Everyone’s Favorite, Part#2

IMG_2741

Us six siblings and our two vehicle caravan drove off the ferry at Little River terminal, Vancouver Island. Continuing our ocean-side holiday, we crossed the city of Courtney, to Kingfisher Resort and Spa. Because of our short stay, I booked partial-view rooms here.

To our surprise, partial-view meant that a beautiful landscaped and manicured lawn was between us and the building which offered the full-view rooms. The unique part was, that building was terraced into the bank, so from our particular patios we could still see the ocean over it.

The next day we drove to the west side of Vancouver Island, which is open to the Pacific Ocean. A region with spectacular views and well known for wave watching and surfing.

Long Beach, is one of my favorite on this side. It’s ten miles of sandy shore and rolling to roaring waves depending on the day. The best part is, you pass right by it going to Tofino, our night’s destination.

All of us had been to Tofino before, yet Mister and I had never stayed there because it’s a doable day trip from across the island. Oceanfront accommodations at this end can be pricey, but this time we all splurged for rooms at the seaside, Best Western Tin Wis.

Tofino’s weather can be wet, but we went prepared. Our packed rain-gear came in handy when we walked the Hotel’s beach that afternoon and the next morning. (This beach is pictured in, “Pre-Book Accommodations or Wing-It”.)

The sister-in-law fulfilled her dream to waltz in the ocean with my brother. Even though, her mid-calf rubber boots filled with icy water in waves that splashed higher than their knees.

The town offers many small interesting shops, and there’s no shortage of fantastic seafood restaurants. There are also whale watching tour companies based there.

Before heading back to the east-side of the island, we also visited Uclulet where we walked the scenic Pacific Rim Trail and of course shopped a little.

Our next stay was at, Beach Club Resort, in popular, Parksville. The long wooden boardwalk out front of this resort is great for those who want to stroll and not get their footwear dirty. For shell pickers the shallow shores mean a huge beach becomes exposed when the tide is out. (Pictured in “Watching The Tide Roll Away”)

Since our last two accommodations were at busy, touristy spots, I searched for a, off the main path, but still on the water location for our next two nights.

When the GPS had us exit the Trans Canada Highway onto a road that wound down through about eight miles of country side, I began to doubt my travel agent skills.

The road hadn’t reached sea level when the town of Cowichan Bay started and we arrived at the parking lot of our accommodation. It was so unassuming that if we had been winging-it, we may have passed it by.

We took no pictures, and neither Mister or I can remember exactly what it looked like from the front. I vaguely recall a simple earth-tone two story building with little to no windows, other than the glass lobby doors.

But, walk through those sliding doors and beyond the reception counter there is a sitting area, furnished and cozy like a living room. The eye catching feature though was the wall of windows where we got our first view of the bay and marina.

Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay ended up being a little piece of heaven we all enjoyed. A place each of us say we would re-visit in a heartbeat.

I booked kitchenette suites in case we felt like cooking a meal, (which we didn’t). The suites were spacious with separate bed and living rooms, both areas had patio doors which opened to the bay. (The picture above is from our room.)

From our couches or beds we could watch Sea-Lions swimming in the marina and I saw on the news that shortly after we left there, Killer whales came right into the bay. Too bad we missed that.

When we went down to the swimming pool level, and stepped outside we were shocked by the size of the place. It didn’t match the impression we got from the front parking lot.

DSC02516

It isn’t new but was clean, well-kept and updated. We encountered friendly staff and great food from both its restaurant and the pub next door.

The town of Cowichan Bay, offers a candy and ice cream shop, a general store, a bakery, a whale watching tour company. These and more little shops, and all just a short walk from the hotel.

If you’re planning to visit Vancouver Island, and you don’t mind staying minutes from city conveniences, we highly recommend Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay.

Its location on the coast is great for doing day trips to many of the popular tourist places. Or, if you’re looking for a comfortable and quiet place to relax with stunning bay views, this place should be a serious contender.

This is post 2 of 3 on our Vancouver Island trip.

Have you ever stumbled on a hidden treasure like this when you’ve pre-booked an accommodation?

Watching The Tide Roll Away

DSC02508

For those who don’t know, I can get a bit obsessed with walking shorelines in search of my favorite beach treasure, sea glass. I’ve set an alarm and been out long before the morning sun, and I’ve been out late in the evening, depending on tide schedules.

I’ll stroll the same beach as many times in a day as our schedule allows.

I’ll wear or use whatever Mother Nature requires, a raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots, earmuffs, and I’ve even needed a flashlight. I always pack these options.

This post’s title is a line from, “The Dock of the Bay.” My recent holiday’s theme song.

As soon as I got to the water’s edge this tune played over and over in my mind. Its melody, the salty sea air, and the lapping waves put me at peace and kept me company if I was alone.

In October, one of my brothers and sisters, and their spouses did a road trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with Mister and I. All of us had been to most of the places we visited, but never together as adults, and the others hadn’t been on the island in years.

Those interested in joining Mister and I were warned that I had an agenda for this trip. Being a coastline journey I was going for ocean-views every night or as often as possible, even if the cost per night was higher than normal rooms. Everyone was game.

I did the route planning, online research and reservations. The family refers to me as their personal travel agent and guide. The pay sucks, but it’s a hat I enjoy wearing as long as things go well. I lied, their smiles are pay enough.

Something I’ve learnt during previous travels is many coastline accommodations are private motels and hotels. Owning such prime real-estate means they remain successful and rarely sell out to the big new chains. We enjoy the uniqueness of these often older places, but I rely on reviews when checking their condition and upkeep.

Either I did a good job booking, or this group was easy to please, or they pretended to be, because I heard minimal complaining. Rooms were clean, had comfortable beds, and a few exceeded our expectations.

Out of fourteen nights away, 11 had water views.

They were steps from the ocean’s edge. Some rooms overlooked marinas, (my brother and I have a boat fetish) others had open coast lines, some with sandy shores, and some with rugged rocks.

For me, it’s hard to top waking up to these views.

Something odd happened though, I’ve never slept so much and done so little exploring on a trip. Typically, I’m a let’s go here, let’s do this kind of traveler. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I’m somewhere other than home.

We had a busy summer, so perhaps down-time was needed to recharge or maybe the cold I caught on day two and the medicine I took affected me. Whatever it was, wasting hours which I could have spent, even if just, enjoying the scenery unsettled me. Yet, I usually went to bed long before my normal time and slept later, often missing the sunrise.

The main goal for the trip was for the six of us to spend time together, and this we achieved. We joined each other for meals, and sometimes for beach walks. Of course no trip is complete for females without some clothes and other shopping. But, we weren’t the only ones who purchased items.

The group liked to snoop through local shops, which we did wherever we were. That resulted in a few found treasures, the biggest (literally) being the large wooden sail boat ornament my brother bought.

Since we all live in Alberta, having fresh seafood was a must on the list to do. By the time we got home some complained they were getting, chowdered-out, as we called it. Not me, fish was my main food source while we were gone, and I miss it. But, not as much as I miss walking the shores.

Do you prefer privately owned Motels or Hotels or large popular chains?

Are you an Explorer or Relaxer while on vacation?

The next two posts will have tips for those who may find themselves traveling on our same path.