Last summer I took a road-trip west and vowed to make it epic – just by more intentionally immersing myself in the experience. After my first stop in Wallace, Idaho, and a particularly rewarding stop-and-smell-the-roses moment in Coeur d’Alene, I knew I was on to something. So, I made my first day in Vancouver Washington all about following my bliss; no plans, no agenda… just wandering. And I was richly rewarded.
Since I’d happened upon the Tubbs Hill trailhead and Kootenai memorial in Idaho, I didn’t arrive at my Vancouver, Washington AirBnB until late in the evening, tired and hungry, and with my pooch in much the same shape. We were both pleasantly surprised with the delightful little sanctuary provided by the tiny-house I’d booked.
Dubbed by the owners ‘Traveler’s Hideaway‘, recently renamed The Blue Door Loft, delivered all the listing promised; the place was immaculately clean, the owners were kind and helpful but not overbearing, my dog was warmly accommodated and it was both close to everything I needed and utterly relaxing. I ate my breakfast leftovers for dinner, changed into my pajamas, and spent the rest of the evening outside, working and reading by the fire pit. Bliss. Seriously. SO good.
It took Rumi a couple of tries to make it up the stairs, but once she did we both slept deep and woke up incredibly refreshed on the first day of the Vancouver, Washington portion of our adventure.
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. I love to make it, I love to eat it, and I don’t care about much else until I’ve had coffee and eggs.
I skipped my usual paralysis-of-choice conundrum brought on by over-analyzing my Yelp-filtered search list and instead, I searched only for a breakfast place with outdoor seating (because I figured I could find something to eat almost anywhere, but it was already WAY too hot to leave Ru in the car), and chose the closest place. And oh man did I win the breakfast lottery.
I found an easy place to park on the edge of the arts district and we walked the last few blocks to the brightly colored door of the Brewed Cafe & Pub. Not only did they greet Rumi with fingers eager to scratch her behind the ears, they delivered my coffee and a bowl of water for her just moments after I’d taken a seat on the fine wood bench outside. I’d ordered the Breakfast Biscuit which – delivered to me hot and quick – turned out to be an even more amazing breakfast sandy than I had anticipated, featuring what could only be house-made biscuit, scrambled eggs, avocados, and cheese. I also ordered breakfast-dessert. (Did I mention breakfast is also my favorite time to eat dessert?)
I sat for nearly an hour, just kitty-corner from the Firehouse Glass studio, sipping my coffee, Rumi snoring happily at my feet between visitor-greets, and took in the scenery around me. Even from my seat I truly felt the sense of revitalization in the downtown area.
After our bellies had settled, we took a lazy walk-about around downtown in the arts district and stumbled upon several wonderful little surprises; several new businesses that have renovated the historic architecture, some that are embracing the history exactly the way it is, and several bits of public art.
After a quick stop at a unique vintage jewelry store in which Rumi was welcome and I found a fabulous little ring, we got in the car and set out to find another wonderful part of town – but first, a stop at Fleur Chocolate; truffles, and brownies and coffee oh my! So good.
One of the sometimes challenging parts of traveling with a dog – especially in the summer – is the heat. It’s also one of the more wonderful things because it forces you (or, more accurately, me) to get out of the car and play OUTSIDE! Since it was the panting-est part of the day, Ru and I headed for Wintler community park – which, I was thrilled to discover, is actually so much more! It’s a beach! I didn’t have my swimming suit because I didn’t know… but Rumi wears hers all the time and headed straight for the water where she gave all the bathing beauties near us a hilarious display of unbridled JOY.
Once my little pup was sufficiently cooled in the water, we headed to Fort Vancouver – so I could get my history-fix. I was surprised to discover it was a super cool, old, for-realz fort – combined with an awesome art installation and functional art walking bridge!
With a dead phone battery and tired legs, we found a dog-friendly dinner place right on the water (thanks Yelp!) “Beaches” – apparently a locally owned business that has grown to three locations – treated us both very well. Good food, nice wine, a great view, an awesome outdoor seating area (which welcomed my pup with a bowl of water), and the sweet, casual, beach-y vibe made the experience lovely. The INCREDIBLY kind and gracious staff though, made it exemplary. So much so that I wrote the waitress in the review journal provided, pointing out that for me – good customer service is valuable, but when a waitress shows authenticity in her service; a real positive attitude, real gratitude, and real kindness… it elevates the experience to incredible.
Back at our “Traveler’s Hideaway” home for the night, I lit another fire in the backyard pit, and indulged in the luxury of wandering, of following my curious bliss, and enjoying the journey. I hope my experience helps you do the same – whether you’re on the road, or walking around your neighborhood.