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R&R in Cordova Bay
By Jane Cassie
Photos by Brent Cassie
Drifting off into a semi-comatose state, I took in a deep breath permitting the salt sea air to fill my senses. The warmth of the sun's rays enveloped me like a sauna and the squawking from soaring gulls were soothing and melodic. It could have been any beach in the South Pacific or Caribbean. But it wasn't. Instead, just fifteen minutes outside of Victoria, while in search of a little rest and relaxation, we discovered this seaside haven, offering uncrowded beaches, recreational opportunities and quaint accommodations. One of Vancouver Island's best-kept secrets, the community of Cordova Bay.
"Let's try out one of these hikes," Brent suggested, taking me away from my celestial sun spot, while rustling with his tourist guide. "Mount Douglas Park is just around the corner and it offers a fabulous trail system throughout 450 acres of park land." Although not quite my idea of R&R, this largest park in the region of Saanich certainly enticed with its history that traced back to 1858. After shedding sandals for hiking boots, we left our driftwood-clad paradise behind, and minutes later found ourselves canopied by massive Douglas firs and big leaf maples while trekking the Meriman trail. Eagles, woodpeckers and a variety of songbirds accompanied the occasional red squirrel and jackrabbit. Well-marked trails boasting lush ferns and salal ascended to rocky bluffs and a dazzling display of wildflowers.
Sweat-drenched, we finally reached our summit destination where spectacular vistas of Cordova Bay, greater Victoria and the majestic Olympics made every step worthwhile, until I discovered that we could have also accessed this viewpoint in the luxury of a vehicle! By the time we had hoofed our way down, I was definitely ready for a bit of pampering.
Eagle's nest B&B was the answer to my wishful requests, where, for the past six years owner's Kathy and Pat McGuire have offered guests the kind of R&R that's right up my alley. Nestled into the foothills of Mount Douglas, and just a stone's throw from beach access, its park-like location is one where even the deer liked to roam.
Sun flowed into the guest-lounge solarium where we met with our gracious hosts. "We like our guests to feel right at home and come and go as they please." Their expertise was obvious, and with Pat in the early stages of retirement, the couple is able to share in this hospitality venture together.
We were directed to The Cordova suite, my sanctuary at long last, where the inviting wrought iron four poster king was elegantly draped in a cheery gingham duvet. An oversized whirlpool tub promised a therapeutic massage for my overused muscles and candles along with other bath luxuries might even entice some romance. A bouquet of fresh cut flowers, and chocolate treats were final touches that added to this tastefully decorated retreat.
For larger groups or small families, the alternate Bay Suite is ideal. "Our guests often stay for several days at a time here," Kathy informed. We could see why. With its own entrance and patio, the self-contained suite even permitted meal preparation, thanks to a full kitchen. Although, as we discovered the next morning, you wouldn't want to miss Kathy's multi-course breakfasts. Homemade granola enveloped in yogurt and an array of fresh fruit complements scones right out of the oven. Furthering the experience, eggs Benedict paired with either red peppered salmon or Black Forest ham were beautifully presented and scrumptious!
As for other cuisine, we highly recommend McMorran's Beach House, a family run business that has been in operation since 1919. Here, we later felt like we were cruising the waves while dining in style. Nearby Mattick's Farm was also a worthwhile pastime where, after dinner, we browsed through The Gallery and other upscale shops, hosting a variety of treasures.
"Let's get in a round of golf before the sun sets." It was obvious that Brent's interpretation of R&R this weekend was more along the lines of recreation and revitalization! While circling the meticulous eighteen holes of golf greenery at Cordova Bay Golf Course, we attempted to curve dog's legs, avoid sand traps, and clear duck ponds. Wide open fairways led to carpeted greens where golf carts meandered the ribbon of winding pathway…at least for some of the lucky ones.
Later, the glow of distant beach fires melded with a palate of colour that filled the evening sky. Sailboats bobbed in time with rolling waves while we sat mesmerized. It was the same beach where we had lounged the previous day and a great way to wind up our stay in Cordova Bay, finally enjoying a little R&R.
Eagle's Nest B&B
4769 Cordova Bay Road
Victoria, BC V8Y 2J7
Tel: 250-658-2002 Toll Free: 1-877-658-2002
Jane and Brent Cassie are a travel writer/photographer team. Follow their other adventures on their website - www.janecassie.com.