Late last year, I was texting with a couple of friends and we decided we should take a girls’ trip in 2018. We sort of threw around a few dates and locations, but never really confirmed anything.
Then in January, we got serious and nailed down a date that worked for all of us. Once we had that, we started looking into possible meeting spot. We knew we didn’t want anything too far – we all had husbands and babies back home who we didn’t want to leave for too long. Since two of us live in California and one in Arizona, we figured somewhere west coast was best. Plus, all of us tend to be more city people than lay-on-the-beach people, so we figured that was more up our alley.
We tossed around a few ideas and finally landed on Vancouver as all of us had either not been or hadn’t in quite a while, and it had decently-priced fares for all of us. I’d only been once, and it was over a decade ago, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
It was WONDERFUL.
It felt like the perfect size city for a little weekend trip. Big enough to have plenty to do (we didn’t have time for half the things on our list) and to have terrific food, but small enough that we didn’t feel completely overwhelmed being there for just a couple of days. It left us wanting more in the best way possible.
Here’s what we did!
We all were supposed to fly in around 8pm on Friday night, but sadly, Jessica’s flight was majorly delayed. It kept getting postponed (they even had to deplane at one point for mechanical issues!) and she finally arrived nearly 4 hours late. So Janssen and I headed to dinner without her, which was sad but also very delicious. We went to AnnaLena (where Jess had made reservations…in fact, she found basically all the food stops on the entire trip and I love her dearly for it), and Janssen and I agreed that beets were just particularly excellent. In fact, everything was spot on; I loved my vegetarian pasta, as well (which I devoured, as I hadn’t eaten since 4pm and was starving…hashtag nursing).
After that, we swung back by the airport to pick up Jessica, then we all headed over to our hotel. We’d gotten a fantastic rate at the Four Seasons, and when you get a fantastic rate at the Four Seasons, well, you stay there. It was beautiful and we were happy to get a room with two beds instead of just one king. Then we proceeded to stay up until 3am talking in our pajamas (and…pumping) and finally conked out until morning.
The next morning, we slept in a bit (although far less than we’d anticipated) and got ready with no one even running in circles or demanding breakfast RIGHT. THAT. INSTANT. and then proceeding to take 45 minutes and much cajoling to consume. It was fairly blissful.
We walked through Gastown over to The Birds and the Beets for a late breakfast. It was a darling little cafe that was perfect for sitting and chatting over (excellent) hot chocolate and avocado toast. The whole area was just so charming. We got a few little treats to go, as well (they had this savory tart that was to die for!). Basically the entire morning revolved around food because as soon as we finally managed to get ourselves out, we stopped right into Cadeaux Bakery across the street. The croissants were crisp and buttery and flaky and very legit (although the quiche was less good, so I’d stick with pastries if you go there).
After that, we walked back to pick up our rental car from the hotel (after stopping to grab a couple tiny maple-themed souvenirs for our kiddos along the way) and drove over to Granville Island. We all just fell in love with Granville. It was just charming and delightful to walk around. We perused the market stalls (we tasted a lemon white balsamic vinegar that was to DIE for. sadly, they had no carry-on-luggage-sized bottles or I would’ve purchased them all), took some pretty pictures of bridges and water, and stopped into the children’s area (how is it that children’s books and toys are so fun to shop for when you don’t have tiny voices begging you to purchase all the things?). It was just the loveliest couple of hours wandering around.
From there, we had planned to head to Stanley Island, but Google Maps told us that it was closed. We were surprised because we didn’t think it did actually close. Looking at it now, it seems that there are probably certain buildings and attractions that close, but I suspect we could’ve definitely gone over and walked around, but alas, we didn’t realize that at the time. So we headed over to the Main Library instead, which was an excellent stop. The children’s section was just so lovely and cozy with tons of book displays in different languages and from various countries. I was particularly enamored with the giant French language section of children’s books. And they even had a display of musical instruments that could be checked out with a library card!
Our final non-food stop of the day was at Queen Elizabeth Park, which appeared to still be open. We walked up the hill to the Conservatory for a fantastic view of the city, as well as one of the more spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was truly glorious. (What was not glorious was returning to a $40 ticket on our car – we’d assumed we’d only be gone a few minutes and thought since it was after hours we didn’t have to pay. Alas, we were happy it wasn’t more!)
Finally, we headed over to dinner at The Farmer’s Apprentice, which was just fantastic. It was SUCH a lovely, well-paced, unique meal. It was a tasting menu, and I loved experiencing some new flavors (and loved that they had a vegetarian option). And it just felt dirt cheap compared to Bay Area food prices! (I think it came out to around $65 USD for 6 courses + a mocktail, including tax & tip.)
Our last stop of the night was popping into Earnest Ice Cream before it closed. We walked in about 5 minutes to close and the place was hopping, so we assumed the time online was incorrect. Nope! Right after we walked in, an employee came over and asked how comfortable we were saying no to people. Um, fairly? So she said if we held up a banner and told anyone else who came in that the shop was now closed, then we’d get a free scoop of ice cream. Okay? So it turned out not one other person walked in and we were all far too full to eat a whole (large) scoop of ice cream on our own, so we got one (free) scoop and were on our merry way. They were likely not impressed but the lemon poppyseed was fantastic.
On our last day, we got up and packed in time to head to church in North Vancouver, then grabbed some breakfast at some cafe (whose name I don’t remember) near there that had mediocre food and the worst hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It had been raining all morning (we were feeling very grateful for the bright blue skies the entire day before) but then stopped enough for us to make the game time decision to head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. While we didn’t have the full 2 hours that they recommended, the hour we had was still totally worth it. We loved crossing the bridge (and frankly, I think it may have even been more beautiful in the post-rain mist/fog) and walking through the series of treetop bridges. It was breathtaking and refreshing and we were just so happy we hadn’t left without seeing it.
From there, we hightailed it back to the airport. There was more traffic than we anticipated, but we managed to get everyone there and checked in just barely in time. And then we immediately started texting about our next trip. Because it was the best.
And then I came back to these hooligans. They’re the best, too.