Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend Wanderings: Comox Valley, BC

We’ve always found British Columbia to be an alluring destination: The beautiful province is conveniently close to Seattle and offers an opportunity to use our passports when we’re feeling the itch. Perhaps most importantly, Canada happens to be home to some of the nicest people on the planet. (And right now, for obvious reasons, many of us feel an urge to migrate north more than ever before.)

Slopeside dining on Mount Washington by Corinne Whiting

Slopeside dining on Mount Washington by Corinne Whiting

Politics aside, though, there’s also a powerful pull to head above the border to visit our neighbors on Vancouver Island, thanks to a favorable exchange rate that’s giving Americans an impressive amount of bang for their buck.

Here are a couple reasons we think BC should be on your 2017 travel list:

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

+Vancouver Island Snow Sports

Did you know there’s a mountain on beautiful Vancouver Island that offers amazing ski/snowboard/snowshoe/tubing opportunities? Locals like to say that they have everything Whistler has, they’re just smaller (and therefore, easier to navigate). So far it’s been an amazing season—the best in years, in fact; with any kind of luck, skiers will be hitting the slopes well into April.

 

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

 

Although condos can be rented at the top of the mountain, staying in a town like Courtenay gives vistors a buffet of options when it comes to pre-ski breakfasts in charming cafes (like Rhodos Coffee and Bistro and Atlas Cafe) or post-powder pints and meals in local eateries/breweries (like Gladstone Brewing Company and seafood-centric Union Street Grill & Grotto). For the ultimate treat after an active day, try the amazing desserts at Billy D’s pub, like pecan flan and deep-friend Oreo decadence.

 

Gladstone Brewing Company by Corinne Whiting

Gladstone Brewing Company by Corinne Whiting

 

The Old House Hotel & Spa proves a great home base for your Comox Valley adventures. While there, indulge in the spa’s soothing apres-ski package and enjoy a delicious, multi-course meal at cozy and inviting Locals Restaurant.

 

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting. 

+Refreshing Small-Town Charm

Vancouver Island is full of few-stoplight towns where people are kind and the traffic non-existent. You’ll find exposed brick-walled coffee shops carrying small-city simplicities mixed with modern-day perks (substitutes like almond milk and gluten-free bread seem to be staples on many menus). Eating and drinking locally-sourced goods can happen most anywhere, and chances are you’ll likely befriend kind table neighbors before your meal’s come to a close.

 

Rhodos Coffee & Bistro by Corinne Whiting

Rhodos Coffee & Bistro by Corinne Whiting

 +Snow-to-Surf Opportunities

Do you like your cold-weather activities to include skiing and surfing? You’re in luck. After getting your fill of powder-filled fun, head west a couple hour to magical Tofino, where the urge may be strong to simply cancel your return ticket and stay forever. This stunning surfing and storm-watching paradise has gained loyal fans for its exquisite coastline, thriving culinary scene and a laid-back vibe that washes away all your cares in the world.

 

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

 

Logistics

From Seattle, your best travel bets include getting yourself up to wonderful Victoria (via uber-convenient Clipper, ferry or float plane) and then renting a car for the two-and-a-half hour drive north to towns like Courtenay in the Comox Valley. Otherwise, from Vancouver, you can car ferry across to Nainamo or hop a Pacific Coastal flight over to Comox/Campbell River).

Wishing you a wonderfully invigorating and inspiring stay in Canada the great.

 

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

About Corinne Whiting

Corinne, an east coast native who recently relocated here from the other Washington, was bit by the travel bug early on. She lived in Strasbourg, France (during her junior year at Georgetown University) and in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she got a masters degree in Cultural Studies. She feels very grateful to have explored incredible spots on our globe ranging from Bolivia and Egypt to Turkey and China, but there are passport pages yet to fill (and travel tales yet to be written!). After serving as associate editor at Where magazine in D.C. for the past five years, Corinne now embarks on a new adventure here as a freelance writer and photographer, contributing to publications like National Geographic Traveler, the Alaska Airlines magazine and Amtrak's Arrive. She looks forward to getting to better know this corner of the country while debunking the rain myths, upping her coffee quotient, hearing heaps of live music and finding her Zen near the water as often as possible.
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