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Sunshine Coast, BC

My boyfriend and I found a charming bed and breakfast and quietly celebrated our anniversary together.  Escaping the city but not wanting to go too far, this small stretch of land located on the mainland of British Columbia yet not accessible by road seemed like the perfect getaway for us.

The cottages at Wildflowers Bed and Breakfast

A complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival was a touch of first class and set the tone for our stay

Before I delve into the activities that kept us busy, I must comment on the bed and breakfast that we had the pleasure of finding.  Wildflowers Bed and Breakfast was remarkable and I would stay there again in a heartbeat.  First off, the property is gorgeous.  I spent time looking for an ocean side place but couldn’t find one that matched my needs so I took a chance on this inland location.  I had imagined roasting marshmallows on the beach while watching the sun set but traded that for a beautifully manicured lawn complete with pond and hot tub.  This is not your typical b&b owing to the fact that the two suites are located in a separate cottage on the property.  I think that’s what first attracted me to the idea, then the oversized soaker tubs, then the yard, then the promise of a great breakfast.  And great breakfast it was!  Seriously some of the best food I’ve ever eaten and delivered every morning at the time of your choosing.  Eating on the deck of our cottage was breathtaking and simply magical.  With only birds and crickets breaking the silence, it was incredibly relaxing to say the least and I can admit I had a hard time leaving for our planned outings.  Doug and Darcy create a work of art with their breakfast offerings and were very accommodating to our food allergies and special requests.

I already mentioned the large tub and deck but the room also had a small half kitchen complete with miniature fridge, microwave, coffee maker and basic kitchen supplies in addition to unlimited coffee, tea and hot chocolate.  We also took advantage of the shared barbeque to make our own dinners as we came prepared to eat in as much as possible.  There was also a gas fireplace but we didn’t need to use it as the weather was still warm.  But what fun to stay inside on a rainy day cozied up to your significant other with a good book and a hot cocoa?  Next time…

On our first morning we were presented with eggs Benedict served on a puff pastry, hash browns, a cheese covered baked tomato with fresh fruit, homemade croissants and juice

Cheese filled biscuits accompanied fruit-topped french toast and sausages on our second morning

On the last day, our breakfast was completely unexpected but still satisfied; chicken pot pie and fruit

When we did manage to leave the property, we enjoyed the quant towns and beautiful scenery of this rugged land.  The terrain makes the building of a road somewhat impossible and the reason you must either take the ferry or fly in.  We choose to drive onto the ferry so that we would have our car.  The 35 minute ferry ride on BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale goes by very quickly thanks to the tree-lined mountains surrounding you as you cruise between Gambier and Bowen Islands in the Strait of Georgia.  Wildflowers is located in Halfmoon Bay, approximately 45 minutes by car on the Sunshine Coast Highway.  Of course, it is easy to make a day of the journey as you stop in town after town to admire the crafts and art work of an area that can boast the most artisans per capita than any other region in Canada.  If this description failed to paint a picture of the area for you, let me elaborate: this place is laid back;  people drive slowly, take their time, and are incredibly friendly and inviting.

The grounds at Wildflowers;one of the reasons we spent so much time just lounging

On a suggestion from Doug, our first outing took us to Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park located down the road from the b&b.  A 4 km hike from the parking lot through marshland and forest takes you to Smuggler Cove itself where a blue ocean awaits.  We spied purple star fish clinging to the rough rocks of the shore while boats bobbed in the calm water of the cove.  You can canoe, kayak, swim, scuba dive, fish in designated areas, and anchor your boat here.  Year round camping sites are located in the park but the only facilities provided are pit toilets so if roughing it is your thing, this is a delightful spot.

On the way to Smugglers Cove

Can you see what I see?

What about now?

First glimpse of the cove

Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park’s main attraction: the cove itself

On land these pisaster ochraceus were brilliantly coloured

Did I mention this area was used during prohibition to smuggle rum? The many inlets and coves provided essential resting grounds for the fugitives

As part of our anniversary celebration we chose to purchase the Romantic package at Wildflowers which included a gift certificate to one of the fine restaurants in the area.  The dining room at the Rock Water Secret Cove Resort came highly recommended and did not disappoint.  We started our meal in daylight and ended it by watching the distant lights on Vancouver Island twinkle in the moonlight.  Again, this was magical.

Happy Anniversary!

A trip to Skookumchuck Narrows to watch the kayakers ride the rapids was up next.  A natural phenomenon at the twice daily tide change produces whitewater rapids and whirlpools that beckon people from around the globe to test their skills.  If you want to see the Narrows at their peak, you will need to consult the tide chart and plan your trip accordingly.  The hike in is also spectacular and takes about an hour, passing Brown Lake with its own wildlife and through forests with incredibly tall second-growth Hemlock trees.  We didn’t see any small furry creatures but they make the protected forest home as well as birds and an abundance of marine life in the ocean surrounding the park.

Brown Lake on your way to the rapids

Looking up, way up!

Two hundred billion gallons of water flow through here on a 3 metre tide between Sechelt and Jervis Inlet

Only experienced kayakers can challenge these rapids

Skookumchuck is a Chinook word meaning turbulent water or rapid torrent and is a prime example of how this area has been used for thousands of years by First Nations people.  It is rich with their history.  Hear First Nations tales from a different perspective as you paddle your kayak in the calm waters and many inlets as part of a specialized tour.  If you’re interested in learning more about First Nations and their culture or trying a tour, visit the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC’s website for more information.

On the way to Skookumchuck we made a stop at Ruby Lake Resort to rent a canoe for a few hours.  Ruby Lake is one of the warmest lakes in BC and has a few islands you can paddle to.  After enjoying our picnic lunch and a quick, refreshing swim we were back on the road again.  Driving back to Halfmoon Bay after our full day canoeing and hiking the Narrows, we pulled over at Dan Bosch Park.  We spied the beach from our canoe trip earlier in the day and it turned out to be perfect as the sun started setting over the clear water.

Catching the last of the sun’s rays on the beach

When we were planning this getaway, we thought we’d see more of the area but the setting at the cottage proved too relaxing and just goes to show that you have to live in the moment and do what’s right for you.  By the way, there are no tv’s in the cottages, it’s just you and your company.

If you are looking to explore more than we did there is plenty to do on the Sunshine Coast for people of all ages and activity levels.  In planning this three-day trip, I found the following websites helpful:

http://www.sunshinecoastcanada.com/

http://www.sunshinecoast.ca/

Wildflowers Bed and Breakfast is located at 5813 Brooks Rd, Halfmoon Bay, BC.  Phone Toll Free: 877-885-2003 or email: wildflowers@sunshine.net

Rock Water Secret Cove Resort has unique tent-house accommodations that are world-renowned.  Located at 5356 Ole’s Cove Road, Halfmoon Bay, BC  Phone Toll Free: 1-877-296-4593 or email: reservations@rockwatersecretcoveresort.com

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