When you travel to the same place often, to visit family, it is important to have ritualized outings and to sprinkle in some new experiences each visit to keep things fresh. We are lucky, my in-laws live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and it is always fun to travel there.
We have our list of musts, which includes over-the-top breakfasts at the Oak Table, swims in Lake Crescent, visits to Lavender Farms, maybe a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia and walks on the Dungeness Spit to name a few. This summer we had a longer visit planned and decided to explore some spots farther from our home base in Sequim.
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Having dinner with close friends who had returned from a week at Whistler, we were regaled with tales of zip lining over the snow, tubing, dog-sledding, skating, skiing and boarding (of course) and a turn on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic bobsled run!
My friend doesn’t do anything unless it is full throttle, so it didn’t surprise me that he had a hankering for extreme speed. It did, however, surprise me when he said his whole body was sore after the less than 2 minute, nearly $150 (Canadian Dollar) ride down the Olympic track. Kitted out, he was placed in the back seat and braced himself to fly down the mountain. Continue reading »
Washington’s San Juan Islands are about as romantic as you can get. They lie in Puget Sound and mark the boundary between the United States and Canada (just beyond them in Canada is an equally gorgeous group of islands called the Gulf Islands), and I was lucky enough to be there recently.
The islands get all the tourism they can handle, but if you take the ferry with your car and go on a weekday you can miss the weekend congestion. If you must go on a weekend and take the ferry from Anacortes (about an hour and a half from Seattle) or from British Columbia, prepare to wait in line a few hours. Locals know to get their car in line for the ferry early, spend time doing something else, and then have a friend drop them at their car before the ferry arrives. Continue reading »
The sinfully-rich Nanaimo bar takes its name from the city of Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. This calorie-laden dessert was first mentioned in local cookbooks in the 1950s. Today the three-layer bars are kept next to the cookies and muffins in most British Columbia cafes.
To prepare the base layer, combine half a cup of unsalted butter or margarine, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, and five tablespoons of cocoa powder in a double boiler over the heat. Add a beaten egg, mix well, and pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in half a cup of chopped almonds or walnuts, one cup of grated coconut, and two cups of graham wafer crumbs. Press the soft mixture firmly into an ungreased eight-inch square pan and put the pan in the refrigerator to chill. Continue reading »
The Canadian travel website GoNanaimo.com has come up with a concept that addresses rising fuel prices and climate change. The Nanaimo 50-Kilometer Holiday includes seven self-guided tours within a 50-kilometer radius of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. As gasoline prices go up, vacationing locally becomes more attractive and Vancouver Island has a lot to offer. The 50-Kilometer Holiday includes two walking tours within Nanaimo and five driving/bicycling tours to nearby mid-island destinations. Each tour is carefully crafted with a printable version and map.
The 50-Kilometer Holiday is roughly modeled on the 100-Mile Diet, a lifestyle revolution reconnecting Canadians with their roots, and the concept is applicable almost anywhere in the world. With so much to see and do locally, it’s almost a waste to spend thousands of dollars flying halfway across the world when you could have just as much fun at home. A local holiday is a hassle-free holiday with no borders to cross, no travel insurance to buy, no bookings to make, and no money to exchange. You conserve energy and strengthen community while helping to save the planet.