Vancouver, BC: Play at Grouse Mountain or on English Bay and Feast at Wildebeest
From the grind on the mountain to fine dining and culture in town. Coastal cities offer the ability to play hard by light and clean up for relax, replenish, and reward after dark. All very possible with the use of public transportation and within the same day.
Travel light, travel free, pack your hiking/running shoes and an outfit for stepping out on the town. Catch the train from Seattle to Vancouver BC, then hop the Sky Train to a boutique hotel downtown. The St Regis Hotel offers a great location, WIFI, free long distance calls, soft slippers, warm robes, a bar restaurant, and an upscale piano lounge. If you want thorough directions or a fast response, ask for Juan or Meredith. I was comfortable and catered to at this classy contemporary urban hotel complete with ‘have a nice day’ doormen.
Take in views of the port from a Seabus, with just a short walk down Seymour Street to the Waterfront Station. A two zone fare will ferry you to North Vancouver, the #236 bus at Bay 8 will carry you up Grouse Mountain. For a workout take the Grouse Grind challenge and conquer the 1.8 mile stepped climb with a 2800 foot elevation gain. Go easy on the knees, recover, and take in the views of English Bay, Vancouver Lake and the city on the gondola ride down.
Across from the Vancouver Art Gallery is the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. I took in an exhibition of Ian Wallace, a local artist, melding two favorite mediums, painting and photography then stopped for tea and macaroons at the Georgia’s bustling Bel Cafe. Parker will get you seated and entice you with the special flavors of the day. The passion fruit macaroons were incredible. If more relaxation is on the agenda, Sense Spa on the fourth floor is a full service spa along with a 52” saltwater lap pool. The changing lights here channel the rainbow and glow of the setting sun.
Hop the #50 for $2.50 and head to Granville Island for a late afternoon paddle. Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre sits right on the bay. The folks here will get you outfitted and send you out for a glide.
Replenish for tomorrow’s adventures with a night of fine dining at Wildebeest. It is nice to find a piece of home wherever I roam, I asked the owner James how the name came about. His son named his favorite animal. This African antelope may be new to you and in keeping with the new and exotic, the eating adventure here follows suit. Every dish came with an inventive and unanticipated twist.
My ‘Al Fresco’ cocktail came mixed with jalapenos. The beet salad was garnished with milk crackers. The short ribs are cooked for two days and covered in hay jus. And if that isn’t enough there is always the Luge. After enjoying the Roasted Bone Marrow, Sherry is poured down the length into your open mouth to capture the remnants. The experience comes highly recommended.
Josh and James provide a unique dining experience and a wonderfully fitting ending to an adventurous day. Local farms are sourced for ingredients, and healthy, free-range animals make up the mainstay of the menu. There is truly nothing at this restaurant I could have or would have cooked for myself at home!