Besides summer, fall comes up a close second on my seasonal love chart. Whether it’s the crunch of freshly fallen leaves underfoot, all the great harvest foods available or just that slight nip in the air, Autumn is a great excuse to head outdoors with your potential mate, then head indoors afterwards to get snuggle in and get cozy.
For this month’s Dating in Vancouver feature, I’m profiling my favourite hood for fall hangouts: the North Shore. The North Shore is all about the elements and geography. The weather is a little bit more omnipresent (rain, fog, snow) and the mountains provide a great view/backdrop/playground for the beginnings or continuation of a romance.
A date in North or West Van is for those with sturdy gumboots, water-proof jackets and an adventuring spirit. While the North Shore contains mountains of date-night possibilities, for now I’ll cover my three of my fave dates.
A lot of my friends that live on the North Shore love it because it like a small city surrounded by the big city. The Lonsdale Quay and local tug boat docks at the south end of Lonsdale Stret help maintain this quaint feel. One of my favourite rainy day trips is to meet a friend or potential partner at the Seabus, take it north to the Lonsdale Quay. You get to leave Vancouver minus the traffic and parking worries.
An afternoon perusing Lonsdale’s shops, restos and fresh fruit and veg stands is an easy, no-pressure date. After grabbing a coffee at the Bean Around the World, my date and I wander through the shops: check out locally designed goods at Favourite or grab a new cap at Vasanni scarves. Then wander through the fresh fruit and veg stands to research what you will grab’n’go later to save yourselves from lugging the bags around all afternoon.
A stop by the Cheshire Cheese Inn for a plate of grub and a mug of grog is a great halfway point before wandering back to the main floor of the market to nab some groceries. The Quay often has specials events on the weekends – live bands, dance troupes, etc. Check their website for info.
To dazzle the newly relocated or perhaps a long-distance love, an afternoon at the Capilano Suspension Bridge followed by a meal at the sky-high Fraiche Restaurant is bound make things memorable for him/her.
While you’re at the Capilano Suspension bridge, be sure to check out all of their mile-high escapades. Whether you want to conquer your fear of walking on suspension bridges, narrow cantilevered bridges off the side cliffs or stroll among treetops, Capilano will keep you busy for at least an afternoon.
After your afternoon of hanging as high as the birds, head West for a sunset dinner. Trade in your Hunters for a pair of Eugene Choos and grab dinner at Fraiche. If you book far enough ahead, I would suggest one of their window tables for two. The views, food and great wine selection are a great way to check spectacular views of the sun sinking west.
Deep Cove has so much to offer: a local community theatre, kayaking, stand up paddling, canoeing, sailing, picnicking and hiking. If you’re looking for a great Sunday morning date that involves getting your heart rate up and your hiking boots on, then a Deep Cove rendezvous is the way to go.
A short hike up to the Baden Powell is great to test your partners ability to: hike uphill, hike downhill without falling (I often fail at this one), navigate people, dogs and children and revel in the panoramic views of Indian Arm and Vancouver. A hike up the trail to Quarry Rock and back is like a the ‘Grouse Grind lite’. There’s no timer involved and minimal stairs; it’s just a meandering root-bound, hilly trail through the forest.
If he/she passes the hiking test then wander down to Honey’s donuts to treat yourself to a Rolly Polly a.k.a. the best homemade donut in greater Vancouver. Or if you’re feeling even more relaxed and not too muddy, head to Arm’s Reach Bistro for a brunch or lunch.
Where do you go on the North Shore for a date? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below.