A Gulf Islands gem offers hints of the tropics

A Gulf Islands gem offers hints of the tropics

Hedgerow House is recommended as a place to stay in Journey Magazine’s May-June 2017 feature on Salt Spring Island, written by Eric Lucas.    “It’s a quite morning on the placid inlet leading to Ganges, the only town on British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island,” begins Lucas in his summertime feature story.  “The group I’m with on a guided tour has kayaked a few miles down the bay, spotting eagles, otters, oystercatchers, dolphins and seals along the way. Now we beach our boats at tiny Russell Island to tour a historic Hawaiian homestead, part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and the setting is so sublime that I wade out from the sand and plunge into the emerald water. OK, it’s a little colder than Hawai‘i. “Refreshing,” I wryly announce to my fellow paddlers.   Balmy climate, curving beaches of white sand, dolphins and whales in the distance—Salt Spring must have seemed a bit like home to the Hawaiians who settled here in the 19th century. Called Kanakas, they established homesteads in the pastoral landscape, joining African- Americans who had previously left the U.S., and others, to form a community that remains diverse, distinctive and wholly dedicated to a bucolic lifestyle. Back out in the sun I warm up quickly, and the summer sunshine epitomizes the atmosphere of a place so warmly welcoming that I bet half its visitors vow they’ll move here and join the existing 10,000 residents on this 17-mile-long island paradise. Matters of Taste Contemporary Northwest cuisine—it’s called “West Coast cuisine” in British Columbia—featuring local seafood and produce shines in Ganges, most elegantly at Hastings House Dining Room (a AAA Four Diamond restaurant), House Piccolo and Rock Salt Restaurant. But quality dining also prevails in less-formal settings. Tree House Cafe, in...
Island Hopping in B.C.

Island Hopping in B.C.

Writer Daniel Otis mingles with artists, drifters, dreamers and urban escapees in the Southern Gulf Islands. Toronto Star, June 3 2017 The islands swell from the Salish Sea with their blankets of pines as the ferry chugs its way from Swartz Bay to Salt Spring Island,” begins this feature story (click to view pdf).  “Over the time since I moved here, it switched from being a hideout to a mecca for artistic people,” says Ron Crawford, who’s been painting and sculpting on Salt Spring for more than 30 years. “I think the island is a contrast between an isolated community and an open community,” he says. “Like a lot of artists, I need to talk to people … But I also need that time that I take along the ocean and in the studio to find myself and work it out through what I do.” With a little more than 10,000 people, Salt Spring is the largest and most populous of British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, which sit nestled between Victoria and Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia. For decades, they’ve attracted a steady stream of drifters, dreamers and urban escapees. Ganges, Salt Spring’s largest town, is peppered with colourful restaurants, shops, galleries and cafés. There are almost no big chains here. The town is a nexus for the island’s greying hippies, agro-millennial parents and raucous young eco-punks, who seem united by a grow-your-own ethos and a New Age-y glow. The island, I’m told, even lies directly on a ley line — the metaphysical pathways that spiritually align the earth. Follow any street out of Ganges, and it’s almost all rugged coastline,...
Salt Spring Island is a hot destination for 2016 – but that’s not likely to change the magic of its vintage chilled-out ways

Salt Spring Island is a hot destination for 2016 – but that’s not likely to change the magic of its vintage chilled-out ways

Story by Tara Henley, January 2016. The Globe and Mail “I spent several years on Salt Spring Island as a small child, living with my hippie parents in a ramshackle farmhouse on the south end of the island,” begins this charming story by Tara Henley. She continues, “My mother painted large canvases and dried herbs she sold at the Saturday farmers market; my father wrote poetry and picked fruit. Images of steep, craggy bluffs, white-capped waves and dense rain forests have never left me; it’s as if the landscape imprinted upon my imagination. I have memories of walking the cliffs of Ruckle Provincial Park with my father, kicking the moss off the rocks with my red gumboots and searching the horizon for whales. In the fall, I recall playing Snakes & Ladders in the community centre, Beaver Point Hall, as the rain lashed down on the 100-year-old ceiling, and eating homemade blackberry pies fresh from the oven every summer. And I remember racing through the idyllic orchards that surrounded our home, stopping to pick a single, perfectly tart apple. So it was with some trepidation that I returned to the island of my youth. In recent years, the Southern Gulf Islands – once a sleepy outpost for vacationing Vancouverites – has become a hot international tourist destination. So much so, in fact, that The New York Times has just named it one of the world’s 52 places to see in 2016.   Would Salt Spring still hold the same magic it had three decades earlier? If it was the new “it” destination, could it ever be the same? From the moment that the plodding BC...

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