TRAVEL: THE COTTAGES ON SALT SPRING ISLAND

Rested and rejuvenated are a couple words I would use to describe how I am feeling since staying at the The Cottages for a week this August. I first discovered The Cottages when I was planning a visit over Christmas last year. I booked a couple days to have a visit with my mom on Salt Spring Island (SSI) last December and when I arrived and checked in I fell in love! Fast forward to summer 2018 and I have been invited back by their team to enjoy a full week in one of their rustic yet modern cottages on Bullock Lake. 

If you have been reading this space for some time now you will know that I was raised on SSI. My family moved to the island when I was 4 years old and I left at 18 right after graduating high school. I spent several years traveling and attending university and felt quite content exploring the world then settling in Calgary, AB. Funny how things work out and after some time I started missing the island more and more, after trying to put my finger on why, I finally realized it was simply because I missed home. Familiar places and faces that are a part of who I am. So now I try and go back as often as possible.

For this visit I hoped Brenna could join but she was unable to so I invited a couple gfs from Vancouver, Karen and Jen. Both were new to visiting the island so I made sure we did it up right, Island Style! Here is a little day in our life:

MORNING:

 Breakfast time

Breakfast time

I love to cook, especially when I get to use fresh, organic, local products sourced from some of the hundreds of farm stands around the island. The kitchens at The Cottages are fully equipped making prepping and entertaining a breeze. You have everything you need in the kitchen; coffee maker, flatware, cutlery, glasses, pots, pans and so on...just bring your favourite ingredients and get creative.

*not pictured - I also bought a crab from the fishery and cooked an epic crab + pasta feast - it was drool worthy, just sayin'*

 Morning coffee from  Salt Spring Coffee

Morning coffee from Salt Spring Coffee

AFTERNOON:

Well fed and caffeinated we headed into town to check out the Saturday Market which is famous on SSI for it's local vendors, artisans, craftspeople, famers and musicians. Then popped over to the Salt Spring Wild Cider for lunch - mainly a liquid lunch ;) 

 Tablescaping

Tablescaping

Omg, these guys are nailing it! From the cider produced onsite to the new menu featuring healthy, local deliciousness we did not want to leave! Note: try their Hopped Apricot and their award winning Dry and Semi-dry ciders - these can all be ordered online as well...worth it..TRUST!

 Living the good life

Living the good life

Local Organic Meatballs with farm fresh slaw and Stuffed Dates with Chorizo...nuff said.

 Cider + Appies

Cider + Appies

From here we headed back to The Cottages and back down to the lake with cider in hand and bikinis on bods.

 Wild blackberry bushes at The Cottages

Wild blackberry bushes at The Cottages

For snack time we added in a little more local fare including some SSI goat cheese, SSI Tomato Jelly (try this on grilled cheese - dying) and fresh picked blackberries off the bushes that line the lake at The Cottages.

 Salt Spring Wild Cider on the dock at The Cottages

Salt Spring Wild Cider on the dock at The Cottages

Styleista At Salt Spring-2870.jpg

Oh did I mention Bullock Lake is private? So only the guests of the property and few other surrounding  landowners can enjoy this perfect little jem. 

 Lake life 

Lake life 

Basically this is the best place to unwind with friends and family!

After a day of running around we wanted to just take it easy, everything we need is there, lake, private verandas, friendly staff, fun guests, nature, cozy living rooms, king sized beds...speaking of king sized beds...

EVENING:

Truth be told we had been dancing until the wee morning hours the night before at Moby's ocean side pub so this night in particular we stayed in. The units have wifi and some are outfitted with TVs so the unwinding options are endless. I chose comfy pjs, tea and good book.

 Relaxation on point 

Relaxation on point 

Added in some Salt Spring Island candles to my zen space because I am friggin' obsessed with scented candles. Like it's a real problem. The team at SSI Candle Co. sent me some of their favourites and now I have a few more to add to my collection.

 SSI Candle Co.

SSI Candle Co.

My top 4 scents I love by season are: 

Spring: Sitka

Summer: Full Moon

Fall: Chai

Winter: Hearth

Plus I brought along my other obsession from the Gut Lab girls in YYC - Glow which I stir into tea or coffee on the daily. Lights out after that. 

 Adding in my favs: SSI Candle Co. and Gut Lab (from YYC) added to my tea

Adding in my favs: SSI Candle Co. and Gut Lab (from YYC) added to my tea

If you have not been to Salt Spring Island I highly recommend you consider a visit. The sense of community on the island is incredibly welcoming to visitors and you will truly start to understand the draw of the natural beauty of this little island nestled between Vancouver Island and the mainland. And visit at any time of the year, there is no bad time to be on SSI, every season brings new delights and mild temperatures. Below is a little more detail on the what The Cottages have to offer in terms of real estate and rentals. And if you do chose to visit my little hometown, please don't hesitate to reach out to me for a list of recommendations from a 'locals' perspective.

REAL ESTATE + RENTAL INFO:

Real Estate: Prices start at $309,900 for one of these very special Southern Gulf Island retreats. If you have been considering the purchase of a vacation home, there’s no better place than here! From location to turn key access to speculation tax exempt this is a solid investment...I'm considering it!  

Nightly Rentals: The Cottages are available to rent year round. Whether you want a summer getaway or a winter retreat, it's all so easy here!

I literally did NOT want to leave. This place has a very special place in my heart now and the people here are starting to feel like old friends. 

- To the Team at The Cottages a HUGE thank you for having me! I will be back soon! 

 Until next time!

Until next time!

XO, Phae

*All photos + video courtesy of the talented Jon Suk*

IG: @jonsuk

FB: Jon Suk Media

TRAVEL: Southern Gulf Islands - NYT Best Places to Go 2016

I was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia. Born in Vancouver and raised on Bowen Island and then Salt Spring Island. I would not trade that upbringing for anything in the world, it has helped shape who I am deep down. There is something about being immersed in an environment that surrounds you with the ocean, wilderness, wildlife and a warm community of people that will always be a part of who I am. 

The west coast is wild, unpredictable and breathtakingly beautiful. The unpredictability lends to the mystic of this rugged coastal region where you can find yourself enjoying a summer-like October day on a tiny beach basking in the sun to misty morning runs that lead you past dew laden farm fields, unique homes and eventually you will end up at the ocean again. You can take a boat out and drop a line, hopefully catch a lingcod or pull a friends’ crab trap and plan a fresh seafood hot pot paired with a local bottle of wine. Nothing beats this! It all comes back to the ocean. Being raised with it as a constant in my life makes me realize I can’t live without it. It’s like a soul mate in a way, if that even makes any sense.

What prompted all this west coast love is the recent article by the New York Times – 52 Places to Go in 2016 – which the Southern Gulf Islands was listed! I have to give them props on their description of my beloved home:

“Always blessed with natural beauty, Vancouver has successfully recast itself in recent years as a luxury destination. But as the Canadian city goes upscale, travelers and locals seeking simpler Pacific Northwest charms are increasingly venturing just offshore, to the Southern Gulf Islands. A short ferry ride (as little as an hour) leads to a maze of Pacific islands dotted with small seaside villages, where summers can feel almost Mediterranean. Rocky coast and pebble beaches give way to rolling pastures and forested peaks. Winding roads lead from farms and wineries to cheeseries, breweries and artists’ studios. Each of the nearly dozen major islands has its own character and contrarian island culture, but all offer secluded coves and trails to explore, and abundant wildlife, from eagles to orcas. Restaurants — including tiny Pilgrimme, cited as one of Canada’s best — punch well above their weight, while one-off accommodations range from renovated airstreams to Airbnb finds and small, family-run lodges.” - Remy Scalza

 

The more I miss it the more I realize that I need it and that I will once again live there, mark my words.

 

Xo, Phaedra