Friday, June 4, 2010

Granville Island

Island Getaways—where would you like to go? The Bahamas? Caribbean? West Indies? What about someplace in your backyard? Granville Island maybe? Okay, it’s not the tropics, and it won’t be a white sanded beach with the waves lapping at your toes-but it’s accessible and a quick getaway for a nice overnight from Seattle.
If you have never heard of Granville Island it’s in Vancouver BC and one of my favorite places to go to when in Vancouver. I booked Amtrak to Vancouver, and I highly recommend the train ride up. When you check in at Amtrak in Seattle ask for a window seat on the left side of the train on the way to Vancouver and for a window seat on the right side of the train returning from Vancouver. Or better yet for $14 more you can upgrade to Business Class. That is definitely the way to go; priority boarding and you are among the first passengers off the train in Canada so no delays in the line to clear Canadian Customs!

The train leaves Seattle at 7:40am and the ride up is beautiful-all along the Washington Coast and then thru the Fraser Valley area in Canada. Keep watch for the bald eagles in the mudflats outside of White Rock, BC. They are all over the place. You will probably see herons along the way too. Just gorgeous. We passed a wedding on the beach on the return trip-what fun and how romantic!

It’s very easy to get around Vancouver with all the transportation options. I took the Sky train and transferred to a bus that took me right to Granville Island. A $9 day pass was a great investment for the bus and Sky train all day long. The Route 50 from the Waterfront at Seymour took me directly to Granville Island. You simply cross the street, go under the Granville Bridge and you have arrived at Granville Island.

I recommend you allow at least 3-4 hours to see everything on Granville Island-starting with the Public Market. Granville Island is literally an island in the city-I couldn’t describe it better than their website: “a place moulded by a fascinating history, buzzing with a colourful artistic community. A living, breathing urban oasis filled with fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most spectacular fresh food market you’ve ever seen. Add a vibrant and diverse mix of people and activities, and you have a destination so dynamic, no visit to the city is complete without spending at least a day here. Just think of Granville Island as Vancouver’s Town Square.”

The Public Market is a feast! Beautiful berries stacked like miniature Christmas trees; pastries that you will be dreaming of days after you have left the market; so many choices for lunch from peirogis and stuffed cabbage to pitas stuffed with lentils to spicy sausage sandwiches; and don’t forget the bread-whole grain, sour dough, cinnamon loaf, if you can’t find it here you won’t find it anywhere!

You can take your lunch and sit outside and enjoy watching the False Creek Ferries or just people watching-beware of the cute little sparrows-they will try to charm and distract you while trying to steal your food !

After lunch wander the streets, around one corner you will find a streetful of artist galleries; around another corner you will find a beautiful park to sit and enjoy;

another walk takes you down to the docks where the boats moor and you daydream what it would be like to own one of the yachts moored there ! Or grab a chocolate croissant from La Baguette  Bakery and take a ride on the False Creek Ferries.

You can listen to street musicians, watch glass blowing at it’s finest or shop to your heart’s content.

There is a children’s section of the Island too-filled with a fun children’s park, a Kid’s Market and enough to do to tire out the most energetic child!

Take a tour of the Granville Island Brewery, British Columbia’s first “cottage brewery” or stop in and try a brew. If barley and hops aren’t to your liking head over to Railspur Alley and visit Canada’s only Artisan Sake maker.

And if you are lucky artists will be carving totem poles at Ocean Art Works next to the Ocean Construction Plant. If you still need something to do there are three theaters, the Performance Work Space and an outdoor amphitheatre-always something going on somewhere.

Granville Island is a jewel and right in our backyard-just one of the many sights to see in Vancouver.
Returning from Vancouver on the 545pm train- pull out your stash of scrumptious chocolates from Chocolatas in the Granville Market or those delicious fig and fennel sour dough crisp breads from La Baguette Bakery, pour yourself a glass of wine (from the Amtrak Bistro on board) , sit back and enjoy the view along with a beautiful sunset! Sweet dreams and Bon Voyage.


bellini valli said...

My daughter and her boyfriend moved permanently to Vancouver this past weekend. Middle of July I will be spending some time on Granville Island with them. Can you believe I have neve been after all these years living in BC:D I guess I am usually headed to Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast:D Thanks for sharing a glimpse of this city icon Sandy.

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Oh my gosh you of all people will just love it !! And a Culinary school is right there too...I'm jealous of all your trips you will be making !

Jaguar Julie said...

Oh me oh my! But you have got my taste buds all a-drooling ... for the sheer mention of pierogies and stuffed cabbage ... YOU had me from the start!

It is my favorite comfort food you know! That would be: ... I gotz to have it.