Squamish, BC: retreat into the great outdoors, toast to the trip with craft beer
By Kristi Alexandra
Thanks to the plummeting Canadian loonie, trips south of the border seem to be a little less frequent for local trip-trotters. Ah, but therein lies the opportunity to uncover what’s been in our own backyard all along.
Loose Lips recently took a trip up the Sea-to-Sky highway to the (not so) sleepy mountain town of Squamish, where craft beer, great seafood, and better sights awaited us.
We booked a queen room with a daybed at the Howe Sound Inn. Sitting above the Howe Sound Brewery, this homey 20-room inn is part hotel, part guesthouse. Cozy, clean, and affordable, it’s a definite treat for the thirsty backpacker or craft beer loving couple.
While staying at the Howe Sound Inn, it’s impossible not to venture downstairs to the brewpub (alternatively, their pizza joint Firebread) for a flight or two. All the pub-grub regulars appear, leaving an average impression on your tastebuds. Ask for the features menu, however, and the pricier seafood pho hot pot ($26) – loaded with prawns, clams, and mussels – is definitely worth the extra expense.
For brunch, there’s no better view and gourmet breakfast than The Watershed Grill. Situated in Brackendale on the Squamish River, you can sip on some Bailey’s coffee watching eagles soar overhead while the glacier river flows just below.
No one could accuse Squamish locals of being lazy. Surrounded by mountains, glacier lakes and rivers, there’s a plethora of outdoorsy activities for daytrippers to take advantage of. The ambitious vacationer could get up at the crack of dawn and hike the Chief, followed by a breathtaking ride back down to the parking lot via the Sea-to-Sky gondola (only $10).
More inclined to sleep in (like ourselves)? Wake up slow and take the dusty road (you’ll need a pick-up truck or some good tires) into Nexen Beach where you’ll find a microcosm of kite boarders and stand-up paddle boarders. If you’re more apt to take a leisurely swim than out for sport, seek out Alice Lake where you can either swim or rent a kayak, boat or board.
The rural, artisan sensibilities of the Gulf Islands reign in this little spot just north of Vancouver, which can be experienced in full at the Saturday farmer’s market on Cleveland Avenue.
Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.