So the weekend arrived and the weather forecast said it was going to be gorgeous and sunny – what better way to spend it then by the sea. Adam’s family have a cabin in Birch Bay, Washington State; it is just over the border with Canada and is a great place to unwind away from Vancouver.
This was my third visit to the cabin but this was the first time going there since I received my PR and the first time that we were going with friends.
Usually we take Adam’s dog, Emma (although she lives with his mum due to his Strata not allowing pets in the building). Emma is a 10 year old Shitzu cross Maltese, she is gorgeous, friendly, playful and very very cute. However, as two of Adam’s friends own a dog that is not friendly with other dogs, we couldn’t take Emma this time :(.
We left after work on Friday evening and made our way from Vancouver to Peace Arch border crossing (just south of Surrey and White Rock). I was slightly concerned about entering the USA with just my Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document as my PR card will not arrive until at last September time but according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) website, the COPR should be fine if just going across a land border in a private vehicle.
Getting to the border took around 40 minutes and once at the booth, the officer asked some questions and then sent both of us to the main building for secondary inspection; this is because as a British passport holder, I have to pay $6 for a 3 month visa waiver form to enter by land.
The next part in the building took another 40 minutes due to border officers leaving and new ones coming on shift (note to self – don’t go to the border between 7pm and 8pm in the evening). Once we were called up, I was asked a few questions and given the visa waiver paper stapled into my passport and told to go to the cashier to pay. After that we were on our way.
Birch Bay is a small seaside community and a State Park approximately 15-20 minutes from the border. It is popular with families and retired folk with holiday rentals as well as people’s own holiday homes along the coast. Adam’s Grandmother built the cabin around the 1960s for the family to use and he remembers going there as a child but he has only been going again the the last few years with his friends.
When we arrived, Adam’s friends and their dog were already there. The evening was spent having a few drinks and chilling out as well as a campfire out back by the small stream.
The cabin is quite small with 2 designated bedrooms and an extention to the property with a sofa bed, but it was still comfortable with 5 adults and a dog.
The next day we went for a bike ride around the area as all of us had brought our bikes along in our vehicles. The views were amazing and we stopped off for rests along the headland to sunbathe and listen to some music.
The evening came along and we all decided to go out for dinner at the Birch Bay Cafe, which overlooks the sea. It is a great place for a few drinks and to have some seafood. I of course had fish and chips (unfortunately I don’t have a photo of my dinner but here is a photo of the restaurant).
The next day was the last and as always I feel down when I have to leave to return to the city. After saying goodbye to Adam’s friends who returned to Canada early, we spent some time tidying up the cabin and then traveling to Bellingham so that Adam could purchase a new FitBit.
Unfortunately along the way I saw 4 of these signs:
I am hoping this horrible, racist excuse of a businessman/politician does not become the person to run the USA but we shall see, he obviously has a following in Northern WA, which is generally quite a liberal state with a Democrat majority!
Arriving at the Canadian side of the border was easy enough, the border officer took our documents and asked if my COPR was recent (which it was) and we were waved through. Despite being told on a Facebook forum that I shouldn’t leave the country without my PR card and I am glad I doubled checked legitimate sources to prove that I could. However, I still cannot fly back into Canada without the card.
And there you have it…an awesome weekend by the beach with good weather and company…until next time…