October 15, 2019
Every fall, Jason & I like to head out on an adventure! We’d spent time in Oregon & Washington a few summers ago, and loved it! We decided to see what all Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver, BC had to offer. We weren’t disappointed!
After working all day on Friday, we arrived at the airport only to find out that our flight would be delayed. The gate attendant said that we should be able to make our connecting flight in Denver, but if it got close to a certain time, we’d have to change our flight. She offered to put us on the next flight with a layover in Las Vegas. We (actually me- I’m funny about changing flights at the airport…don’t ask), decided to wait and see if our flight would arrive before a certain time- as we had almost 2 hours to kill. It turned out that we would have to change our flight. Our plane was coming from New York, and they just happened to be working on the runways at JFK; half of them were not in use. Us, as well as 15 other passengers were trying to scramble to get a flight. We asked to be put on the next flight in to Las Vegas, which meant we’d arrive in Seattle around 11:30PM (1:30AM our time, AND…we’d be renting a car & driving an hour and a half north to cut down on the drive into Whistler the next day). They gate attendant told us that the connecting flight from Las Vegas to Seattle was already full. After working all day, and not getting much sleep the night before (I don’t know about y’all, but I never sleep well if I am traveling the next day), we decided just to fly into Las Vegas, grab a hotel, and take the 1st flight out the next day. At least that way we’d get to Seattle first thing, and wouldn’t have lost that much time. What we realized after the fact, was that our luggage was already on the previous flight bound to Seattle. Thank goodness we pack the “just incase” items in our carry-on (undies, toiletries, socks, etc…). If you don’t do that, you should really start. You never know when you’ll be without a change of clothes. I didn’t pack a change of pants or shirt, but lucky for Jason, he tossed in a different t-shirt.
We arrived in Las Vegas around 8:30PM, and grabbed a car. We snagged one pretty cheap, and since we were in Las Vegas, we decided to eat at one of our favorite places- Wazuzu at the Wynn Hotel. When we first ate there a few years ago, we had the most AMAZING sushi! Their Shiitake-Nagi Roll consists of roasted, seasoned shiitake mushrooms with vegan eel sauce. Trust me- if you love mushrooms as much as we do, then you will LOVE this sushi! We also split the steamed dumplings. Oh my gosh! These are SO GOOD!!! They consist of spinach & shiitake mushrooms. Finally, the main course- drunken noodles! Y’all….I’m telling you, if you like drunken noodles, you must order it here! They can make it to your nutritional needs as well (I got tofu).
After dinner, we headed over to our hotel & were able to get about 5 hours of sleep. Those 5 hours really made a difference too! I guess the silver lining about not having your luggage with you- you don’t have to worry about what to wear! Our flight was out at 8:00AM, and since we only had carry-on bags, we hit up another favorite for “breakfast.” OK, tacos at 6:00AM isn’t really breakfast (unless they are breakfast tacos, which ours were not). El Dorado Cantina. So much YUM! And open 24 hours! Full disclosure, they are located next to a strip club. But please don’t let that deter you. You just hear loud music. Their menu is extensive and has several options for dietary restrictions. I got what I always get- cactus tacos with cilantro lime rice! I also got the tamarind drink. I love tamarind anything & this did not disappoint! If you’ve ever wanted to try cactus tacos, I highly recommend coming here if you are ever in Las Vegas.
Seattle- FINALLY!! We landed in Seattle sometime before 10:00AM It was so wonderful to see our luggage! Because we changed our plans the day we flew out, we decided to go to Victoria instead of Whistler. Y’all, we NEVER go on vacation without something booked! The ONLY accomodation we had booked was our Air BnB in Seattle, and of course, the one we had to cancel that was north of Seattle on our way to Whistler. Basically we headed to Washington and Canada & had one stay taken care of. We were rebels! HA!
Once we picked up our car, we were on our way to grab brunch. We hit up Wayward Vegan Cafe. This was our first go with vegan sunrise poutine. I had the early bird crunchwrap (it was huge!) & Jason ordered the ex-benedict.
During brunch, we checked out the map to figure out what we’d do next. We were still in our same clothes, so we knew we didn’t want to venture into a big activity. We decided to visit Victoria, BC, for two days, then take the ferry over to Vancouver.
The ride to Port Angeles, took some time. We were able to check out the scenery of Washington. We took the ferry to Port Gamble & saw the cutest little town! I loved seeing all of the colored leaves! The leaves hadn’t changed back home quite yet, so it was so nice to see the colors.
We arrived in Port Angeles and grabbed snacks for dinner before we hit the sack. Our ferry to Victoria was leaving at 7:00AM, so we knew we had to get a good nights rest.
After arriving in Victoria (you still have to go through the border agents), we parked near the water and walked around. The trip from Port Angeles to Victoria was a little over 90 minutes. With our bodies (and stomachs) still two hours ahead on central time, we decided to grab an early lunch.
After traveling by land and by sea, we worked up quite an appetite. Victoria is a great city for walking. We were sad that the Parliament had construction going on & we could only get so close. Victoria also has beautiful flowers shaped like different animals. The Orcas were my favorite!
After a few hours of walking and sightseeing, (Victoria is a really clean city with so much within walking distance at the water), we headed over to Very Good Butchers. They are located inside Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. We read about them and thought we’d check it out. They sell kombucha on tab as well as several plant-based ‘meats’ to take home or order online for direct shipment to your house. They also have a burger and sandwiches menu, as well as poutine! Y’all I think I ate my weight in poutine on this trip. it was just SO GOOD! I had the Pickle Rick burger while Jason tried the BBQ plate with mac ‘n cheeze.
While we were eating lunch, we scheduled a whale watching trip. This is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember (OK, actually I just want to swim in the ocean with them, but I’m sure I would have had a pretty hefty fine, not to mention frozen to death in the cold waters of the Pacific!)
We walked around the market, and in the middle was a chocolate shop, but not just ANY chocolate shop. This was The Chocolate Project. Now this wasn’t your run of the mill chocolate candy bar shop. This was gourmet, imported from all over the world chocolate! It looked, sounded, and smelled amazing!
When we got back to our car, we had a parking ticket! The sign said that parking was free on Saturday & Sunday, however, they changed it to Sunday only, but didn’t update their sign. UGH!
We then drove down to the water to head out on our whale watching adventure! On our way, we passed through Chinatown.
We read about several different companies, but BC Whale Tours won us over! With their smaller Zodiac style boats and the fact that their range was longer, plus, your tour is with a Marine Biologist (my childhood dream job!), we knew we couldn’t go wrong!
We donned survival suits which were also flotation devices, therefore we didn’t need any life vests.
Cal told us that the day we went out was perfect! The sky was overcast, making spotting them easier, as the glare from the water can be difficult. Also, the water was much calmer than the days leading up to it.
We also saw harbor seals and a bald eagle in flight!
This was an adventure that I’ll NEVER forget!!! I may have started tearing up when I saw them (OK I did!). It was absolutely amazing and we will do it again the next time we visit!
If you are in Victoria & have dietary restrictions, are avoiding things like eggs and dairy, or just want some really yummy vegan comfort food, you have to go to Green Cuisine. It’s a buffet with so many different foods. From soups and dips, to “krab” cakes, naan bread, veggie sushi, potato salad, noodles, mac ‘n cheeze, homemade kombucha, breads, gelato, and so many other yummies! Their dessert was delish too! Pictured below is a tiramisu and a blueberry cream pie! It was SOOOO GOOD!! We ate way too much, and we spent about $50 (yes, on a buffet…oh my gosh!)!!! It was pay by the pound, and with the added exchange rate…well, you can see where this is going.
Thankfully we went whale watching when we did, because on our second day in Victoria, it rained. After lunch at Green Cuisine, we headed out to Hatley Castle to check it out. We didn’t go inside, but the gardens and grounds were beautiful! Even in the rain! This would make an amazing wedding venue! Did you know that the TV show Smallville was filmed here? This was the house of famed villain Lex Luthor.
After we left Hatley Castle, we headed over to Craigdarroch Castle. This castle sits on the top of a hill in the middle of a neighborhood.
After we left the castle, we only had a few hours before the ferry was to depart for Vancouver. We were told to visit the Butchart Gardens and they were so lovely! I can only imagine what they look like in the springtime.
These gardens were so beautiful and peaceful. It was a perfect day to take a leisurely stroll.
Sadly, we only had about 2.5 hours at the gardens because our ferry to Vancouver would be leaving at sunset. We decided on skipping supper because were weren’t super hungry, plus we really didn’t have time to stop and eat. (OK, it was more of the last one.)
We made our way into Vancouver close to 9PM. We were pretty hungry, were ready to wind down and head to bed. Unfortunately the pizza place across the street was closed, so we grabbed a few snacks and decided to call it a day.
We got up early the next morning. Being on Pacific Time, but your body thinking it’s still Central Time is really quite marvelous! Even if you aren’t an early riser, you can be with the time difference.
We made our way over to a cafe and smoothie bar. I grabbed a yummy salad and chai tea while Jason munched on some cheese toast. Our day was going to be packed and we needed a little something to get us going.
Because there was so much fog at the top of Grouse Mountain, we pre-purchased our tickets, but put visiting on hold and headed over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you are afraid of heights, you may not be excited about this. There were lots of people, and it does sway back and forth as well as move up and down. The entire area was really fascinating! You walk through a thick tree-covered forest, you climb treehouse structures and you smell the crisp, clean air!! There was also a snack stand selling mini melon ball sized pancakes, and yummy hot chocolate. Y’all, I drank so much hot chocolate on this trip! But it’s SO GOOD!!
If you enjoy the tv series Psych, like we do, you may have noticed that this location was used in filming. The episode Expedition: British Columbia is where you can spot this location.
We made our way back to Grouse Mountain. During the winter, it is a great place to ski, and in the summer, they have lumberjack contests! You can hike around and just take in the sites! The air temperature was about a 25 degree difference from the bottom to the top, and it even started snowing! Thin hoodies and cardigan sweaters…we were not prepared! Whew it was cold!
Grouse Mountain has two resident bears- Grinder & Coola. Now, if you know me, I’m not keen on any animals in captivity, however, these guys were found abandoned and severely malnourished. They were cared for at the Grouse Mountain Refuge and sadly, they could not be released back into the wild. They had lots of trees to climb, and there was a HUGE (trust me on this..it was gigantic!) hibernation area. Their area was larger than expected, and they have routine care from the vet staff, as well as yummy food like sweet potatoes (their favorite!) The wiring was to keep the people out!
If you watched the tv show The X Files, you’ll remember this location. They used it on the episode Ascension. The tram is actually called Skyland in the show. Actually, several shows had episodes here: Supergirl, Lucifer, MacGyver (the original), The Amazing Race: Australia, and Arrow. The tram ride up was really great! Looking out and seeing so much of Vancouver was just gorgeous! The last few hundred feet, we ran into the low clouds and the temps dropped! You couldn’t see the city, much less the cable wires!
We finished our day will the most AMAZING meal from MeeT. Oh my gracious!!! Everything in there was phenomenal (and vegan)! And of course…we HAD to get the poutine!!
This was by far the most expensive place we ate, but so worth it! I’m embarrassed to think about what our bill was! Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, you will love this place!! They also have an extensive drink (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and dessert menu.
Because we were so close to Gastown, we walked over to see the clock. It was really unusual. Every fifteen minutes it makes a horn and whistle noise and steam comes out of the top. Every hour it steams and it makes a tooting sound for every hour. It’s one of six remaining steam clocks in the world.
Earlier in the day I read that there was a really yummy vegan doughnut shop near here. We walked a few blocks where we found Cartems Doughnuts. Because it was so late in the day, the selection was a bit slim, however, we managed to grab a few tasty treats! And yes, we still had the additional cronut in our to-go bag! HA!
We woke up early on our last day in Vancouver. We were sad to be leaving, but we packed in as much as we could, before crossing back over into the United States. Jason told me he wanted to take me somewhere but he wanted to keep it a surprise. I had no clue where we were going. We wound through streets and neighborhoods, and ended up at a school. Yep, a school! I asked him what we were doing at a school & he told me he looked up to see if anyone was filming that day, and it just so happened that the TV show A Million Little Things was filming AT THIS SCHOOL!!! We are HUGE Psych fans, and I’m a huge Grimm fan, so naturally we love the show if it has two of our favorites in it. I asked Jason what he would do if we “randomly” walked up on James Roday. He said “hopefully tell him we are from Nashville and ask him about his favorite team.” “And…hopefully not say something stupid.” They had the tents up, with the clear plastic, and we saw a TON of people in there, which looked to us like they were eating breakfast & rehearsing lines. We walked around the school for a bit- but don’t worry, we didn’t run up on the actors in the tent. There was a park next to it and lots of empty sidewalks to stroll along. Unfortunately we didn’t see any celebrities on this trip (we have on past trips), but it was really neat to go to a filming location as they were actually filming for the show!
After leaving the filming location, we headed to Stanley Park, as we read it was a must do in Vancouver. We parked, and walked along the Seawall. It was a perfect sunny day to take in the sites! Along the way, we saw the lighthouse, seaplanes, totem poles, seagulls, the famous Lions Gate Bridge and hung out on location where several movie and TV shows were filmed, including: X Files, TRON Legacy, Deadpool 2, Final Destination 5, and The Sixth Day.
By this time, it was well into the afternoon and we were pretty hungry, however, we didn’t want to go back downtown, as we were heading in the opposite direction. Jason is very considerate and always makes sure wherever we go, there is something I can eat besides a plain baked potato or a chintzy salad. We checked out the map & noticed there was an A & W in a mall, not to far from us. They just added the impossible burger on their menu & a ‘burger’ & fries sounded so good! Especially when it comes with root beer to drink! We parked in the mall & headed upstairs to the food court. When we got to the cashier, she said their card readers were down & they only accepted cash. We didn’t have any Canadian money on us, however, there was a bank just around the corner. We walked in & asked if we could have our US money exchanged for Canadian money. They typically would, however, we didn’t have an account with them, so we were currently 0-2. Upon looking at the map again, we noticed another A & W pretty much on the outskirts of the city. We zipped in, parked and headed up to the register. Oh my goodness! This burger was so good! I really try to avoid fast food as much as I can, but this day called for it! I think it had been a good 7 hours since we had eaten last & let’s just be real here,
we were I was getting pretty grumpy. We said goodbye to Victoria & crossed over into the United States; still not getting that Canadian stamp in our passports.
This was our first trip to Seattle & we were pretty excited! We got to our quaint Air BnB and immediately dropped our bags a took a much needed nap! Upon waking, we checked out the local restaurants. There was a great restaurant- Araya’s Place, within walking distance from us. It was so good and hit the spot! Another bonus- it was all vegan! Their noodles were divine, as so were their fresh rolls! After dinner, we walked back to our Air BnB and turned in. We had a full day in a few hours!
Our first full day in Seattle, we woke up early, grabbed a quick breakfast at the Sunlight Cafe, and made our way to the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington. We previously purchased tickets the night before, but opted for the 10:30 tour, as we’d be in traffic, and wanted to make sure we had enough time. The drive there was beautiful! If you go to the Boeing Factory, be prepared, you CANNOT bring ANY type of camera inside on the tour. This includes, Go Pros, cell phones, point and shoot, and professional cameras. There are lockers for you to store your belongings (purses, clutches, etc…are not allowed either.. The images were taken in the lobby area where photography was encouraged.
When you start the tour, you make your way into a theater room. You watch a brief history of Boeing, then you get in line for the bus to take you to the factory. This place was HUGE! There were many planes outside the facility as well, ranging from Fed Ex, Qantas, UPS, Air Canada and Korean Air. Once inside, you would you way back to the factory floor. It was fascinating to see the planes being made. There were a few that were almost fully assembled, while some were just the mid-section of the plane, or just the wings. We were able to see several models of planes, as well as parts to the 787 Dreamliner (y’all it is NICE!!!). One guy started taking notes on a small scratch pad & our tour guide got on to him. He was VERY stern about no note taking and even had the guy rip out the page he was writing on and give it to him! They don’t mess around! If you are ever in the Seattle area & want to go on a really interesting tour- even if you don’t necessarily think airplanes are all that interesting, trust me, you will after this tour! One more thing, children have to be a certain age to go on the tour. You can’t carry anything with you, including children. They have to be able to see over the railing.
On our way back, we saw the Chihuly Garden & Glass Exhibit. We had never seen it before and I’m so glad we decided to go! The beautiful colors of blown glass was mesmerizing!
Because we were so close to the Space Needle, we walked over and got tickets. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It is 650 feet tall and has a rotating glass floor. Inside you have a 360 degree panoramic view of Seattle, Mt. Rainier, the Cascades and Olympic Mountain ranges. It was really neat to be able to see the city and surrounding mountains from up there. They had benches that you could sit on that were made at an angle, so it had the illusion that you were falling backwards. If you are afraid of heights, you would not like this at all! We sat on the very edge of the bench and I think my hands were sweating the entire time! They also had the see-through floors. I didn’t mind those as much, but Jason refused to walk on them.
On our way back we grabbed pizza at Pagliacci Pizza. It was yummy, and we were so hungry! You can get pizza by the slice, or you can order whole pies. We ordered ours with lots of mushrooms and dairy free cheese. The temps were starting to drop, so we finished our meal, and headed back to our Airbnb. We needed to do some laundry so we made our way to a laundromat. Inside it was Molly Moon’s ice cream shop. Weird I know, but they had the best ice cream! They even had dairy & egg free flavors too!
We got up the next day, and drove a little ways from the city center. We wanted to see the views from afar, but first, we made a stop by the LakeView Cemetery, where Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried. If you are not familiar with either, Bruce is considered the founder of Jeet Kune Do, and stared in numerous martial arts movies. His son, Brandon, also an actor, tragically passed away from injuries sustained on the set of his movie The Crow.
After taking in the views, we stopped by Naam Thai Cuisine for an early lunch. Their food was delicious and fresh! We did some more exploring, and drove over to the famous Fremont Street Troll. On the way there, we swung by Mighty-O Doughnuts. They were hot and fresh, and oh so yummy!
If you’ve never heard of The Fremont Street Troll, you might have seen it in the movies Ten Things I Hate About You, and Love Happens. It was inspired by the children’s book Three Billy Goats Gruff. If you look under his left hand, you see he’s holding a VW Beetle!
We left the Troll and made our way to Pike Place Market. I couldn’t get over all of the flowers they had! There were rows upon rows of flowers! And they were not expensive either! Had this been our first day and not our next to last day, we would have gotten a bouquet. They were so fragrant and colorful!
We walked and walked, and WALKED! We shopped, purchased some souvenirs. I grabbed a spicy ginger beer from Rachel’s Ginger Beer, and we sat down and took in the sites. The ginger beer was quite refreshing as the weather started to warm up. If you are ever in Seattle and have the chance, stop by Rachel’s, FYI..they offer free samples. After walking and shopping, sightseeing, and people watching, we walked over to El Borrocho for some yummy Mexican food. It’s located at Pike Place Market, but you can access it from the street; you don’t have to go inside the market. I ordered the vegan mushroom burrito with a tamarind drink, and Jason ordered the chicken tacos. Everything was so tasty & flavorful! As the sun started getting lower, we drove back to our Airbnb. We wanted to get everything ready to leave for the next day. Even though our flight wasn’t out until late that afternoon, we wanted to make sure everything was packed and ready to go.
On our last night there, we wanted to grab dinner again at Araya’s Place. It was much later than we typically eat, but hey, we were on vacation! (oh my gosh, I know it seems like we eat a TON on vacation, I promise, we don’t, but walking and hiking, and driving and time change…that can really throw you off. Plus, they have really yummy food here and we aren’t big on chain restaurants when we travel.)
The next morning we packed the car, waved goodbye to our sweet little Air BnB and drove up the street to Cafe Flora for brunch. It’s located across the street from Araya’s Place. It was an all vegetarian bistro, with yummy food, and a great atmosphere. There are so many options to choose from, like cinnamon rolls, quiche, biscuits & gravy, pancakes or waffles, to fresh fruit, burgers, tacos and bowls!
After brunch we ventured to the Museum of Flight. It is right there at the Seattle International Airport. If you have a few hours before your flight takes off, I highly recommend it. When you go inside, they have so many different exhibits, starting well before the Wright Brothers.
Through a walkway across the street, there is another building that houses the Concorde, Air Force One and a 747!
We got to the airport and boarded the plane. This was our first time flying Alaska Airlines, and we will for SURE fly them again! They have a direct flight from Seattle to Nashville! No worrying about connecting flights! Another bonus? Alaska Air recently purchased Virgin Airlines, and we happened to be on one of their planes (Virgin) going home. It was pretty roomy! And we loved the screens on the back of the chairs!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through Victoria & Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.