West Coast Easter Staycation

Easter Weekend 2013 in Vancouver was, in one word, stunning.  Hot, sunny, clear blue skies. Quiet, because half the city headed away for the weekend.  I’m going to be travelling for most of the next few weeks (just for something different . . ) – a long weekend at home seemed just about perfect to me.  And as it got warmer and sunnier day by day, not regretting that decision one little bit.  It was cut off shorts and flip flops all weekend, my favourite weather.  Despite having lived in Canada for a big chunk of my life, I’m an Australian summer beach girl at heart.  Daffodils abloom and lavender in my garden. 

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To celebrate the first gorgeous day of the year, Deep Cove Kayak opened for the paddling season on Good Friday.  That alone was reason enough to drag out the paddling gear, which involved shoving hockey bags, Christmas decorations and sundry other winter gear to the back of the storage under the stairs to reach the summer sports gear. But that’s a reorg I love!  We were the fourth kayaks to go out this year – yeah us!  It was mirror calm in the Cove and out into Indian Arm, with hardly a breath of wind with about 15C (65F) ambient air temperature. In other words, picture perfect paddling conditions.  In 2 hours we managed to cross to Jugg Island, pull up on the beach for a photo op, paddle up to Raccoon Island (oops major fail on the “stay close to the coast, the water is cold” instruction”) cross back to the north side of the Arm and paddle down to Grey Rocks.  Great first paddle, although I would pay the price later in sore butt and back for putting in that distance first day out!  Yup, this is where I live, lucky me. 

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A late lunch and a couple of beers on a sunny patio should have been perfection enough for one day, but it was the first night of the long weekend, so it was off to Kitsilano for some Friday Frolics.  I don’t know Kits well, which is a bit strange given that I’ve lived in Vancouver for 20+ years, but better late than never to get a fun lesson in some of the neighbourhood hangouts.  I can’t wait to go back to try the Southern Fried Chicken (not so secret vice I’m prepared to run extra miles to indulge) at Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar, hidden away on a side street.  

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As I said at the end of a that long, fantastic day and night, it was a 12 out of 10 day. Loved every second of it. 

Saturday and I looove waking up to realize I’ve already had a day off and I have two more!  An excellent coffee and I went out for a long, leisurely run on the forest trails that are my backyard.  Poor me, I know.  After that it was a lazy, catch up on stuff at home sort of day.  Which meant cleaning off the deck and getting out the patio furniture, throwing in a load of laundry then sitting in the sun with a few cold beers and a good book. Sheer bliss.  Did I say blissful.  Sheer bliss. Ok, I really needed some downtime!  Checking in with friends on their day, they were variously hanging out at Wreck Beach, sitting on a patio somewhere or, for the more ambitious, skiing in Whistler.  Conditions were pure spring snow . . in March.

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So you take your pick; patio time, suntanning at the beach or spring skiing. It all makes up a Vancouver Easter staycation. 

It’s Sunday night and still 18C (70F) on the deck.  We went to Commercial Drive today to pick up the makings of an Easter feast.  It was more patios and sunshine.  

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Cappuccinos at the oldest, and arguably tackiest Italian coffee shop in town, but with authentic Italian coffee.  Mmmm, Cafe Calabria. 

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And cherry blossoms, in full bloom, everywhere.  Tojo’s and Miku, two of the best sushi restaurants in Vancouver, are featuring cherry blossom sushi rolls and pickled cherry blossom salads.  Only in Vancouver (or maybe Tokyo). . a must try. 

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As I’m writing I’m enjoying a particularly fine Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang in upper NY State. 

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And the barbeque is fired up for a lamb dinner with a great bottle of pinot noir, a gift from my good friend J who works at Quails Gate Winery. All in all, a picture perfect Easter weekend.  Oh and I nearly forgot – season opener of Game of Thrones tonight!

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I’ve been a bit obsessed with the new John Denver tribute record to be released April 2.  With the likes of My Morning Jacket, Lucinda Williams, Kathleen Edwards and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros covering some of John’s best known and loved songs, I’ve had it in heavy rotation.  My current favourite is the Amos Lee cover of Some Days are Diamonds.  I couldn’t find a YouTube video yet (how to know your your tastes are obscure) but here is the link on NPR. 

The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver

This weekend was platinum.  Happy Easter y’all. 

 

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