A Dog-Friendly Trip to Santa Fe

Hi! It’s me, Carson! I wanted to tell you about a trip that my mommy took me on last month to one of our favorite cities – Santa Fe, New Mexico.

My mommy likes Santa Fe for its arts, culture and food. I like it because everyone there loves doggies!

For our stay, Mommy booked a one bedroom casita at this cute bed and breakfast a few blocks away from Santa Fe Plaza. The bed and breakfast is called Las Palomas, and it, of course, is very pet friendly. 
The grounds were so quaint and very quiet. There was also lots of interesting artwork around the property and pretty ristras hanging by the windows. 
Our casita was so spacious. There was a living room with comfy leather couches for me to lounge on, a dining area, mini kitchen and a big bedroom and roomy bathroom. There were even two televisions, so I could watch something in the living room while Mommy watched the boring Real Housewives of New York City in the bedroom. 
When we checked in for our stay, I got a present from Las Palomas. I got a rope toy, so many treats and some poopie bags (I’m not sure what those are for. I think Mommy uses them for something). 

The next morning, Mommy and I walked to the Plaza to go shopping and visit some galleries. There was a native dance performance going on. This man is doing “The Eagle Dance.” So cool!

Mommy really likes the architecture in Santa Fe too. We walked past the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and took some pictures, but we didn’t go inside. 

Almost all of the shops and galleries on Santa Fe Plaza are dog-friendly. If you aren’t sure, you can just ask if you can go inside. Many of the shops had water bowls outside or inside the store for when I got thirsty. My favorite store was Doodlet’s because the shopkeepers gave me so many treats and there were so many puppies shopping with me and mommy. It got very crowded at one point!

In Santa Fe and Albuquerque, most restaurants that have an outdoor patio allow dogs to dine with their humans. Mommy loves this because she does not like to leave me by myself at the hotel.

We went to eat lunch at Chez Mamou, and Mommy got mussels and fries. She did not share with me though.

On our last day in Santa Fe, Mommy took me back to Canyon Road to go gallery hopping. We visited Canyon Road for the first time earlier this year with Daddy and my brother, Gus. It was so much fun that we wanted to go again.

Doggies are also allowed in most of the galleries here. Again, you can always ask if you are unsure. Many of the galleries also have sculpture gardens in front or behind the gallery. I loved taking pictures with the sculptures and seeing such cool artwork!

Mommy really likes these kinetic sculptures that rotated in the wind. The garden also had lots of pretty sunflowers. We got to stay here for a little while, just watching the sculptures going around and around.

Thanks, Mommy, for the fun trip to Santa Fe! I had a really good time, but we were both excited to get home to see Daddy and Gus!

Vancouver Trip Highlights

Our Labor Day Weekend trip to British Columbia was rounded out with two full days in Vancouver. If you missed my previous post, I wrote about our fun day trip to Victoria and Butchart Gardens.

This was my second trip to Vancouver. My first having taken place over 8 years ago. Since it was so long ago, I did not mind at all visiting some spots that I had been to before.

Here are my favorites from our short trip to Vancouver!

Granville Island

One of my favorite things to do in other cities is visit their public markets. I love Reading Terminal Market in Philly, Grand Central Market in LA and Chelsea Market in NYC. Granville Island Public Market has the same kind of buzzing energy that I find so exciting and there is beautiful food as far as the eye can see.


Our apartment in Yaletown was perfectly situated for us to walk 2 minutes to the Aquabus ferry terminal to get to Granville Island. It was so easy!

The public market is filled with artisanal bakeries, fresh fruit stands, butcher shops and a food court with a huge variety of eating options.

I loved these rainbow cakes. They are so colorful and happy-looking! The market was crazy busy on this Saturday morning and trying to find seating for six for lunch was a bit of an ordeal, but we were able to enjoy ourselves without too much pain.

We explored some more of Granville Island, including perusing the local hand crafted items available at Net Loft, gourmet groceries of Edible Canada and some souvenir shops.

By mid-afternoon, it was back to the Aquabus for us!

Richmond

We made a trip out to Richmond on Saturday night. It is a suburb of Vancouver with a 60% immigrant population and 50% of residents identifying as Chinese. Just as I typed this, I got a little angry about the political rhetoric the Orange Devil has been spewing – closing borders and building walls. It is disgusting. Diversity is not a scary thing. Rant over.  
Many of Richmond’s residents hail from Hong Kong, so we decided to visit one of the shopping malls that are similar to the ones found in Hong Kong. 

Aberdeen Centre was having a “London Calling” theme, so we got to hang out with Sherlock Bear. The mall also had a ton of food options.
For dinner, we headed to Sun Sui Wah Restaurant. A number of the restaurants we tried were closed for wedding banquets, so our choices were slightly limited.  
We had mantou (steamed bread with condensed milk), clams in black bean sauce, loh mai fan and a veggie dish with mushrooms. Not pictured were soup and salted chicken. Yum!

Stanley Park

We picked the right day to visit Stanley Park. The weather was gorgeous but not too hot. Stanley Park is a huge public park right on the Vancouver Harbour and is a must-do!
We used the Stanley Park shuttle to get around since we wanted to do the whole park. It was not as convenient as I would have liked but there weren’t too many other options for us since we didn’t have a car and didn’t want to rent bikes.
Totem Poles
The park has a ton of landmarks to visit including the totem poles and the Girl in a Wetsuit statue. We did wind up walking a lot during our visit since some of the landmarks are relatively close to one another, and we used the shuttle to take us further distances.
Girl in a Wetsuit
I think it would have been fun to do a run through the park but that didn’t happen this trip. Maybe next time!
The Empress of Japan Figurehead overlooking the Lion’s Gate Bridge
My favorite viewpoint of the day was from Prospect Point. It was just such a lovely day to be outdoors. 
Lion’s Gate Bridge from Prospect Point

Take advantage of what you stumble upon

We headed downtown one afternoon to do some shopping and wound up stumbling on some fun things. The Taiwanfest just happened to be going on. 
I am a pretty strict planner when it comes to travel, but sometimes you just have to take advantage of things when you stumble on them. We walked the length of the festival to see what was happening and also grabbed some street snacks while we were there. 

Vancouver also has a ton of public art that is very easy to stumble on, especially if you are doing a lot of walking. We got stuck near Stanley Park after our visit and lunch. My biggest complaint about Vancouver is the lack of transportation options. There is no ride sharing and trying to get taxis always took a really long time. The Skytrain was super convenient when it was available, but there are parts of the city that not serviced by Skytrain. We wound up waiting for a bus for over 30 minutes one time, and when it arrived, it was full! It was quite annoying, so we eventually gave up and walked and walked and walked. It was very far! Vancouver, you really need to get your act together on this front.

Although we weren’t planning to, we wound up visiting the Olympic Cauldron because we were walking so far that we were passing right by.

Olympic Cauldron

Next to the Olympic Cauldron is a piece called “Digital Orca.” Super cool sculpture with a great view of the harbour.

Digital Orca
Hopefully, I will see you again soon, Vancouver. Hubby and I really want to go skiing in Whistler some day! Maybe you will have ride sharing by then!

Day Trip from Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens with Landsea Tours

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I was traveling in British Columbia, Canada over Labor Day weekend. Did you know Canada also celebrates Labor Day over the same long weekend? I did not!

On our first full day in BC, we took a day trip with Landsea Tours to Victoria and Butchart Gardens from Vancouver. Now, I am not a huge fan of bus tours, but when you are short on time and transportation and logistics are complicated, I feel that turning to a guided bus tour is the way to go. Getting to Victoria from Vancouver is quite a trek and since we did not want to rent cars, booking a bus tour was definitely the right way to do it for us!

Victoria is located on Vancouver Island, which is accessible only by ferry or plane. We were picked up from a nearby hotel at 8 am. Then we took a 40 minute drive to the BC Ferries Terminal in Tsawwassen. We had to wait for about an hour since the ferries only depart once an hour.

Ferry Ride on the Coastal Celebration

Once it was time for our ferry to depart, our tour bus drove directly onto the ferry named the Coastal Celebration. Once the bus was safely parked, we were able to disembark the bus and explore the ferry’s amenities for the majority of the 90 minute ferry ride. 

The ferry had plenty to keep passengers occupied including multiple restaurants and snack bars, a gift shop, arcade and even a quiet lounge area. We were mostly interested in grabbing a quick bite and relaxing.

We did take advantage of some of the beautiful views. It was so windy that we took some quick shots before rushing back indoors!

Roughly 20 minutes before we made landfall, we headed back to our bus so we could continue on for the rest of our tour. 

Victoria’s Chinatown and Inner Harbour

Once we arrived on Vancouver Island, it was another 45 minute drive to the heart of Victoria. Our guide gave us a quick overview of Victoria before our free time started. We started in Chinatown, where we poked around a bit. I found our time to be a bit rushed. We were supposed to have 3 hours but that turned into 2 and a half hours after getting stuck in some traffic.

We made a quick stop in Fan Tang Alley, which is a tiny alley that was originally a gambling district. Now it has a couple of shops. 

Our free time was exactly at lunchtime so we were starving for some food. Luckily, we stumbled upon a cute pierogi cafe called SüLT Pierogi Bar. They had a ton of different options. I chose the yellow (curry potatoes) and the cluck (chicken, cheddar and potato), added a side of picked vegetables and some sour cream. Total yum!

By the time lunch ended, we had about an hour left to see some of Victoria’s major sites.

We stopped by the Fairmont Empress. There actually wasn’t much to see. I really wanted to see the Bengal Lounge but I believe it is closed indefinitely.

We did get to peek inside the Palm Court, which has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling.

Although we did not have time to visit the Royal BC Museum, we did take the time to snap some photos of their collection of totem poles located right outside the museum.

Finally, the last item on our list was to see the BC Parliament Building. Again, our time was too short to take the tour of the interior. We were able to admire the architecture and especially the copper domes. 

With just a little bit of time left, we stumbled upon The Victoria Classic Boat Festival and strolled amongst the vessels. The boats were open for public viewing, but we needed to head back to our meeting spot and be on our way. 

Butchart Gardens

Unlike our time in downtown Victoria, we had more than enough time to explore Butchart Gardens in its entirety. It was raining nearly the entire time we were there, and the gardens are prepared enough to have umbrellas available for guests all over the property.
My most favorite section of the Gardens was the Sunken Garden. It was amazingly tranquil and the colors were brilliant even in the pouring rain.

Lotus flowers

Ross Fountain

We were making good time, so we were even able to take a spin on the wooden carousel.

Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. Butchart had a large collection of zinnias and dahlias, and they were some of the largest I have ever seen. 

Dragon Fountain

Italian Garden
After we finished going through all of the gardens, we had some leftover time to visit the gift shops and grab a snack before re-boarding the bus and heading back to the ferry.

Return to Vancouver

It was another 20 minute drive back to the ferry terminal and then another 90 minute ferry voyage. On the ride back to Vancouver, we decided to wait until we got back to our apartment to eat dinner. But I did grab some soft serve from the snack bar to tide me over!

Overall, I thought the tour was well worth it due to the hassle it would have been to try to arrange all of this transportation on our own. The day was quite long at about 13 hours, but we got to see a ton and visit a new place!