Category: Vancouver Island

Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria

You know those classy Italian restaurants that have great food and it’s tough to secure a reservation? I do, but honestly what is one doing in Coombs, BC? This tiny town is 10 minutes west of Parksville along highway 4A, also known as the Alberni Highway. This is not the big city! The Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria is a large space with a lot of outdoor seating that looks over the woods that are behind the Goats on the Roof shopping destination. We were connecting with family and friends and others negotiated the reservation and we sat at the Mexican […]

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Sunset Lanes Parksville

What small resort town that has two mini golf places would be complete without a bowling alley? Sunset Lanes in Parksville is at the south end of town and is a small bowling alley that is fun, as a bowling alley should be. We enjoyed 2 frames of 5-pin bowling. If you are with younger kids, they can put up the deflector rails so that newbies don’t get too discouraged by gutter balls. We went on cosmic bowling night, which means you bowl under the glow of black light and look very funny if you’re wearing a lot of white. […]

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Rathtrevor Beach – Sea it to believe it!

For three days and two nights, I was invited to visit my good friend’s family as they spent the last remaining weeks of summer in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I was beyond excited because not only had I not seen my friend in forever (well at least, it felt like that to me) but I had never been to Parksville! I left on a week day, meaning no ride to Horseshoe Bay for me! I took the 257 Horseshoe Bay express bus to the ferry terminal and jumped on the next boat to Nanaimo. It was about an hour and […]

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Tiger Lilly Farm Errington BC

The family decision was to ride horses. Of the four of us, I the eldest, last rode a horse in the early 1990s a couple of years before our trail guide was born. I didn’t feel old at all, no sir. The rest of the gang was equally out of practice or inexperienced. Errington is near Coombs and only 10 minutes from Parksville. Tiger Lilly Farm is a left off of Highway 4A on Errington Road. Tiger Lilly Farm offers trail rides and a farm petting zoo. This part is perfect for younger children, especially those with limited exposure to […]

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Mooberry Winery and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

On 403 Lowrys Rd, Parksville you will find the Morningstar Farm, which is home to two businesses: the Mooberry Winery and the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. The Morningstar Log Cabin that greets you. The whimsical and comic layout of both these businesses is to be admired. And it’s refreshing to find because on Lowry’s Road there’s creeping urban development and a Save-On Foods, which I suspect would never stock their products, is a mere 2.3 km away. It’s easy to find your way around the farm. The wines are all fruit wines ranging from apple (close to apple cider but not […]

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Shopping in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach shares tourism marketing with Parksville but are two rather different towns. Parksville has the “miracle mile” feel along Highway 19A with Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and other national chains. Qualicum Beach on the other hand has only local vendors with lo-branding. The closest is the Quality Foods store, Lefty’s restaurant and the LDB (Liquor Distribution Branch) store. They have other branches in Parksville and, in the case of the government run liquor store, beyond. A few years back a shopping trip to Qualicum Beach yielded so-so results because the stores seemed generic and bland. This trip however […]

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A Coombs BC Shopping Expedition

Coombs is a 10-minute drive (about 10 km) inland from Parksville, which is considered part of central Vancouver Island. We always enjoy a side trip to Coombs when we’re in the area as there’s a couple of favourite shopping spots and there’s always something new. On Highway 4A, our first stop is Dutch Imports because some members of my family enjoy the rather peculiar-to-the-Dutch taste in candy (and other things). Stop here to find 43 types of salty licorice The store has more than odd foods. There’s a lot of traditional Dutch stuff that will make any Hollander homesick. Dutch […]

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Superheroes on BC Ferries

This isn’t going to be a story where an infant saves a senior from some horrible fate in the cafeteria. Rather, it was a gorgeous summer sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. We were starting or family vacation at last before the madness of the Fall descends. We were seated near the cafeteria when my son says, in hushed tones, “Dad, is that Jimmy Olsen?” My son had successfully recognized Mehcad Brooks of the TV show Supergirl, which films in Vancouver. Later on the sailing I saw him again and stopped him and introduced my son and daughter to him. […]

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Top 5 Things To Do on Hornby Island

Hike the trail at Helliwell Provincial park. Free admission, easy trail (5kms). Recommend doing it in clock-wise direction for best view of cliffs . Allow time for photos along the way. Lots of great views, including old growth forest, spectacular coastline, seals, flowers. hint: take binoculars if you have them for watching the seals and sea lions. Hornby Island Blues Society puts on several events throughout the year, including a Blues workshop in May featuring several renowned Canadian blues musicians as instructors. hornby-blues.bc.ca/concerts/ Enjoy a great dinner at the Sea Breeze Restaurant. They also have great housekeeping cabins and a […]

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Dutch Imports

In Coombs BC, there is a small little Dutch Imports store right off Highway 4. They are a bright orange and hard to miss, they have everything from Dutch food to little Dutch dish towels. When you walk in the first thing you see is the aisle of Dutch candies, with their specialized licorice. They also carry a variety of other foods, meat, cheese and treats such as Dutch honey cake and speculaas cookies. The service is helpful and friendly, no complaints there. The only complaint I have is something rather unfixable, the location of the store. I’m not the […]

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