Category: Vancouver Island

Sunset Farm Studio Salt Spring Island

At the north end of Salt Spring Island, there’s a place to visit called Sunset Farm, which is on Sunset Drive, conveniently. Basically it’s a hobby farm with sheep, ducks, chickens, goats, two ponies and very cute black lambs (just don’t tell my kids what happens to most of them). One thing we learned was that it’s a lot easier to raise sheep on Salt Spring Island because there are no foxes, coyotes or wolves. In the Fraser Valley, predation by coyotes is an issue. Interestingly if you are raising chicken, you don’t want to be too close to the […]

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Tree House Cafe Salt Spring Island

On Salt Spring Island, in the middle of a parking lot, connected to an old house, with a large tree growing in the middle, is a cafe more suited to hobbits than normal humans. Salt Spring dining has a distinct tendency to be gluten free, vegetarian, and/or local — they are quite proud of their grass fed beef and lamb. Tree House Cafe does breakfast and lunch, so you need to be there before 3 PM to enjoy it. We took in lunch and the vegetarians very much enjoyed the veggie burgers. You can always tell when a place understands […]

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Jack Foster Trail Salt Spring Island

On Salt Spring Island, at the intersection of North End Road, Southey Point Road and Sunset Drive there’s an access point to Jack Foster Trail. We were lucky that the trail access was walking distance along a country road were we had a chance to feed grass to a couple of horses in a pasture. It’s a wooded trail, bound by moss-covered decaying snake fences that lead to the ocean. Technically this is an easy trail, which means you can easily use running shoes (preferably ones you don’t mind being covered in mud), but be aware that there are a […]

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Fernwood Road Cafe Salt Spring Island

During our trip to Salt Spring Island, we investigated Fernwood Cafe on 325 Fernwood Road, which is in the north end of the island. It’s a small cafe and like many rural businesses they share space with a massage therapist outfit. I mean, what else is more West Coast? The cafe is small, but has high ceilings and is very bright with a view of the water across the street. It was a bright sunny day when we were there and the birds were singing in the tree. The food is all home cooked. There was a 20 minute wait […]

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Mount Maxwell Provincial Park

In my opinion, calling this peak a “mount” is an insult to the peak. One of they key unexpected surprises is how twisty, up-and-down and basically mountainous Salt Spring Island is. By the time we were settled in our B&B, we had figured this out through driving and were listening closely when our hostess suggested that the Mount Maxwell view was stunning. However, she cautioned, the road was challenging for regular vehicles, but figured a regular sedan would do the trick. Taking Cranberry Rd from Ganges, you simply follow the signs. You will be going up and up. When the […]

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Oystercatcher Seafood Bar & Grill Salt Spring Island

Our first night on Salt Spring Island we needed to find a place to eat. In our case the usual issues of kids’ menu and vegetarian choices applied. Our B&B (Quarrystone House) was keen to recommend the Oystercatcher as they share ownership! The Oystercatcher is located at 110 Purvis Ln #201 near the Ganges shopping area. The restaurant has a great view of the Ganges Harbour. The decor was nautical with boats (like a sculling boat) hanging from the ceiling. I had the beef burger that’s a common theme on Salt Spring Island as they like to use the local […]

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The Ferry to Salt Spring Island

Important safety tip … when booking your ferry trip to Salt Spring Island, it’s a good idea to pay a lot more attention to the process than I did. It wasn’t until I went back to figure out what I’d missed did I realize on the BC Ferries schedule did you have to go to the Southern Gulf Islands schedule (www.bcferries.com/schedules/southern/) and then click on Vancouver Departures. On this page you have to navigate to further navigate Tsawwassen to Salt Spring Island (Long Harbour). There it tells you that it’s a three hour trip because you stop at Galiano, Manye […]

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Ocean Trails Resort and Rathtrevor Beach

In Parksville there’s Rathtrevor Beach which, at low tide, goes out for miles giving you the sense that you could walk to the small Mistaken Island during that low tide period. Ocean Trails Resort, where we stayed for five nights, is accessed via Resort Drive, which has a collection of resorts ranging from the fancier Tigh-na-mara to more modest priced ones. From what I gather Ocean Trails is in the mid range. It does not provide rental units right on the beach, so I’m assuming the price tags on those (e.g. Madrona Beach Resort) are higher. However, there’s this great […]

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Shopping in Coombs BC

Coombs BC takes its hippy heritage seriously. If you can imagine a totally funky market with goats literally on the roof, grazing, you are in the right place. Goats on the Roof Old Country Market is located at 2326 Alberni Highway, west and north of Parksville, and west and slightly south of Qualicum Beach. It’s no more than a 15 minute drive from either town. The market, apart from its unusual roofing, has a deli section, a bakery, a restaurant at the back, a great cheese section, a wild selection of craft items including home furnishings, bamboo fans for cooling […]

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Riptide Mini Golf Parksville

Mini Golf is one of those games where, once at the third hole, and if you were playing fairly, gives you the thought “why did I ever think this was a fun game?” The “no cussin’” signs are appropriate. Parksville has a couple of mini golf courses and RipTide is in the southern end of Parksville’s part of the 19A “old” Island Highway. It services all the Rathtrevor Beach traffic and Resort Drive folks. Riptide has two courses that are consistently themed and decorated in a very imaginative way. I’ll let the photos do the talking on that point. Despite […]

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