Monthly Archives: October 2015

Setting Sail on the HAL Oosterdam

This was my first cruise on Holland America but my ninth cruise overall. I’ve also cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival, but I’m a loyal customer of Norwegian. Or I should say I was loyal until I found a better price with Holland America. That coupled with recommendations from friends for the HAL Alaskan cruise caused me to “jump ship.”

As I explained in an earlier post, we upgraded our cabin to a suite which was sweet. We appreciated the increased square footage in the room and on the balcony, but the bathroom was really sweet with double sinks and a whirlpool tub that I used several times.

Our cabin on the Oosterdam

Stateroom 6113 on the Oosterdam

Vanity area in our cabin

Vanity area in our cabin

Our cabin

Our cabin looking out to the balcony

Sofa in our cabin aka Sheryl's bed

Sofa in our cabin aka Sheryl’s bed

Our balcony

Setting sail from Vancouver —Jim on the balcony

Sitting on our balcony

Sheryl sitting on our balcony

We typically spend very little time in our stateroom on a cruise but with a balcony, we actually spent more time than usual, especially once we got to the glaciers. But there’s so much more to do onboard than sit in your stateroom. When we were in port we were usually off the ship but we had plenty of time to explore the ship and experience the activities onboard.

HAL Oosterdam

HAL Oosterdam

HAL Oosterdam leaving Vancouver

Overlooking the pool on the HAL Oosterdam leaving Vancouver

HAL Oosterdam

HAL Oosterdam

HAL Oosterdam

HAL Oosterdam

An early experience included Jim as part of the show for the axe throwing competition. Instructed by a real Alaskan lumberjack on his way to a competition in Ketchikan, the two teams of four men each faced off. Jim was the first competitor and he buried his axe into the target on his first try. While Jim didn’t win the competition, the final winner was on his team.

Ax throwing contest on the Oosterdam

Axe throwing competition on the Oosterdam

Ax thrower on the Oosterdam

Alaskan Lumberjack on the Oosterdam

Jim and the ax thrower

Jim and Jamie the Lumberjack

Sheryl and the ax thrower

Sheryl and Jamie the Lumberjack

We attended several cooking classes where we learned how to cook the halibut Jim caught on his fishing excursion and the salmon we purchased in Alaska.

HAL Oosterdam cooking class

HAL Oosterdam cooking class

And the wine tasting was one of my favorite activities.

HAL Oosterdam wine tasting

HAL Oosterdam wine tasting

I think we took in the entertainment every night while onboard and I was impressed by the quality of the stage shows. Photography isn’t allowed so, unfortunately, I can’t show you. But when we returned to our stateroom, our steward would often leave a little surprise when he turned down the cabin.

HAL Oosterdam towel art

HAL Oosterdam towel art

Later in this series of posts from our Alaskan adventure, I’ll likely post food pictures because the food was good and the presentation was definitely photo-worthy.

But all of this pales when compared to the scenery we saw both on and off the ship in the inside passage and in Alaska. Check back next time for scenes and stories from the inside passage and our first port at Ketchikan, Alaska.

Based on events in June 2015.

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America’s Hometown: Charles City, Iowa

Charles City, Iowa

Charles City, Iowa calls itself America’s hometown and once you visit, you’ll understand why. The North Iowa Bloggers were prepared to enjoy our visit to this delightful town of 7,500 people but I, for one, was unprepared for the warm friendly welcome we received beginning with Ginger Williams, from the Chamber of Commerce. It was the same everywhere we went.

My day normally begins with coffee but on this trip, one of our bloggers, Mary Hopper from Natural Plus Nursery, led us first in a yoga class which was awesome and heightened my anticipation for my morning coffee at Aromas.

Aromas Coffee is a world-class coffee shop. Bryan Elsbury really knows his coffee and the information he shared with us was almost as good as his coffee. Did you know the first coffee came from Ethiopia? Did you know one coffee tree produces just 2 lbs. of coffee in a year? Or that there are only two kinds of beans, arabica, grown above 3000 feet and robusta, grown below 3000 feet? The best tip I learned though is that a medium roast releases and reveals the most flavor from the bean but a dark roast hides it. A dark roast is like eating a well-done steak–which I would never do. Fascinating and educational. If you’re a coffee lover, you must check out Aromas.

Aromas, Charles City, IA

Aromas, Charles City, IA

Aromas, Charles City, IA

Aromas, Charles City, IA

Downtown Charles City in October was definitely decorated for autumn and we felt like they were putting on their best for us.

Fall Decorations on Main Street

Fall Decorations on Main Street

North Iowa Bloggers on Main Street, Charles City

North Iowa Bloggers on Main Street, Charles City

They even had a parade. (Not really for us. It was homecoming, but lots of people turned out to watch.)

Homecoming parade in Charles City

Homecoming parade in Charles City

And then because it’s Pinktober, we all got pink hair extensions in Central Park as part of a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

NI Blogger support Breast Cancer Awareness month

NI Bloggers support Breast Cancer Awareness

We ducked in and out of shops all along Main Street, but one of my faves was definitely Darbe & Co. Boutique. Deb McNeilus provided us with darling gift bags, a wine tasting, and royal treatment. The shop is full of fashionable women’s apparel that was a big hit with all of us bloggers.

Main Street is a treasure trove of old architecture and I just had to capture a bit of it.

Main Street, Charles City

Main Street, Charles City

Although not on Main Street, we stopped by Otto’s Oasis, with “Florist, Gifts, Home and Garden Decor Greenhouse and Landscape Services,” where they also had a goody bag for us and gave us a tour of their greenhouse and garden decor. It was fun to see hundreds of green poinsettia before they turned their vibrant Christmas hues.

Charles City has a number of beautiful parks and the ones we visited were especially gorgeous with fall foliage nearing its peak. The historic pedestrian suspension bridge was destroyed in the floods of 2008 and has been replaced with a new one which was very impressive.

Central Park, Charles City

Central Park, Charles City

Kate McLeod Park at sunset

View of the Cedar River from Kate McLeod Park at sunset

View of Charles City Suspension Bridge from the park

View of Charles City Suspension Bridge from the park

Pedestrian Suspension Bridge across the Cedar River

NI Bloggers on the pedestrian Suspension Bridge across the Cedar River

I can’t visit a place without talking about the food. We had pub grub the first evening at The Pub on the Cedar. Good food, great service and if you’re a sports fanatic, plenty of screens to catch whoever is playing. If only it had been warmer that evening, I’d love to have eaten on the deck with a view of the river.

The Pub on the Cedar, Charles City

The Pub on the Cedar, Charles City

Or, if you’re more into fine dining, Three C Bistro is my definite recommendation. (Three C stands for Cavanaugh’s Charles City.) The owner and chef, James Cavanaugh, has created an attractive venue with excellent food.  I had the special which was a steak with braised cabbage and potatoes. How often do you see braised cabbage on a menu? It was delicious.

Three C Bistro, Charles City

Three C Bistro, Charles City

There is so much more we didn’t have time to see and do in Charles City including the Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home, the early 1900’s tractors at the Floyd County Historical Museum, and Iowa’s first Whitewater Park, to name just a few. I guess another trip is in order.

Come home to Charles City, Iowa. You’ll be glad you did.

All Things Travel receives free products for review purposes, and may sometimes be compensated for posts. All opinions expressed are solely from lclalor.wordpress.com. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Leaving Vancouver

Before leaving Vancouver, I’d like to share just a couple more places that we found worthwhile.

We walked through Gastown, which has been restored and today is a popular neighborhood frequented by tourists. You may recall from an earlier post about Vancouver that Gastown was the original town that preceded and was replaced by Vancouver. I read about the Gastown Steam Clock and mistakenly thought it was original to Victorian Gastown. It was actually built and installed in 1977 by Raymond L. Saunders as part of the revival of the neighborhood. In reality, the clock isn’t totally steam-powered; it also employs gravity and electricity to operate the weights. The sign on-site explains that “the live steam winds the weights and blows the whistles.” It is nevertheless, a favorite among tourists and one of those “can’t miss” attractions.

Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver

Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver

In nearby Chinatown, we visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a tranquil oasis in the middle of this large, bustling, cosmopolitan city. The garden consists of a free park and the garden that charges admission. We visited the free park.

Chinatown, Vancouver

Chinatown, Vancouver

The entrance to the garden that charges $12 admission is located next to the sign shown in the picture below.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Continue past the first entrance to find the entrance to the free park behind the statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in the plaza.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen

The entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park is behind this statue

The park provided us with a lovely serene respite with lots of bamboo plants and ponds with koi and turtles.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

The signs of the Chinese zodiac were embedded in the surface of the plaza and we each found our sign based on our birth year. I was born in the year of the snake. Those born in the year of the snake are (supposedly): intelligent and wise, good communicators, deep thinkers, easily stressed by a noisy environment, needing lots of time and vacation for relaxation. Hmmm, good to know.

Chinese Zodiac at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Chinese Zodiac at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Food is such an important and memorable aspect of any trip for me that I have to share our dining experiences and a few food recommendations. First of all, let me say that our breakfasts at the Barclay House were lovely and they were so kind to accommodate my gluten free diet.

Breakfast at Barclay House

Breakfast at Barclay House

While exploring the waterfront near the convention center, we discovered hapa izakaya. (They use lower case letters so I did, too.) The sushi and the torched hamachi and scallops were in a word, outstanding. Our server explained that patrons generally share plates so we followed suit, getting to taste and enjoy more dishes.

Dinner at hapa izakaya

hapa izakaya

Over breakfast at our B&B, one of the other guests told us about a nearby Greek restaurant, Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna. We thought we’d check it out and, as luck would have it, we happened to spot the restaurant by chance when we were beginning to feel a bit peckish.

Stepho's Souvlaki and Greek Taverna

Stepho’s Souvlaki and Greek Taverna

Restaurants in a city are usually quite expensive, but the prices at Stepho’s were reasonable and the portions were generous. We started with a favorite of mine, saganaki, a Greek appetizer of fried cheese.

Saganaki at Stepho's

Saganaki at Stepho’s

Sheryl and I each ordered the two skewer option of souvlaki so that we could trade and try both the lamb and the prawns.  Jim got the house specialty which was the roast lamb that came with an extra side of vegetables in tomato sauce. We all agreed our food and the house wine were good. When I return to Vancouver, I will definitely return to Stepho’s.

Prawn Souvlaki

Prawn Souvlaki with Greek salad, rice pilaf, and roast potato

Lamb Souvlaki

Lamb Souvlaki with Greek salad, rice pilaf, and roast potato

Roast Lamb

Roast Lamb, Greek salad, rice pilaf, roast potato, vege briami

Japadog is a Vancouver original and an institution in the city. Started by immigrants from Japan, this couple began with an idea for a hotdog stand with a distinctively Japanese flair, hence they named it Japadog. I read about it online and we were determined to find it and give it a try. Although we were looking for a food cart along the street, it turned out they’ve expanded several times and while there are still food carts in various places, there is now an actual storefront at 530 Robson Street.

Japadog

Jim and Sheryl at Japadog

You can see on the sign below several of the best sellers were sold out so we had fewer choices. At first, I resisted the original best seller, Terimayo, because it contained seaweed but in the end, I wanted an authentic experience so I ordered it. (Well, I requested no bun since I’m gluten free which caused raised eyebrows and may have also affected the “authenticity.”) While I heartily dislike seaweed alone, the taste of the seaweed strips on top of the hotdog combined with the teriyaki mayo was actually very yummy.

Menu at Japadog

Menu at Japadog

Terimayo Japadog, no bun

My Terimayo Japadog, no bun

Japadog

Japadog combo with fries and drink

I’m sure there are many more interesting places to go, things to see, and food to eat in Vancouver, but I think we covered a good bit of ground in less than two days. It’s a great city.

Based on events of June 2015

Categories: Canada, Food, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Rustic Corner is Definitely Worth the Trip

As a member of the North Iowa Bloggers, I was provided a free art class by The Rustic Corner. All thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own.

No one has accused me of being especially artistic. EVER. Least of all anyone who actually is artistic.  As a North Iowa Blogger, I’ve managed to avoid several opportunities to get in touch with my artistic side. So, I had some trepidation when I learned the Blogger Getaway to Charles City, Iowa, included an art class at the Rustic Corner.

The Rustic Corner

The Rustic Corner

On the other hand, I am an expert shopper. I love to shop. When we arrived at the Rustic Corner, I saw an attractive shop stocked with lots of home decor, gifts, and accessories, and my natural inclination was to shop. It was hard to tear myself away to report to art school, but I dutifully followed the others upstairs and found a place at the table.

In the interest of full disclosure, I immediately informed our instructor, Robin Macomber, from Art Box Painting, that this was my first art class and that I suffered from a lack of artistic ability. She took it in stride and assured me I could do it.

Robin, our art teacher

Robin, our art teacher

Robin took us step by step through the process of putting paint to canvas with a lot of fun along the way.

Step One

Step One

The process actually fascinated me. We started with the yellow sun, then added one color after another in a widening circle using the same process each time to blend with the prior color.

In Process

In Process

Then we added the leaves which were actually easier than I thought.

My painting in process

My painting in process

Once the canvas was covered, we took a short break for lunch and admired our progress.

Nearing completion

Nearing completion

Then it was back to work to add the final layer of trees. Finally, we proudly displayed our final products.

Finished Products

Finished Products

I’m so happy to have been given the opportunity to experience the fun and satisfaction of creating a piece of art. Robin is a good instructor, very encouraging, and a lot of fun.I will definitely repeat the experience in the future.

And following our art class, I had time to shop. I found these deliciously warm and cozy mittens which I just had to buy.

My purchase from the Rustic Corner

My purchase from the Rustic Corner

Now that I’ve discovered the Rustic Corner and confirmed that it’s “worth the trip every time”, I want to share it with all my friends. In addition to the art classes and the shop, their website shows Wednesday Wine Down on the third Wednesday of each month. Who wants to go?

Lclalor.wordpress.com receives free products for review purposes, and may sometimes be compensated for posts. All opinions expressed are solely from lclalor.wordpress.com. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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The North Iowa Bloggers Getaway at Red Cedar Lodge

I received a stay at the Red Cedar Lodge to facilitate my review. All thoughts are 100% honest and my own.

Red Cedar Lodge is located on the Cedar River just outside Charles City, Iowa. Tom and Lorraine moved back to Charles City to build a home, a business, and a life in Tom’s hometown. They found the perfect property on the Cedar River and built the perfect getaway for visitors to the area who want to canoe or kayak down the Cedar River, hike across the fields and through the woods, or just relax and take in the views from the porch, campfire, or hot tub. According to Lorraine, Tom, the son of a local architect, put a lot of thought and many of his own good ideas into the plans for the cabins, and it shows.

The North Iowa Bloggers were treated to a two-day getaway in Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge in return for an honest review of the property. Having traveled to five continents and experienced great lodging all over the world, let me assure you this property is easy to recommend. It’s nicely furnished in a cabin style, well cared for, and immaculate. With two bedrooms on the main floor, a loft with a double and a bunk bed, and a sleeper sofa in the living room, this cabin easily sleeps 10. Our group of six women had plenty of space and with two full bathrooms, no one had to wait long to use the beautiful showers.

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

The open living space flows from one area to the next allowing everyone to gather without crowding. There is a large flat screen TV which we never turned on and a gas fireplace which we used both morning and evening to take off the October chill. The WiFi performed well with six bloggers on-line at the same time on several devices each. The kitchen is well equipped and fully supplied with all the essentials.

Living room at Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Living room at Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Our hostess, Lorraine, welcomed us to Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

North Iowa Bloggers hanging out in the kitchen at Sunrise Ridge Cabin at Red Cedar Lodge

The grounds are as well thought out and planned as the cabins. The fire pit has plenty of chairs surrounding it and there is wood available to build a campfire. The amazing hot tub with lighting that changes from red to green to blue is located on an attractive brick patio with a fireplace. After a busy day exploring Main Street, Charles City, the hot tub provided an extra special treat for us to relax and unwind.

Fire pit ready for a fire and s'mores

Fire pit ready for a fire and s’mores

Hot tub and fireplace on the grounds at Red Cedar Lodge

Hot tub and fireplace on the grounds at Red Cedar Lodge

The path to the river is easy to find and the photo opportunities were excellent. In mid-October, the kayaks were already stored away for the winter but having kayaked the Cedar River before, I can tell you this would be a great experience.

The Cedar River from Red Cedar Lodge

The Cedar River from Red Cedar Lodge

View of the woods at Red Cedar Lodge from the Cedar River

View of the woods at Red Cedar Lodge from the Cedar River

Sunset at Red Cedar Lodge

Sunset at Red Cedar Lodge

Morning breaks on Cedar River at Red Cedar Lodge

Morning breaks on Cedar River at Red Cedar Lodge

Whether you’re looking for a place for a family gathering, a girlfriends getaway, or a romantic couple’s weekend, Red Cedar Lodge has a lot to offer. It was a perfect getaway for us.

Lclalor.wordpress.com receives free products for review purposes, and may sometimes be compensated for posts. All opinions expressed are solely from lclalor.wordpress.com. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Categories: Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cruising Through Stanley Park

Vancouver’s premier park bordering the downtown area was established in 1888 and has attracted residents and tourists ever since. When I first visited Stanley Park in 2010, we walked for hours through the park. There are many other ways to enjoy this 1000 acre park, including by car, bus, trolley, horse-drawn carriage and even by roller blades but this time, we rented bikes. There are several bike shops directly outside the entrance to the park and miles and miles of bike trails within the park to explore. We rented one-speed cruisers with helmets and a map from Spokes. Sheryl and I selected bikes with front baskets to hold our backpacks and we each had a bike lock for parking the bikes, but we didn’t use them. In retrospect, Jim thought we should have rented bikes with more speeds because he had a hard time with the old-style coaster brakes in place of hand brakes. When he tried to stop, all he accomplished was ringing the bell which happened quite often. Frankly, the wide comfy seat on the cruiser and the low price tag dictated my choice.

Sheryl and Jim with their cruisers in Stanley Park

Sheryl and Jim with their cruisers in Stanley Park

Because our time was limited, we rode along the Seawall, the main route around the perimeter of the park, but we saw a lot in just a couple of hours. The Seawall is 8.8 km and then with the distance to and from Spokes, we probably rode about 11 km or almost 7 miles.  It was the perfect distance on a perfectly glorious day.

Our first stop at the First Nations totem poles is the most visited tourist attraction in all of British Columbia. Totem poles carved from red cedar trees are unique to the Pacific Northwest and a must-see on any trip to British Columbia or Alaska. They are not idols for worship, as once thought, but rather storyboards with recurring themes. The eagle represents the air, the whale represents the sea, the wolf stands for the land, and the frog links the land and the sea.

Totem Poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Totem Poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver

I love lighthouses and Brockton Point Lighthouse is a charmer. Built as a replacement in 1914 with an automatic light, it’s one of the well-known landmarks in the park. It’s small, almost dainty, but I’m sure the light does its job welcoming ships into the inlet and warning them where the land begins.

Brockton Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Brockton Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Our next stop was to get a photo of the inlet with a view of iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge in the background. This suspension bridge connects Vancouver to North Vancouver along a major artery through the city.

View from Stanley Park

View from Stanley Park of Lion’s Gate Bridge

Nearby, the sculpture Girl in a Wetsuit perches on a rock. Designed to represent Vancouver’s dependence on the sea, she’s been sitting in the same spot since 1972 when the sculptor, Elek Imredy, gifted her to the city.

Statue of Girl in a Wetsuit in Stanley Park

Statue of Girl in a Wetsuit in Stanley Park

The Empress of Japan Figurehead is a pleasant resting place with benches and great scenic views. The masthead graced the container ship RMS Empress of Japan until the ship was scrapped and the masthead was rescued, restored, and displayed in Stanley Park in 1927. This figurehead is actually a replica; the original is on display in the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Empress of Japan Figurehead in Stanley Park

Empress of Japan Figurehead in Stanley Park

The day was warm with bright blue skies and every view was photo worthy. We stopped often for views and photos and while others joined us along the Seawall route, it was never uncomfortably crowded.

Seawall, Stanley Park

View from the Seawall, Stanley Park

We had been advised by our host at the B&B that on warm sunny days, everyone in Vancouver stops what they’re doing, strips off their clothes, and heads to the beach. Sure enough, the jumble of bikes and sunbathers at the Third Beach confirmed his warning.

Third Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Third Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver

When we spotted cairns built all over this rocky bit of shore, we couldn’t resist a photo. Since these cairns clearly weren’t here to mark a trail, I assume they are a bit of art created by passersby to announce “I was here, but I won’t permanently affect the environment.”

Cairns along the Seawall in Stanley Park

Cairns along the Seawall in Stanley Park

And further along the Seawall at Second Beach, there’s even a swimming pool.

Pool at Second Beach, Stanley Park

Pool at Second Beach, Stanley Park

There is so much more we didn’t have time to see or do in Stanley Park. The Vancouver Aquarium, located in the park, is Canada’s largest with over 70,000 creatures. Several restaurants located inside the park provide varied dining venues. Many more trails, lakes, and even a miniature railroad offer additional experiences to the visitor.

But what we enjoyed most were the scenic views all around us while riding on our cruisers.

Seawall, Stanley Park, Vancouver

View from the Seawall, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Based on events in June 2015.

Categories: Canada, cruise, History, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Capilano: It’s All About the Bridge

All my life I’ve been afraid of heights.  Never one to give in to my fears, however, I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, the St. Louis Arch and the Washington Monument. I’ve looked into the abyss at the Grand Canyon, the Royal Gorge, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With a feeling of dread, I’ve climbed ladders into the sky to paint our house and watched my children hopping and cavorting around the roof of our two-story home with my husband. Honestly, I disliked each and every experience and many more that I’ve either forgotten or omitted. So why is my number 1 favorite attraction in Vancouver the Capilano Suspension Bridge? Simply because I conquered it and I felt fearless.

The first bridge across the Capilano River was constructed by the owner, George Mackay, in 1888 from cedar planks and hemp rope to connect his land on either side of the canyon. It soon became a popular destination for locals and while the bridge and the land have changed hands a number of times, its popularity hasn’t diminished over the years. The bridge is 459 ft long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. It shivers and shakes as you walk across it and many of the visitors do, too.

I found out about this bridge purely by happenstance. I received an email from a travel site about a suspension bridge north of Vancouver a month or so before our trip which I forwarded to Sheryl, who was traveling with us.  I forgot the name of the bridge and when we got to Vancouver, I mistakenly thought it was Capilano when it was actually Lynn Canyon. It turns out Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free but considerably smaller so I think this mistake actually worked in our favor.

We noticed a number of tourists had purchased package deals from tour company operators for transportation and the entrance fee, but that’s not necessary. There’s a free shuttle to Capilano from various points around the city and you can find the schedule on their website here. Then when you arrive at the park, you purchase your tickets. At $37.95 for adults, $34.95 for seniors, $24.95 for youth 13-16, and $12 for children 6-12, admission is, admittedly, somewhat pricey but we had an AAA discount and you can find discount coupons online, too.

Immediately inside the park, we enjoyed the history presentation by storytellers in period costume to set the stage before our first view of the bridge.

Storyteller sharing the history of the bridge

Storyteller sharing the history of the bridge

Then we saw this.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

And this.

Capilano Suspension Bridge above Capilano River

Capilano Suspension Bridge above Capilano River

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

In addition to the bridge, there are a number of other experiences and educational opportunities. Naturalists are on hand with educational programs about the flora and fauna in the rainforest and you can schedule guided walks with a naturalist.

Douglas Fir

1300 Year Old Douglas Fir

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Treetops Adventure is a treehouse with a series of suspended walkways between trees that has particular appeal for children.

Treetop Adventure

Treetops Adventure

Treetop Adventure

Treetops Adventure

The presenters at the Kia’Palano exhibit told us about the First Nations people who created the totem poles which are actually storyboards. I was particularly interested in the totem to the right in the photo below. This iconic totem pole was actually created by the Canadian government after passing the Indian Act which banned the First Nation’s culture. The totem contains only symbols approved by the government and the resulting pole was actually an insult to the First Nation.

Totem Poles at Capilano

Totem Poles at Capilano

Cliffwalk, which opened in 2011, is a walkway along the canyon, high above the river affording stunning views.

Cliffwalk

Cliffwalk

Cliffwalk

Cliffwalk

Waterfall from Cliffwalk

Waterfall from Cliffwalk

I enjoyed all the activities, spectacular views, and educational information but in the end, for me, it was all about the bridge.

Based on events in June 2015.

Categories: Canada, History, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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