May 22, 2009

Staycation 2009

The boyfriend and I had all these great ideas for the Victoria Day long weekend. First we were going to drive to Calgary to visit friends and do a booze run. Wine and liqueurs are considerably cheaper in the Land of Oil & Plenty and while maybe, technically, legally, we weren't supposed to bring liquor across the border (that imaginary line that is somewhere just east of Field), who was going to stop us?

But the friends had relatives coming, so we moved on to option #2. Vegas! We checked airfares out of Bellingham, WA with Allegiant Air and things were looking good for an evening departure on the 16th and a morning return on the 19th. Airfares weren't the lowest we'd seen them ($18 return is hard to beat) but we were optimistic that they would drop. They always do. We were holding out for a grand total of $500 USD for airfare and hotel for both of us.

And then...

Swine Flu.

It was siesta time for travel to Mexico. But people had holidays booked, bags packed, dogs kenneled. They had to go somewhere. And almost overnight (ok, it actually was overnight) our reasonable little one way fare of $78 skyrocketed to $248. We were now looking at a whopping $650 each for airfare and three nights’ hotel (and Bally's to boot -- nice but not the Wynn). It would appear everyone was going to Vegas. So we weren't.

Option #3 was Whistler. We figured we could ride the motorbikes up and spend the weekend wandering the village, eating and just relaxing (no dishes, cooking, laundry – heaven). But the weather forecast was for rain and we'd been-there-done-that so many times that it just wasn't doing it for us.

So what to do?

One night, over a bottle or three of wine I was struck by a great idea (I was also struck with a weird urge to alphabetize my entire CD collection). What if we didn’t go anywhere? What if we stayed in Vancouver and “pretended” we were on vacation? What if we didn’t do any cooking or dishes and instead went out to eat? What if we did all those things tourists do when they come to Vancouver – things that we haven’t actually done because we live here? What if we had a Staycation?

We jotted down things to do:
Grouse Mountain (
Museum of Anthropology (
Vancouver Aquarium (
Drinks at the new Shagra-La Hotel (
Dinner at The Keg (use that Christmas gift card)
Movie -- in an actual theatre
River Rock Casino Resort (
Motorcycle ride to Harrison Hot Springs (
Dinner at Vij's (the best Indian in the world) (

Saturday morning we headed up to Grouse Mountain (just on the north shore of Vancouver). It was overcast and there was still quite a bit of snow For May.

But we found a zip-trekking line...

...and the grizzly cubs, who aren't cubs anymore.

The evening found us at the River Rock Casino Resort and Dining Extravaganza. We started at Runway 26 -- the all-you-can-eat-pay-through-the-nose-buffet. We ate crab claws till we got our money's worth.

And while it wasn't Vegas, we headed to the casino to part with some more money.

Back to our Bed & Breakfast (ok, our apartment) where the host graciously left a bottle of red wine out for us. Once finished (wouldn't want to insult the host), we prepared for day two of our Staycation.

We woke to glorious sunshine so hopped on the bikes and took the slow road to Horseshoe Bay -- stopping at Whytecliff Park along the way.

Horseshoe Bay was bustling -- ferries coming and going,

people browsing, dogs drowsing.

Pat ate a hot dog, I had ice cream. We sat by the water and did nothing. Nothing! It was grand. Old folks shuffled past, kids Razored around and teenagers brooded. We enjoyed the scenery for a bit...

...then headed back into Vancouver.

I traditionally make dinner Sunday night for the boyfriend and our friend Brad. Just because we were on Staycation Brad wasn't letting me off the hook. So there was some cooking done and some dishes to be washed. (We hid the dirty dishes in the oven until Tuesday.)

No early check out on Monday, so we slept in. Lox and cream cheese on toasted bagels were on the menu. And as the sky was grey, we decided to go for a walk down to Granville Island. We actually do go to Granville Island fairly often, but we take the dog so one of us has to wait outside while the other "accidentally" gets lost inside the Market for two hours while he picks out duck foie gras. This time the dog stayed home and we were both able to wander around the market.

With everything from bread...




...and seafood...

's not a place to go if you're hungry and on a budget.

We were neither, so we picked up some beautiful Cuban sausages, and a smoked chorizo to eat on the way home. And as we strolled along the boardwalk, the rain started. Our Staycation was coming to an end. We headed home to our dirty dishes, piles of laundry and hungry dog.

All in all it was a great weekend. We only did 3 of the 9 things on our list (really only 2, but we swapped Horseshore Bay for Harrison), yet we were busy -- never bored. There really is alot to do in Vancouver and by pretending we were visitors we actually saw our city with fresh eyes.

As for the other 6 things? We have friends coming to visit in two weeks. We get to play tourist all over again.


Dan Johnson said...

Good for you!

Stephanie said...

Great post. I'm jealous of that agenda! Very cool.