Posts Tagged ‘Comox Valley’

The Super Circle

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

BC Ferries offers up to a 15% discount on one way fares when purchased as a Circle Pac ticket.  This means you can go from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island, across to the Sunshine Coast and back down to Vancouver at a great price!  Or go the other way around!  The deal applies to autos and passengers, RV’s, and even motorcycles.  Check with BC Ferries for the details, but basically you have 30 days to make your trip.  Tickets can be purchased at any of the ferry terminals along the circle route: Tsawwassen, Horseshoe Bay, Langdale, Saltery Bay, Powell River, Comox, Swartz Bay, Departure Bay and Duke Point.  Then keep the voucher handy for showing at the other terminals along the way.

It couldn’t be easier and you can go in whichever direction you like.  A route I’ve enjoyed is from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and then north along the Sunshine Coast through the communities of Gibsons, Roberts Creek, and Sechelt and via the Saltery Bay ferry on to Powell River on the Upper Sunshine Coast.   The Sunshine Coast has fantastic scenery, great fishing, boating and hiking so stay overnight at a Sunshine Coast Bed & Breakfast to have enough time to get a real taste of this region.

From Powell River take the ferry across to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and an endless variety of both indoor and outdoor Vancouver Island attractions await you.  You can visit rugged Cape Scott at the very north-western  end of the Island, go whale watching in Telegraph Cove or on the west side in Tofino, play golf at any number of great Vancouver Island golf courses, visit museums or superb gardens. British Columbia is an outdoor person’s paradise, but it caters to couch potatoes too.  Those who like driving trips can’t miss— much of the highway system is along the sea shore or through rolling hills and low mountains.  Vistas are spectacular and you really don’t have to get out of the car to enjoy them, but you’ll want to, to experience the forests and seashore first hand.  The ferries themselves are very comfortable and afford incredible views.   You may even see whales from the ferry!  I have.  Everywhere along the way you will find British Columbia Bed & Breakfasts offering great hospitality and lots of local lore and information to enhance your journey even more.

Be sure to take in some of the many museums you’ll pass along the way.  Not just those in the big cities where world class art, history and theatre are on display, but also those in smaller towns and cities where local history and aboriginal art and culture come together along with exhibits about BC logging and BC mining.   There is a lot of fascinating information to be enjoyed.

Frankly, the only drawback I can think of around doing a BC Ferries circle tour of the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island is that 30 days just scratches the surface.  Be warned, this territory is addictive!  I’m hooked and I’ll bet you will be too.  Have a terrific time, and then come back to explore your favorite areas in more detail on your next trip to BC!

The Bed & Breakfast Experience

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Local Bed & Breakfasts here in the Comox Valley had a get acquainted tour yesterday and it was fun and informative.  Your blogger saw the newest members’ homes for the first time and got his memory refreshed about the others.  The thing about Bed & Breakfasts that is both a plus and a minus is that each is unique.  Being  unique is a plus because each Bed & Breakfast is an adventure offering a different design, different style and furnishings, different ownership and all that goes along with it.  That uniqueness is perhaps a minus for those who like to know exactly what they’re getting and are afraid of being disappointed.

I want to tell you that you won’t be disappointed.  Bed & Breakfast hosts are proud of their homes and want to please you.  Bed & Breakfast innkeepers go the extra mile in the kitchen because they want to show off and hear “oohs and aahs” coming from the breakfast table.  And not only do they go the extra mile in the kitchen, but in every other aspect of their Bed & Breakfast with great attention to detail.  Getting acquainted with my colleagues made it crystal clear that each of us has cleanliness, comfort, dining, amenity and hospitality standards a hotel is unlikely to match.  The reason is simple — employees don’t love the place the way an owner does, nor does an employee have the same kind of investment.

Fine Food is served at our BC Bed & Breakfasts

Recent studies by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) and TripAdvisor have shown that the main reason, far beyond not being sure of what to expect, travelers don’t stay at a Bed & Breakfast is because they just don’t think “B&B” when thinking about accommodations.  Hotels and motel chains seem to be best known around the world and have the most visibility.  So dear readers, what can we do to get more people to think “B&B” in the first place?

Since you are reading this blog, you are likely already a Bed & Breakfast aficionado.  PAII has launched the Better Way to Stay campaign to increase the profile of Bed & Breakfasts in North America.  But it would be great to get your comments about what made you first choose a British Columbia Bed & Breakfast Inn.  We BC Innkeepers Guild members value your comments and suggestions and very much encourage you to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you!

The Earlybird gets a Great Deal

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Vancouver Island Music Fest doesn’t start until July 8th but early-bird discounted tickets are only available until April 1.  This 3 day music extravaganza takes place at Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley Fairgrounds and is always amazing, wild and great fun.  I have not missed Music Fest since 2001 for good reason.  VIMF is one of North America’s finest music festivals highlighting great talent from all around the world.  This year’s headliner is recent Academy Award winner Randy Newman— that’s right the guy who wrote such modern masterpieces as I Think Its Gonna Rain Today, Short People, and I Love L.A .  He joins a line up that includes Jon Anderson (of Yes fame), The Night Train Music Club, Arrested Development, Rodney Crowell, Red Horse and the awesome Eliza Gilkyson!  This year VIMF has introduced a special Thursday night concert event July 7 with 26-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss and Union Station!  Weekend pass holders can pick up tickets for Thursday’s concert for $50.  During the day there are 6 stages where musicians from different groups jam and offer workshops as well as individual performances.  The day venues are small and intimate and allow us to get close up to the artists.

Academy Award winner Randy Newman

Music Fest is family oriented with lots of fun for the kids, including easy access to the river for swimming.  There are games and a well supervised play area where kids can have a ball even if they aren’t yet very interested in the music. Shoppers will enjoy the many booths selling everything from 60’s throwback tie dye to custom made drums and jewelry.  There is always great food and beverages, and a beer tent for those of us who like to imbibe.

Vancouver Island Music Fest is truly an event not to be missed, as are the wonderful BC Bed & Breakfasts in the BC B&B Innkeepers Guild waiting to welcome you to help you create lifelong memories.  April is fast approaching, so get those discount passes now and book a great B&B too!

“Wow, it’s pitch white outside!”

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Last week it was still November here in the Comox Valley and it was snowing.  Lots of big, fat flakes drifting down.   I was raised in semi-desert and find snow pretty darn romantic, but I understand if many of our readers don’t.  Too much of anything is too much.  Anyhow, it wasn’t very cold near Comox and it took two days of snow before it began to stick, at least down near sea level.  Comic strip buffs may remember the “pitch white outside” line as one stolen, blatantly, from the Peanuts gang, Linus I think…  The line popped into my head as I walked through a local nature park with my dogs, Tip and Pocos, who both find snow to be almost as much fun as eating.  They rolled in it, plowed their noses through it, jumped and ran around in it until I was more than a bit dizzy from watching and breathless from laughing!

When I got back from my walk I decided to check the headlines (I’m a bit of a news junkie) and low and behold I read that Whistler/Blackcomb is opening early!  The next day I read that Mt. Washington is opening a week early too.  Skiers, I thought, you are in for a great season.  If the resorts close to the sea are ready already then those in the rest of the province must be looking at pretty nice conditions as well.   I’m not a skier myself.  I gave the slopes my very best for several seasons when my children were small and found that I spent most of my time trying to get up with legs akimbo and skis pointing all about at angles never intended.  I have poignant memories of a beginning ski class at a big resort.  I was about 28 years old with two children ages 6 and 2.  Mercifully the 2 year old was in a day care facility there, but the 6 year old came zooming past me waving and yelling “C’mon dad, I’ll race ya!” as I struggled to free my legs from the skis and get up off my back for the umpteenth time in less than two hours.  I recall two nuns in the class, clad in habits no less, who managed to stay on their feet/skis, get on and off the lift for the “bunny hill” and get down that gentle slope intact.  I, however, did not.

Spectacular skiing on Mount Washington

That’s enough of my rambling, I really want to remind you skiers, sledders, snowshoers and other daredevils of the powder to think B&B when you plan those sojourns to the mountains for skiing in BC.  Many of our BC Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Guild members are close to great skiing and some offer special packages just for you.  Rest assured your owner prepared B&B breakfast will be far superior to the cup of waffle batter you pour into the waffle maker for breakfast at many of the big chain motels and hotels offering a “B&B experience”.  Have a terrific time out there and I will have a terrific time by the fireplace with a bit of brandy!

Guild Members Featured

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

BC Innkeepers Guild members La Pause Bed and Breakfast and Belle Vue Bed and Breakfast, both located in the Comox Valley, are prominently featured in the October edition of Victoria Tourism Mall’s online magazine Vancouver Island Travel.  In an article about the Comox Valley, authors Ron and Linda Kirstein sampled accommodations, restaurants, explored various recreational opportunities and visited with business owners.  Ron took many fine photos which are posted on the magazine’s blog.  In conjunction with the story, La Pause is offering the following special for those who reference the article:  Stay 2 nights – Save 30 % on the second night – enjoy savings up to $45.  (effective October 1, 2010 to May 15, 2011 – Dec 15 to Jan 7 excluded).  Belle Vue is offering 3 night stays with 50% off the 3rd night or for those staying 4 nights, the 4th night free (valid until March 31, 2011).   For those who don’t already know, the Comox Valley is located about half way up the east coast of Vancouver Island.  It is an ideal base for Mt. Washington skiing and all manner of outdoor recreation.  The Comox Valley has gorgeous scenery, great golf (year round!), superb dining, and is centrally located for day trips to the rest of the Island, being about a 2 1/2 hours drive from Victoria to the south or Port Hardy to the north.

Three Guild Members Profiled

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Destinations Travel Magazine is featuring three BC Innkeepers Guild members in its October edition:  Miracle Beach Inn B&B, Two Eagles Lodge B&B and Belle Vue B&B, each located in the lovely Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and offering unique and beautiful accommodations. Miracle Beach Inn B&B, a brand new member of the Guild, is family friendly and boasts a country setting with swimming pool, tennis court and even a Plains Indian teepee.  It is one of the few B&Bs with covered areas for smokers.  Two Eagles Lodge B&B, also family friendly, is just four years old and offers a stunning panoramic view from Fanny Bay to Denman Island and beyond.  Belle Vue B&B caters to adults, is beachfront and looks directly out on the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) and across to the coastal mountains.

Destinations Travel Magazine is an online publication with a reader base of approximately 1/2 million domestic and international travel consumers.  Besides the magazine, Destinations uses a blog and a  Social Media Network, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Hubpages,  and many eZine websites.

Strathcona Park Wilderness Hiking

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Whether you are an experienced hiker or a novice beginner, you’ll find a wide variety of guided summer hikes through Vancouver Island’s Strathcona Park, to such pristine alpine destinations as Mt. Albert Edward, Croteau Lake and Lake Helen MacKenzie.  Guided hiking is available Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays through September 12.  Some hikes will pay special attention to the plants and birds of Paradise Meadows, another to insects, and one to exploring lichens.  All programs are presented by the Strathcona Wilderness Institute and begin at its new Wilderness Centre adjacent to Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge.  A complete list of programs is available at  www.strathconapark.org.

Strathcona Park was BC’s very first provincial park, (more…)

Where is the love? Vancouver Island Music Fest of course

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The Comox Valley is host to Vancouver Island Music Fest July 9-11 where during the day 5 stages make it possible to hear all of one’s favorite kinds of music from rock to blues to jazz to pop to hip hop and genres from around the world.  At night the main stage takes over and the crowd gyrates to the awesome sounds of some of music’s best from both the past and present.  In previous years greats such as Taj Mahal, Don McLean, Earl Scruggs, Los Lobos, David Gogo and Bruce Cockburn have wowed the audience.  This year’s Music Fest promises to be better than ever.

Roberta Flack, one of the greatest songstresses of our time, is headlining at VIMF 2010.  A Grammy Award winner, Ms Flack tells stories through her music like no one else. Her songs continue to bring insight into our lives, loves, culture and politics, while she effortlessly moves through a musical landscape from pop to soul to folk to jazz.  (more…)

Lassies, the Men are wearing Kilts, and they’ve got the legs for it!

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The tee shirt read “Don’t crush that Scotsman, hand me the Caber!”   Whoa said I, what the heck’s a “Caber”?  Little did I know a Caber is a log the size of telephone pole tossed about by some of the strongest men in the world who just happen to be Scots wearing kilts.  There are Highland Games showcasing BC’s Scottish heritage scheduled all over British Columbia this year beginning May 22 in Victoria and in the Comox Valley.  Victoria’s games are, for the first time, in conjunction with the  IHGF World Heavy Events Festival so book your Victoria B&B  accommodations early as it may get crowded.  The games are not all about strength, though the big fellows also throw heavy hammers, stones, kegs and bales.   There are world class pipers, drummers, piper bands and highland dancing displays as well.

This Highland Games link lists all the BC events including the Cariboo Highland Games June 1 & 2 in Quesnel, the Sons of Scotland Games June 10 in Abbotsford, the BC Legion Highland Gathering  June 19 in Sqamish, the BC (United) Scottish Highland Games in Coquitlam June 26,  the Penticton Highland Games July 1 and the fall finale Castlegar Highland Games on October 4.  Followers of the Games will find friendly BCsBestBnBInnkeepers close to all the locations for a nice rest after all the caber tossing, dancing and maybe even a fine meal of haggis and a pint or a wee nip of single malt!

Spring Skiing at Vancouver Island’s Mt. Washington

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

It’s official— the ski season on Vancouver Island will continue until April 24 due to deep snow and high demand.  Mt. Washington will be open daily through April 11.  The lifts will operate again April 17 and 18 and then again for the big season finale on April 24 and 25.

There is currently a mid-mountain base of over 500 cm!  Ski enthusiasts rave about the deep snow and unbelieveable views from the slopes to the Georgia Strait below.  Vancouver Island Bed & Breakfast members of the BC Innkeepers Guild from Nanaimo, the Comox Valley and Campbell River are at your service for information and wonderful apre-ski accommodations

Mt. Washington is located about half way up Vancouver Island.  It is just over an hour’s drive from Nanaimo and less than 30 minutes from Campbell River and the Comox Valley.