Browsing Tag

weekend getaway

Little adventures

2 day birthday celebrations: dinner and a getaway

birthday ferry
due to heavy snow, work schedules and accommodations availability, my birthday was split into 2 days of celebrations this year. which was not a problem for this gal!

on my actual birthday, sean took me out to one of our favourite restaurants, hapa izakaya, for a low-key dinner.

hapa scallops
hapa ebi mayo
hapa sushi
hapa ice cream
the big celebrations were saved for the following weekend when we took the ferry to the sunshine coast.

sunshine coast
on the ferry
i found this amazing little place on airbnb. the cottage was stunning, secluded and tranquil. the 2 person bathtub with views, right across the bed, was the pièce de résistance. who could say no to this, right?

the perch bath
the perch
birthday at perch
thanks babe for a lovely birthday weekend and a purr-fect getaway.

Little adventures

glamping at rockwater secret cove resort

tenthouse57
glamping and getting our ewok on!

ever since a friend of mine told me about the rockwater secret cove resort on the sunshine coast, i’ve always wanted to go here. i suppose a 7th year anniversary is as good a reason as any.

getting to rockwater secret cove resort was a breeze. just a short 40 minute ferry from horseshoe bay to langdale. then a 45 minute drive up the coast to halfmoon bay. in less than two hours, it felt like we were a world away from vancouver.

imagine panoramic ocean views, coastal indigenous forest, arbutus trees, and a fun treetop boardwalk that reminds one of return of the jedi.  and that’s even before getting to our tenthouse suite #57.

boardwalk
the tents themselves are beautifully appointed with heated slate floors, hydrotherapy tub, shoji screens, a fireplace, kingsized bed and a private veranda.

some pics:

fromthebed
goofs
hydrotubas beautiful as it was in the day time, it was even more magical at night…

boardwalknight
57atnight
tent57and because this is vancouver in march, we experienced some intermittent rain, but we didn’t mind at all. how could we? nestled in our bed with the fireplace on, we delighted in listening to the rain bounce off our canopy roof.

turn off your devices. bring some books with you. go on some hikes. and sit in the disco bath. seriously, your cares will just melt away staying here. we only wish we could’ve stayed more than a night. perhaps for a 10th anniversary, we’ll treat ourselves to an entire weekend at the rockwater secret cove resort.

me
usfor more pictures, press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

for more pictures of the tenthouse suites, click here and if you’re wondering if it’s really as good as it looks, yes it really is.

Little adventures

a scandinaive birthday

scandinaive
the only thing i wanted to do for my birthday was to have a soak at scandinaive spa in whistler. it’s funny because i’ve never really thought of myself as a hot spring kind of person. i don’t like feeling uncomfortably hot. being submerged in the jacuzzi at the neighbourhood pool or enclosed in a sauna is not my idea of a good time.

but ever since harrison hot springs and the blue lagoon in iceland, i can really appreciate the relaxing ritual. it also helps if it’s outdoors and in a nature setting.

and in scandinaive’s case, the clincher was that there’s still some snow on the ground. i really wanted to experience scandinaive spa in a winter setting. i’m sure it’s just as relaxing in the spring/summer, but there’s something magical about being surrounded by a snowy forest. (although there was no more snow on the treeline due to our very mild winter this year)

sean and i did four circuits of hot pools and thermal waterfalls, followed by ice cold baths before relaxing in the solarium and by the outdoor fireplace. four circuits in about 2 1/2 hours. who knew that i’d enjoy it so much?

i think we shall have to come back next winter. thank you sean for a lovely, relaxing birthday.

Little adventures

a visit with seattle friends

gabe
second time to seattle in so many months. this time we stayed at this quaint little house on mercer island, where my friends also live. i adore mercer island. it’s only 2 stops away from downtown seattle, but it feels completely removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.

unlike our most recent trip, we were able to spend some time with my friend and his family. sean and i also got to visit bruce and brandon lee’s graves at lake view cemetery, something we were not able to do on our last trip. to be fair, we crammed a lot in that trip: cirque du soleil show, 2 cellos concert and star wars exhibit at the EMP.

some pics from our quick getaway:

on carousel
ollie carousel
gabe carousel
kiddie carousel
lee graves
lee graves2i hadn’t been to bruce and brandon lee’s graves since the early 90s, not long after brandon lee was killed, so the visit was way overdue. sean had never been before, so i also wanted him to see it – sean being such a big martial arts fan.

and even after all these years, there were still fans of all ages, coming to pay their respects. there were three people there when we arrived and another two that came while we were there. so if you ever go to lake view cemetery and are not sure where the lee’s final resting place is, just look towards the top of the hillside and they’ll most likely be fans already there.

until next time, seattle!

Little adventures

6 years!

cirque du soleil. star wars exhibition at EMP. 2cellos concert. airbnb stay and an introduction to uber. might sound a tad geeky to other couples, but for us, it was a great way to celebrate six years together.

Little adventures

kurios: a steampunk cirque-cus

kurios
seeing is disbelieving. reality is relative.

and with that, i could not think of a better first cirque du soleil show to attend than kurios: cabinet des curiosites. the steampunk girl in me have been excited for this since they kicked-off their traveling show in san francisco last year.

although cirque has brought their traveling shows to vancouver – although not this one – i always held off going because i wanted my first show to be special. memorable. i would’ve wanted to catch a resident vegas shows over any that came to town. i would wanted to see the beatle’s love, michael jackson one or O. but i was   happy to pop my cirque cherry with kurios.

sean and i absolutely LOVED it. it had all the retro-futuristic elements that appealed to us: the half-machine/human neo-victorian era characters, victrola record-players, electric lights glowing in bell jars, ancient locomotive, the large mechanical hand making its way around the stage, underscored by the sassy 1930s french jazz music. and the teensy weensy mini lili played by antanina satsura, one of the 10 smallest people in the world. the 3 foot, 40 pound woman who lives in her host’s metallic belly is utterly charming as she serenades the crowd in her tiny rowboat.

click here for more on satsura and 10 other curious facts about kurios. but in the meantime, check out where we were seated! good seats, right?

ourseats
my favourite acts were the one with the 4 asian contortionists as eel-like creatures, the team of high jumpers bouncing sky high on a huge net trampoline, the upside-down dinner party slash parallel universe and the goggle-wearing aviator in his biplane, swinging high above our heads a la moving pictures style.

and the exquisite costumes!

the show was reminiscent of the city of lost children, the extraordinary adventures of adele blanc-sec, the prestige, hugo, league of extraordinary gentlemen and van helsing. if you loved the movies and are a fan of jules verne, you’ll love this show.

cirque kurios
it was theatre of the absurd and whimsical, with oddball characters that made me wish i could run away and join this very circus. go see this show!

Little adventures

a swinging getaway

sleeping, suspended in the trees, in a gently swaying sphere.

dinner with resident bunnies at an old english country pub.

an encounter with a cougar in the woods.

a black bear running across the highway in front of us.

roadside llama and deer.

owls, eagles and turkeys at the wildlife recovery centre.

listening to a black bear quietly snoring, not more than 5 feet away from us.

spiders the size of your frickin’ hand.

swimming in a mineral pool grotto.

and goats on a roof!

sounds made up if i tell you this all happened to us in the span of our 2 day island getaway, doesn’t it?

but it did. and it was a fantastic little trip with the fella.

for pics, press forward arrow or click here for my flickr.

Little adventures

aqua therapy deluxe

it’s hard to top sleeping in the trees and dinner with bunnies, but that didn’t stop us from trying on day 2 of our island getaway.

after our unique and woodsy stay, we would be swinging the other way to comfortable and luxe accommodations. as we had a few hours to kill between checking out at free spirit spheres and checking in at tigh-na-mara resort, we brunched and explored the small towns between qualicum beach and parksville.

we stopped off in errington to tour the north island wildlife recovery centre. the rehabilitation facility is home to several bird species including eagles, owls, falcons, turkeys and black bears (!)

we were slightly bummed to find out that we could only view the 10 bear cubs through a TV feed. as part of the center’s bear cub release program, contact with humans were prohibited (understandably), as they were to be re-released back to the wild when the cubs reach 18 months old.

however, we were visit with the resident black bear, knut. rejected by his mother when he was a 5 lb cub, the centre took knut in and raised him to the point where he is not releasable into the wild.

knut was sleeping in his hay-filled pen and we were no more than 5 feet away from him. we could see his black fur and brown nose through the fencing. and what’s more we heard him snoring. he did open his sleepy eyes a couple of time to have a peek at us. having been reared by humans, he’s doesn’t seem to mind people at all. too adorable.

what was not at all adorable were the turkeys. nature didn’t gift them with the best looking appearance, did she? and the wall of spiders. it’s only because the spiders on display were dead, that i was able to look at them in fascination. i think i would shriek like a little girl if i ever saw these hand-sized arachnids crawling across the floor.

our next stop was the little town of coombs. because goats on a roof!

oh, and the coombs country market was a great place to visit too. for a small town, they sure do have a lot of great food stuff that even big city markets don’t carry. it reminded me new yorks’ dean & deluca, but more rustic.

after our afternoon of animals, it was time to check into our spa bungalow studio at tigh-na-mara.

source: tigh-na-mara                   

i couldn’t wait to open those french doors and try out the jetted tub. and i’m not a bath person. other great features in the 500 sq.ft. room included: gas fireplace, kitchenette, private patio surrounded by forest.

sean, of course, couldn’t wait to take a swim in the grotto mineral pool, plus indulge in the 2 story cool-splash waterfall and whirlpool.

source: tigh-na-mara
the 2,500 sq.ft. warm water pool, designed to look like a natural grotto, is infused with 18 minerals from hungary to help with detoxification and rejuvenation. and holy poop – it worked. as i was partaking in their selection of complimentary drinks and fresh fruit in the relaxation lounge, i swear it felt like i was going to sink into the couch – i was that relaxed, in my terrycloth robe. and i’m not a hot tub slash jacuzzi slash whirlpool person.
then of course, after dinner, we just had to indulge in the jetted tub. with so much relaxation, it’s no wonder that we slept so soundly and deeply that we only awoke 10 minutes before breakfast was finished being served at the resort’s onsite restaurant.
there goes our $18 per person breakfast credits?
no – the very wonderful and accommodating staff extended our credits so that would could have lunch at cedars restaurant. such a pleasant surprise and a great way to end our 2 day getaway.
i would so recommend this getaway to any of my friends who are in need of a little therapy a la animals or nature and only have a couple of days off. plus i don’t think i have any problems with convincing sean to go back again.
Little adventures

in the trees and in the woods

we finally did it. we got to spend a night at the free spirit spheres at qualicum beach! i’ve always wanted to go there and after a failed attempt last summer, sean and i were psyched that a cancellation opened up and we got to go.

after the 2 hour ferry to nanaimo, it was just an easy 40 min drive on highway #19 (or island highway as it’s locally known) to horne lake road. our hosts, tom and rosie, were friendly and welcoming. they even gifted us with a welcome basket of drinks and nibblies.

we booked the newest sphere, melody, for our stay. to get to our sphere, we had to stroll over a short bridge and climbed up a few stairs that goes around the tree. the black walnut interior is open concept, with a pull-down murphy bed. when not in use, the sphere offers bench seats and 2 fold down tables slash work stations. the 5 windows, including the skylight, offered amazing forest views. this is how it feels to be an ewok.

not without modern conveniences, the sphere is electrically heated, has built-in speakers and wired for 120V AC. and of course, we brought movies to set the ambience. like return of the jedi and princess bride, amongst other selections.

although melody has its own private composting toilet, we opted to use the more traditional facilities. the shared bath house building is a short walk from the spheres and include 2 washrooms, 2 showers, sauna, partial kitchen, small fridge, sink, microwave and covered deck with a BBQ. so you’re not completely roughing it.

after settling in, we drove 15 minutes into town to buy some groceries and get some dinner. we decided on fish tales cafe, one of tom’s recommendation. we were charmed by look of the tudor looking, english country restaurant with attached garden as we drove in. but what really delighted us were all the bunnies in their garden. seems that they are wild bunnies who just happened to take up residence in the garden just this past spring. we were so enchanted at being around them, that our poor waitress had to come back a few times to take our order.

but really, how could you not be distracted by all these adorable bun buns?

we got back to our sphere as it was becoming dusk. tom had said that around this time, bats would come out and fly around, above our heads and i wanted to witness that.

sean went to the bath house to wash up, while i was chilling in the sphere. he had been gone for a while and i didn’t really think too much about it. i thought he might have just been exploring the grounds. turns out that he had a face-to-face encounter with a cougar! he was on the way back on the walking path, when he saw the big cat in the woods, looking at him. luckily, sean did everything right – he made no sudden movement, maintained eye contact, did not run and most importantly, did not panic. he spied a pole leaning up on a table in tom’s workshop, by the bath house, and used it to tap on the ground, making noise to scare the cougar back into the woods.

i was so happy he was alright. i can’t imagine what i would have done in that situation! after shaking off our fright, we walked up to the main house to tell tom and rosie about our feline encounter. so that they could inform the other guest on the grounds.

tom had warned us of possible bear sightings that would start in august, but never a cougar. turns out, he had never seen one ever since he’s lived on the property these past 8 years. however, he was excited at the prospect, after we told him of sean’s encounter and sean showed him where it happened.

i was a little bit scared to shower and wash up, as it was dark by this time. but i rationalized that if nothing happened when he came across sean, the cougar had most likely ran off and was not going to come back. still, i had sean come back to meet me and walk me back to our sphere.

we even braved it one more time for a final bathroom trip before bedding down for the night, tapping on the ground with a walking stick, flashlight in front of us, flashlight behind us. it’s dark and it’s the woods, after all.

all safe and sound, we cuddled up to watch a couple of dvds before drifting off. there was even some gentle rocking of the sphere, by the wind during the night. i didn’t feel it at all, but sean did. talk about being rocked to sleep like a baby.