So I celebrated Thanksgiving in a rather unconventional way by heading off with a girlfriend to the Canadian Gulf Islands – part of the same group of islands as the US San Juans, situated in the strait between Vancouver Island and Vancouver itself.
Snow was falling gently as I left the house early on Thursday morning to catch the Clipper and for a moment I was worried that me and my wheely suitcase wouldn’t even make it down our icy steps, let alone all the way to the islands. But I needn’t have worried – the crossing over to Victoria was as smooth as a baby’s bottom, and welcome rain was turning the snow to slush when I arrived.
The following day we took the ferry out to Pender Island. It’s only a short ferry crossing from Sidney, near Victoria, and then about 20 minutes drive on Pender from the north island to the south. And this is what we saw as we turned the last corner.
Poet’s Cove is a modern resort, spa and yacht marina tucked into a tranquil and stunningly beautiful bay. My friend and I were lucky enough to stay in a two-bedroom cottage with its own personal outside hot tub, so we spent a lot of time drinking prosecco in the tub, watching dreadful movies curled up in front of the fire, doing the crossword and knitting, having treatments in the fabulous spa and dining on top notch comfort food in the relaxed and busy dining room.
The decor is in the modern ‘lodge’ vernacular which one finds so often in the Pacific Northwest and is all about the fireplaces and cosy sofas, high ceilings and a few interesting craftmade pieces.
The staff were absolutely lovely. Nothing was too much trouble – here they are keeping brunch buffet open for us, so that we could fit in our spa treatments before they stopped serving brunch.
And while the resort was tremendously relaxing for the body and mind, Mother Nature was busy weaving her magic on our souls. An old Native American chief is buried close to the resort and you can see why he’d want to live out eternity looking out at views like these.
A big highlight was when this little chap came out to play close to the marina. This beautiful mottled seal was a star in the making, giving us a ten minute display of incredible underwater athleticism and seemingly revelling in his audience.
No wonder we looked somewhat drunk on fresh air, beauty (and possibly the odd caipirinha) by the end of our stay.
Apparently this place gets understandably busy in the summer, though I’d still love to return then – I think the family would love it.
And if you live in the Pacific Northwest and are looking for somewhere fun for a weekend, even in the depths of winter, then head off here. It’s where even the seals come to relax and play.