I don’t think anybody really needs directions on how to have a great time on a beautiful island, especially if they are in good company and the weather doesn’t play tricks. But let me tell you about my weekend on Salt Spring Island (I went there for the long weekend of Canada Day) and how you could spend a fabulous time if you decided to sail there. First thing first, it is a small island so unless you need some alone time in the middle of the woods, 2 to 3 days are enough to explore everything the island has to offer. The atmosphere is so relaxing that the 48 hours I spent on the island felt like a 2 weeks holiday. I like that!
From Vancouver, you will need to take the ferry to the “Gulf Islands” in Tsawassen, it only takes two short hours. The scenery on the way to Salt Spring Island is truly magical, take the time to enjoy the view on the deck! With a little bit of luck, you will maybe see seals and killer whales (unfortunately, I didn’t this time around). Salt Spring Island is the place to be for a long weekend and booking your tickets well in advance seems to be very wise and will spare you trouble. Our weekend was kind of a last minute thing and we spent a lot of time calling the ferry company to make sure we were on the waiting list. But we made it, yeahh!
The same applies for your accommodation, especially if you are looking for a fancy spot at an unbeatable price. I don’t know how we got so lucky but we found the cutest Airbnb in the middle of the forest with a breathtaking sea view. It is called “the Cat and the Pumpkin” and it is situated only 20 minutes away from Long Harbor (where you will arrive with the ferry). Olga – the owner – welcomed us in her piece of haven with a welcome basket full of homemade breads, butter and jam. Outside, all we could hear were the hummingbirds and the wind in the trees. Such a peaceful spot! Next to her drop dead gorgeous house is a smaller cottage where the guest have access to a beautiful patio and a private English garden. No need to say we always had dinner outside with the wood logs crackling in the fire pit next to us! For a minute it reminded me of our 3-month camping tour of Canada last year but with the luxury of a bed and a bathroom!
– The market: each Saturday from April to October and from approximately 9:00am to 4:00pm, you can enjoy a stroll through the market stalls in Ganges. You will find an incredible choice of handicraft products like pieces of jewelry, pottery, sculpture, clothes, organic body care products, home decor….and food! As you figured out, the latter caught my attention. Salt Spring Island’s market is the perfect place to have a picnic and that’s what we did. I bought a delicious vegan taco with fried avocados and kale (can you spot it in the pictures??) and had a Canada 150 ice cream for dessert. There are tons of food trucks and you will be spoilt for choice!
– Tree House Coffee: looking for a cute spot to get your morning coffee, have lunch or just savor a delicious homemade lemonade? This place is for you. As its name suggests, the coffee house is built around a (real) tree and looks like a cabin in the woods. I had their lemonade and I’m trying to replicate the recipe as I write these lines 🙂 It was memorable!
– Maxwell National Park with breathtaking views: Salt Spring Island is scattered with large numbers of trails and lakes but the park offering the best views of the shore and of the other Gulf Islands (you can spot Vancouver Island) is definitely Maxwell National Park. The trails are only a few kilometers long and you can chose whether to stay in the forest or along the ravine. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, they put a fence everywhere.
Let me know if you went to Salt Spring Island and what other nice spots you discovered. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back!