I think it’s fair to say that White Rock is not a go-to destination for most Vancouverites looking for a weekend away. We’d rather shell out some major cash for a Whistler retreat or put ourselves at the mercy of BC Ferries for a Tofino getaway. But for two less-than-rich millennials whose work schedules never line up, the go-tos just don’t make sense.
Here's the sitch: my partner and I were desperate for a mini vacation. We had a random Sunday to Tuesday in February off work. A Whistler trip was out of budget and an Island trip would mean a minimum 5-hour commute, and that was time we just didn’t want to waste in transit.
It was my partner who emailed me the Airbnb. “Prize Home Ocean View," boasted the listing. What followed were gorgeous photos of a home with floor-to-ceiling windows flooded in sunlight, a stunning ocean skyline sweeping just beyond. There was a decked-out modern kitchen (hello, wine fridge!), two cozy bedrooms and a den, as well, but that view. The description declared the Airbnb was in a “desirable city centre” and reviews revealed plenty of restaurants in walking distance. The price was about $200 a night, and for that view and walkability, I was thrilled. Then, the location: “S.Sry/White Rock.”
I am not a suburb-hater. I will defend Richmond until the day I die. Even so, I never would have purposely sought out White Rock to spend those precious vacation days. But as a great philosopher once said, YOLO.
Here are the highlights of what turned out to be a positively lovely weekend.
As much as I’d love to gatekeep this space, it demands to be shared. Particularly for the price, this was the nicest Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in. It was spacious but cozy, stylish, had an awesome kitchen and notably, a ton of storage (which we didn’t use, because who uses storage on a 2-day trip?) both in the bedrooms and in the main living area. It was a short walk away from the pier (and all the restaurants and shops along the water).
Good views through and through.
And the view was exactly like the photos online—it’s not right on the water, but thanks to White Rock’s hilly topography we had an undisturbed, wall-to wall scene that looked straight out of a painting at any time of day.
The sunset? Come on.
The weekend was freezing—we tried to go for a walk on the pier, but the wind whipping at our ears caused us to turn around—so we spent most of the trip inside the Airbnb. But because of the windows that extended up into the ceiling, we got all the sunshine without any of the cold.
Here's me making the most of the stellar lighting while my partner tries to make a case for "going outside" and "doing things."
I took several indulgent selfies (redundant, I know) to put on Instagram and was flooded with DMs asking where I was (You Won’t Believe It’s White Rock) and, once they got over their shock, requests for the Airbnb link.
My life-changing Zapo skillet.
The first sign I was going to like this place: a sign out front that reads something to the tune of “THIS IS NOT A TEX-MEX RESTAURANT. WE DO NOT SERVE FAJITAS.” Zapoteca is all about authentic Mexican food, and while Tex-Mex certainly deserves a space in the culinary world, I found their somewhat-purist attitude charming.
When we got there at 2pm, they were serving brunch. I ordered the Zapo skillet, a mix of potatoes, chorizo and onions topped with fried eggs and served in red pepper sauce. It was incredible. My partner got the sirloin tacos, and those were good, don’t get me wrong, but this skillet made me change my mind about sharing. It was comfort food with a little kick, the egg was perfectly runny, and the red pepper sauce was extraordinary.
I will take my Benedicts on a biscuit from now on, please.
Alyssa, is this whole story going to be about brunch? Yes, actually, because we found that once we dragged ourselves back to the Airbnb, all we wanted to do was sit on the sofa, take in the view and watch Love Is Blind well into the evening. The Wooden Spoon was a short but physically difficult walk from our temporary home (despite the cold, we both shed our jackets conquering the uphill climb). The space was buzzing—it took the better part of an hour to get in—but both the wait and the walk was worth it.
Here, I got The Spoon benny, which came topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. My partner ordered the smoked beef hash (maybe because he was jealous of my life-changing skillet experience from the day before). My benny was awesome: sweet and salty, with a heap of juicy pulled pork that sat atop a cheddar-chive buttermilk biscuit. The potatoes were crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. And the two grapefruit mimosas I had weren’t bad, either.
I don't know what made me think taking a photo directly into the sun was a good idea, but I'll blame Crazy Cows ice cream for clouding my judgement.
There’s lots of little ice cream shops along the beach area, but this one had a line out the door (and because we’re suckers for mob mentality, we went for it). I love me a complex ice cream, and both the pistachio and London fog scoops I got fit that profile perfectly.
I can still smell this picture.
This was our last stop on the way home (two straight days of brunching prompted the need for a lighter breakfast). We stopped to pick up some pastries from Fieldstone Bread, which we ate in the car parked on Crescent Beach’s gravel lot. Can you go wrong with a savoury scone? Experts say no.
Overall, I’m about ready to crown White Rock the Most Underrated Weekend Getaway. It really did feel like we were in a different place, away from the city and free from its stresses. We ate great food, walked along the beach and snagged a gorgeous Airbnb that we actually spent time in. Best of all, that often-exhausting commute home from a vacation was a breeze: it took us 46 minutes to get back home.