Day 1: Border Crossing; Point Roberts Washington; Tsawwassen
I don’t know why we hadn’t visited Vancouver sooner – it is seriously so great!
Here’s how it went down..
We hit the road. I gotta tell ya, packing for this trip was a breeze! I just put a checklist up on the fridge, and my boys did all of their own prepping. I did cross my fingers that they would have enough underwear to get through the trip. (They did!) The only thing I really checked for was temple recommends- I made them all show me theirs in the car before we left the driveway. And thank goodness I did because Carey had forgotten to put his in his travel wallet!
Anyway- like most of our drives lately, it was rainy. But a smooth drive nonetheless. We topped off our gas tank in Bellingham Washington so we could avoid the gas prices in Vancouver as much as possible, and then headed for the border.
Guys- the border patrol agent was so nice! In fact, every agent we encountered on this trip was great.
Once in Canada, my boys were quick to point out everything Canadian: A Canadian dog, a Canadian stop sign, Canadian road construction…
We headed straight for the temple. It is always such a great feeling when approaching a new temple. Just that comfort that you are home no matter where you are. We walked the grounds for a little bit until it was too rainy to be enjoyable, then headed for the hotel.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Richmond, which was the perfect location. Nicely centered between everything we would be doing. We got a 1 bedroom room suite, so Carey and I got some privacy. The great thing about Holiday Inn Express is that they totally save us money. We took advantage of their free breakfast every morning, even making some extra PB&J sandwiches for snacks later in the day. And of course, we grabbed some forgotten essentials (toothbrushes, razors, and deodorant) for no extra charge.
There was still plenty of daylight left, so we decided to hop on down to Point Roberts. Point Roberts is actually a city in Washington that is only accessible through Canada. Kids above second grade are actually bused like 40 minutes in through Canada and back into Washington state to go to school.
It is here:
Carey has always been curious about it, so we decided to check it out. It was…. okay. Not like the world’s most amazing town- it was pretty sleepy and a bit run down. I hear it gets busier in the summer, so it may be better at that time of the year. You should go just to go though.
When you cross the border to get into the city, you’ll be given a map. It was kind of fun to visit all four corners of the town, each with a different feature. The highlight was definitely Monument Park, where you can look out on the Strait of Georgia and check out marker #1 on the US-Canada border. My boys really got a kick out of the “border wall,” which divided this town and a residential neighborhood in Canada.
By this point we realized that we hadn’t really eaten during the day, aside from snacking in the car, so we set off to find a place. We stumbled upon Mario’s Kitchen in Tsawwassen.
It was a little unassuming from the outside, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised. This place was great. The atmosphere was calm and classy, with some fun artwork on the walls. Prices were moderate, and the food was divine! Carey and I split the Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Bruschetta, and Frankie’s Southern Crispy Chicken Burger. Seriously, the best soup ever! The boys split a couple of pizzas and I didn’t hear a single complaint. I can’t recommend this place enough! Such. Great. Food.
Even though it was rainy – and windy – we wanted to stretch our legs for a bit before heading back to the hotel. The waiter at Mario’sKitchen recommended Centennial Beach. It was a good beach with a playground nearby, clean washrooms, and lots of sand. Also, there were bald eagles! Just sitting there in the trees!
I kicked off my shoes and sunk my feet into the icy cold water and it felt oh, so good!
TIPS OF THE DAY:
- If you are heading in to Canada from the states, check gas prices in advance. We filled up as close to the border as possible and only had to put a few gallons in while in the country- which was almost double the price in the US.
- Remember when looking at gas prices that it is priced by the liter, not gallon.
- When crossing the border, have everyone’s passports ready and all together to hand to the agent, roll down any windows so everyone can be seen, and take off your sunglasses.
- Think about what experiences you want and budget for them- we knew that each day we would want to eat at a nice or fun local spot, so we also ate some cheaper meals to stretch our dollar. This way, at places like Mario’s, we didn’t stress about the prices, we just enjoyed the food.