North Across the Border

A new week meant heading for a new country, but before leaving Portland a quick visit was made to the Upper Macleay area in Forest Park to see the Witch’s Castle, a stone building built in the 1950s but abandoned only a decade later, leading to quite an interesting looking ruin deep in the forest.

The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, Portland, quite an eery place…

The drive to Canada took pretty much the whole day, with an attempt to visit the Pacific Bonsai Museum in southern Seattle on the way (the museum was unfortunately closed on Mondays…) and detour made to Snoqualmie again to see the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department and Packard sawmill.

Sheriff Truman is apparently around here somewhere…

It doesn’t seem so intimidating in the sunshine…

A quick lunch stop was made at a roadside Arby’s (the day had begun at Taco Bell, so it was turning out to be quite a fast food feast). Passing the border took about 20 minutes and went without in incident. Then on to the Airbnb lodging in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Vancouver, which happened to be within walking distance of Vancouver’s best craft beer areas, East Van and Main Street.

Approaching border control

Dinner was enjoyed at Steel Toad, an upscale brewery restaurant serving beer flights along with fresh salads and filling burgers. Then on to nearby Faculty Brewing, a really new and small place with limited but quite intriguing beers like a mint weizen. The evening ended at R&B Brewing, a hip and loud place even on a Monday, very focused on IPAs.

Dungeness crab salad with a beer flight at Steel Toad

The weather on the following day was hot and sunny. Breakfast was enjoyed out on the terrace of Bâtard Boulangerie, a filling breakfast sandwich and avocado on toast accompanied by really dark roasted coffees.

Mmmmm, avokado toast…

Then down through the Gaslight district and downtown to Stanley Park for a stroll before heading to the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which has one of the only garden mazes in North America, along with a very diverse botanical collection.

There’s some really large trees in Canada as well, like these ones in Stanley Park

Managed to solve our way out of the Elizabethan maze

A waterfall in the VanDusen Botanical Garden

After managing to get through the maze, it was time to get some late lunch at the Big Rock Urban Eatery, which happened to also be a brewery. Really salty poutine and an artisanal pizza, washed down with some refreshing brews.

Brewpub food Canadian style

The evening then continued to three other local microbreweries: the extremely hipster 33 acres (that had Finnish sahti on its menu but had unfortunately run out), the more rugged Brassneck (where the travellers made some new friends), and finally Main Street Brewing in the historic Brewery Creek area.

How hipster can a brewpub be? There’s even sparkling water on tap.

At Main Street, the main thing is the beer.

For dinner, an obvious choice was The Black Lodge, a small vegetarian restaurant with a Twin Peaks theme. Really good and by no means light vegetarian food (such as the Log Dog and the veggie Philly cheesesteak) along with cocktails such as the Dr. Jacoby. And a really freaky bathroom!

The Log Dog

That’s definitely a Black Lodge bathroom

Not a lot of Vancouver could be seen within 36 short hours, but overall the city appeared to be quite a nice place. Might need to go back sometime…

The Vancouver skyline viewed from Stanley Park



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