The late fall on the west coast of Canada can be a dark and stormy time of year. There’s driving rain, wind that blasts the last leaves off of trees, and it’s dark early.
Like really early, we’re talking 4:00 PM.
It can all wear a parenting couple down just as the stress of the holidays approach. Our solution is for couples to escape the wind-driven rain and grey skies by planning romantic, culinary-focused weekend getaway from it all at Whistler’s Cornucopia.
This annual culinary festival takes place over two jam-packed weeks in mid-November. It’s a perfect time to reconnect with your special someone over great food, wine, spirits and fun events in one of Canada’s prime resort destinations. Here’s how to find or rekindle your romantic side of life with a couples getaway Whistler Cornucopia.
*Note: For 2020, Whistler Cornucopia has pivoted into an ‘extended weekends’ event, starting November 6th and continuing until November 29th. Cornucopia 2020 includes a wide-ranging selection of small, intimate ticketed experiences including drink seminars, new Paired Dinners as well as a selection of offerings throughout resort restaurants.
5 Ways to enjoy a Couples Getaway, Whistler Cornucopia
Leave the Kids at Home
Cornucopia is an incredible event for couples and friends. Take the kids to grandma’s house or book a sitter for the weekend and let your hair down a little. Treat this festival as a way to adult again, reconnect with your partner and friends, and relax while enjoying great wine, food and experiences from guests chefs, wineries and distilleries from all over British Columbia and the world.
Book a hotel in Whistler Village
Choose accommodation that’s located in Whistler Village, or the Upper Village. As much as I love Whistler Creekside (and I do), you’ll want to stay at a Whistler hotel that’s central enough to walk to the events, most of which take place at Village restaurants or the Whistler Conference Centre.
Driving after a day or night of wine-tasting, spirit mixology class or gala evening is a no-no. And no one should have to be the designated driver when you’ve booked a relaxing getaway to a culinary festival. It defeats the purpose of going at all.
Sign up early
The early bird gets her pick of the Drink Seminars, Paired Dinners, Signature Tastings, Gala Evenings, and Health and Wellness sessions. Whistler Cornucopia sessions are very interactive and fun, and they sell out.
Sessions include eating and drinking along with the hosts, chefs and mixologists, and you don’t want to miss out on the fun, so get your tickets pronto. This year has some great educational seminars and brunches, including Woflgang Sterr’s Vegetarian Brunch, the Lost Feast, Cocktails and Canapés and Rosé Unbound.
We enjoyed a fantastic gin and vodka cocktail seminar a few years ago, which involved some seriously potent drinks and tastings, so it's good to remember to not overbook yourselves in one day. My advice is to take a bird's eye view of the seminar schedule, choose your favorites, and plan your days accordingly. I'll say that moderation is key but I know how hard that is IRL.
Get dressed up
Leave the slouchy pants at home. Pack those heels, dresses and funky earrings and prepare to have some nights out in the Village. Cornucopia has several gala events that are not to be missed.
The CRUSH Grand Tasting is the flagship event of the festival, where guests can sip, savour and sample their way through the Conference Ballroom. Whistler being Whistler, you can get away with beanie hats and flannel shirts, but don't do it! Bring the bling and have some fun dressing up from your own tickle trunk.
The Signature Party this year is Sashay, Fillet! Presented in partnership with Eat North, the worlds of culinary and drag will mix as a line-up of talented west coast chefs pair up with equally talented Canadian drag queens for an unforgettable night of tasty food, drink, and mesmerizing performances. You'll need to bring the bling for this event, for sure.
Go the Spa
I don't really have to convince you of the wisdom of spa time, do I? Whistler's Scandinave Spa is our absolute favourite spa in British Columbia, and one of the top things to do in Whistler, in our humble opinion.
The Nordic spa hydrotherapy regime of hot saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs followed by cold plunges and relaxation is the best way to detoxify after a weekend of partying and overconsumption (ahem). We like to go to Scandinave even if we haven't been to the festival, it's glorious at any time of year and perfect for couple relaxation time.
Whistler Cornucopia has something for every food, wine and spirits lover. Grab your partner or friend posse and let loose responsibly while you dance the cold November rains away.
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Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Whistler Cornucopia. As always, her opinion on good food, wine and nordic spas is honest and her own.
Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye, Tourism Whistler Mike Crane and Darby Magill