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and it is the home port for Lady Washington, a tall ship used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
The ship was enough to send us off the highway on a quest to find the harbor. We never made it. First, they hid the harbor. Damn fine job, too - we couldn't find it, and we had a map. Then, someone raised a drawbridge and created a giant trafficky mess.
So instead we got to listen to my kids bickering in the backseat. My grumpy redhead was calling everyone "stupid moron" and "idiot boy" (thank you, Television) and hitting his siblings on the head with his brother's action figures. My little guy is unnaturally strong, so this really hurt. Why his brother was sharing his action figures, no one knows. You'd think one Wolverine to the head would make you realize, "Hey, maybe I should hang onto these."
Then, like a beacon, happiness appeared.
The sign on the window said Suzie's Cakes. The building itself was a cheery one-story with bright pink shutters - color enough to make the place stand out in the midst of a giant sea of gray. There was a little sign out front announcing "Wednesdays are Cupcake Days!" Well, it was Wednesday. That was enough to make us pull over.
Inside, heaven. The cakes were stunning. Even the sample cakes. There were reams of kid-friendly treats and decadent cupcakes. And coffee. Good coffee. Lots of coffee. Oh, and a beautiful, clean bathroom (I do have three kids, after all - we spent a lot of time in there).
The kids all chose brownie popsicles. You jam a brownie onto a stick, dip it in melted chocolate, then in either M&Ms or sprinkles. The kids adored 'em. Even my sweets-avoiding Aspie finished his, right down to the stick.
My au pair and I, we went for the cupcakes. Hers was a raspberry-filled vanilla. And I chose the Cupcake of the Day: a moist, lemony poppyseed cake frosted with a fat dollop of chocolate almond buttercream and sprinkled with almond slivers. Not flavors I'd have put together myself. But ... well, I ate it all up. Every crumb. I did not share.
Westport was fun - corn dogs and the Pacific Ocean. But Suzie's Cakes was the highlight of the day. Cupcake magic and an overdose of chocolate knocked the grumpies right out of my kids. They got along beautifully for the whole rest of the day.
Next time we vacation here? I'm heading to Aberdeen first.