Flying High in Vancouver

Leading up to Canada Day which is every July 1st, I thought it a good idea to showcase some exciting & inspiring local events and businesses.I began with a little write-up on Vancouver’s “Bard on the Beach” our first-rate Shakespearean theatre group which brings tourists and local community together by filling seats to capacity every afternoon/evening until the finish in September.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do another flying trip over Canada.  In a matter of minutes not only did I experience the trip of a lifetime flying over the great rockies, Niagara Falls and more…but I also flew over the American Great Wild West.  All without leaving my seat.  Let me explain.

Gift Shop + Restaurant on Premises

Fly Over Canada is located at Canada Place – which is an iconic landmark located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront.  We know it as a venue for world-class events, home port to the Vancouver-Alaska cruise lines, Vancouver Convention Centre East, Pan Pacific Hotel, FlyOver Canada, World Trade Centre and more.

Canada Place

FLY OVER CANADA is North America’s leading flying ride.

Last time I was here was at least six or seven years ago where I experienced “Fly Over China.” “Fly Over Canada” experience is always showing, however they add another country or area of interest which shows for only so long before they switch it up.  If you’ve never been I urge you to go.  A bit pricey but totally worth the trip.  You’re strapped to a moving seat suspended, feet dangling, enveloped by a 20-metre spherical screen which gives you the feeling of actually being on the journey as they’ve captured thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders experience those locations as they truly are.

Using advanced technology to showcase awe-inspiring sights as you’ve never seen them before incorporating special effects — including wind, mist and scents.

I’ve flown and driven all over Canada as well as the American West like all the places shown on the ride…but I’ve never seen them like this before.  Totally Thrilling!

No photos or video allowed.

ABOUT:

THE REAL WILD WEST

Monument Valley, Arizona

Experience the West at its wildest. Glide over vast prairies and towering peaks. Dip into valleys where untamed rivers rush, and buzz through electric urban spaces pulsing with energy. Limited Showing: April 21 – June 26

FLYOVER CANADA

Soar across Canada from coast to coast to coast. Sweep over Niagara Falls, vast prairies and massive mountain peaks to see Canada like never before.

https://www.flyovercanada.com/

L.A. Vibes

Bits ‘n Pieces of Los Angeles ambiance from a recent visit.

Flower Child

My friend Natalia – Santa Monica Beach

Fish Market Sushi Hand Rolls – THE BEST!

Bijan, Beverly Hills

Sunglasses: Balenciaga

Everything has beauty; but not everyone sees it – Confucius

Photos: d. king

 

Fleur Noire

I love stepping into a place that takes my breath away.  If there’s rosé to go along with it – all the better.

Here’s another little boutique oasis in Palm Springs that I had the pleasure of visiting.  Have a peek at a few photos I took when Chris Pardo, the owner, took me on a little tour.  

A Tall Tale (taken from their website):

While traveling in France searching for vintage furniture we happened upon a roadside cart selling flower seeds. Not being fluent in the language we believed we purchased a vintage lineage of seeds. Once back in Palm Springs we planted seeds on property, unbelievably the flowers kept blooming black. Dismayed we had one horticulturist after the other come evaluate the phenomenon with no success. Finally after researching the small town near where we purchased the seeds we came upon an obscure landscaper who we believe they called an expert, the French man named Jacque Cousteau (no relation to the famed underwater explorer). After months of negotiating his travels to the states, he immediately identified the problem was with not the soil but the seedlings which were the fabled fleur noire. The only antedote… Rosé all day.

To Book:

https://www.fleurnoirehotel.com/

 

 

 

The Charm of Old Town La Quinta, Ca.

It’s like Night and Day. photo: d. king

We spent the better part of the day/evening in this amiable little town which is only about a 35 minute drive from Palm Springs and had dinner at a chic Mexican restaurant called…

La Quinta is a small resort city in Coachella Valley, known as one of the leading golf destinations in the States. Known for incredible year-round warm and dry climate and superb shopping, world-class golf at more than 20 golf courses, biking through the valley among the orchards and vineyards, and dining at a number of first-class restaurants.

Summing it up: elegant boutiques, gourmet dining, wine and olive oil tasting bars, art galleries, and charming cafes. Upstairs are offices and businesses, creating a fine balance between work and pleasure. There is always something going on in Old Town La Quinta, such as music on weekends, the Art Under the Umbrellas art show, Taste of La Quinta, and very popular Sunday Certified Farmers’ Market.

Summing it up: vacationidea.com sums it up best with the best of the best:

11 Best Things to Do in La Quinta, California

All photos: d. king

PioneerTown, CA.

True Grit!

Sometimes you’re in the mood for glamour and sometimes you’re in the mood for something a bit more gritty, or something you didn’t even know you were in the mood for…something like the wild, wild West…which has its very own style of glamour.
Way out in the desert, on our drive back from Joshua Tree, we came across an enchanting Old West Town that was built in the 1940’s and used as a film set throughout the 40’s and 50’s.

a few of the movie posters from what was shot on location here

from the little museum – a rotating display of many movies that were shot in this area.

In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors, including actors Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. They dreamed of creating an Old West set that was actually a town worth visiting, with 1880s-style false-front façades but interiors that had stuff for visitors to see and do too. Up went (from the outside) frontier stables, saloons, and jails; inside, they housed ice cream parlours, bowling alleys and motels. More than 50 films and television shows were filmed here in the 1940s and ‘50s.

 

 

 

 

 

These days Pioneer Town is no longer used to make Old West movies. Instead, it’s a real town with a few houses, restaurants and all the remains of the movie set that you actually walk around.  If you’re an old John Wayne and Western movie buff you’ll probably find it quite worthwhile and exciting.  At the very least you feel what it was like to live that lifestyle.

While location shooting and businesses here have dwindled, you can still see mock gunfights on Mane Street (pun intended). But the most happening place by far is Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, with surprisingly good live music (Robert Plant and Leon Russell have played here) in a seemingly unlikely setting. This must-see desert find also serves up awesome ribs, plus classic Santa Maria barbecue, burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Day Trippin’ Joshua Tree

We enjoyed the newly expanded outdoor market/fair and shops in downtown Joshua Tree.  I’ve narrowed down from the plethora of pictures taken.  

Starting with “THE END” – that’s the name of the boutique.  Art by owner Kime Buzzelli.
Beauty Bubble” – an operating beauty salon and museum.

This unique vendor-run weekly outdoor artisan market is located in downtown Joshua Tree right off Highway 62 at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center. Started Labor Day weekend and runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm.  We had so much fun perusing the showcase of locally handmade goods, arts, clothing, and many more awesome desert creations as only Joshua Tree can bring you!

Reminds me a little bit of Nelson, B.C.

I bought a hand painted linen blouse & soft hoodie from this vendor.

My neighbor Mindy here in Palm Springs owns this unique boutique – “Kama Clothing.”

Joshua Tree Coffee is the best in the West.

Feel-good Friday: the Comeback Kid

Proof of Life in Palm Springs with the Diva herself; acutely misplaced for so long…and the Marilyn sculpture above.  

Sunny Days are here again.  Photo: Paul LeMay

Some consider her a “Work of Art“; others “a Piece of Work.”  Maybe she’s a bit of both.

It’s so nice to be back.  I took a break from blogging in order to get organized before leaving Vancouver and setting up house here in Palm Springs.  First time in years having missed a season however I’m not the only snowbird who was unable to make it until now.  So….making up for lost time for what was completely out of our control takes being a little out of control patient.

El Jefe with a Chai Latte, Palm Springs.

There were a lot of firsts this time around.  First time flying with my dog instead of driving.  My boyfriend and I tried to make it as smooth a transition as possible for Layla who had never been on a plane before.  We couldn’t get a non-stop from Vancouver to Palm Springs for dates we wanted so we took Air Canada to Los Angeles and rented a car from there – a two hour drive with little traffic. Emphasis on “little.”  No one told us that Layla would be in another terminal on arrival and it would take us for what seemed like forever to find her.  When we finally located Layla she was all by herself in her crate alongside a homeless person who set up house inside the terminal.  Remember the movie “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks? – exactly! It’s sadly become a reality.

Anyway we got her and let’s just say her crate was a mess.  Guess she doesn’t like flying.

These photos are after grooming.  No; I don’t mean that she looked like this right after grooming.  I had her groomed…then she ran through sprinklers in a park (completely out of control) and before I knew what to do she rolled in the dirt – her attempt to dry off.  Didn’t work!

Look at that smug face!  Can’t get upset. 

Ordered a pet trailer to attach to my cruiser so she could ride behind me and now she’s as happy as ever and also oblivious to whatever distress she’s caused.

Another first was coming back to a broken kitchen window and realizing that someone had crawled through and took personal belongings – yes; it was a break in!  Not only that; it must have been a skinny woman on top of it.

I’ve known other people who’ve had their homes broken into before and it always sounds invasive and awful but before it happens to you, you really have no idea how horrible it feels.  The window is being repaired and I’m dealing with insurance.  Stupidly I left a few valuables here not knowing how long it would be before being able to come back.  Whoever broke in knew what they were looking for. That’s why I know it was a woman.

Giant art Installation by Salinas artist John Cerney.

Then I was sending a text when all of a sudden a little robot showed up out of nowhere on my screen going around and around with a message that kept saying “erasing“….so I shut off my phone.  But then when I turned it on again it was blank.  I had to borrow someone’s phone to call Samsung support to walk me through a total “reboot” which included changing passwords, etc….I ended up losing more than half my contact list and photos from the past six weeks.  Of course it could’ve been worse – it always can.

That took oh; about 3 hours in total.  I owe that guy a case of beer and dinner.

There was one really good first though…

Halloween here was a blast!  It’s obviously over now and I had absolutely no idea on what large a scale people (Hollywood industry and the gay crowd inparticular) would go to all lengths to dress up and I mean dress up!  There was excellent live music, tons of people in the streets with the most amazing costumes.  Okay; I’ll post one photo out of many, many just to give you an idea.

Pee-wee with wee-wee     You bad, bad boy!

Okay, okay; a few more but Halloween is over.  I’ll spare you all the Marilyn look-a-likes and the contest from which all the Marilyn’s got up on stage.  There were many.  All dressed alike and wearing wigs as in the photo of sculpture.

My friend Tammy with a faux police officer. Maybe he was real – so hard to tell!

Dame Edna

Nice looking couple

So I will leave you for now with a wink and a smile…until next time.  Promise it won’t be for too long.

 

 

 

 

Have a fantastic weekend!

Summerhill Estate House

There are plenty of good reasons to go wine tasting in the Okanagan in October.  For starters:

The wine is always good no matter what month you decide to visit, but come October and over the Fall/Winter in general it’s much easier to book accommodation as the wineries are less busy with everyone back to work and back to school.  So may I suggest a not so little gem of a place to stay…Summerhill Pyramid Winery Guest House (shown in photos on this page).  Not only is it amazingly spacious with a view to die for, but the winery + bistro is adjacent to the guest house.  A hop, skip and a roll home away.

That’s what I’m talking about!

For booking availability please contact:

estatehouse@summerhill.bc.ca

In the meantime…

Thanksgiving Wine-Care Pack

Five wines to pair with your feast plus an extra-special bottle for dessert!
Thanksgiving Wine-Care Pack

 

 

 

 

Uncorked B+B in Oliver

What can be better than spending a weekend over wine, food, fun and friendship? Not much!

This way to a good stay. Photo: d. king

That’s exactly how I spent last weekend – with my dear long time girlfriend Margeaux. We go back to working together over thirty years ago first selling advertising at an established Canadian film publication. Wanting to branch out, we convinced our boss to fly us to Toronto once we didn’t think there’d be a twice to cover the Genie Awards  (recognizing the best of Canadian cinema – now merged with the Gemini Awards to include Canadian television…but to my non-Canadian friends, you’ve probably never heard of either).  By some sheer godsend in between partying with celebrities like Donald Sutherland & Kim Cattrall at the event, our commentary and photos ended up getting published in the magazine.  Later we worked on a Canadian Mad Max style film together But I digress…

Margeaux met me halfway (well almost) in Oliver, British Columbia – Canada’s wine capital

I see a sign, there must be wine

She drove from Castlegar, BC and I had spent the night before in Lake Country, Kelowna with my boyfriend so I was not too far away.  The drive from Vancouver to Oliver takes about 4 ½ hours and we were lucky to stay with a friend on Thursday night and watch the sunset while drinking champagne on a sailboat.  I had to set the scene.  Sundown was also the end of a holy Jewish holiday; Yom Kippur.  Breaking a fast with champagne?  Wine not?

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

Margeaux had booked a perfect B+B in Oliver that appropriately goes by the name Uncorked run by Ian & Judy Born, a couple originally from small farming communities. Uncorked is located within a 15 minute (if that) drive of 40+ wineries in either direction and a lakeview location with a saltwater pool you can use from May – October.  

It’s quiet here and all 3 private entrance rooms have en-suite bathroom and flat-screen TV.  The beds are king-size, super comfy with new mattress and deluxe bamboo bedding. After all, you need a good night’s sleep for next day wine tasting. There’s a BBQ, shared lounge with efficiency kitchen and a coffee tray was left outside the room in the morning with the little extras (milk, cream, sugar) and full homemade breakfast included.

Frittata with extras – Photo: d. king
Avocado Toast – Photo: d. king

I was not expecting a menu from which to choose what we’d prefer for breakfast.  That was a pleasant surprise.  Dietary restrictions noted.  Judy’s homemade farm fresh breakfasts are beyond. Coffee, juice, fresh fruit salad, free range local eggs, home grown tomatoes, homemade jams, etc….It was exceptional.  As was her advice on which wineries were her favourites (she works at one twice a week which we visited – to be blogged about separately). 

As a local, Judy provided plenty of relevant information about small lot wineries (producing less than 5,000 cases) that are excellent that I would probably have passed by had she not mentioned them…including tipping us off to some wineries that are now run by big corps and foreign investors.  A few other well known ones that are overblown and such.  After our weekend we really appreciated her guidance.

we stopped in here
Garden Room Bed – Photo: d. king
Outside private entrance to room – Photo: d. king

Aside from our drop in to District Wine Village and a vintage shop on Saturday, we managed to visit 7 wineries in total.  Two well known wineries where we had dinner and 5 distinctive small lot fabulous wineries we’d never know about had Judy not circled them on our wine map.  And as usual, the wine and conversation flowed and the time went way too fast.  We decided to do this same time next year. We’ll stay here again if the rooms are available.

Y is that?

For booking and general information:

https://www.uncorkedbnb.com/

Have you stayed in Oliver?  If so; where?

Feel-good Friday: Have Dog; Will Travel

Because travelling with dogs can sometimes be a pain for finding overnight accommodation.

La Quinta Inn & Suites – now owned by Wyndham  are reliably dog friendly, clean, comfortable, cost-effective, all no-smoking rooms, free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast (sometimes full depending where you stay) and friendly service.

OK let’s be honest, while The Four Seasons it is not; your dogs probably won’t notice the difference well Layla might and if you’re looking just to overnight on your way to let’s say Palm Springs when the border finally opens and you want a very comfortable bed and a no-charge fee for your pooches – this is the place.  If you’re a member you can receive regular room upgrades to larger suites which is what I usually take advantage of. I’ve also stayed at Best Western Plus and the only difference is that they charge for your pets and have a bit more on the menu in the morning.  I don’t know about you but none of these breakfasts at either place are my cup of tea.  A coffee and yogurt to get me going is usually sufficient and a stop somewhere along the drive for something more substantial is the norm.

Here are a few properties that I can vouch for: La Quinta in Eugene, Oregon is completely revamped with indoor pool, gym and you’ll find the Willamette River right outside the door with a great green space for walking your furry friends.  Or if you have time you can run or bike along the many miles of trails.  It’s very pretty and peaceful here.

La Quinta in Redding, Ca, off the Cypress exit on I-5 in Shasta County. Located near the Sacramento River where you can explore National Recreation Areas within a five minute drive to Whiskeytown or the scenic world-renowned Sundial Bridge.  They have a fitness center, outdoor pool and breakfast. Plus a little courtyard to walk pets and enjoy a coffee before taking off.

If you absolutely must overnight in Bakersfield, all I can tell you is to make sure you stay at the La Quinta at the North end of the city (not the South end god help you).

For booking:

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/en-ca/laquinta

Am I being too optimistic?  Perhaps! 

Have a great weekend anyway