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

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Romance is in the water at Coracle Cove

I love this time of the year. The days are getting longer, and old friends are returning to Coracle Cove…like these Goldeneyes with their beautiful markings and a most interesting courtship ritual.

Barrow's Goldeneye at Coracle Cove

 

Coracle Cove is located at Four Mile Point on Sechelt Inlet,  a beautiful, pristine environment, and this is the time of the year when wildlife begins to return, with new sightings waiting to be seen almost every day.

This trio were very interested in what was below the water, diving repeatedly to break off the mussels that had attached themselves to the bottom of our dock. This is a handsome male who’s attracted two female companions.

goldeneye mating ritual

 

But it was his behaviour that really got my attention, as I had just read about it earlier that morning. The image above (courtesy of Bird Note) is his signature courting move. He thrusts his iridescent green-black head forward for a moment, then whips it back so that his nape touches his rump and his bill points skyward. Finally, he slings his head forward and makes a high buzzy call while splashing water outward with his feet.

Apparently it’s a genuine turn-on for female goldeneyes.  But he’s a rambler. After she lays their eggs, the goldeneye male abandons his mate and parental duties. It’s common conduct among ducks

It was a real privilege to have witnessed this courtship ritual and I’ll be watching more carefully to see it again, usually just around dusk.

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What’s this blog all about?

Four years ago I launched Insider TipsIt was a logical next step to the ten-years of monthly e-letters that I’d been sending out to my former guests who had stayed at Coracle Cove.  I enjoy sharing my beautiful community, particularly with people who are thinking of visiting for the first time. Blogging enables me to respond quickly to what’s happening, and I think there’s an audience that’s interested in timely, insider information on the Sunshine Coast.

Cliff Gilker Waterfall

In this blog I provide information about the  Sunshine Coast – my favourite places for an afternoon hike, new restaurants and old – where we’ve really eaten and will actually go back;  upcoming festivals and events – when & where to get tickets… all that good stuff that will help you have a better experience when you next visit the Sunshine Coast.  That’s what I’ve been doing since we first opened Coracle Cove to visitors to the Sunshine Coast and it’s one of the appreciative comments I keep hearing from my guests.

Fine Dining at Chasters

Fine Dining at Chasters

But I have a bit of a confession – it’s really just a labour of love. In order to write meaningfully about all of these great Sunshine Coast experiences, I need to research and experience all those experiences myself.  My wife and I moved to the coast in 1974  and this blog is a great excuse for us to continue experiencing all the great things that this beautiful place has to offer. And now that we’re retired, we have a more time to do just that.

I also love the challenge of taking better and better pictures and there’s lots of great opportunities for that on the Sunshine Coast – a picture is worth a thousand words – so for all you speed readers, I’ll include a few pictures of this great place we get to call home. Like this one, taken early one morning. about this time of the year, from the seawall in front of Sechelt – one of my favourite places for a quick walk.

I hope you’ll find these postings helpful and I invite you to return for more timely information on Insider Tips   http://www.coraclecove.com

And for the speed readers, you can find more of my images on Instagram (@coraclecove) and on our Coracle Cove Facebook page.

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Bird Watching Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – what are these birds trying to tell us?

The weather’s been crazy lately – freezing temperatures, wild wind storms… oh, and did I mention the rain? Will will it ever end?  Well, there’s a few signals out there, that better weather may be on the horizon.  Nature is pretty good at reading and sending out its own signals. It’s had a lot of practice.  We’re surrounded by quite a few of nature’s creatures at Coracle Cove and when we slow down long enough to watch and listen, we pick up on those signals.

Barrow's Goldeneye at Coracle Cove

Birds migrate over great distances in search of a steady source of food. They have an amazing ability to know just when to start moving on to greener pastures. Like these Goldeneyes who showed up  a couple of weeks ago. There’s just a small flock of maybe a dozen or so, and they like to feed on the mussels under our dock.  They usually hang around for a month before heading further north to begin their breeding cycle.

Surf Scoter at Coracle Cove

This Surf Scoter showed up a couple of days ago. It was a new sighting for me and it wasn’t until I got the binoculars on its colourful beak that I was able to verify its ID.

Hooded Merganzer at Coracle Cove

Mergansers are relatively common throughout our winter months, easily identified by their crested head. My favourite, however, is this Hooded Merganser with a large white crest which he fluffs out to attract a mate. Hooded Mergansers are a sure sign of the approach of Spring and breeding season.

Eagle at Coracle Cove

Although not a migratory bird, Eagles also travel in search of food and salmon is at the top of their shopping list. Our resident family of Eagles return each year after feasting elsewhere on spawning salmon. Their call is easily identifiable and we first started hearing it a few weeks ago. This year’s family seems to be made up of at least one or two adolescents who still have their brown head feathers and this handsome fellow who is the dominant Partiarch of the family.

Oystercatcher at Mission Point

Oystercatchers search along the shoreline for small mollusks and use their long bills to pry the shells open. Like the others in this blog, they return to our area at this time of the year and when I heard that they had arrived I immediately set out with my camera to take some pictures.

Birds are like old friends who have left our lives and then return. In this case, we’re doubly happy to see them because we know that the warmer days of Spring are not too far away.

Follow this link to return to the Coracle Cove website.

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

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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.

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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.

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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??

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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

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Walking Tours on the Sunshine Coast – #7 – A tasting tour of Gibsons

Catch our Drift is a new tour company with a novel approach to helping visitors connect with the Sunshine Coast by providing them with unique local experiences. I went along on the Taste of the Landing Tour  the other day, and while I’ve lived here for almost 40 years, I learned quite a bit about my own community and met some pretty interesting people.

smitty's outside plank table

Our first stop was Smitty’s Oyster House where we had a sampling of fresh raw oysters from Gorge Harbour on Vancouver Island. The large plank table that you see in the image above sits just a few feet from the salty brine and we were encouraged to toss our empty oyster shells over the railing to help seed a new oyster bed. The table has an interesting story. When the restaurant first opened, the municipal council of the day were only prepared to allow a single table for outside seating. I guess you can fight City Hall!

taste mikes

We walked a few steps down the street to Mike’s Gelato where we were greeted by an impressive array of 64 varieties of gelato. It was tough narrowing my choices down to our allotted three but with a little help from our affable and engaging server I choose the Chocolate Snickers, Radical Rolo and Twisted Sweet & Salty…. yumm!!

taste black bean

We walked a couple of blocks further to the Black Bean Cafe, a coffee shop that uses only organic, fair trade beans, which they roast themselves. I had a caramel macchiato and sampled some strawberry-rhubarb muffin… what a great combination. They do all of their baking on-site and have a very loyal customer base.

taste daffodilly

We crossed over to the other side of the street and were welcomed inside by the owner of Daffadowndilly, which offers an eclectic collection of work by local artists. The building was built in 1928 as apartments for loggers and fishermen and has a colourful history. When we commented on the slanting floor, the owner shared the story that the building had been partially knocked off its foundations by a runaway truck that had careened down the steep hill some years ago.

taste grammas

This is the impressive view from Gramma’s Pub, our next stop, and another business with an interesting story. The pub was the first licenced marine pub in the province, opening over 40 years ago. A family owned business, it was named after the mother who had a penchant for the cool amber fluid.  We were served a glass of Landing Lager, which is the house brew and made by Russell Brewing specifically for Gramma’s.

taste blackberry

The Black Berry Shop was our next stop and as you can see from the image and guess from the name, they offer a lot of blackberry products. We had a sampling of an interesting  blackberry/garlic jam over cream cheese on a cracker and it was delicious.  There was also blackberry chutney, syrup and vinegar as well as some straight up blackberry jam. The store is a cooperative for over 65 local artists and food producers and offers a wide variety of wonderful products.

taste gypsy cove

Gypsy Cove is right next door and we were able to sample some of their food products as well. We started with a refreshing glass of iced tea made from one of their many specialty fruit teas. They offer over 35 different teas for a variety of tastes and needs, including a good selection of “wellness teas” to help with energy, relaxation or jet lag. We also sampled some of their infusion sea salts with some raw veggies – my two favourites were the Spanish Rosemary and the Salish Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.

What a great day!! I was able to sample some very tasty food products made right here on the Sunshine Coast and I heard lots of interesting stories. All in all it was a very entertaining day and provided me with some unique experiences that helped this long-time resident connect even further with the community.  You can find more information about Catch Our Drift on their website.

Follow this link to return to our Coracle Cove website.

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Favourite Fall Memories at Coracle Cove

Fall Colours at Coracle Cove

I’m celebrating my 100th blog with a look back at some of my Favourite Fall Memories. I call September the “endless summer month.”  Maybe it’s because I’m retired that I have the time to really enjoy and appreciate the blue sunny skies and warm temperatures, but it still seems like a bonus.

September at Coracle Cove

The hot days of August are behind us so there’s less thermal wind during the day. The morning water is flat, creating beautiful reflections.

Fall sunrise 2012 - Version 2

As each day passes, the sun rises and sets a little further south and is lower in the sky. This can result in the most amazing sunrises that make you want to jump out of bed and grab your camera.

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Sometimes there’s a little mist in the morning, hanging gently over the calm, flat water.

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And then at the end of the day, the low setting sun repeats its amazing colourful display over our western shoreline.

I’ve put together a video of some of my favourite Fall Memories – I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

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Sunshine Coast Annual Art Crawl 2015 – it just keeps getting better

How often do you get to visit an internationally acclaimed artist in their own studio and watch them working at their craft? I’ve got my own dance card filled in for this much anticipated weekend of creativity and I’ll be updating this blog on my Facebook page as the weekend progresses. Follow me as I visit an amazing array of creative talent.

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

 This is a great weekend getaway where you can take a scenic coastal tour of 135+ galleries, artist studios and more. You’ll have a chance to meet the artists in their studios and experience the vibrant arts and culture community on the Sunshine Coast. There’s no pressure to buy, just a weekend for you to see some new art, talk with the artists and most of all, to enjoy the experience.

Last year there were several opening night receptions taking place up and down the Coast. Goldmoss Studio in Roberts Creek was definitely “the place to be”

Artist: Brett Varney

Artworks in Sechelt celebrated with more food and music and a demonstration by contemporary artist Donna Swain. It was a magical experience watching this image emerge on her canvas.

 

Saturday morning broke with unexpected sunny skies and I was really looking forward to visiting my “best of the best” list of Arts Crawl participants in the Roberts Creek area.

This is it. Design, a glassworks studio, is tucked away deep in the woods of Upper Roberts Creek, and this modernistic studio, filled with treats both inside and out, is now on my official visitors’ must see list.

Further up the road, as I drove deeper into the forest I found yet another hidden jewel, just down a roadway behind this interesting street marker.

Andrew Dunkerton came to the Coast in 1975 and has lovingly crafted his beautiful post and beam studio from the trees on his small acreage. Andrew’s love of wood carries on into the studio where he has created beautiful Northwest Coast style masks and bentwood boxes.

 

My next stop was filled with more surprises. Goldmoss Gallery, with polished concrete floors, high ceilings and large windows offering magestic ocean vistas beyond would not be out of place in an urbane setting were it not for the majestic tall cedars surrounding the gallery. Goldmoss, which opened in 2010 provides a mix of work by local artists Bon and Lee Roberts as well as others from afar, and their goal is “to provide original fine art to established and emerging collectors.”

Artist: Sally Michener

 

 

Sunday brought forth another sunny morning. It was going to be a perfect day for a drive up the Coast to visit a special studio in Halfmoon Bay. But first I wanted to re-visit the studio of Laurie Rolland. Laurie’s small tidy studio in Davis Bay belies her status as an artist whose pottery has been displayed internationally and held in both corporate and public collections (as well as my own)

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

 

George Pratt’s studio was the last on my list and I was looking forward to my visit.  Like many artists that I had met this weekend, George was drawn to the Coast as much by its lifestyle as its beauty.  His work is widely collected in North America by private individuals and corporations and several large works have been commissioned for public display in Canada. Some also  have been presentation works for foreign dignitaries including Prince Phillip and Bill Clinton. I was greeted by several of his creations as I walked up the driveway.

His home based studio, set on five acres of rock and trees offers inspiring panoramic views of Welcome Passage and Thormanby Island. More recently, this talented artist has turned to painting and coming inside his studio of vibrant colours was like a fine dessert to end this wonderful weekend.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Art Crawl. The studio guide has just been published and I know that I’ll be in for a very full  weekend.

Follow this link to return to my website at www.coraclecove.com or to read some of my other recommendations for the Sunshine Coast.

 

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A guide to the Farmers & Artisan Markets on the Sunshine Coast

Markets on the Sunshine Coast

The relaxed lifestyle and natural beauty of Sunshine Coast has attracted an eclectic mix of people, many of whom are both creative and talented. Coasters also like to know where their food comes from, and a trip to the community market is a regularly scheduled event to pick up freshly picked supplies for a special dinner, and often to see what your favourite potter has just fired in her kiln.

Sechelt Farmers Market

Fortunately for locals, as well as those visiting the Sunshine Coast there are plenty of markets to choose from. Here’s a guide to help you experience the full flavour of Farmers & Artisan Markets on the Sunshine Coast.

Wednesdays Farm Gate Market: until October 28. Locally grown produce and organic food, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Roberts Creek Hall. Insider tip: ask how the ancient Maya used these raw cacao ingredients to treat a variety of ailments.

Markets on the Sunshine Coast

 

 

 

Thursdays  Gibsons Night Market: to Sept 3.   Food, live music, crafts, chocolate, lotions, art, clothing, and more. 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, 626 Shaw Rd, Gibsons (behind Petro Can),

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Friday Farmers’ Market at the Gibsons Public Market:. Pick up locally grown fruits and vegetables, seedlings for your own garden, frozen seafood, fresh flowers, fresh bread, local honey and preserves, local chocolate and other ready to eat foods. Listen to live music while sipping one of Persephone’s fine craft beers. Afterwards, enjoy a stroll through Gibsons Landing. 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM, 473 Gower Point Rd (every Friday until Oct 9th)

Sechelt Farmer's Market

 

 

Saturdays  Sechelt Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market:  The original and largest market on the Sunshine Coast – always local – always fresh – and an extensive collection of local artisans.  Insider tip: ask Farmer John for a jar of his hidden supply of Highland Marmalade. 9:00 am – 2:30 pm at the end of Cowrie Street by the Library. Every Saturday to Sept 26.

Sechelt Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sundays  Roberts Creek Heart Market: to September 20. Local, organic farm produce, artisan wares and crafts. Live entertainment. A co-operative venture between the Roberts Creek Health Food Store, The Heart Gardens, and Heart of the Creek Holdings, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Markets on the Sunshine Coast

Sundays  Gibsons Landing Sunday Market: every Sunday to end of September. Locally made crafts, baked goods and fresh produce.  10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Holland Park, across from Winegarden Park in Gibsons Landing

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