2015: The year of endless sunshine, smoke and a diamond ring

What can I say? The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. There are so many blog posts that I meant to write but didn’t get round to, and now I’m wondering whether they’re even relevant anymore.

I wanted to write about that time I decided to ‘shake things up’ and get a tattoo. Then I was going to write about my first trip to gorgeous Galliano Island where I sunbathed, hiked and got driven home from the pub in a school bus by a man playing a drum kit above his head while I tapped along with a maraca. Then I was going to write about the wildfires across BC that caused smoky skies all across Vancouver for a week, dashing our plans for a weekend hiking in Whistler. THEN I was going to write about how we went to Golden Ears Park instead and walked through the forest to a waterfall where the man only went and got down on one knee…eeeeek! We’ve been together almost 8 years, including moving to Vancouver together from the UK, so it was extra special that we got engaged in such a ‘Canadian’ location. The last couple of weeks have passed by in a complete blur of excited phone calls, engagement parties (yes multiple, I’m a very lucky girl) and staring at my left ring finger. Talk about shaking things up.

Shocked doesn't even begin to cover it!

Shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it.

It still hasn't sunk in!

It still hasn’t sunk in!

The best part is, things aren’t going to calm down any time soon. We head to Oregon on Wednesday for an extra long weekend and our first time exploring inland Oregon. We’ll be enjoying some much needed R&R while checking off four of the seven wonders of Oregon: Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Smith Rock and Crater Lake. A week after we get back, the fiancé’s (oooh!) parents arrive from the UK for a two week trip which includes five days in San Francisco. A couple of weeks after they leave my parents arrive for three weeks and we start their visit with a weekend in Tofino. And then it’s practically Thanksgiving and we’ll eat a big roast dinner and have a nap. Phewwww.

While I can’t promise I’ll get around to writing all of those blog posts any time soon (except the tattoo one, I really want to write that one!), I can promise that I’ll keeping enjoying life here in Vancouver. For more ‘in the moment’ updates about the craziness that is 2015 you can follow me on instagram. Who said odd numbered years were bad ones?*

*Oh wait, that was me. Shows what I know.

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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

6 responses to “2015: The year of endless sunshine, smoke and a diamond ring”

  1. theentiretyoflife says :

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! What brilliant news! Looking forward to reading it all in more detail soon! xxx

  2. Emma and Stewart says :

    Congratulations guys!! Have fun with the wedding planning (will it be here or in the UK?!).

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Thanks guys!! It’ll be in Canada for sure, somewhere around Vancouver. We’re excited for our friends/family from back home to come over and celebrate with us West Coast style! It’ll be a couple of years yet though I think…so overwhelming!

  3. Paul says :

    Hello! I am a native of San Francisco (well, Palo Alto – just to the south, where Stanford University is), living in BC now. Just a few suggestions given that I know you’re an outdoorsy person:

    – Golden Gate Bridge. You can actually walk across it. The best views are in two places – from the south (San Francisco) side, the views from the Presidio are the best. From the north (Marin County) side, the best views are from an old fort called ‘Battery Spencer’, which is open to the public and just off the Marin Headlands road to the north of the bridge. The latter is probably the best view and the best kept secret in the entire bay area.

    – Redwoods. You can’t go to northern California without seeing them. If you have a rental car, the best place is either Muir Woods National Monument (30 minutes north of downtown San Francisco, in Marin County), or the drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz in the mountains, where it transitions from oak trees to redwoods driving from east-west. Muir Woods is definitely the better of the two, and not too far. It’s the closest place for old growth redwoods to downtown SF.

    – Beaches. There are quite a few. Baker Beach to the southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge is very scenic; Stinson Beach about 30 minutes north is world famous, as are the beaches just west of SF proper, from Point Lobos Ave down to Daly City.

    – Baseball. The San Francisco Giants have won more Major League Baseball championships than any other professional US baseball team over the last 5 years and their stadium in downtown San Francisco is right on the bay facing Berkeley, with panoramic views of the entire bay. If you want your fill of the American pastime and you ever plan on seeing a baseball game in the US, this is the place to do it. The regular season goes until the end of September.

    – Subway. If you don’t plan on renting a car, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is sufficient if you plan on staying in SF proper or the east/south bay, but it’s not particularly effective in getting outside of the bay area or to the north bay (Marin County, Sonoma County).

    – Wine. If you are renting a car, drive north to Sonoma/Solano Counties and visit the hub/capital of wine vineyards in the US, in Napa/Sonoma Valleys. There are now local wine industries in just about every US state, but nowhere is it better known or established than in Napa and Sonoma. It’s about 1 hour drive northeast of SF and there are literally hundreds of places to go wine tasting.

    – Monterey Peninsula. If you ever read any of the American author John Steinbeck, especially “The Grapes of Wrath” or “Cannery Row” (which took place here), you should visit the Monterey Peninsula. This is also where the famous golf course Pebble Beach is.

    – Big Sur. If you really have extra time, you need to drive on Highway 1 from just south of Monterey where the Carmel Highlands start (where Clint Eastwood lives) and head south. This is where the redwoods start again, and the Big Sur coast is so beautiful it is renowned all over the world for its scenery. The winding highway 1 goes about 100 miles along the coast from southern Monterey County down to San Luis Obispo just north of Santa Barbara. It’s generally regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

    – Silicon Valley. This area has a somewhat loose geographic definition but generally includes parts of San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. In addition to being the home of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Cisco, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, Intel, Netflix, Oracle, etc., it’s also the home of Stanford University, which has one of the most beautiful campuses in the US (and much nicer than its cross-bay rival, UC Berkeley!) – the entire campus has a Spanish revival architecture.

    – Places to avoid. San Francisco is like any big American city; lots to do, lots of nightlife, great pubs, breweries, etc., but also some bad neighbourhoods, especially “The Tenderloin” in downtown. Most of the bay area is very affluent and relatively safe, but parts of the east bay can also get a bit dodgy; avoid Oakland, which is to the south of the UC Berkeley campus in the east bay area.

    Good luck and have fun!!

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi Paul, thanks for the tips, they’re great! I’ve been lucky enough to visit San Francisco/Sonoma/Monterey a few times before, but I’m also hoping to do some new things on this trip. We’re definitely heading to Napa Valley which will be fun, and Baker Beach sounds great! Plus we’ll do some old favourites like walking the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting Alcatraz and my personal favourite, ice cream at Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory! Thanks again, I appreciate the advice! 🙂

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