Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver Island B&B’

#Explore Vancouver Island

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Relax and take your time when exploring Vancouver Island!  This westernmost part of Canada and the largest island on the west coast of North America, is all about its laid back life style, small communities, artisans, vineyards, wildlife and outdoor pursuits.

Great ocean view of the Sansum Narrows while hiking on Vancouver Island

Southern Vancouver Island south of the town of Ladysmith is located below the 49th parallel, has a temperate to warm climate and is home to one of BC’s newer wine regions.  Not only is the south island home to wineries, but distilleries and many craft breweries have flourished here as well.  The main wine region in the Cowichan Valley, between Victoria and Nanaimo, as well as the Saanich Peninsula and expanding up Island to the Comox Valley have all seen a growth in the wine industry, with small family owned wineries producing award-winning wines.  Specialty food producers and organic farms have embellished the Island’s “foodie” reputation, showcased by festivals such as the Savour Cowichan Festival running from September 29 – October 8, 2017.

As surrounded by the ocean as it is, Vancouver Island is of course a water sports paradise.  Both Campbell River and Port Alberni call themselves “the salmon capital of the world”, attracting avid fishing enthusiasts.  Boating and kayaking opportunities are everywhere and the island’s west coast, especially between Ucluelet and Tofino offers fantastic surfing, while the Cowichan region’s Nitinaht Lake is a unique spot for great wind surfing.

Old growth tree in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island

Also taking to the waters around the island are numerous whale watching boats.  In spring and fall the grey whale migration from Mexico to Alaska, and back, passes along the west coast, offering wonderful opportunities to see these giant creatures.  During summer and early fall, orcas, both resident pods and transient pods are frequent visitors to Island waters.  In recent years, humpback whales have been increasingly visiting these waters as well.  Aside from whales, you can find seals, sea lions, otters, porpoises, bald eagles and a wide variety of birds on your whale watching trip as well.  Wildlife on land that you may run into include deer, elk, black bear, wolf and cougar.  In fact, the cougar population on Vancouver Island is the highest per capita population in the world.

The island offers fantastic hiking trails at all difficulty levels.  The most famous of these trails is the West Coast Trail, a multi-day wilderness trail on the west coast that is a challenge for even experienced hikers.  Generally taking from 5-7 days, reservations must be made to hike this trail.  Recently a third entrance to the West Coast Trail at Nitinath Lake has opened, allowing for a 2-3 day hike.  On the northern tip of the Island Cape Scott Provincial Park also offers a challenging hike, not to forget Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest provincial park, located mid-Island. Many, many more great trails surrounded by forests and some of the largest trees in the world, or offering spectacular ocean views are found all over the island.  Visit the Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew on the Island’s south west coast to see the largest fir tree in the world and Canada’s “gnarliest tree” and don’t miss Cathedral Grove on the way to Port Alberni for a pocket of old growth forest.

Along the Nanaimo Harbor Walk on Vancouver Island

No visit to the Island is complete without at least a day in Victoria, BC’s capital city on the southern tip of the Island.  Famous Butchart Gardens and the Royal BC Museum are must sees, but wander around the inner harbor and the waterfront to experience the “flavor” that makes Victoria such a great destination.  The Island’s second largest city Nanaimo also offers a wonderful harbor walk with never ending views and funky little eateries on the docks.

Wherever you go, your Vancouver Island B&B hosts are a great resource to point out all the interesting places in their area, so you can fully enjoy a little Island time!

The Red Chair Visits The Garden City

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

After the Red Chair’s stay in the beautiful Cowichan Valley, he traveled down the Malahat Drive to BC’s capital city of Victoria, also known as “The Garden City”. In fact when Red arrived at his first B&B, Birds of A Feather Victoria Oceanfront B&B, the 38th annual Victoria Flower Count was just getting underway.  This light-hearted campaign to promote Victoria as a shoulder season destination full of blooms when the rest of Canada is still in the grip of winter is sponsored by Tourism Victoria and the most famous of the gardens, Butchart Gardens. (The city of Colwood, part of Victoria, where Birds of A Feather is actually located, just won the 2016 Flower Count!)

The Red Chair visits the historic Fisgard Lighthouse and guess what, there are red chairs there!

The Red Chair visits the historic Fisgard Lighthouse and guess what, there are red chairs there!

Red at Hatley Castle and Gardens

Red at Hatley Castle and Gardens

Red goes kayaking in the lagoon at Birds of A Feather Victoria B&B

Red goes kayaking in the lagoon at Birds of A Feather Victoria B&B

Birds of A Feather Victoria Oceanfront B&B is spectacularly located on a 120 acre lagoon that is connected to, but protected from, the Pacific Ocean, and is designated a migratory bird sanctuary.  This Vancouver Island B&B features an oceanfront hot tub and some yellow Adirondack chairs on the dock where you can take in all the wildlife activity around you. Red wasted no time in getting acquainted while enjoying the fabulous view, with the snow capped Olympic Mountains in Washington State in the background.  There were also complimentary kayaks and yes of course, Red went kayaking!  You know by now that he loves trying everything!

Surrounded by 600 acres of old growth forest with hiking trails and beaches, Birds of A Feather is also just next door to the 1860 Fisgard Lighthouse (where Red met more red chairs!) and Historic Fort Rod Hill.  He also visited Hatley Castle and Gardens. This historic site is home to Royal Roads University and the famous castle has been used in a number of movies.  Red wandered the beaches, explored the nearby Sooke Potholes Regional Park, visited the Colwood Firefighters Historical Museum, went for a Sunday evening bowl, and most thrilling of all, went for a ride on the wild side on a RED motorcycle!  So much excitement!  Red and the innkeepers also took a little trip to the town of Sidney, also known as “Book Town” where numerous interesting book stores can be found on the main street, including the “Haunted Bookshop”.  On his day of departure to his next B&B, the rain arrived, which made it extra sad to say goodbye to this beautiful spot!

Kitty Islet Victoria - Red should have brought his can of paint!

Kitty Islet Victoria – Red should have brought his can of paint!

Red almost gets blown off the mountain at the Mount Doug viewpoint in Victoria!

Red almost gets blown off the mountain at the Mount Doug viewpoint in Victoria!

Red’s next Victoria Bed & Breakfast was in another community within Victoria, at the Oak Bay Guest House.  This 1912 elegant accommodation in Victoria’s toniest neighborhood has been hosting visitors in one format or another since 1922 when it first opened its doors as the Newport Inn.  Very quickly the local paper, the Oak Bay News, came to visit Red.  With innkeeper Lori, Red visited another one of the beautiful gardens in Victoria, the Abkhazi Garden, where lots was blooming! A visit to the Oak Bay Marina had Red feeding the pigeons and enjoying all the boats, while a visit to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel included a stop at the Boat House Spa and Pools.  Now

Red liked this art gallery in Oak Bay!

Red liked this art gallery in Oak Bay!

that was a decadent outing!

Exploring the heart of Oak Bay Village, Red discovered the Red Art Gallery!  It’s amazing how red keeps popping up wherever he’s gone throughout North America!  He also met some more interesting chairs at Kitty Islet, a small waterfront natural area with an endangered maritime meadow ecosystem, and he rode in a red convertible to get there (even though it wasn’t quite convertible weather that day)!  Red went up Mount Doug for a great view of Victoria, but almost got blown off the mountain, so he needed a helping hand to stay put! It was definitely blustery up there!  He even took part in some local politics when he was the honored guest at the local Oak Bay council meeting.  I bet the local politicians don’t get many visitors from Cape Cod!

Victoria is such a big tourist destination with so many attractions like the famous Butchart Gardens, the fabulous Royal BC Museum, the Parlaiment Buildings, whale watching from the inner harbor, the Robert Bateman Centre and other galleries and museums, cycling the Galloping Goose trail.  Red was looking forward to what else he would get to explore once he checked in at his next B&B, Marketa’s Bed & Breakfast.