The Suitcase Lady


June 7, 2011, 9:49 pm

Pie attracts tourists like flies. Throw in an obscure location and a high elevation, and it is even a more powerful magnet. I am definitely not immune.

Last week included a pie pilgrimage to Julian, California, elevation 4,235 feet. Julian is two blocks long, looks like a set for a western movie and is crawling with tourists. Every second establishment is selling pies, either whole or by the slice.

Julian doesn’t give tourists a choice of fillings. All the pies are apple. Pastry upper crust or crumb topping are the only variations.

We bought an entire pie to share with our extended family of eight. Smelling a Julian pie in the back seat for 63 miles and not sticking a thumb in it requires serious self control.

Undoubtedly, the mecca of high altitude pie consumption in the U.S.A. is Pie Town, New Mexico, which sits on the Continental Divide at about 8,000 feet. This teeny town is remote: it is three hours from Albuquerque in Catron County (7,000 square miles, 3,543 people). Call ahead to be sure the Pie Cafe will be open or come to the Pie Festival on the second Saturday in September.

Pie tourism also occurs at sea level, most notably in Key West, Florida, the southernmost city in America. I’m sure it is not a coincidence that “Key Lime” rhymes with “sublime”.

My own state of Wisconsin gets a slice of the pie vacation trade as well. The small, rural town of Osseo draws pie lovers from all over the Midwest. Head to the Norske Nook and you will get  plenty of choices…over 30 luscious pies are on the menu.

Perhaps I should retire and become a pie tourism travel guide. I could call my new business “Pie and a Suitcase”. Kindly let me know if you have a favorite pie destination.

5 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    I feel the same way about pie as I do about potatoes; I am suspicious of those who claim not to like it. Really. Who doesn’t like pie?

  • Mary

    I agree and would go a bit farther….I am suspicious of those who claim not to like carbs!

  • Anne Smith

    I’m not sure about the elevation but if you take the trip up past Duluth, MN and on up to the North Shore of Lake Superior you will find MANY pie restaurants. We have never stopped at one of them for one reason or another (it’s NOT that I don’t love pie – Strawberry rhubarb is my favorite!!) but my brother loves the North Shore pie places!!! I think the one he likes is “Betty’s pies” but I’m not sure. They have MANY varieties of pie.

  • Sutapa Mukherjee

    My favorite pie destination is right here at home — Margo makes wonderful pies :-) You have to come visit to get a taste!

  • Mary

    I would love to try Margo’s pies!