|Alaska Trip||Taken In June/July 2000|
Two Weeks in Three Styles
|Penny Farthing Inn www.pennyfarthinginn.com
Penny Farthing gets its name from two English coins, the penny (which is large) and the farthing which is small. The English nickname for the old time bicycle was penny-farthing due to the big front wheel and tiny rear wheel of the design. There is an antique penny-farthing bicycle set in the garden among the plants. All around the B&B are miniatures of the old time bicycle.
The blue colored three story structure has the common areas on the main level and guest rooms up stairs. The front and rear oriented living room and dining rooms of the home are of a dark stained wood. At opposite ends of the structure are wide rectangular stained glass windows over clear windows. Between the dining room and living room are pocket doors, which are closed only in the mornings- prior to being opened to announce breakfast.
We were given Abigalís Attic, the upper suite, which has truly been created from the attic. To the rear of the suite is a setting area with couch, chair, and sliding glass window overlooking the garden below. Large skylights with opening cranks are used in the bedroom and the bathroom. When opened in combination with the windows, cool breezes flow through.
The building, painted a bright teal blue and trimmed in white, is probably onlytwenty feet wide, and is fronted with so much greenery it looks almost overgrown. The "overgrown" plantings provide street-side privacy for patrons who have afternoon tea on the covered front porch.
We were greeted by the B&Bís Ukrainian cleaning lady. Expecting our arrival, she had our top floor suite aired out and spotless. More anxious to experience Vancouver than to rest from the trip, we returned to the main floor for walking directions and refreshments.
Penny Farthing's three cats rested on the front porch. They stretched and lolled on the green and white striped cushions of the wicker furniture. The air temperature, warm and without humidity, was a complement to the rays of the afternoon sun as they filtered through the front yard greenery.
Meanwhile Diann and I drank hot tea and commented on the porch flower box- which had "Sit Long Talk Much" etched on its front.
We couldnít sit long if we were to have our walking tour through Kitsilano Park, so we set off with a day-pack that included spare batteries, binoculars, and dress shoes for dinner wear.
The walk to cloud nine
Dinner Saturday night was reserved at Cloud Nine which is a revolving restaurant set on the 42nd floor of the Landmark Hotel.
So that we could comfortably stroll along Kitsilano Beach and see the city prior to dinner, we wore walking shoes and carried dress shoes in our day pack. The smell of salt air that was faint when we first arrived in Vancouver, became intense as we walked the side streets toward the bay.
The air temperature was in the low seventies. Kids on bicycles and skateboards were everywhere. A group of male twenty-somethings were enjoying Saturday afternoon by sitting on the window sills of the second story level of a white painted frame house.
In front of the window-sitters and over the lower level front porch, a rope hammock had been attached to the rafters of the roof overhang.
One of the fellows, with no shirt and wearing khaki cut off pants, was draped in the hammock. He was conversing with his ledge sitting friends as the group roared with laughter at what ever it was he was telling.
When I pulled out my camera to capture the moment, their attention shifted to us. It was another of those "whoís looking at who" tourist moments. As we continued our stroll the laughter continued and faded in the background.
Vancouver is a city on the sea next to mountains with high rise buildings everywhere. It has a park system which enhances the life of all who live or visit. Kitsilano boasts a walkway along the inlet, a swimming pool, a beach, and grounds on which to picnic. There is even a concrete hot ash disposal pit for patron safety.
Kitsilano Beach and the adjoining Vanier Park stretches for miles along the shore.
There is a very large public pool, ten tennis courts as well as a sandy beach and grassed picnic area. Around the shore, and beyond the open area where kite flyers of all ages play, is an extensive public marina. You could easily spend a day in the park, as do many of Vancouverís residents.
Very bicycle friendly, the town bustles with two wheel traffic among the cars. Colorful banners were hung on light poles. Pedestrians were everywhere. It was like attending a festival. And in some ways Vancouver during cruise season is a festival.
We arrived at the Landmark Hotel lobby earlier than our Cloud Nine dinner reservations. Our feet were tired and we were ready for a pre-dinner drink and some rest. Finding a couple of chairs in the lobby corner, we discretely changed from walking shoes to dress shoes and boarded the elevator to the 42nd floor.
Having called for dinner reservations some six weeks earlier, I would have expected a table right on the window. Though that didnít happen, the view was still spectacular due to the tiered manner in which the floor has been designed. Service was good, though not great. The food overall was quite good. For presentation the restaurant gets an "A".
The soft shelled crab appetizer was deep fried to a perfect light golden color and was draped over a bed of what I believe to have been fried egg white noodles. A green mustard sauce rimmed the plate onto which bits of red pepper and corn kernels had been scattered. The early evening sun even conspired with the chef in that the angle of the light shined into the bed of noodles. It was worth a photo.
To avoid having an exchange rate problem that evening with a cab driver, I attempted to exchange a small amount of American currency for Canadian at the front desk of the hotel
The front desk clerk at the Landmark needs a lesson in how to treat guests. When asked if I was a guest of the hotel, I replied that we had just finished a dinner at their restaurant. He was abrupt in declining to be able to accommodate our need- which killed any chance of our recommending the hotel to prospective guests.
We walked the street for a while and caught a cab back to Penny Farthing Inn for a needed rest. Our bed welcomed us and we slept well.
Early morning coffee was served Sunday in the living room on a tray placed on a side table next to an arm chair. As the cook turned to leave the room, the cat named Frisky jumped into the chair next to the table and leaned over to begin lapping cream from the small pitcher. You could hear the cat tongue slurping cream.
Figuring that if the cream was that good, I'd have some too- in my normally black coffee! After adding cream to my coffee, I covered the creamer with a saucer to save cream for other guests. Then I settled into the morning paper.
Though the cats arenít allowed in the kitchen or the bedrooms, they vie for your attention in the living room and porch- when they arenít asleep. Penny Farthingís web site www.pennyfarthinginn.com lets patrons know in advance that there are house cats.
The weather was such that we were able to enjoy our Sunday morning breakfast in the garden. Two other couples joined us as we began with juice and finished with Belgian waffles topped with a choice of whipped cream, chopped fresh fruit, jellies, and preserves.
To truly experience Penny Farthingís garden you must spend some time sitting, standing, and kneeling for perspective. Even the redwood swing has been strategically placed. The rays of the sun make it the rear focal point of the garden- the color standing out against the greenery.
On Sunday, after finishing breakfast at Penny Farthing, we transferred our luggage via cab to Arbutus House B&B to experience another flavor of Vancouver B&B style.