A DAY TRIP TO CHILLIWACK

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It finally dawned on me that this was the last weekend of the summer so I try to cram as much outdoor activities as possible to make sure I fully utilize the sunshine before it is gone! Weather forecast for Chilliwack that week was a little like the stock market; one day it showed rain, the next sunny and the day after, cloudy. Since all the activities I planned for the trip were outdoors, we would need a plan B if it was to rain. With a final verdict of a cloudy forecast, we decided to take the risk and head to Chilliwack anyways.

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After a 1 hr 10 minutes’ drive on Highway 1, we finally arrived at our first destination, the Sunflower Festival! We bought our tickets online the night before, saving us each $5 a ticket!

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Although it was a Saturday, it was not as crowded as I had imagined, possibly because it was still early in the day and because of the cloudy forecast. The sun was peering through the clouds so my photos turned out not so gray after all!

 

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We had a great time wandering through the sunflower fields, taking photos with various props provided by the farm and with the beautiful mountain backdrop. They even had an area where you can pick your own sunflowers home for $2 a stem. The greedy me picked the baby sunflowers so I could maximize their life spans in my vase at home!

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Unfortunately, there is very little sunshine in my patio so my sunflowers still have not yet fully bloomed ☹ Since it was the second week already, some of the taller sunflowers were already withering away. The farm had great facilities – clean, portable washrooms; two food trucks; picnic area and a playground for the kids. Parking was free and admission prices were reasonable. This is the first year of the festival and I think it was a great success!

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Our next stop was a 10 minutes’ drive into town for high tea at Dickens Sweets & British Museum. At this location, they have a shop which sells teas, teacups and other British sweets.

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Next to it is a high tea room and a small collection of British artifacts! Reservations are recommended for high tea during the weekend as it can get busy.

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For $15, we each got a choice of tea, a scone, some finger sandwiches and some baked savoury pastries. The food was delicious, fresh and served relatively promptly.

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After a good meal, we navigated through the British museum which features a full display of a British pub, a grocery store and a computer hardware shop. There was also an Expo’86 collection as well. The owner’s collection was well organized and displayed!

Before we left, we also purchased some tea and British Cadbury chocolates. They also sell their high tea pastries in the store as well but since we were full, I just picked up two Madeline cakes for the road!

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After a delicious meal, it was time to do some exercise to burn off those calories! We headed for the Bridal Falls Provincial Park to see the waterfall.

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Since I am not a huge fan of hiking, this trail was perfect for me as it only took 40 minutes in total.

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However, it still proved to be a challenge as going up was a steep uphill climb and it was a little hard to find footing at times when climbing up closer to the falls on the loose rocks. However, the effort was all worthwhile as we got some amazing pictures!

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Another 30 minutes’ drive took us to the Cultus Lake Provincial Park.

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The sun has come out fully at this point so the park was busy with families playing in the water and also set up for picnics.

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The scenery at the park was very beautiful with bristling waters, tall trees and luscious mountain.

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We had a great time playing in the water and relaxing on the floating deck. This defines a perfect summer day in Beautiful British Columbia!

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Before heading for dinner, we made a stop at Tap-Ins Putting Course to do some putting. They also have a golfing range next door but for a golf amateur like me, putting was good enough! For $15, you get access to 18 holes and equipment rental which is a good price. The course is also very family friendly and easy to follow. Not to mention, the scenery was absolutely amazing and breathtaking. I’ve played mini golf several times before but all of them were indoors. This was my first outdoor experience and I had a great time! Although I did a horrible job (+56 from par) but it was the participation that mattered the most!

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Our final stop before heading home was at Bubba’s Big Bite. This was one of the most highly rated restaurants in town on Yelp and most importantly, opened until later! It is a small hole in the wall in a small plaza, but surprisingly we had an awesome experience. Everything is made fresh to order and done in house.

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The shop is ran by a couple who named it after their son’s nickname, Bubba. The owner was very nice and came over to make recommendations for their menu and made small talks with us. Although they were busy handling a take out order, the wait for food was not too long. We ordered the vegetarian calzone and the Meatball Oinker to share.

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The signature sandwich also comes with soup and the soup of the day was the hamburger macaroni.

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The proportions were very generous that I had to pack half of it home and the taste was delicious. I like how hot the food was and how fresh it tasted as well. It was so good I actually got a triple meat calzone for lunch the next day!

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Finally, it was time to head home! It was really nice to get out of the city to enjoy the beautiful scenery of our province and enjoy the fresh air! At first, I was afraid that there will be nothing to do in Chilliwack as I have never been out there except for that one time many years ago for the corn maze. However, when I was doing my research on the Chilliwack tourism website, I realized that there were so many things to do that it was impossible to fit them all in one day! I realize that sometimes you don’t have to go on a plane or travel far to enjoy a nice vacation. Even when you drive an hour or two out of the city, you may discover another world that you have never seen before! Chilliwack is definitely more than just corns but don’t forget to pick up some fresh, juicy and sweet corns before heading home!

 

3 DAY WASHINGTON TRIP – DAY 2

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We had a little mishap in our AirBnb that morning; our shower and toilet decided not to work as we were getting ready, so we were put behind schedule for an hour. Frustrating as it was, our host was very kind and got it fixed while we were out that day and even gave us a bottle of wine and cupcakes to make up for it!

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Our first stop that day was the Pike Place Market. It was about 9:30 a.m. when we arrived and the place was already very busy. We parked in the underground parking lot right underneath the market. I think this is the closest parkade with the lowest rate ($3/hr). For some odd reason, the parkade right next to us was almost $5 more expensive per hour so make sure you read the rates carefully before you drive in!

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We headed to the Crumpet Shop for breakfast. When we got there, there was already a short lineup but the line moved very quickly. We were lucky that a table freed up by the time our food was ready.

We ordered three to try – Pesto with fresh tomato and parmesan cheese, Nutella chocolate spread & ricotta cheese, and egg & English cheese on ham.

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Out of the three, my favourite was the Nutella as I think it was the best pairing of all.

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The crumpets are made fresh in the kitchen inside the restaurant; they have a window where you can watch them kneel and bake them.

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However, the savoury items (i.e. eggs and ham) are heated up in the microwave. I think the savoury crumpets would taste better if these items were actually cooked on a stove. For  breakfast, I would say 1.5 crumpets is a good amount. They also have unlimited refills for their tea and brewed coffee which is self-served. Both are organic. Overall, the crumpets weren’t mind blowing for me but it was still worth a try.

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They also had a guest artisan market that day so we took a stroll around the booths. The artwork was quite nice but a little pricy as expected. We also went through the market to do some shopping. In the market, they sell fresh flowers, fruits, honey, seafood and other handcraft items. I bought some lavender body lotion and dried lavender. My favourite store in Pike Place Market is La Buona Tavola Truffle Café. I always do lots of shopping here everything I visit Seattle. They sell wine and honey as well but my favourite is their truffle collection. I always buy their squid ink pasta, truffle pasta, truffle salt and truffle cream. It is very easy to do a lot of damage here! Their products are not cheap but everything is made in Italy and I have yet to find a store in Vancouver with the same quality they have here. I wish I could come back more often to stock up!

My friend wanted to try the Starbucks at the first Starbucks store and Piroshky Piroshky but both line ups were very long.

We only had time for one so we picked the Piroshky Piroshky. We waited about 30 minutes but it went by fast as we were given menus to look out so we can pick out what we wanted as soon as we get into the store.

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We were chatting with the person who stood in front of us, who was a local, told us the Pike Place Market location is actually not the first Starbucks Store, the real one was actually a few blocks away but they shut it down and moved to this location. She also told us to visit the Starbucks headquarter as they are not as busy and they actually serve better coffee. Finally, it was our turn inside the little store and we ordered the potato and cheese, apple cinnamon roll and the cinnamon cardamom braid.

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Prices were moderate for these Russian pastries but it was very delicious and baked fresh. Credit card and cash accepted – good to know before hand so you’re not standing in line for 30 minutes for nothing!

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Our next stop was the highlight for me on this trip. We got a Groupon deal ($39 for 2 VIP tickets) to see the Julia’s Queen of the Brunch Drag Show at Le Faux which was only about a ten minutes’ drive from downtown. There is a parkade next door for $3/hour parking. We were seated at the two seats by the wall on the left-hand side of the stage. The place was already very full and the place felt a little cramped.

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Our server took our order for drinks and we waited for the show to start. This was my first time seeing a drag show so I was not sure what to expect. The show ran about 1.5 hours and we had a great time!

20180701_131045.jpg The performers had excellent make up and costumes and they were such amazing dancers! They were also very funny and entertaining. There was never a dull moment during the whole performance. Many people were here to celebrate birthdays and bachelorette parties so there were many large groups. The funniest part was when they had to get on their knees to eat the penis shaped cake!

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It is definitely an adult only event but the performance was very professional. I will definitely come back for a show again next time! Don’t forget to bring $1 bills to tip the performers. There is a girl that goes around before the show to help people break their change as well.

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After the show, we headed over to the Starbucks Reserve at their headquarter. The woman was right!

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This location was way less crowded than the one we visited the day before and the décor looked even nicer!

20180701_144241.jpgMy friend grabbed a brewed coffee and I had a smoked salmon arugula flatbread. The flatbread was not bad but a little pricy at $7.50 USD for a light snack.

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Be sure to check out their fancy washroom which is unisex.

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We relaxed here for a bit and then headed back to the AirBnb to catch a quick nap!

Our attempt yesterday to try Cheescake Factory failed so we decided to come earlier today. We parked our car at a nearby parkade ($13 flat rate!) and went to grab a table. This was 5 p.m. and the wait time was already 30 minutes. They gave us a buzzer which buzzes when your table is ready. However, the maximum distance you can go is to the sidewalk which isn’t really useful if you wanted to go walk around.

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We came back after 30 minutes and got seated. Cheesecake Factory is one of my favourite restaurant chains in the States and I try to squeeze in a lunch or dinner every time.

20180701_172855.jpgI always order the same thing too because I can never find something similar in Vancouver! I got the Pasta da Vinci which is a chicken breast and shitake mushroom pasta served in wine sauce. It never fails to satisfy!

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My friend was not very hungry so she got a parmesan stuffed mushroom as a snack. She also said it was very delicious! They also give you assorted bread and garlic butter to start which are also very yummy!

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If you still have room left, make sure you try their cheesecakes! They have so many flavours to choose from but I am usually full after the pasta so we would get one for the whole table to share. The proportion is huge for one order and it is served with a generous amount of whipping cream!

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We walked about 15 minutes down to the Pier to board our 6:45 p.m. Arbosy harbour cruise. It had been cloudy and rainy the last two days but we were very lucky that the sun came out just in time for our cruise! The cruise runs for an hour and takes you around the harbour of Seattle while their guide provides a narrated presentation.

20180701_184957.jpgYou can get beautiful pictures of the Seattle Space Needle and the Seattle Great Wheel from here.

20180701_185830.jpgMy favourite part of the tour was when we got really close to the cargo terminal and we were able to see the cargos being moved around. It was really scary because at one point, it looked like one of the cargo was going to fall over! The boat is clean with plenty of washrooms and a concession stand.

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There are indoor and outdoor seating, both on deck and above. We had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery! They take a photo of you at the beginning and you can purchase these at the end of the tour. Not a bad deal if you get two photos.

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Our last stop of the night was the Flatstick Pub. We also got a Groupon deal as well ($25 for one pint of beer, one souvenir cup, a round of golf and a game of duffleboard for 2 people).

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This was another one of the highlights of my trip! This place was so much fun! If the Pub were not closing so soon, we probably could have easily spent another hour or two here.

20180701_212823.jpgWe first started with the duffleboard and it was my first time playing. Instructions are provided at the boards as well as the point cards.

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Each station had a unique Seattle sports theme which was really cool. It took us about 30 minutes to get through all of them. We took a break and grabbed some beer and snacks. They have a large selection of beer but limited options for snacks.

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We grabbed some nachos and guacamole. Next we headed down to the putting area to play golf. The golf course is spelt out by the letters of Seattle and the last round was to putt by a model version of the Space Needle.

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Absolutely loved it! It took us about an hour to get through the course as we had to wait for the other groups before us to finish. There are so many other activities to do here as well – they had giant version of jenga and other board games. They also provide free water and pretzels! I really wished we had something like this in Vancouver!

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However, my one caution of warning is that the Pub is in a slightly more sketchy area of downtown. We walked here from the Pier and the walk was a little scary because there were many homeless people along the way. Catch an uber or drive here instead. We took an uber back to our car.

We were one of the last few cars left in the parkade and the security guard escorted us to our vehicle which was nice given that it was already 11:30 p.m. at night. We drove back to our AirBnb and I finished off the leftovers from my pasta as I was getting hungry already from our early dinner. I had a great time today!