Whistler Fun Stuff

Beside skiing (did you get your Edge card?), there are an amazing number of fun things to do:

# “Sledding”:http://www.whistler4kids.com/fun_free.html. They actually let you sled down when the lifts are closed. You can get it at Village Hardware Store. Sled at the base of Lorimer Road and then walk across the Bridge.
# “Tubing” is open at 11AM-8PM and is just a short ride up. Edge card holders get a 25% discount
# “Meadow Park Sports Centre”:http://www.findwhistler.com/page.cfm/50. This is a little bit of a drive, about six kilometers, but there is a pool with a river and also public skating 1-3PM.

As an aside, Whistler Village maps are appallingly bad. They don’t list stores, only the big hotels and non of the streets are straight. Only “Findwhistler.com”:http://www.findwhistler.com/whistlermaps/whistler-map2_4-new.cfm has a haveway decent map. Search for a store and then it will zoom in to show you where it is.

Also the list of restaurants and things seems so short and strange, but for decent kid friendly places (re: has simple pastas for those with picky tastes as well as basic chicken and meats), here is a list in rough order of price and fun:

# “Teppan Village”:http://teppanvillage.ca. This is dinner and show. There isn’t pasta, but basic steak, chicken and seafood that is chopped and broiled in front of you. A terrific show and smell. It is always crowded with families as the flare of the grill is incredible and the individual chefs so friendly. In the Hilton at Whistler Village. Expensive for kids, but worth the show.
# “Trattoria di Umberto”:http://www.umberto.com/truck.htm. This is just called the Trattoria in Whistler as there is also an Umbertos. Nearly impossible to find, it is between the Pan Pacific and it is inside the Mountain Lodge by the swimming pool, so just go to the Pan Pacific and look out. It is well prepared rustic italian food. The pasta is fresh and good. The wine list is nice. The main issue is that it is quite expensive, but the gnocchi is amazing.
# “Earl’s”:http://www.earls.ca. Amazingly, this large restaurant chain is actually pretty good. It is expensive, but its strength is that it has a little of every cuisine, so someone can have a Indian curry, while someone else has a steak and another person has linguine with clams. It is across from the Holiday Inn in the village and seems to be perennially popular.

Canadian Retreats

Some places to think about going if you want a getaway. We’ve been to the usual places, so up to BC we go. Here were some that came up in searches:

* “Poet Cove”:http://www.poetscove.com/. This is on Pender Island. Seems like a good spot, although getting to Pender Island sure isn’t easy. Has a nice lodge as well as cabins. Plus there’s a spa too.
* “Wickaninnish Inn”:http://www.wickinn.com/. This is very romantic but is much farther north, so it take quite a while to get there. It is way up in Tofino on Vancouver Island, so is a 2 hour seaplane ride (fastest way there) from seattle.

Salt Spring Island

We are thinking about going there. Went to Salt Spring Island. There are a lot of slow ways to get there, but

“Kenmore Air”:http://www.kenmoreair.com/content.php?content_id=74 flies daily at 2PM out to Ganges on Salt Spring

Salt Spring Marine Car Rental. 250-537-5464 or 250-537-3122 or email jaysmall@telus.net

Don’t call Budget. The web has “Budget Rental Car”:http://victoria.foundlocally.com/Business/ViewCorp.asp?CorpID=73318. This is located 124 Upper Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K2S2, 250-537-6099 or 1-800-268-8900 (this is the main Budget number but they don’t know anything about this location and the phone number above is someone else now.).

Salt Spring

Welcome to Salt Spring Island. _We are taking a trip up north. Went to Salt Spring decades ago._

Getting to Salt Spring Island is EASY! There are 3 ferry routes using BC Ferries and a multitude of other ferry lines running from Vancouver, Seattle, & Victoria. Also, the float plane is a delightful, fast and fun way to get to Salt Spring, and see the other islands from a point of view like no other on the way!

Sun Peaks (Redux)

Tong Family Blog: Sun Peaks Archives. Well we are here again at Sun Peaks and two years later, there are still no real reviews of restaurants. Heard that the steakhouse is busy and slow, but to recap the ones that are still open as listed in the official “Sun Peaks”:http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/winter/restaurants.aspx website which doesn’t seem quite right. We ended up deciding to try Bella Italia, Mantles and Baggio’s. Baggio’s is now closed and replaced by Bella Italias, so we’ll give that a try.

For lunch…

* Bottom’s Bar & Grill. Canadian Pub Style. (250) 578-0013. I wouldn’t go there for dinner, but get there at 1130AM for lunch and beat the rush. It is ski in so that’s the big thing. Chicken strips are great for kids and they get bottomless sodas, so a good place to go. The chili is OK and the chicken burgers are decent.
* Masa’s. This place is much larger, but still you should get ther early. Main issue is that the food is just OK. The rice bowls are OK. .

And for dinner which is very crowded on these long weeks, in order I’d recommend:

* Bella Italia. Enjoy fine italien cuisine in the heart of Sun Peaks Village. We went there three years ago, but it was terrific then. 250.578.7316 This is new and I think it is the replacement for Baggio’s which was a terrific place.
* Mantles. In the Delta Sun Peaks, it can be very slow, so go early like 5PM as they are quite slow in the kitchen.
* Mountain High Pizza. Pizzeria. The only one pizza place and the best is their take-n-bake. If you have a cpndo, its an easy thing for a party. You can get the to-be-baked pizza ahead of time. They don’t put too much sauce on and the chess is good. The pepparoni is the larger less salty kind. (250) 578-7275
* Powder Hounds. Continental. Quite slow, but not crowded if you get there promptly at 5PM. (250) 578-0014
* Mackers. 250-578-7854. Haven’t been there, but a “UK Club”:http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/resorts/gssg/resort.asp?intContactID=44592 recommends it and Toro’s below. But it doesn’t take reservations so beware.
* Toro’s. Don’t know if this is still around, but quite good for Asian. 250-578-7870. We haven’t been there but has been recommends

Finally a little lower are:

* Steakhouse at Sun Peaks Lodge. Heard from some folks it is slow if you get there at 6PM.

Then there are the many pubs:

* Mantles Restaurant & Bar. Casual/Upscale Pacific Northwest Cuisine. (250) 578-6000.
* Masa’s Bar & Grill. Canadian Pub Food & Dining. (250) 578-5434.
* Macker’s Bistro & Bar Casual/Canadian (250) 578-7894

Finally a place for grownups who aren’t too nungry but defnitely not for kids.

* Servus on Creekside. A touch of European Cuisine.
Pacific Northwest and European cuisine in a charming intimate atmosphere..This place is very slow. Only for grownups, not kids. (250) 578-7383
* Mackdaddy’s. Go dancing at the club 🙂

Sun Peaks Restaurant Reviews

There don’t seem to be many of these reviews, so here is what I and the kids thought. From our biased opinion focused on good food, fast service and nice people mainly. Here are our top picks in rough order of restaurants:

“Mantles”:http://www4.deltahotels.com/hotels/hotelinfo.html?categoryId=2&hotelId=38. This is in the Delta Sun Peaks. They have got the friendliest people. Even let Grace tour the kitchen when we were waiting for dinner. The food is Pacific Northwest mainly. Dinner was a bit slow, but they are very busy. They have the typical chicken, fish, etc. I did try their Asian entree that reminded me of Thai a little, but was mainly good because it wasn’t just the usual meat and potatoes Northwest style. They have a nice, if expensive, brunch by the way. Kids under five eat free there and under 10 is half price (About $8 or so). They make omelets to order, but ask for a little extra cheese was Alex’s opinion. Best thing is all the fresh fruit which is hard to get at Sun Peaks.

*Bottoms*. There are a bunch of identical grills and pubs. We ate at Masas and didn’t get to Mackers this year. Bottoms has two things going for it. It is ski-in from the slopes, the food is nearly instantaneous. So get there at 1130AM and you’ll be sure to get a table. The kids cheeseburgers are full size by the way and a great bargain. For grownups, the veggie burgers and the cod burgers aren’t bad (although for our environmentally conscious kids, halibut would be a better choice than endangered cod or farm-raised salmon). This is a best as a lunch place we think. Masa’s is an alternative and their rice bowls as well as ski videos are good, but the service is really very slow, so not a great place to lunch and then hit the slopes again.

“Baggio’s”:http://www.baggiosristorante.com/. There is nothing like homemade pasta at the end of a long day. These folks have it and it is good. Alex actually ate nearly two whole meals. One of the Fettucini Alfredo and another of there rissotto. This is one place kids and grownups can love. Pretty fast service too which is great.

“Powder Hounds”:http://www.kamloopschamber.bc.ca/directory.php?mod=listing&cmd=browse&cat=59&scat=1209&id=1509&. This place is bavarian in theme and while not the fastest place, the kids loved the food. The favorites were the fresh 8 ounce halibut and the wiener schnitzel. Before you laugh, the schnitzel looks exactly like a gigantic dino-chicken and so was a great hit with the kids. They are not very fast though, so get there early and when you order, make sure they don’t delay the meal for the appetizer, just tell them to bring it all as fast as possible.

The Val. This restaurant has now converted into a fusion restaurant from a formal seafood restaurant, so beware. They have a good assortment of things like hoi sun noodles that adventurous eaters will like (although I found the sauce too heavy). This is a fancy place so beware that the quantities are smaller. The best thing though is that they have Jones Soda floats. Delicious for dessert and there is a kids size. Also their tempura plate isn’t too bad.

Finally, we have one non-recommendation for those with kids:

Servus at Creekside. No pun intended, don’t go there if you need fast service. They have a small kitchen, but more importantly, they do zero prep work. That is if you order potatoes, the very nice folks in the back will find a potatoe, peal it and start cooking from scratch. They have two sittings 5PM and 8PM and for us, getting there at 530PM, we didn’t get food until 730PM. It was delicious, but it takes a lot of time particularly if they are completely full. Wouldn’t recommend it for kids or hungry folks. And, as Connie points out, even 5-star restaurants like Rover’s will make sure that when you are ready your food is too. It is absolutely fresh and homemade, but just be prepared.

In terms of places we didn’t try, the new Japanese restaurant Toro’s looked interesting. It is where the Heffley Steakhouse used to be and it is an antidote to all that beef, chicken and fish that gets served.

Sun Peaks There and Back Again

Sun Peaks Resort – Winter 2004/05. Just got back from there and before I forget, here’s a data dump on having a great time there….

h3. Seattle to Sun Peaks

It is about 330 miles and we’ve never gotten there in less than seven hours including a break for lunch and the usual kid stuff. The main thing is to know where to stop on the way there.

First of all take the Sumas border entry. It is usually incredibly short in terms of lines (and big in terms of odor, but you’ll find out when you get there). The diretions are hard to come by on the Sun Peaks site, so here they are along with a travelogue both coming and going. The best directions are on “sunpeaksvacationChalets.com”:http://www.sunpeaksvacationchalets.com/Directions/directions.html or “Yahoo Maps”:http://maps.yahoo.com/dd_result?ed=xTowJeV.wimQQVd6MsEKU7USFw–&csz=Seattle%2C+WA&country=us&tcsz=kamloops%2C+bc&tcountry=ca&terr=-1001 gets it right.
Mile 0. Getting up and going bright and early at 8:30AM is about the perfect time since you’ll get to Sun Peaks while it is still daylight. That’s important if you’ve never been there.

Mile 90. Drive to Bellingham and take the Mt. Baker Highway exit, SR-542. Got for about 13 miles and then make a left on Route 9 going north. It is very pictoresque and scenic and I presume full of police with radar, so follow the speed limit signs

Mile 115. This will take you to the Sumas border exit. Remember, you need to have your passport. Also there are no fruit or vegatables allowed, so chow down before you get there.

Mile 130. You will get to Chillawack and it will be about lunch time. We get there about 11:15-11:30. Get off at Vedder Road exit and go south, take the first right on Luckakuck Way (what cool names), on your right is Cottonwood Mall and there is “Earl’s”:http://www.earls.ca/ whic is the most decent restaurant before you get into the mountain passes. Try their Thai Curry, it’s amazingly good. Also, the kids like the Fettucini Alfredo. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a DVD player in your car on brought a computer with you, its a good idea to start a movie now as kids are usually getting a little tired now and you’ve got a ways to go. (like 2/3s of the trip :-). Also, if you are low on gas, get some now. It is a huge gap of nothing you are about to cross.

Mile 160. The miles are a little fuzzy here, but basically, you take the Trans-Canada Highway (it actually becomes route 3 for a little) a little farther until you get to the Coquihalla Highway or route 5N. This is the quickest way over the mountains. You need C$10 for tolls, but don’t worry, they do take credit cards at the toll booth. Get ready for an amazing amount of great scenario too as you get through the mountains. It goes for for 115 miles, so you are going to have lots of time to enjoy the view 🙂

Mile 275 or thereabouts. This gets a little bit more fuzzy, but at this points, Route 5N joins up with the Trans Canada Highway again (Route 1 West). You now reach Kamloops and miraculously, you’ll see a gigantic Costco, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Wal*Mart (I’m not kidding). Take the Columbia St West exit, you should see a big super market called the grocery store and most importantsly a “Starbucks”:http://home.flash.net/~ral1/starbucks/bigimages/DSCN6687.htm at the corner at “Columbia Place”:http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/MapResults.aspx?a=1&StoreKey=43&IC_O=50.676124094046%3a-120.337892797545%3a32%3aKamloops%2c+British+Columbia%2c+Canada&GAD1_O=&GAD2_O=&GAD3_O=Kamloops%2c+British+Columbia%2c+Canada&GAD4_O=&radius=5&countryID=39&dataSource=MapPoint.NA. Most importantly, there is a grocery store right there that has organize everything. This is a great place to load up on treats as this is the nearest grocery store to Sun Peaks, so pack up that Mac and Cheese, etc. The Bagel store there is also great. Filling up now is a good idea after that long run.

Mile 276. To get back on to the freeway, take Columbia West and the make a left onto Summit DRive, this will take you back to the Trancanada

Mile 280. Follow the signs to Jasper, be careful as otherwise you’ll stay on the Trans Canada, you’ll wind down towards the rivers and be on Route 5 going north.

Mile 300. You’ll see a bunch of signs that say turn right. This is Heffley Creek, now you head up the valley to Sun Peaks. YOu are almost there.

Mile 330. Hey you made it! The village will suddenly appear about miles of going through cattle crossings and other scenic spots.

h3. The Return Trip

The return is pretty much the mirror image of the trip above. The only tricks are:

Start out at 8AM if you can. THe main reason is that if it is a weekday in particulary, you want to avoid Seattle southbound traffic by getting home at 330PM or so.

At Kamploops, get off at Summit Drive. Remember that one. Make a right at Columbia and go to the bagel store or the Starbucks. This is a great breakfast thing and gets everyone in the mood to go. The maple bagles by the way are really good.

If you are hungry, you should get to Chillawack as it should be about 1130 and head to the Earl’s again otherwise, if you can hold out get to Bellingham.

Just before you cross the Sumas border crossing, there is the GST rebate place. You actually don’t see it until 500 meters before, so don’t worry. it is on the right. This is a good time to start the movie by the way.

At Bellingham, stop at “Dos Padres”:http://www.historicfairhaven.us/dospadres.html. It is a little off the beaten “track”:http://maps.yahoo.com/dd_result?ed=EINwGuV.wimPPZu9PP7r5AVZu_H46JX.Z4QcYIu4Z4yWVR9epO7FhfMGk3gw.lqn&csz=kamloops%2C+bc&country=ca&tcsz=bellingham%2C+wa&tcountry=us&oerr=3005
It is a little off the beaten track, but it gets you out of the really bad fast food places on I-5. This is where the original taco salad comes from (or so they claim). In any case, you should be there about 1PM after the big rush. There is also a gas station there, so a good place to fill up. They have some other nice restaurants in that area called Fairhaven we didn’t have a chance to try, but was incredibly restful to stop there. No pun intended.