Elizabeth Warren’s low-key visit to the valley did not go unnoticed
Elizabeth Warren got a break from the relentless campaign trail by hiking actual trails in the North Cascades and relaxing in the Methow Valley.
Valley residents reported sightings of the Democratic presidential candidate all last week, as Warren trekked from the Mazama Store to Oliver’s Artisan Kitchen in Winthrop to the Branding Iron in Twisp. People passed Warren hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Still others spotted her at the Old Schoolhouse Taproom and Tappi in Twisp, and at Sun Mountain Lodge.
Many were tickled to encounter Warren, a Massachusetts senator and one of the front-runners in the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls, while others didn’t recognize her in person — or even by name. “I had to Google her,” said one local.
Oliver’s owner Vickie Malone was flattered that Warren liked her food enough that she ate lunch at her restaurant twice last week. On Monday, people unobtrusively observed Warren, who was reportedly traveling with her husband but no campaign staff. “I think they were trying to lie low. They were here to hike,” Malone said.
But on Wednesday, Malone’s daughter Molly couldn’t resist. “You bear a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Warren,” is how Molly approached the candidate, Vickie said. “That broke the ice. Everyone got in line to talk to her. It was pretty fun,” she said.
Warren, who’s known to connect with supporters by taking selfies, obliged as restaurant patrons queued up. “I know I won’t be able to shake the hand of every single person; I know I won’t be able to take a selfie with every single human being in this country,” Warren told a New York Times reporter in July. “But I’m going to try.”
Winthrop attorney Michael Brady got a keepsake of his meeting with the candidate when he and a friend had lunch at Oliver’s on Wednesday. “I could have sworn that the woman … two tables away was Elizabeth Warren, but instead she was someone too casually dressed to be Elizabeth Warren having a quiet lunch with her husband on vacation,” Brady said by email.
But when Warren stood up to leave, there was no mistaking her. Brady and his friend (a D.C. native with politics in his blood) chatted with Warren as Beau Adams, chief financial officer of Farmers State Bank, snapped their photo.
Feeling some kinship with Warren, who taught law for more than 30 years, Brady introduced himself as a Winthrop attorney “just beginning to transition into retirement to teach piano.”
“Warren turned to me and said ‘Oh! God bless you! That’s wonderful,’” Brady said.
While Warren wasn’t formally campaigning, her stop in the Methow stimulated curiosity about her platform. “I don’t follow politics,” Malone said. But when someone likes her food, that’s a different story. “Now I’m interested in her, of course.” Malone has since checked out Warren’s website and listened to some of her speeches.