Coombstock the Hippie Store

We were sad to see in Coombs this summer that Coombstock the Hippie Store was liquidating. The lady working that day made it quite clear that she was unsure what the owner had planned, although online distribution seemed to be in the works. As of writing, there was no dedicated website. Coombstock’s sale, however, inspired my son and daughter to buy cool sunglasses, tank tops, balloon pants, hippie hoodie – overall an Indian Subcontinent meets the hippie movement with some odes to Hawaiian shirts. As you can tell from the sign below, the owner was fairly clear about mask-wearing given […]

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Coombs Antique Attic and Collectibles

For those of you looking for a staircase leading to a Hemp store in Coombs, you now have a new antiques store. Coombs Antique Attic and Collectibles has a variety of memorabilia and a decent selection of Depression glass. My daughter found a selection of old LPs which she took advantage of. The fact someone so young has a turntable is fascinating. My mother was an avid antique collector and I’m always curious to see if instances of her collection show up. If you are looking to decorate a basement hideaway and want it to be retro, they did also […]

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The Dutch Store Coombs

In the last year, a store called Dutch Imports moved and renamed itself to the Dutch Store. I was originally in a kind of industrial mall off Highway 4 and is in Coombs proper and able to enjoy more foot traffic. It’s where the general store used to be. When I entered the place I could hardly believe that we were in that site. Last year the building was pretty rough and now the interior had clearly been completely re-done. The process took from January 2020 to May. Anyone with Dutch heritage, this is a must visit. My family’s interest […]

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Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria in Coombs

Coombs BC is a funky corner of the earth with the Country Market Goats-on-the-Roof and random stores along the highway. It’s not where you’d expect a fine dining Italian restaurant. But here you are in the middle of the market area, across from a big ice cream parlour, and snug next to a Mexican casual outdoor patio. Little Italy. The restaurant is good during a pandemic because they have a lot of patio seating and always have. It’s a little piece of heaven hidden from the world. There were five us in our bubble and we enjoyed a late lunch. […]

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Big Qualicum Hatchery

When you are driving around on holiday, it’s sometime rewarding to decide to follow a sign. We have been on the road to Deep Bay Marine Field Stationin the hopes to be able to walk the grounds. This did not work as the gate was closed. They had decided to not be open to the public due to the pandemic. Other places like Milner Gardens had followed suit, sadly. On the way back to Parksville, we say a sign for Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery. The kids of course seem to get nervous whenever Dad says, “Hey let’s check this out.” […]

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Brickyard Community Park Nanoose Bay

After our search for Notch Hill didn’t work out, I wanted to treat the family to a nice ocean view. I had seen on one of the maps a tiny park right in Fairwinds Community called Brickyard Community Park, which was maintained by Regional District of Nanaimo. This sounded a little more promising that the Fairwinds’ private trails. We drove down to the water past the Fairwinds Golf Course. The area and architecture spoke to me saying, “rich white dudes wearing bad golf shorts.” Had the housing come with price tags, it would have said, “if you have to ask, […]

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Notch Hill Trails in Nanoose Bay

In the Parksville–Qualicum Beach Discovery Guide that you can pick up around the area – but definitely at the tourist info office on Highway 19A on the way into Parksville — there’s a mention of Notch Hill. It is short and reads, “A short hike to the top of the Notch Hill will reward you with view of Mount Arrowsmith, Nanoose Harbour and south to Nanaimo. This area contains a rare Garry Oak meadow and Arbutus forest ecosystem. The lookout is a great spot for a picnic lunch in nature.” This appealed to use because, with the pandemic, many places […]

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The Tale of Two BC Book Stores

When on vacation, sometimes you get a moment to read. When shopping in places, I love looking for small bookstores. Occasionally you find a good book. Coombs BC is about 9 km from Parksville. In Coombs there’s a bookstore called Cozy Corner Books that’s got a lot of stuff but over time it’s gotten more disorganized over time. The owner knows tons but I literally tripped over a pile of books and was trapped for a couple of minutes. It’s always fun to look around but ton find anything is tough. Meanwhile in Parksville, at Fireside Books, the place is […]

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Four Lakes Trail – Alice Lake Provincial Park

Many years ago, we bought a book called 109 Walks. It’s one of those books you pull off the shelve every now and then to be ambitious when you are a city slug in a pandemic wanting to feel less locked in. The walking team picked Four Lakes Trail at Alice Lake Provincial Park. They set out from Vancouver and took the Upper Levels Highway (99) and drove about 12 km past Squamish to Alice Lake Road. At the Park it turned out the parking closer to the HQ was full, but there were lots right near Alice Lake itself […]

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Lighthouse Park Walk – West Vancouver

One of the more popular easy trails with stunning views is Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. When I asked Google Maps for a driving route, it suggested taking the Upper Levels Highway, which is a horrible route for a tourist. If you are coming from Vancouver stay on Marine Drive and head west. This will take you through the Ambleside and Dundarave sections of West Van, but then lead you to twisty roads with wonderful views. Be careful because the locals like to take these fast. It’s a left turn onto Beacon Lane where you can head down to the […]

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