This time of year begins the North American tradition of giving thanks. In Canada we give thanks during Canadian thanksgiving in October, in the USA Thanksgiving takes place in November. Canadian Thanksgiving which usually means road tripping to family, wearing our cutest (but stretchiest) outfit and gorging myself on a minimum of three turkey different dinners (#twosetsofparents) stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie. This year we’re staying home and not making the 23 hour journey by car or flight -to-Europe X3 plane trip home. We’re enjoying the fall weather, hopefully will go mushroom picking (my new obsession) and eat waaaay too much pumpkin pie.
I thought I’d round up some travel thanks for 2017 so far. I wrote earlier this year about the positive effect of saying ‘thanks daily’ and developing an attitude of gratitude, but to be honest I’ve fallen off the bandwagon lately. So why not start again in a super public way? Here goes, some travel thanks for the last few months.
Glamping in the Gulf Islands Thanks
Located in the southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, Pender Island is a set of two islands with a famous disc golf course and awesome whale viewing. It’s also home to Woods on Pender, a cute haven filled with Airstream trailer suites and good food. Have you ever found somewhere online that’s completely cute, swoon-worthy and totally photogenic? Well thats Woods on Pender. Remember that place? The aesthetic is Canadiana-lumberjack-midcentury-modern and the restaurant delicious, high end but not snooty. We ventured to Pender for a wedding and opted to stay in the Lodge at the Woods because of it’s proximity to the restaurant and hot tub. My mom joined bambino and I to act as super grandma for the weekend. SO MUCH FUN. Pender Island in a nutshell: spread out, semi-arid, sunny, easy to navigate and full of cute places to stay, but the crown of the hipster jewelled trucker hat of an islands is The Woods with its lodge, refurbished aistreams and long-table restaurant/tuck shop. Thanks Pender!
Family-friendly Victoria: Thanks a bunch
Until this year Victoria, B.C. was always had two personas to me: a slightly stodgy government/university town that was smallish or a party place of my wanton early 20s while I was studying at UVic. Now, 10-plus years later and a mom, I have a third view of Victoria: a hip big city full of fabulous restaurants, easy to access shopping, endless beaches and an easy place to vacay with your family. Apres Pender, my mom, kiddo and I headed to Vic to hang out with a bunch of friends: a three generational trio (girlfriend from Vancouver, her mama and son who’s the same age as mine), a couple university friends and a hometown homie.
First off, let’s talk about the Children’s Farm in Beacon Hill Park. Guys, I went not once but TWICE in 72 hours. Who knew goat stampedes could be so fun? We ate out, walked along the gorge, visited playgrounds and hoovered croissants. There are so many haute restos in this town, it’s a far cry from my starving student days. Kid-friendly eateries included: Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe in Oaky Bay – there’s oodles of toys, kid tables, kid treats and adult ones too (it’s more of a breakfast/coffee date place than lunch/dinner). Kiddo and I also stopped at the award-winning French spot Fol Epi for my big city croissant fix. For a night out sans children (thanks grandmas!) we rendezvoused with our Vic-dwelling bestie for a bit of a Monday night crawl that started with a meal at the 10 Acres Bistro and then night caps at Little Jumbo. Our last night included a beach picnic and evening dip at Durance Lake with a hometown girlfriend. How I missed that little lake. Merci YYJ!
Thankful for Wine & Women in Kelowna
One of my proudest moments this year was converting a friend into a wine tour lover. In April I went home to visit family and went to Kelowna for a girls’ weekend at the historic Hotel El Dorado on the Lakefront. Two of my best gals travelled from different corners of B.C. to join me for 48 hours of stylish hotel hangs, wine touring and power shopping. The Bernard Avenue area is better than I remember it – so many funky, indie shops and even breweries and distilleries to pop into. But really what Kelowna does well is wine. One of my gal pals had never been wine touring before and was poo-poo’ing the plans at bit at the outset in favour of pedicures. But I managed to twist her rubber arm to join us for an afternoon of oenophiling instead. We visited Summerhill Pyramid Winery and St. Hubertus and had a grand old time. We packed lots of in-room snacks and set up a couple of hotel room parties courtesy of Kelowna-based fun-times goods supplier Joonie & Joe. One morning some other friends made us the most decadent eggs benny & pavlova brunch. THANK YOU. Oh Kelowna, who knew you were as fun in the shoulder season as you were in the summer? Thanks Orchard City!
Thanks for a mid-week zip to Rupert
I feel like my skin might be evolving to be as waterproof as Goretex or duck feathers. In August, a friend treated kiddo and I to a quick trip to Prince Rupert. It rained cats and dogs for half the time. But the rain DID not stop us from exploring. Each morning began with kid-friendly Americanos at Cowpuccino’s Coffee House in Cow Bay complete with small stints for the kiddo in their gated, toy-filled kid’s corner. We also visited many playgrounds, the public library and Coastal Fibres because my yarn obsession is real. One afternoon when it stopped raining for about 52 minutes we zipped out to the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site in Port Edward. So informative, a real glimpse into one of BC’s founding industries: our west coast fisheries. Prince Rupert has always been a place I stop in exhausted on the way to or from Haida Gwaii. Imagine to my surprise that it’s a city full of great shops, ethnic food (Indian! Thai! Greek!) and lovely architecture that harkens back to it’s heyday as a logging and fishing metropolis. I highly recommend spending a day or two there – rain or no rain, it’s got a lot going on. Cheers Prince Rupert!
Thanks for Fun days at Gray Bay
Our annual camping trip to Gray Bay in the Kunxalas Protected Area on Moresby Island was beautiful, sparse in human contact and adventurous. While the weather was a bit meh, our meals were fab, our little tent sturdy and our wetsuits well used. The thing with camping on Haida Gwaii is you want something that’s close to the ocean, exposed to sun but not wind. With the truck’s help we managed to find this exact spot. One day we frolicked in the waves and sort-of-sun in our trio of family wetsuits. And the second day we went for a little hike on a super easy one kilometre trail to Secret Cove which was wild with dumper waves. Lots of shells and atmosphere with ancient gnarly trees acting as borders and resting places for beach finds. Gah! I love you Haida Gwaii, haaw’a.
This list by no means exhausts all of our BC adventures – there was the sweet trip south for my niece’s 1st birthday or my work trip back to Kelowna for my first public relations conference. Or my quick stop in Vancouver on the way back from said conference. And of course there were my work trips into the most beautiful protected area in Canada, Gwaii Haanas, but these five were all so different and lovely that I decided to single them out.
What adventures or trips are you thankful for this year?
Secret Cove: thanks for the fab afternoon