My girlfriend from Alberta visited this weekend. There’s nothing I love more than showing off the valley to my Albertan friends. They may have more money, but we have more flowers.
After picking her up at the airport in Victoria, we caught the Mill Bay ferry from Brentwood Bay. It was a gorgeous day to cross what BC Ferries have called, “Vancouver Island’s most beautiful short cut.” A quiet half-hour boat ride across the Saanich Inlet instead of driving through Victoria and over the Malahat is a no-brainer; however, $25 one way means it’s not something most of us could afford every day. But when impressing friends, it’s worth it.
Back on land at Mill Bay, we drove north towards Duncan. We swooped and swerved along Cobble Hill Road passing a few notable farms on our way towards Cowichan Bay. My friend stopped her story mid-sentence as we approached Cowichan Bay village. “What is this place?” she asked, “It’s adorable.” We passed a few kids outside Udder Guy’s Ice Cream store eating candy, a woman walking out of True Grain Bakery cradling fresh bread in her arm, a father holding the door to Hilary’s Cheese Deli for his family, and the Rock Cod cafe packed with diners. “What a place,” she said as we drove out the other side towards Duncan.
After a lovely drive passed Providence Farm dwarfed beneath Mount Tzouhalem, and then along Maple Bay Road with peeks of a calm Quamichan Lake, we found ourselves heading down the hill into Maple Bay. “Welcome to the ‘hood,” I said. “More like heaven,'” she replied.
I pointed out all our favourite places: there’s the Grapevine Restaurant where we go for special occasions; there’s the rowing club where we row and have birthday, Halloween and Christmas parties; there’s the pub that we like but can’t go to because kids aren’t allowed; and there’s the beach where we spend every summer day meeting neighbours and swimming in the ocean.
I left it at that. I couldn’t tell her about the walking trails on Maple Mountain, or how you can walk along the beach to Maple Bay marina for lunch at the Shipyard. I felt it might be too much for her to take. We’ll save that for next time.