Our family vacation during the Thanksgiving holiday is a favorite tradition. It is a time to do a deep dive into the agreed-upon destination. That includes, of course, amazing food, local sights, some R&R, shopping and always a movie. Since 2009, we’ve been to New York, Chicago, Nashville, New Orleans (twice), Memphis, Charleston & Savannah, Maine & Vermont, Napa (twice), Portland, and now Vancouver.
It’s obviously an easy flight to this particular destination, with no time change and many daily departures from Burbank airport via Alaska Airlines. Avoiding LAX is a bonus. Additionally, we come home the day after Thanksgiving to avoid the weekend craziness. And we’re thankful to have excellent and patient caretakers as a family with five dogs — all disparate in temperament and needs! Shout out to Jillian and Jacob for making sure the crew is well cared for in our absence, and keeping us up to date via WhatsApp.
Back to this beautiful city of Vancouver, we are situated in the heart of downtown at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The Rosewood brand is on a major expansion. Currently, there are 44 hotels worldwide with 30 more in the coming years. Their promotion of “third night free” for our 7 nights was extremely advantageous, besting rates at the iconic Fairmont hotels here. We were delighted with our spacious accommodations, which is always a key factor for a memorable trip.
A hat tip again to son Sam for introducing us to the TripIt app. Every flight, transporation, restaurant, sightseeing destination, etc., is there. We all have access to the app so knowing what is planned is there for all to see (except the hubby, who basically just wants to be advised).
The first activity was special. Daughter Hannah works at Disney Animation and their annual major release is the day before Thanksgiving. Seeing the movie has been part of our plans for several years now. The company has a smaller studio in Vancouver who planned a Friends & Family screening to which we were invited. What a phenomenal way to begin, seeing the glorious “Wish” which I highly recommend. We had a studio tour as well, which has grown to nearly 400 employees in less than two years.
At the screening above (with the proud mom screen credit inclusion); below at the studio tour with co-workers met for the first time “in person”
We were so grateful to have a lengthy lunch and catch up with L.A. expats and dear friends who moved to Bellingham, WA, nearly 10 years ago. They made the 90 minute drive north. Granville Island Public Market proved to be an ideal spot, not least of which was Lee’s Donuts! Never have I ever seen a line like that .. for donuts! Oh, my, they are delicious.
Sam found the exceptional Italian restaurant Acquafarina for a delicious dinner. A highpoint certainly was standing in their four-story wine cellar housing roughly 5,000 bottles. A forklift is at the ready to grab those bottles way up high.
Sam in the proverbial “happy place” above
Does one go to Vancouver and NOT visit Stanley Park? I think not. It’s hard to miss at nearly 1,000 acres in adjacent to the downtown area. We enjoyed walking the perimeter with spectacular views (below) across the water to the skyline. The photo at bottom shows just a few of the Canadien Geese in the park.
Something not planned in advance but thoroughly enjoyed was attending a hockey game. The Vancouver Canucks played the San Jose Sharks at the Rogers Arena. Hockey is an exciting game to watch where one dare not look away for a second as a goal might just happen. Additionally, the Canucks are the only professional sports franchise in Vancouver, no doubt adding to their popularity. And who knew we would see royals (are they still?) at the game — Prince Harry and his wife (I’m not a fan to say the least). His Invictus Games are to be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025. So they soaked up a bit of attention via the big screen. And not long later, those images were all over social media. The Canucks won, by the way.
Receiving high praise from the concierge when sharing some of our restaurant bookings was a great sign that I had done my “due diligence.” In particular, that was the case with Published on Main. While their style may be somewhat quirky, the food is definitely anything but. By “quirky,” it’s because there’s no clear server but rather a team effort. The staff wear whatever they want except for a lapel pin that identifies them as an employee. The menu changes practically daily with some very complex offerings — save for a few that never go off the menu for fear of anarchy (like the Bee Pollen Milk Muffins thank goodness). We were very happy with the choices seen below.
Counterclockwise from top right: Those muffins!; Homemade chips with smoked fish dip; grapefruit & broccoli (it worked); Steelhead with pumpkin & chard
Schnitzel with 10,000 island dressing; Coffee & Caramel roll; Frozen Pumpkin Cheesecake
Part 2 will cover the Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler, White Rock Pier and more great meals.