Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bates Motel Final Season

Are you as excited as I am for the 5th and sadly, the final season of Bates Motel on A&E??! The first episode aired yesterday, was it all that you expected?? LOVE Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, wonder where they'll turn up next after Bates Motel is done...and wonder when Rihanna is going to make her first appearance! (Check out her Bates Motel look below!)

And it's really unfortunate that it's the final season as Bates Motel just won the 2017 People's Choice Awards for:

  • Favorite Cable TV Drama
  • Favorite Cable TV Actor: Freddie Highmore
  • Favorite Cable TV Actress: Vera Farmiga

Did you know that the external parts of this TV show, including the Bates Motel and the infamous Bates home, are actually filmed on set in Aldergrove, BC? And I've been there!! If you look closely in the photo, you'll see Alfred Hitchcock himself staring at you from the upstairs window...

It's SO cool to have seen the Bates Motel set in person, the house is just as dramatic up close as it is on TV. Even though they were already finished filming for the season when I was there, I could still picture Norma screeching to a halt in the gravel parking lot or Norman stomping down the stairs to the motel.

If you'd like to check it out for yourself, the Bates Motel set is a good hours' drive out of Vancouver, and kinda tricky to find. The address is...wait, did you think I was really going to tell you??! To find out, you'll have to read my blog post on the Bates Motel set ;) 

Here's a spoiler photo of the final Bates Motel season - don't look if you don't want to know ;)

Although, it's not a big surprise overall...maybe you're in the market for real estate?? And on an even sadder note, the iconic Bates home has since been torn down, BUT, it's rumored the Bates Motel will remain as a tourist attraction, so cool ;)

And, if you love the story of Christian & Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey, check out this movie set info, also filmed in Vancouver: Fifty Shades Darker!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fifty Shades Darker in Vancouver

What did you think of Fifty Shades of Grey? Love the book, love the movie? Maybe Fifty Shades and now, Fifty Shades Darker has intrigued you to the point of wanting to visit the filming locations? Let's check out: Fifty Shades of Vancouver, BC.

The iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on West Georgia Street posed as the Heathman Hotel in Portland. This is where Grey was photographed for a newspaper article, and had the steamy elevator scene with Ana. In fact, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is still offering a Celebration Champagne & Chantilly Lace Romance Package which comes complete with a French lace eye mask. Oo-la-la!

In the first movie, one of the cafe scenes, with those turquoise school-like chairs, was filmed at Rainier Provisions Cafe on Cordova Street in Gastown. Other locations include a running scene near the Westin Bayshore hotel on Coal Harbour (which is also usually the home to any visiting NHL teams, just an FYI; the Casa Mia mansion (Grey's family home) at 1920 SW Marine Drive; and Vancouver's UBC where shots of Ana and her VW were shown.

And where do Christian and Ana finally get married? Well, at Riverway Golf Course in Burnaby, of course!

The Bentall 5 tower at 550 Burrard Street served as Grey's Seattle digs. When the couple are in Aspen, their nightclub was filmed at the trendy former warehouse known as Bar None Nightclub in Yaletown. And their Aspen home? None other than a private gated estate in Whistler. Not sure of the address as truly, there are sooo many over the top estates in Whistler...

And because you're a movie fan, be sure to check out my article on the filming location of Bates Motel in Aldergrove, BC. The 5th and sadly the final season starts on February 20th. And as as added bonus, this last season has added none other than pop superstar Rihanna. Yes, seriously, Rihanna. No doubt Drake was soon to follow...think he'll appear in the upcoming season? Only time will tell!

For more information or to...well, discover your Christian and Ana, visit the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of those fun events that everyone should attend at least once in their lifetime! A combination of statewide parties, celebrations, parades and just plain craziness, Mardi Gras is truly an event not to be missed.

The 2017 Mardi Gras parades are about to start on February 11, so there's still plenty of time to partake in this years' festivities as the celebrations don't hit a fever pitch until Fat Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

So, what's Mardi Gras all about? Let's take a look... Organized parade groups, known as krewes, ride high atop their flamboyant floats while throws (trinkets, necklaces, cups & coveted commemorative doubloons) are flung out into the flailing arms of the rambunctious crowds. It's not uncommon for one krewe of only 200 hundred members to have over 3,000 parade participants!

Photo: Pat Garin
During Mardi Gras, parade royalty will attend various bal masque (masquerade parties). King cakes will be savoured - they're a traditional brioche pastry baked in a crown-like circle, decorated in Mardi Gras colors, and with a plastic baby (or prize) inside - the lucky person who finds the baby is the next person to hold a king cake party! Mass quantities of alcohol will be consumed. And finally, Rex, the King of Mardi Gras Carnival, will be crowned on Fat Tuesday. 

Check out these fun facts about Mardi Gras in New Orleans:
  • more than 500,000 King Cakes are sold during Mardi Gras
  • Carnival colors are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)
  • the oldest Krewe of Comus was founded in 1857
  • 95% of the areas' 35,000 hotel rooms will be full!
  • the largest Mardi Gras bead producer sells 1 billion strings each year!
  • just prior to Fat Tuesday, the super parades (krewes such as Endymion & Bacchus) will toss 1.5 million cups & 2.5 million doubloons into the parade crowds

Mardi Gras 2017 celebrations will culminate until the grand finale on Fat Tuesday, February 28, 20167 when the non-stop partying, nakedness, and crazy fun on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter comes to an abrupt end at midnight. And it truly does. At midnight, the street cleaners come out, as do the police, to remove anyone who's lingering - signalling the end of another Mardi Gras season.

So, Happy Fat Tuesday everyone - it's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!!

For more information on Mardi Gras festivities including the 2017 Parade Schedule, visit the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Paris in the Winter!

While Paris is tres magnifique anytime of the year, some visitors love to visit Paris in the spring when warmer weather appears - but why wait?? Paris offers many fun activities for couples and families alike during the winter season. 

Let's Discover Paris in the Winter!

Photo: La Tour de Eiffel
Go Ice Skating in the Eiffel Tower!

The first level of the Eiffel Tower (57 metres above the street) offers magnificent views, exquisite les marrons glacés (glazed chestnuts), mulled wine, hot chocolate and freshly baked gingerbread - yum!! (You can usually enjoy 2 outdoor skating rinks at Hôtel de Ville aka Paris City Hall, but unfortunately, they're not opening in 2016/2017).

Photo: L'Assiette Aux Fromages
Visit the Restaurants of the 5th Arrondissement

To warm up after ice skating, pick one of the restaurants in the 5th Arrondissement (like L'Assiette Aux Fromages) and enjoy a hearty Savoyard cheese fondue - even more yum! You can enjoy people watching while sipping on a vin chad (hot wine), a cafe creme or a chocolat ☕️

No Line Ups in the Off Season

Paris in the winter comes with the added benefit of offering less line ups for major attractions including museums like the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay. The colder weather also means quieter restaurants and shops, along with less crowded streets and easier to spot dog poop! ;)

Sacre Coeur, Paris, Winter 2013. Copyright Luc Goldstein

Stroll Along the Champs Elysées 

Bundle up in your fantastic new winter coat and stroll along the picturesque Champs Elyseés while taking in the festive window displays & holiday lights. You can also enjoy warm shopping in any one of the cities many passages. Head on up to the Sacré Coeur for beautiful views of a snowy white Paris below. 

Be sure to read about one of my favorite things to visit in Paris, Vaux le Vicomte! Merci.