Pemberton’s Sweetest Spots, as featured in the June issue of Vancouver Magazine

Pick up the June issue of Vancouver Magazine, and you’ll find local writer Lisa Richardson exhorting Vancouverites to flee the city this summer. All they need to do, to find the sweetest spots on Highway 99, is to keep on trucking through Squamish and Whistler.

As Johnny Cash sang, “I’ll meet you on further up the road.”

Here’s her hit-list. What’s on yours?

Waterfalls, Strawberries, and Vodka

SAIL RIGHT PAST WHISTLER for half an hour and you’ll find yourself in Pemberton. Mt. Currie Coffee Co. (2-7331 Arbutus St., 604-894-3388) is the place for coffee purists (they use 49th Parallel beans) and lovers of locally crafted Lucia Gelato. Coffee smoothies and frappés are the perfect treats to take for a wander along the One Mile Lake boardwalk, where you’ll discover a new nature centre, green-powered interpretive centre, and salmon hatchery. Shannon Falls outside Squamish is famous for being the place where Edward and Bella get married in the Twilight films, but Nairn Falls gets my vote for best cataract in the corridor; the new trail all the way to One Mile Lake makes for a lovely walk.

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, Mile One Eating House (7330 Arbutus St., 604-384-3842) is a mom ’n’ pop shop run by two fine-dining refugees from the Lower Mainland who take comfort food seriously. Go for the mac ’n’ cheese or the burgers made from Pemberton Meadows natural beef and Blackbird Bakery bun. Speaking of, Blackbird Bakery (104-1436 Portage Rd., 604-894-6226) is run by Raven Burns, who apprenticed under Thierry Busset, this magazine’s pastry chef of the year. Her fresh bagels are delicious, and her potato bread is made with organic potatoes from Across the Creek, which supplies the spuds that go into Schramm Vodka (1954 Venture Pl., 604-894-0222). A tour of their distillery—where the copper stills evoke Willy Wonka’s chocolate laboratory—is also highly recommended. The back patio at the Big Sky Golf and Country Club (1690 Airport Rd., 604-894-6106) is the spot to enjoy a summer afternoon cocktail and take in the view of Mt. Currie.

In strawberry season, make a beeline for McEwans Strawberry Farm (7752-C Meadows Rd., 604-894-6063) for u-pick berries. If I’m with kids, I head to North Arm Farm (1888 Hwy. 99, 604-894-5379) to visit the pigs and ducks, see what’s in season, and pick up produce at the farm store.

Most Pemberton farms are working operations, not open to the public, but many farmers are regulars at Vancouver and Sea-to-Sky markets, where you can put a face to the food. Their farms are gorgeous, so don’t miss the Slow Food Cycle Sunday in August for a chance to visit the properties and connect with the growers.

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