Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford has been a town I have known about for ages but always treated as a pit stop on the way to Vancouver Island. Not anymore! Had I know what magic was waiting for me just off the side of the highway, I wouldn’t have waited this long to explore. For this visit, we were kindly flown out by Swoop airlines. (It was one of the easiest check-ins I’ve ever experienced to date.) For those planning a trip to the Fraser Valley region here’s my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide.

EAT

There was no shortage of amazing places to eat. In fact, there were such a plethora of choices, some of these recommendations are of places I wish we could have gone had we stayed longer. Did I know there would be such diverse food options available in Abbotsford? No, I did not. Was I pleasantly surprised there were vegetarian AND plant-based options? Yes, words cannot describe my joy when we began sussing out the area.

Cafes & Bakeries

The Polly Fox

The Polly Fox is a delightful cafe that has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly fare. Located on the main street of the historic downtown strip in a dreamy heritage building space. We had the Vegan BLT and a London Fog with soy milk – both were something to write home about!

Oldhand

Another delightful cafe in historic downtown Abbotsford is Oldhand. Their decor is like a breath of nostalgic air with old wooden chairs one would find themselves sitting in during a gym assembly back in the day. And I love it. Their London Fogs are also a true delight along with the vast array of delightful pastries. 

The Habit Project

There is nothing I love more than a juicery that has both amazing juice and minimal design decor. The Habit Project is a breath of fresh from their incredible in house made juices to the bright white surroundings.  We had the Jade and Ruby cold pressed juices as well as their chickpea caesar salad. SO GOOD. Just wow. 

Ivana Teahouse

Though we didn’t actually go inside to enjoy the Ivana Teahouse, it looks like a place I would love. It’s inclusion on this list is to remind me to check it out next time. And hopefully this time we’ll be there not on a holiday weekend when its closed! 

Sit Down Dining

Little Brother

Little Brother was another place that looked delightful but was closed due to the long weekend. It’s a cute brunch spot right on the corner for optimum people watching. What else can I say? The menu looks dope.

Brodeur’s Bistro

DUUUUUUUUDEEEEEE. I don’t know if this is just a phase but the call of the buffalo cauliflower has been strong. I can’t seem to get enough of it. And Brodeur’s Bistro delivered the vegetarian goods! Their mac and cheese deserves a chef’s kiss too. The menu is heavily populated with meaty dishes; there are a handful of veggie options to choose from. Did I mention they have buffalo cauliflower? 😎 

SLEEP

Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel

Located amidst rolling hills and few vineyards for good measure, the Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel is a relaxing getaway spot. Run by Chris & Sandi Buis, the most lovely hosts of all time, this quiet inn has everything including film themed rooms. We stayed in the Midnight in Paris suite which overlooked the Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates. While dining on a delicious breakfast made by Sandi, we spotted multiple American Goldfinches flitting from tree to tree. Their impeccably kept garden was the perfect spot to channel my inner Disney princess surrounded by cute critters. Also it’s 5 minutes from the Abbotsford airport so that’s rad too.

SHOP

Historic Downtown Abbotsford

Hemingway’s Books

It was steady drizzling the day we spent in downtown Abbotsford so naturally we dipped into a used bookstore in between feeding times. Hemingway’s Books is a treasure trove of antique and contemporary books all priced reasonably. We took our sweet time wandering up and down every single aisle. A used bookstore on a rainy day is basically a scene in an indie movie I would watch. 

Montrose + George General Store // Yes Chef

Both of these shops were closed – Easter weekend is a tough one for non-essential services! But I pressed my nose up against Montrose + George General Store and Yes Chef. Can confirm they looked rad. I must stop by again and hopefully cross the threshold of each purveyor. 

Freewheelin’ Records // Confetti Floral Design 

Here are two more businesses that looked intriguing as I gazed through their inviting windows. Both Freewheelin’ Records and Confetti Floral Design were admired from the sidewalk but are two shops I would make the time to pop into. 

DO

The Tulip Festival

Did you even go to Abbotsford if you didn’t go to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival? Well, technically, yes… but why would anyone want to miss this?! It’s like going to the Netherlands but without the hassle of expensive flights etc. Beyond being complete eye candy, the tulip festival is a great way to kickstart spring and get in the mood for more blooms to come! And if you lived in the prairies, a great way to escape the dusty aftermath of winter. The dates vary season to season but you can usually count on it happening in April. 

Maan Farms & Winery

Petting cute animals and drinking a flight of wine created from berries are two experiences I never knew I wanted to combine, until now. The Maan Farms and Winery is a must when in the Abbotsford area. They champion a completely in house production of their wines from ‘ground to glass’. Assuming that their wine must be ultra sweet because it’s made with fruit is a miscalculation. Their selection of wine is a wonderful spectrum of sweet, dry, crisp and everything in between.

Castle Fun Park

Alas I have no photo of the Castle Fun Park because I still haven’t had the pleasure of going there – but this summer!!! Mark my words I will mini golf there. It HAS to happen. I cannot drive by that castle one more time without having experienced it from only the highway!

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

The fun doesn’t just stop in Abbotsford, I’m also putting together my Fraser Valley travel guide too! If you’re in the Abbotsford area, the drive to Harrison Hot Springs is a definite must. With that said, I’m looking forward to my annual west coast road trip this summer. This time, I can stop by again and fill up on juice from The Habit Project and enjoy a quick round of mini golf at the Castle Fun Park! As always, I will continue to update my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Karpetz

Many thanks to Swoop Airlines & Abbotsford Tourism for arranging this amazing trip!

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Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Arizona is one of those states that you can visit several times and still not see everything. This is probably why I continue to return year after year. That and my parents are snowbirds so it’s one of the only ways to spend time with them. I digress. Mesa is a rad town nestled between Phoenix and the Usery Mountain Regional Park. It’s the largest populated suburb in all of the US and it’s the third largest city in Arizona. All those fun facts aside, I present the Mesa Arizona City Guide! This is one of those posts that will continue to be updated as I discover more. 

EAT

The Fresh Foodie Trail

Agritourism is easily the best way to experience cuisine within a region and Mesa has this sector on lockdown. The freshest food right from the source is exactly what the Fresh Foodie Trail is all about. 

Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Queen Creek Olive Mill was where I found out how magical olive oil can truly be. Who knew olive trees could even grow in Arizona!? I’m embarrassed to say I’ve visited the area several times and just found out. I digress. The tour opened my eyes to the meticulous and delicate process of creating award winning olive oil. This was one gift shop I was truly excited to exit through. Did I mention they also serve food and prickly pear lemonade? 

Schnepf Farm

We were fully immersed in the trail when we stayed at the Schnepf Farm at the Cozy Peach (more on that later). We dined adjacent to a field, just down the road from where their peach trees were just beginning to bloom. 

Agritopia

Agritopia is the utopia of agriculture communities. It seamlessly mixes residential with farming right in the heart of Mesa! It also happens to be the home of the original stand-up mixer!? They also house a plethora of dining establishments. Pick from the Joe’s Farm GrillThe Coffee Shop, The Uprooted Kitchen (all plant-based and seasonal!) Garage-East wine bar, and 12 West Brewing. There is surely something to please every person in your party.

The Orange Patch

Our final stop on the Fresh Foodie Trail was The Orange Patch – a citrus dream in the form of a classic wooden roadside fruit shop. First of all: ⚠️!CUTE PHOTO ALERT! ⚠️This place is adorable. I could have spent the afternoon relaxing beneath the citrus trees. It smelled delightful. In addition to its cuteness, the orange juice made my eyes roll to the back of my head it was so good. 

SLEEP

The Cozy Peach at the Schenpf Farm

Whenever I think of “glamping” it will forever be synonymous with sixties camping trailers. What a treat it is to roll up to such a picture perfect scene: the sun setting on glistening Airstream trailers. And if that wasn’t dreamy enough, the warm cookie waiting instead our aluminum suite was enough to send me straight into a coma.

SHOP

Mesa Farmers Market & Flea

This is one stop you won’t want to miss. The Mesa Farmers Market & Flea happens every Saturday from 8am-1pm in Pioneer Park on the Main Street. It’s a perfect mix of food and fashion. My personal favourite was Cote and Co, a shop within a gutted school bus cutely named Birdy. IT WAS SO COOL. 

Barnone

Another lovely corner of Agritopia is Barnone, a retail space for local makers. My personal favourites were the Prickly Pear Paper shop – little pleases me more than cute stationery, and the vintage photobooth. I did not hesitate to jump in that booth and capture some shots to remember the day. In addition to that, in Johnston Machine Co. there was a machinist working away on metal while we looked on behind the safety of a glass wall. It was mesmerizing. 

DO

The Dolly Steamboat 

Step back in time and take a cruise around Canyon Lake on the most adorable tug there ever was, The Dolly Steamboat! It’s a great opportunity to sit back and watch the stunning rock formations of the Tonto National Forest. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some critters along the way. 

Goldfield Ghost Town / Superstition Mountains 

What’s a trip to Arizona without a high noon shootout? Did you even visit Arizona if you didn’t see a Ghost Town? The answer is no. Goldfield Ghost Town is one of the first stops on the Apache Trail and it boasts one of the most magnificent views of the Superstition Mountains. Not to mention, the various curios one finds in an old-timey western town – a mystery shack, gold panning, a reptile exhibit, mine tours, and so much more (including the off-themed zipline). 

The Apache Trail

While you’re cruising to the Goldfield Ghost Town and Dolly Steamboat, you’re already on your way up The Apache Trail. Might as well go all the way to Tortilla Flats and put a dollar on the wall of the restaurant by the same name. In fact, best to check out the washrooms in this joint too, there’s a photo opportunity not to be missed so bring a friend. 

Goat Yoga

Now hear me out, Goat Yoga something that everyone should do at least once. There’s something enjoyable and hilarious about having goats jumping around while trying to do yoga poses. Plus they are cute as heck. They even had a couple of stoic alpaca friends hanging out at the center of the yoga circle. My only advice is to wear a t shirt vs a tank and leave the shoes on. These are live animals and they do go to the washroom whenever nature calls. 

Neon Signs of Gilbert

My love of neon will never die. Thank goodness for places like Arizona who appreciate it as much as I do! Be sure to head down to Gilbert Road to check out there dining district and spectacular specimens of neon. It’s a feast for your eyes….and well, mouth too. There are several dining options to choose from.

Mesa Arizona City Guide

I will continue to update my Mesa Arizona City Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

xo SJ

Photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to Flair Air & Visit Mesa for arranging this amazing trip!

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