This story was a collaborative effort by the Valley Life columnists.
So much happened in the lower valley this week. There were some raindrops, a mighty wind, and people in floaties heading down river, bobbing through the rapids. A snake ate a fish, an eagle ate a fish, and a person ate several fishes … accompanied by loaves of bread. There was a sermon in a little white steepled church, and an offering to Mother Earth in a meadow encircled by a fairy circle. Meanwhile, a dog chewed a juicy bone.
Black Canyon welcomed in some unsuspecting rafters, unaware that the boulders that once created the rushing thrill of rapids have now surfaced and created a course akin to playing pinball. Being bounced from one rock to another by the rushing, cold water was lesson in what it means to buy a K-mart coffin. Taco Rapids was quite busy, folding rafts like a taco before popping back open and tossing all raft-taco contents.
The Carlton General Store may be closed, but the lively community still thrives and gathers summer evenings around the Carlton swimming hole. Or, normally this is what all 19 of the town’s residents would do, but it hasn’t really been warm enough to do that yet this summer, so instead they stay home, bundled in down jackets, hoping that the beehives are well-established enough to weather both June-uary and what seems to be turning into our first July-uary. And after checking on the hives, they baked aforementioned loaves of bread from locally grown and milled grains.
Speaking of the Carlton Store, someone buy this place! For crying out loud, Carlton. Do you really just want to become another Ghost Town sign on the side of Highway 153? Here are some ideas for you: ditch the pot shop — oh wait, you don’t have to because they are apparently moving to Twisp. So instead, why not fill that space with a bakery? Or maybe a street taco restaurant? People in Carlton eat, right? And Methow needs you too and certainly they eat. Since Carlton is the “Mediterranean of the Methow,” maybe a tapas restaurant should be in order. Certainly, someone wants to take this on.
Is the Carlton General Store really for sale? Curious minds want to know. The windows are filled with multiple “For Sale” placards with blank white space in lieu of contact information.
The Google business listing for Carlton General Store has a link to a webpage with descriptions of non-existent public restrooms and guided horseback tours of Vermont. The web address listed on the store’s Facebook business page links back to the Facebook page, a continuous loop with no sale information.
Buried further down is a post from February 2019 with a completely different weblink. To save everyone time, here it is: www.carltongeneralstore.com. But even this has no information. No listing with a Realtor, no square footage or building details, and no price. Instead, “Sincere Inquiries” are welcome to fill out the contact fields and wait for a reply. It’s one thing to leave a community with a vacant building. It’s quite another to make it difficult for prospective buyers to find information.
Carlton went through a similar dry spell when the previous owner shuttered up the place in 2011. At the time, a mannequin dressed in white sneakers, jeans, a plaid shirt and a Santa hat appeared, holding a sign that said, “Occupy Carlton Somebody Please.” That mannequin needs to make a comeback, with the web page link added to the sign. If the seller is not motivated, maybe the community will just take it upon themselves to find a buyer.