Paradise in British Columbia

This summer, the family and I were fortunate enough to take a week long vacation to Hornby Island B.C. (Ohhhh Canadaaaa!) Hornby is a small gulf island between Vancouver Island and... well, Vancouver.  A picture will give more perspective.

 

 Hornby island in the Strait of Georgia

Hornby island in the Strait of Georgia

From our starting point in Hillsboro, Or, it was a 7 hour drive to the border - 12 hours if you count awful traffic from Tacoma to well passed Seattle... While we are stuck in traffic, let's stop in the Emerald City and get some amazing food. It's Xiao Long Bao time! Fat Boys.. listen up!! Do you like amazing Asian soups? Do you like Dumplings? Of course you do! It's time for you to get to Din Tai Fung! There are two locations in the Seattle Metro, and 4 locations in Cali.

Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 1958 as a cooking oil retail shop. In 1972, it transitioned into a full fledged restaurant specializing in soup dumplings and noodles, and now a 1 Michelin star, expanding dumpling empire.

 Family style! So we tried almost everything

Family style! So we tried almost everything

I highly recommend any of the Xiao Long Bao, and the shrimp and pork wontons.. The co-mingling of flavors in these dishes is other-worldly.. Fragrant, savory and the perfect amount of heat.. I'm still looking for an excuse to take the train up to Seattle just to eat there again. The University Village location comes complete with a beautiful outdoor commerce park... You'll have plenty of shopping time while you wait for a table at this establishment. WORTH IT!

After filling ourselves with MSG greatness - it was time to get back on the road. Since we weren't able to get a reservation on a mid day ferry from Vancouver, we decided to stay the night at the border and grab the 7:45am Ferry from Tsawassen (Pronounced Swasson). We stayed in Blaine, Wa which is just a cute little border town. You can see the border crosssing and Vancouver from the park across from our hotel..  

 

 

 Looking at 2 different countries at sunset

Looking at 2 different countries at sunset

Up dark an early to get across the border just in case there was a line... There was not! Needless to say we made it to our Ferry SUPER early.. This was my first time on a ship this big, or any ship in the ocean for that matter. My wife has been making this trip since she was little, so it was "old hat" for her.

 

 My girls on the deck of "The Coastal Inspiration"  

My girls on the deck of "The Coastal Inspiration"  

Once we were done with this roughly 2 hour sailing, it was time for about another hour drive to Nanaimo. Here we would catch a much smaller cable ferry that would take us to Denman Island (about 10 minutes). Once we departed onto Denman island it was a short drive across the island to, you guessed it, one more ferry.. On this small cable ferry our final destination for the next several days can be seen.

Hornby Island is an absolute gem. Gorgeous scenery, interesting people and did I mention it's going to be between 75-80 degrees and sunny our whole stay? Yup! 

Angela's grandpa lives on the island with his girlfriend.. Yep, Girlfriend! John and Helen are THE BEST!! Since John lives with Helen down the road, he let's family come stay at his place... I was in love the minute I saw it. 

 This is the back yard

This is the back yard

 This was the front yard! 

This was the front yard! 

We drank, we ate very well, watched amazing sunsets every night... "Happy Hour" with John and Helen were definite highlights. 

We can't wait to go back and stay again.  

 Grassy Point - Amazing sunsets to guzzle with the eyes

Grassy Point - Amazing sunsets to guzzle with the eyes

 My daughter loving the beach at sunset

My daughter loving the beach at sunset

 Angela and I having dinner at the Sea Breeze Dining hall. Great experience!! 

Angela and I having dinner at the Sea Breeze Dining hall. Great experience!! 

 Nice day to hike Heliwell Provincial Park.. 

Nice day to hike Heliwell Provincial Park.. 

 My most favorite pic of the trip. Waiting for our ferry on the way back home

My most favorite pic of the trip. Waiting for our ferry on the way back home