How to beat the winter blues – get up there to Dakota Ridge

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.06.24 PM

Grab your gloves and toque, winter is here and Dakota Ridge is a winter paradise just waiting to be explored. West coast winter rains mean fresh snow higher up on Dakota Ridge, and you’ll find world-class cross country skiing and snowshoeing right here on the Sunshine Coast.

snow shoeing on the Sunshine Coast

IMG_6935This 1,500 acre plateau features 20 kilometres of world class groomed and track set cross country ski trails (classic and skate) and another 8 kilometres of snowshoe trails, plus acres and acres of backcountry terrain. The winding trails pass through old growth forests and open areas in a beautiful subalpine setting.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.03.42 PM

Topping out at 1,200 metres, you’ll get amazing views of the Coast Mountains, Vancouver Island, and Georgia Straight capturing the magic of the Sunshine Coast.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.07.21 PM

Dakota Ridge is located off Field Road in Wilson Creek, 14 kilometres up the forest service road. The access road is plowed on a regular basis. However, at subalpine elevations, winter conditions should always be expected on the road and access is restricted to four-wheel drive vehicles with chains.

Alpha Adventures is your “go to” place for equipment and shuttle services.  They have a great selection of cross country skis and snow shoes, and can provide a safe and convenient shuttle service to get you up the mountain and onto the snow.

Check out this Facebook link for daily up-dates on road and snow conditions up top… what are you waiting for??

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.03.58 PM

Posted in Favourite walking trails on the Sunshine Coast | Comments Off on How to beat the winter blues – get up there to Dakota Ridge

72 hours on the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is BC’s best kept secret, with endless stretches of craggy coastline, winding trails through verdant green forests, and a laid back vibe that compels you to slow down. Newcomers often joke about this slow pace, but we embrace it, calling it coastal time, as it allows us to discover the beauty that greets us at every turn.

But how do you unlock this secret Pandora’s Box on coastal time when all you’ve got is precious little time? Here’s a fail-proof plan to make the most of your Sunshine Coast visit in 72 hours or less.

DAY 1

1. Get an early start to the day/ 11:30 am 

Take an early ferry – there’s less traffic in the morning and you’ve just gained a few extra hours for your getaway. Once you’ve boarded the ferry, head up to the outside deck. You’ll get some great pictures like this as the ferry winds its way between several small islands.

2. Lunch & Exploring Old Gibsons Harbour/ 12.30

Break away from the pack of cars as you drive off the ferry, make the first left turn and follow this quiet country road for a few minutes until you reach Lower Gibsons. Originally a fishing settlement, this area still holds some of that maritime charm. Molly’s Reach was the main set in The Beachcombers, one of Canada’s longest running television series. Follow the stairs down to the waterfront where you’ll find Smitty’s Oyster House, and grab a seat at this long communal plank table, located mere feet from the glistening brine.  The decidedly seafood menu offers crab cakes, clam chowder, and of course, a variety of oysters, both raw on the half-shell, and cooked for those less adventuresome.

smitty's outside plank table

After lunch, explore the docks and if you’re lucky you may be able to buy some fresh seafood directly from one of the boats. Walk back up the stairs and head down Molly’s Lane where you’ll find an eclectic collection of shops. Salty Sailor Designs has an interesting collection of art made from salvaged driftwood, including these lovely Christmas trees.  IMG_7885

Walk back up to Gower Point Road and you’ll find Sunshine Coast Olive Oil, a gourmet food store specializing in single-estate and infused extra virgin olive oils. Across the street is the Landing Gallery, which represents many of the Coast’s finest artists.  Greta Guzek is one of my favourites and you’ll see some of her art in your suite at Coracle Cove.

3. Pick up Supplies for Tonight’s Dinner/ 3;00

Tonight’s dinner suggestion is a simple barbecue dinner, so if you haven’t already, you’ll need to pick up some dinner ingredients.  Claytons Heritage Market in Sechelt has everything you need – a nice steak plus some Henry Reid lettuce greens for a fresh, crisp salad … nothing too complicated. The LCB store is behind Claytons and has a great choice of wines and a knowledgeable staff. Now, hop in your car, Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite is your next stop.

4. Dinner on the patio/ 6:00

After you’ve settled in, pour yourself a glass of wine, fire up the barbecue and give your steak some love and attention.   Your private waterside patio table has an exclusive reservation and dinner will be served whenever you decide. After dinner, wander down to our dock and settle into one of these comfy red chairs. Close your eyes and listen… you’re shifting down into coastal time. www.coraclecove.com

Day 2 

5. Breakfast and Walking Tour of Sechelt/ 10:00

The Basted Baker is located on Cowrie Street and has a really creative menu which is also updated constantly… a variety of Bennies served on a lovely soft biscuit, a tempting selection of decadent treats to sweeten the palette, and a latte that is the absolute best, hands-down.

After breakfast, it’s time for some exercise.  Head up Cowrie and turn left at Trail.  Fresh from the Coast is a great little store featuring locally made artwork by over 150 artisans. Talewind Books is few doors away. They’ve  been selling books for almost 30 years and are one of the last of the independent bookstores. Check out their extensive collection of books about all things Coastal BC

Continue walking along Wharf,  toward the ocean until you reach the seawall, another favourite of mine – I walk the seawall at least twice a week, throughout the year.  Turn left and halfway along the seawall is the grand Tori Gate. Walk out to the end of  the pier, where you’ll find an interesting set of pictures depicting how the shoreline looked back in the early pioneer days. IMG_5935

The seawall continues to meander through the Sechelt Indian Band Lands, where you’ll often see fishing nets hanging up to be repaired. At the end of the seawall, five majestic totems stare resolutely out to the ocean.  These totems were carved in the mid 1980’s to honour each of the four tribes of the shishálh Nation, plus a fifth, to celebrate their achievement of self-government status, one of the first Indian Bands in Canada to do so.

6. Lunch in Halfmoon Bay/ 12:30

It’s time to explore more of the Sunshine Coast, so hop into your car and head up the highway. We’ll stop for lunch on the way. Turn left at the second Redrooffs Road, and follow the signs to the Halfmoon Bay General Store. Next door you’ll find the Upper Crust Bakery with a good selection of Paninis and baked sweets. Between these two you can put together a pretty good picnic lunch. Walk down to the end of this little one-lane road to the Government Wharf for the best “restaurant” view you can imagine.

7. Escaping through Smuggler Cove/ 1:30

Head back up the highway, continuing north for just a few minutes, watching for the turnoff to Smuggler Cove.  The first half of this well maintained trail system is joined together with a series of boardwalks traversing over and around small ponds, created by a busy family of beavers. Later the trail opens to  sweeping views of Welcome Passage and Thormanby Island, before looping around to Smuggler Cove, so named for its colourful history. Nowadays, however,  you’ll see only sailboats instead of sleek rumrunners of the Roaring Twenties.Smugglers1

8. Dinner at the Lighthouse/ 6:00

The Lighthouse is all about enjoying one of the most amazing views on the Sunshine Coast. It’s casual dining, on an expansive outside deck, where you can watch all of the action – speedy water taxis racing to and from the dock, float planes landing, and pleasure boats heading off to another adventure.  Anything from the menu with seafood is recommended –  Warm Seafood Salad, Baha Fish Tacos, Seafood Curry Hotpot, and of course their Fish & Chips… or if you’re feeling more carnivorous, try the Braised Lamb Shank or the legendary Pile Driver.

Day 3

9. Breakfast at the Bakery – if you haven’t already had breakfast, pop into The Bakery in Sechelt for quick service, great coffee and a good selection of baked breakfast goodies. Extra Tip: pick up a few goodies as a treat after your hike into the Skookumchuck.

10. The Eighth Wonder of the World & More/ 10:00 – all day

The Skookumchuk Rapids could very easily be considered the Eighth Wonder of the Natural World.  Twice a day, close to a trillion litres of water flow through the constricted opening of the Skookumchuk Narrows, creating one of the world’s fastest tidal currents. skookumchuck3

Ebb tides create huge whirlpools, strong enough to suck down a large log and send it popping into the air as it frees itself from the swirling vortex. North Point is your best viewing site. On a Flood tide, the water flows in far too fast for the narrow, constricted, opening, creating a powerful standing wave which kayakers love to surf. The best viewing site for flood tides is  Roland Point.skookumchuk kayaker

So now it’s time for some math… you need to time your Skookumchuck experience so that you arrive just before the tidal surge is at its strongest – ebb or flood. Use this link to determine the best time for today, then calculate – it’s a one-hour drive from Sechelt and a 40-50 minute hike from the  parking lot – so it’s a simple matter of working around the Skookumchuck times to fit in the rest of the day’s activities. You’ll be glad you took the time to do so and here are my recommendations for experiencing the rest that Pender Harbour has to offer:

10a. SloCat Tour – located in Madeira Park at the Government Dock they offer a 90-minute tour of the inner harbour, at 11:00, 1:00 & 3:00.  The tour is a good way to get out on to the water and and Captain Paul will entertain you with stories and gossip from both the past and present. Check out this link for more information.SloCat Tour

10b.  Mini Art Crawl – with over a dozen galleries and studios in the Pender Harbour area, representing a wide variety of styles and disciplines, there are lots of options to experience some original art. My favourites: Copper Sky Gallery (Madeira Park); FiberWorks Studio (along the highway, just after Madeira Park); Flying Anvil  Studio (Garden Bay turn-off); Motoko Gallery (Garden Bay)

10c. Lunch at the Garden Bay Pub – another large waterside deck awaits you,  overlooking a marina with all manner of boats coming and going. Home of two summer week-end music festivals, they also feature live music every Sunday.Garden Bay Pub

11. Dinner Options in Sechelt/ 6:00

Sheila & I love to cook so when we go out for dinner the bar is pretty high. Fortunately, there are lots of good options in Sechelt, and rather than giving you a specific recommendation we’ll let you choose the one that matches up with exactly what you feel like eating tonight.  Follow this link for the restaurants that we always return to.

restaurants in the Sechelt area

 

Day 4

12. Breakfast at the GumBoot/ 9:00

It’s your last day on the Sunshine Coast so we’ll reluctantly work our way back to the ferry. The Gumboot Restaurant, is located in The Heart of Roberts Creek and definitely falls into the coastal time category.  Try the Buddda Bowl… you’ll get a large healthy plate, mounded high with steamed greens, shredded raw carrots and beets, baked tofu slices, and brown rice with a rich and flavourful peanut sauce. If you’re into something more traditional, they’ve got that too, but it’s all about staying in coastal time.

13. Exploring Roberts Creek/ 10:00

After breakfast wander down the road toward the ocean where you’ll find a beautiful mandala, a community project, re-painted every year by local Creekers. A few steps further will bring you to the magnificence of the Salish Sea and a beautiful, deserted sandy beach where you can walk, explore tidal pools, and collect an interesting piece of driftwood.Roberts Creek Mandala

14. The Waterfalls of Cliff Gilker Park/ 11:00

Cliff Gilker Park is zealously protected by this passionate community.  Its 56 hectares are joined together with a series of well maintained trails and foot bridges that criss-cross back and forth over Roberts Creek as it funnels its way back to the Salish Sea. In a few spots the creek bed drops suddenly, forming four  waterfalls. Several viewing platforms and comfortable benches will allow you the opportunity to sit, enjoy some coastal time and contemplate the beauty of this endless cycle of Nature.Cliff Gilker Waterfall

 

15. Langdale Ferry Terminal/ 2:45

If you’re travelling during the summer, make sure that you’ve made a reservation for the ferry well in advance. Knowing that you have a guaranteed place on the sailing of your choice,  you can continue this relaxing journey in coastal time. I hope you’ve had a great Sunshine Coast experience.

Check out this interactive map for all of the places mentioned in this blog and then login to your own Google Maps to upload and use while you’re exploring the Sunshine Coast.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.13.59 AM

Follow this link to return to www.coraclecove.com

Posted in Suggested Itineraries for the Sunshine Coast | Leave a comment

Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – #11 – Hidden Grove & an amazing set of trails to explore just 5 minutes from Coracle Cove

How good is this… a walk through a beautiful forest and a chance to do some photography – sounds like the perfect outing for me!! Hidden Grove is just five minutes from Coracle Cove and I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately.

Google Map for Hidden Grove1

A series of wonderful trails has been created over the past few years and a second, widened trail with a good smooth base has just been finished by the hard working crew of volunteers. Both are perfect for the wheels of your choice – a wheel chair or a child’s stroller – providing increased access to a broader spectrum of users.

There’s a cultural history component to the trail system as well. Shortly after entering the trails you’ll notice several trees which have undergone bark stripping. The shíshálh Nation who have settled the area for several millennia, continue to harvest the bark of the cedar tree to make traditional baskets, regalia and clothing. The bark is relatively thin and grows back quickly.

The history of Hidden Grove is also one of survival… survival from natural fires of several centuries ago, which left charred bark up to a foot thick on the largest Douglas firs. More recently, the area was scheduled for logging but the local community rallied together  and Hidden Grove has been saved again.

Today these precious 125 acres have been set aside solely for recreation and less than 5 minutes away from Coracle Cove, they provide our guests a nearby opportunity for both solitude and a re-connection with nature.

View from Hidden Grove

The main trail rises gently, passing rocky outcrops and mossy plateaus and I branched off to the yellow trail to take this picture. The trail wound its way around a large outcropping of rocks and the view from the top was outstanding. It shows the very narrow stretch of land upon which the town of  Sechelt sits  and how it got it’s first name “Land Between Two Waters.”    We could just make out Vancouver Island in the distance across the Salish Sea

Hidden Groves near Sechelt

The extensive trail system loops through some interesting micro-climates and vegetation. Coming down from Pine Bluff, I picked up the Red Trail and as I followed it further, the change in vegetation was dramatic with a profusion of low growing ferns and moss covered tree trunks.

Hidden Groves near Sechelt

The network of trails is well marked with signs like this at each intersection, and it’s impossible to lose one’s way. Today,  it seemed as if I had the trails completely to myself, with the exception of a a couple of woodpeckers who kept me company with their rhythmic tapping on the trunks of the trees.

Follow this link to return to www.coraclecove.com

Posted in Favourite walking trails on the Sunshine Coast, More about our waterfront suite at Coracle Cove | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – #11 – Hidden Grove & an amazing set of trails to explore just 5 minutes from Coracle Cove

Bird Watching Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – Cormorants at Coracle Cove

We continue to have periodic visits from these majestic birds throughout the year, and can often see them perched on our dock with their wings outstretched. Most studies suggest that Cormorants spread their wings simply to dry them, although some breeds do flap their wings as a courtship display.

Cormorants are adept divers and take most of their prey during underwater pursuit, propelling themselves with large webbed feet.  This Double-Crested Cormorant feeds mostly on schools of fish in open water, while Pelagics will dive much deeper, pursuing small fish at depths of up to 150 feet.

Cormorants nest in colonies, typically producing 3 or 4 eggs with a relatively good survival rate among hatchlings. The chicks leave the nests, forming small groups called creches. They continue to form larger groups, until, at the age of about one month they belong to very large creches. The dutiful parents still come to feed their offspring in these super-creches.

 The Cormorant population is relatively stable now, after suffering a serious decline in the middle of the last century from DDT and other toxins. Recently, however, some jurisdictions have legislated a culling of the population, based on pressure from fishermen and fish farmers who see Cormorants as competitors and marauders. In most cases, these claims have proven false as the birds often take fish of no commercial value.

Fortunately, we have neither of these industries near where we live, and we can continue to enjoy these beautiful birds. As always, remember to bring your camera when you come to stay at Coracle Cove.

click here to return to our website www.coraclecove.com

Posted in Bird Watching on the Sunshine Coast, More about our waterfront suite at Coracle Cove | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bird Watching Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – Cormorants at Coracle Cove

Restaurants in the Sechelt Area

Sheila & I both love to cook and when we go out for dinner the bar is pretty high.  These are the restaurants that we will always return to and we’re very comfortable recommending them to our guests.   While I’ve included TripAdvisor ratings to add a more measured perspective, I often find that one mediocre review can really skew the results. So take the ratings with a grain of salt… perhaps a good quality sea salt from the west coast of Sicily.

restaurants in the Sechelt area

 

The Blue Heron specializes in fresh seafood. Located on Sechelt Inlet. Wonderful food, great service and an incredible view of Sechelt Inlet all work together to make a memorable experience. It’s on the pricey side but well worth the splurge. Reservations are recommended 604-885-3847  TripAdvisor #1

Lighthouse Pub offers food that is casual but good, and in a great location. The outside deck looks onto a busy little harbour with boats & seaplanes coming and going, and an incredible view looking up Sechelt Inlet. Anything with seafood is great, especially their warm seafood salad. Live music Sundays 604-885-9494  TripAdvisor #2

Basted Baker is my new “go to” place for coffee and/or lunch. They have a very creative menu of amazing soups and biscuit sandwiches, decadent desserts and great tasting breakfast sandwiches (aka Bennies)  Their cappuccinos and lattes are the best, hands-down. There’s a great atmosphere inside. 604-885-1368 TripAdvisor #3

Daphne’s offers an extensive and varied menu with lots of authentic Mediterranean specialties. I love the slowed braised lamb. The service is warm and friendly and the outdoor seating affords good opportunities for people watching 604-885-2008 TripAdvisor #4

Ty’s Fine foods & Bistro is a great place for lunch, offering a selection of interesting soups, sandwiches and fabulous flat crust pizzas for an incredibly reasonable price. Open Friday evenings for tapas and wine 604-740-9818 TripAdvisor #6

Pebbles Restaurant is located on the Sechelt waterfront with beautiful views of Georgia Strait, Vancouver Island and the cruise ships heading up the coast each night.  Seafood is a favourite and they are famous for both their chowder and seafood salads. Fridays night is a very popular fiesta night with a Mexican theme 604-885-5811 TripAdvisor #8

Sushi Bar 5517 – This is the place to go for sushi. They have an extensive menu using the freshest of ingredients. It can get busy at lunch time- a true testament from locals who know where they can get a good meal at a reasonable price. Dinner time is quieter  604-885-0220 TripAdvisor #11

The Old Boot Eatery – the food is always good, the servings plentiful and lots of action. Great pastas, steak, and seafood. Live music on Thursdays 604-885-2727 TripAdvisor #14

return to our website at www.coraclecove.com

Posted in Favourite Places to Eat on the Sunshine Coast | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Restaurants in the Sechelt Area

Falling for the Sunshine Coast – Part 1

When I was working, the Fall season always seemed like a glass half empty.  But, now that I get to play all year round, I have time to appreciate its true beauty. I find myself looking forward to its approach, knowing of the opportunities to  capture its many colours…  like these golden leaves floating with some kelp in the bright, low lying sun.

But it’s not just the changing colours of the leaves. The sunsets and sunrises of the Fall season are a much celebrated event. I won’t try to explain why this happens; it’s just the magic of the season. As each day draws to a close, there is an eager anticipation, watching the sun tuck behind the hills to the west and waiting for the colours to emerge.

I captured the image above  on a Halloween evening, a few years ago, and then just a couple of days ago, this image of the same hillside presented itself.  I’ve been using the camera on  my iPhone quite a bit lately and used the HDR function to take this picture.  I’m quite pleased with the result. The two pictures of the same scene seem like mirror images, with the vividly coloured clouds as brackets on each side of the hills. I’m not sure which I prefer – which do you like?

To see more of these images of the Fall season at CoracleCove, visit my website www.coraclecove.com where you can see a short video of some of my other favourites … enjoy!!

Posted in More about our waterfront suite at Coracle Cove | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Falling for the Sunshine Coast – Part 1

It’s so relaxing here you may not want to leave… a survival guide to staying at Coracle Cove

We’ve noticed that a lot of our guests don’t want to leave Coracle Cove once they’ve arrived. It’s quite understandable – it’s very relaxing here and the view’s not too bad either…

Winter Sunset on Four Mile Point

Choosing between the hot tub on the waterside deck and the big Adirondak chairs on the dock  may be the toughest decision you’ll make all day. It can get pretty comfortable, and like others you might want to just stay put…

Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite

…because when the sun starts to set, that’s when the sky gets really interesting…

Falling for the Sunshine Coast

So, before you arrive at Coracle Cove, you might want to make sure that you have all of your necessary food supplies.  Here’s a few of our recommendations:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.59.09 AM

Claytons Heritage Market is a full-size supermarket and is located in the Trail Bay Centre Mall, in Sechelt. They feature the freshest produce, quality meats, a unique bakery, and a fabulous deli.

You’ll find a government liquor store right beside Claytons.  The store was remodelled and expanded this past spring and has a great selection of wines and craft-style beers.

On the other hand, you may just want to pick up some take-out and we’ve got some great recommendations:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 11.08.40 AM

Daphne’s Restaurant, on Wharf St. offers a  Mediterranean and Italian menu and has a 91% Urban Spoon rating. 604-885-2008

The Old Boot is across the street from Daphne’s and describe their food as having a Western feel with Italian flare. 604-885-2727

Sushi Bar 5517 is just a few doors down the street and boosts a 96% Urban Spoon rating. They have an extensive Japanese menu and the sushi is great.  604-885-0220

… and if by chance you find yourself needing to do something about dinner, you can always order in and have it delivered. Saffron ( 604-740-0660) offers an eclectic menu of East Indian, pizza, pasta, ribs and burgers and you can order online.

So with a little bit of advance preparation you don’t have to leave – just stay put and thoroughly enjoy your precious getaway time.

Follow this link to return to our website at Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite 

Posted in Favourite Places to Eat on the Sunshine Coast, More about our waterfront suite at Coracle Cove | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on It’s so relaxing here you may not want to leave… a survival guide to staying at Coracle Cove

A Taste of Sechelt – where to eat & where to shop to eat later

Recently I was invited to join a group of visitors on a guided walking tour, A Taste of Sechelt.  As a long-time resident I have to admit that I learned a few things on this tour, but I also came away with an appreciation of just how valuable such a tour would be for anyone visiting Sechelt.DSC02128

If you’re looking for ideas on where to go for lunch or dinner, or what to pick up for dinner back at Coracle Cove, this is a great introduction to Sechelt’s food scene.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 8.40.30 AM

 

So much to see! So much to do! So much to taste! We stopped in at nine shops and restaurants to sample some of the finest foods Sechelt has to offer.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 9.48.55 AM

 

 

Our first stop was Ty’s Fine Foods, which has always been one of my favourite spots for lunch. We sampled two of their in-house soups: a zesty carrot-ginger and a savoury split pea, together with a lovely flakey spinach scone. All of their products are made from scratch – no “heat and serve” soups here, and yes, they do take-out.

DSC02123

Half a block down Cowrie Street we stopped in to meet Dean,  the new owner of the Sechelt Fish Market. Dean provided us with his sampling: salmon pate with a caper aioli on a delightful biscuit-style cracker. All of the ingredients were available in his store, together, of course, with a good selection of fresh, local seafood. I picked up some seasonings for my own kitchen, some Old Bay and a small tin of Maldon Sea Salt.

DSC02130

Further down the road and around the corner we stopped in at Lucky’s Smokehouse where we sampled some pulled pork sliders on a fresh baked biscuit. Wow, not just a feast for the eyes, but mighty tasty as well. Here’s a picture of our happy group. In the background you can see a few of the old classic movie posters which have been used to decorate this great little spot. While there, I learned that Lucky’s also delivers, so I’ve picked up a few of their menus for my guests.

DSC02126

Our next stop was the Butcher Block where we had a very interesting presentation on their products, the farms they come from and what makes them different from the mass produced products we find in supermarkets. Once again, it was an eye opener for this local boy. I was given a couple of links of their in-house Italian sausage to take home with me, which I added to a spaghetti sauce that night. Yes, there is a difference!

DSC02134

Now I don’t have a dog, but if you look a little closer at this picture you’ll see why our next stop was so much fun…

DSC02135

If you do have a dog or have a special friend with a dog, then you must stop in at Three Dog Bakery. They use all natural ingredients to make their special dog treats. Coracle Cove is a pet-friendly vacation rental and many of my guests like to travel with Fido when they stay with us, so I’ll be sure to recommend a visit. DSC02139

 

Our next stop was the newly opened Angelo’s Greek Grill. It was late in the day but we still had some room for these Gyro sampler’s – shaved pork on pita bread… yumm!!

DSC02142

And finally, just to round out our geographical sampling, we ended the tour at Saffron, for some East Indian cuisine. The pakora was perfectly cooked with an interesting blend of spices, and sitting inside the restaurant magically transported us to another land.

Like I said earlier, so much to see, so much to do, so much to taste. A taste of Sechelt is offered by Earthly Journeys. Check out their website for other tours and give them a try.

Posted in Favourite Places to Eat on the Sunshine Coast | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on A Taste of Sechelt – where to eat & where to shop to eat later

Escaping through Smuggler Cove

If you are looking to get away for the weekend or wanting a short side trip from Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast is a beautiful destination and Smuggler Cove, with its pristine beauty and colourful history makes for a great escape.

Shortly after leaving the parking area you’ll reach the first of several wooden walkways that cross over flooded areas and skirt around small ponds. If you’re lucky you might see beavers busily building the dams which have caused this flooding.

The 1.3 km trail winds through a diverse rain forest habitat with several twisting Arbutus reaching above the canopy, and continues with outlooks onto the cove itself, as well as Welcome Passage and Georgia Strait beyond. In the near distance you can see several islands, including North and South Thormanby and Texada.

During the summer months the cove is often full of anchored sailboats and other pleasure craft. You’ll see large boats navigating carefully through the narrow entrance to the cove, hugging the far shoreline to avoid several rocks lying just below the surface.

The cove has a colourful history dating back to the late 1880’s when it was first used to smuggle Chinese labourers into the United States to work on the expanding network of railways. The head tax required to enter the country was prohibitively expensive forcing them to resort to other means.

Later, American Prohibition, spawned a burgeoning industry for many Canadian boat operators, attempting to make ends meet during the Depression. Small, fast boats would load up with illicit liquor from stills on nearby Texada Island, to meet up with their American counterparts in international waters, 12 miles offshore. Each side of the sale would hold a torn dollar bill, to match up as proof of purchase.

Getting There:  Head north from Sechelt along the highway for approximately 10 minutes  and watch for the well-marked sign to Smuggler Cove. Turn left and follow this winding road until you reach a small parking area, where the trail begins.

Follow this link to return to our website www.coraclecove.com

 

Posted in Favourite walking trails on the Sunshine Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Escaping through Smuggler Cove

Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – # 5 – The Sechelt Seawall

IMG_5365The seawall in front of Sechelt is one of my favourite walks and I visit it throughout the year. I captured this winter sunrise a few years ago and love its intense colours.

However, the real attraction of the Sechelt Seawall for me is the opportunity to get in a very pleasant half-hour’s exercise with an interesting and incredibly scenic walk. My walk usually starts at Snickett Park with its beautiful large-rock outcroppings and views of the Trail Islands.  There are a few heritage cottages at this end of the seawall built almost a century ago when Sechelt was a stopping point for the old Union Steamships that travelled along the coast.

IMG_3838

Halfway along the seawall is the grand Tori Gate, built in 2002 by the Timber Framers Guild of North America as a gift to the community. The Tori Gate serves as an entrance to the Sechelt Pier which provides a great vantage point to look back at Sechelt. There’s an interesting set of pictures depicting how the shoreline looked during the Union Steamship days, and includes a historical description of the various buildings. IMG_5935

The seawall continues along through the Sechelt Indian Band Lands, where you’ll often see fishing nets hanging up to be repaired. The real treat can be found at the end of the seawall, five majestic totems staring resolutely out to the ocean.  These totems were carved in the mid 1980’s to honour each of the four tribes which came together to form the shishálh Nation, and the fifth to celebrate their achievement of self-government status, one of the first Indian Bands in Canada to do so. The shishálh have carved over 25 totems over the past few decades and these five are fine examples of this beautiful west coast art. the totems of Sechelt

Follow this link to return to my website  www.coraclecove.com

Posted in Favourite walking trails on the Sunshine Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – # 5 – The Sechelt Seawall