Awesome trip to Vancouver for nature lovers and foodies

When you’re on a cruise in Alaska and only make it to Vancouver in time to board your ship, you’re doing it wrong.

I used to resent the restless crowd of cruise passengers I encountered upon landing at Vancouver World Airport. They had just arrived and were about to instantly pull away from one of my favorite cities in North America. Vancouver is at its peak during travel season – full of outdoor adventure, local produce and pristine seafood, and buzzing with people.

“After months of gray and humid days, once we’re lucky enough to have blue skies, the whole metropolis comes alive,” said Saschie MacLean-Magbanua, a Vancouver native and founding father of the vacation spot. Dance and Health Training Studio (theformationstudio.com). “We’ll choose between cocktails on a sidewalk terrace, take-out sushi by a metropolis seaside, a woodsy hike with our dog, or finding a secluded bend in the river for a swim.”

My room was sparsely prepared after arriving at the Loden Resort (1177 Melville St., theloden.com), a downtown eco-friendly boutique hotel, but I didn’t think about it in the least. It gave me the good luck to take one of the resort’s free Electra Townie Cruiser bikes for an experience across the Stanley Park Seawall. The hour-long biking experience is simply unobtrusive, following a paved path that circles the entire park with majestic vistas of the North Rim Mountains and the Lions Gate Bridge, which connects downtown. from Vancouver to North Vancouver through Burrard Inlet.

When I returned to the resort, I discovered that I had been upgraded to the newly renovated penthouse suite by a stroke of luck. I always thought I could see myself living in Vancouver, and this suave pied-à-terre and its large, wraparound rooftop terrace definitely fueled that fantasy.

As a relatively young city established in 1886, Vancouver still has many pure springs and attracts people from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds, but outdoor travel, dining and a lively lifestyle are the main passions of Vancouverites. A strong First Nations tradition is embedded in the spirit of the metropolis, as well as the respect of indigenous peoples for nature and the connection to land and sea.

Stanley Park is on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish First Nations, including Squamish, Musqueam and Waututh, and my favorite excursions from the park are run by Talaysay Excursions (talaysay.com), a family owned First Nations cultural and ecotourism business. nations. On this trip, I attempted a forest walk with Haida Bolton, BC’s leading forest remedy information center to be accredited by the Affiliation of Nature and Forest Remedy Guides and Applications.

“Forest bathing is about walking, stopping at scent and touch, and building an intimate reference to nature,” Bolton explained as I closed my eyes and listened to the symphony of delicate leaves rustling overhead. above my head. “It’s about getting out of our heads, giving our brains a break, and connecting with our bodies and our hearts.”

Bolton invited me to intuitively embrace nature in a number of ways. Some invitations have been more contemplative, while others have been more playful – involving tracing in nature with my fingers, or constructing a work of art with unattached objects from nature collected from the ground of the forest. As I explored, I found myself appreciating tiny details that I wouldn’t usually discover on a brisk hike, including the tiny movement of a one-inch worm or a wildflower. solitary violet pricking the dead leaves.

Research has proven that forest bathing boosts creativity, boosts the immune system and reduces stress, allowing us overworked, tech-addicted people to build greater self-reference. Bolton really helped two hours a week of intentional time in nature for lasting benefits, and we ended our session with a tea ceremony, sipping fir tip and blueberry leaf tea. Bolton had infused with plants from his residence garden. First, we poured a cup on the floor to honor Mother Earth for sharing her magnificence and nourishment with us.

My sense of grounded calm lasted all day, until it was time for my first hip-hop class at Formation Studio. I was certainly intimidated upon arrival, but very similar to Vancouver itself, Formation Studio is a different group that is non-judgmental and welcomes newcomers (newbies are greeted with a personalized doodle on their locker), with a distinctly sporty-chic styling. After the first two songs, I was done trying to find my body in the mirror and just moved on to the music. By the time we were freestyle grooving to Sam Smith’s “Cash On My Thoughts” at the end of the sophistication, I was slipping and jumping, feeling great. Have I rolled my physique well? Maybe not, but I had a nice sweaty time regardless.

All that cardio has definitely boosted my urge to eat, and luckily for me, Vancouver has plenty of great food, as well as an abundance of sustainable seafood. Halibut, oysters, lingcod, spot prawns, sablefish and several other forms of salmon are commonly discovered on restaurant menus depending on the season. I always recommend sister restaurants Minami (1118 Mainland St., minamirestaurant.com) and Miku (200 Granville St., Ste. 70; mikurestaurant.com) for sushi lovers. They are best known for their flame-fried aburi sushi with wild sockeye salmon and jalapeño.

Make an electronic reservation at Printed on Essential (3593 Essential St., publishedonmain.com) as quickly as you book your flight — the hyperlocal and globally impressed, ingredient-focused restaurant deservedly tops the Top 100 list. restaurants across Canada this year, and reservations are hard to come by. You can also try grabbing a seat at the bar – where seating is first-come, first-served – to sample chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson’s aebleskiver (savory Danish donuts), chilled faceted prawns or any fleeting concoction that he is made from mushrooms, berries and different wild delicacies that he has gathered.

When trying to eat less meat, Vancouver is also a great city for vegan dinners. There are all-plant-based dining spots to match Cofu (1833 Anderson St., Ste. 103; cofu.ca) for vibrant vegetarian sushi served over black rice and Do Chay (1392 Kingsway; 1269 Hamilton St.; dochay.ca), a trendy Vietnamese family restaurant with summer favorites like black truffle jicama dumplings and crispy sticky rice xoi bap and sweet corn sandwiches.

Many more restaurants can simply cater to vegan and vegetarian diets, including Nuba (zones, nuba.squarespace.com), a neighborhood favorite for Lebanese fare, including fluffy falafel, hearty green lentils simmered in mjadra and the perfect crispy cauliflower inside. The city. Order the vegetarian sample feast if you’re feeling undecided and ask for an off-menu facet of the garlic toum.

Typically, once you’re in a food coma, which often happens to me in Vancouver, or after completing a strenuous hike like the grueling Grouse Grind (grousemountain.com/grousegrind), you just want to relax at your resort . bedroom. After many visits to Vancouver and stays at more than a dozen hostels in the city, two stand out above the rest. Loden Resort is an unbiased 77-room gem, with a convenient Coal Harbor location and attentive, caring front desk staff that truly makes every visitor feel like a VIP. Loden’s signature hue, a dark, inexperienced and relaxed residential design, encourages a peaceful calm. Almost every room has a stand-alone deep soaking tub, the right technique for unwinding after a day of curious exploration.

Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place, fairmont.com/pacific-rim-vancouver) is another perennial favorite for its luxuriously appointed suites, sweeping harbor views, and cozy foyer scene with nightly music. Plus, they have the best resort restaurants and resort spa in the metropolis. I like to recommend ample downtime to take advantage of the Willow Stream Spa’s rooftop hydrotherapy terrace, which features two steaming tubs (one with a Kerstin Florian mineral bath) and an infrared sauna. Even on a gray, rainy day – and Vancouver has plenty of those – it’s so refreshing to relax in a steaming hot tub with cool raindrops kissing your face.

Willow Stream Spa’s latest 90-minute Coastal Mountain Retreat physical remedy is a multi-sensory masterpiece, inspired by forest bathing and incorporating locally produced botanicals. To start, every part of my body was brushed with warm, wet seaweed followed by a gentle sea salt and hemp seed oil scrub scented with cedar and pine. After a short rinse, I settled back onto the heated desk for a therapeutic full body massage.

My therapist Anna was like a woodland fairy, and her strategic use of heated towels and light touch really made me feel pampered and comfortable, practically putting me to sleep. The ultimate touch was a glacier clay mask for my feet that was both grounding and detoxifying as I enjoyed a therapeutic neck, head and scalp massage.

It is this delicate stability of nature and the metropolis, each thriving in harmony, that makes Vancouver so interesting.

Amber Gibson is a contract writer.

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Wiley C. Thompson