Chalet in the Woods in Oleana book

Oleana published their first book, Oleana – the Norwegian Story. It includes this account of Oleana’s visit to Chalet in the Woods in 2010.

Showing (fashion) in the Cedar Tree Forest

We take off from the highway, someplace between Seattle and Tacoma, on the North West coast of the U.S. Laura and John have picked us up at the airport in an aging Volvo Station Wagon. We are driving through the forest and are again silently wondering how it is possible to run a shop in such an out-of-the way area.

Oleana - The Norwegian Story Book

Laura informs us about everything that will be taking place. She is our agent in the North West part of the U.S. and also runs “Chalet in the Woods”, a small shop selling mainly Scandinavian goods. When we finally arrive, we are met by two dogs and two cats. Ten sheep are on the sidelines wandering and a large and proud elderly male Llama pretends to rule over the sheep – and seems to have complete control.

Two of Laura’s grown children are also present. They, together with her childhood girlfriend, have all been summoned to assist with the fashion show tomorrow, as are we, although our role is of a somewhat more “guest star” nature. This is only one of our stops during our 12 day North American tour.

It will be a show in the woods, in the Cedar Tree Forest. Fantastic trees are stretching towards the sky. In the garden, in the midst of flowers, bushes, grapes and tomatoes, Hydrangea and roses, appears a large open tent-roof with a back wall. White chairs and small round tables with white, long table clothes are placed where the forest begins, and a real catwalk has been rigged under the tent roof. Sound and light crew are fast at work, wonderful food is brought in for everyone attending.

Many are finding their way out into this forest. Everyone has their own story – and nearly everyone with relation to Norway. For us in Oleana it will again be a thought provoking meeting with many hospitable Americans whose forefathers/mothers are still very present in their minds (an important part of their lives). We hear many touching stories, enough to fill more than one chapter of a book.

The visit to Chalet in the Woods is also an important reminder that there are many ways of doing things. The best is probably to do things differently than what is expected. It is often by doing our own thing, being different, that we stand out in a crowd.

For clients living in a large city such as Seattle, driving south for 1-1/2 hours to Laura in the Woods for shopping becomes a pleasant break. Here they receive foods for body and soul – coffee and cookies, peace and quiet to the chirping of birds. Here they can tell the stories of their ancestors; here people have the time to listen. Here they will find the goods not to be found in the big chain stores. They obviously enjoy themselves in this environment – and come back again and again. The rumors of the “Castle in the Woods” are spreading and everyone is warmly welcomed by Laura herself.

From the book Oleana – fra drøm til eventyrlig virkelighet by Kolbjorn Valestrand, Signe Aarhus, and Solveig Hisdal. Excerpt translated by Cecilie Klaumann.