Archive | August 2012

The Museum Cruises Through History – Kelsey Bay and Beyond

The Museum at Campbell River’s summer boat tours are designed to get people out on the water and out to see areas that they normally may not be able to explore, while learning about local history.  This is especially true of their newest trip – a boat cruise out of Kelsey Bay that will take passengers over to Hardwicke Island, around Yorke Island and up to Port Neville.

The trip begins in Campbell River, where Discovery Marine Safaris’ bus takes passengers by road to Kelsey Bay.  On August 12th, 2012 I went along as historical interpreter.  On the way, I pointed out historical highlights that include the now closed Catalyst Pulp and Paper Mill; Menzies Bay – named after Captain Vancouver’s botanist, Archibald Menzies; Brown’s Bay Marina and Resort which was logged by Baikie Brothers logging in the 1930s and 40s, then became a resort in 1954; and Robert’s Lake Resort, still operated by a member of the Duncan family of Sayward.

Passing through Sayward, travellers see the famous Cable Cookhouse, built in the early 1960s and will arrive at the Port of Kelsey Bay which was the home of Salmon River Logging in the late 1930s then later, was a BC ferry terminal.   Here, guide and passengers got on board Discovery Marine Safaris’ comfortable boat the Tenacious III, skippered by the capable and knowledgeable Captain Shaun.  The boat has an upper viewing deck, is heated, and equipped with a washroom.  Refreshments are provided on board.

Across from Kelsey Bay is Hardwicke Island, where the Bendickson Logging company thrived for several decades, and where bunkhouses from the Yorke Island fort were floated over and used as part of the logging camp.  The original jail from Yorke Island can be seen from the bay.  It once housed Hardwicke Island’s primary school teacher and has now been converted into a summer home.

From Hardwicke, we travelled up the east side of Yorke Island, once site of a World War II fort.  The boat stopped at Port Neville, where everyone had a chance to walk up to the original historic Hansen homestead, which houses a private museum.  On the return trip, the boat took us past Yorke Island on the west side where the Observation Post, a remnant of the Yorke Island fort, can be clearly seen from the water.  Cameras are a must.

The Museum is offering trips on Sundays in August.  For the 2015 schedule, visit http://crmuseum.ca/historic-boat-tours.  To reserve call 250-287-3103.

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Cozy Cordero Lodge

Tucked away in a little cove on the mainland side of Cordero Channel and accessible only by boat is a charming resort known as Cordero Lodge.  Situated between Philips Arm and Loughborough Inlet and behind Lorte Island, it is small but memorable, if only for the fact that offers a taste of Germany where one would least expect it – on the wild west coast of British Columbia.

The lodge is a charming float house and was brought to its current location by the Doris and Reinhardt Kuppers, who had come here from Vancouver about 40 years ago.

Inside, the décor is warm and inviting and there is even a piano for evening entertainment. Attached to the main building are substantial docks that make it an excellent marina.

Although the Kuppers no longer take a hand in the day to day operations of the Lodge, they have found excellent managers who continue to provide the type of hospitality that boaters have come to expect.  The biggest surprise of all is that the reputation for an authentic taste of Germany hasn’t suffered either – the Bratwurst I had for lunch had to be about the best I’ve had anywhere!

Steve and Laurie at right, with their two helpers, Sarah and Erin

Our chef was Steve Lyon, who operates the Lodge with his wife Laurie.  The Lyons are new to the area, and came recently from Ottawa, but are dedicated to offering a good experience to visitors of the Lodge.  Although we arrived at 4:00 pm, normally well past lunch time, Steve had no difficulty in offering us lunch.  My daughter Renee had the schnitzel – and it was a generous portion served with traditional German cabbage and an excellent potato salad.  To accompany our meal, we ordered Fisherman’s German Riesling.  Crisp and cold and perfect!  Ein Prosit!

To find out more about Cordero Lodge, visit their website at http://www.corderolodge.com/

Summer Fun in Parksville

If you’ve been thinking about visiting Parksville this summer and need a reason to go, now is the time.  The Sandcastle competition has just finished, and the incredible sculptures are on display until August 19 in the Parksville Community Park on Corfield Road off Hwy 19A.  These are a far cry from the adorable efforts of kids digging moats on the beach to encircle ‘castles’ molded with upside down sand pails.  These sand sculptures are comparable to Campbell River’s driftwood carving competition – competitors come from all over the world come to create these more than lifesize fantasies made of specialized sand.   For just a donation, you can wander through the exhibit and pick your favourite.  My daughter Renée is shown here at right with her pick.

The talent is outstanding and it boggles the mind to think that all this effort will soon be no more than a mirage, as all the ‘sand’ structures dissolve and go back to whence they came.

Another good reason to visit Parksville is to try out a game of mini golf.  They have one of the best courses around at Paradise Fun Park right on the main street – just challenging enough, with refreshing waterfalls to cool you off on a hot day.

We were there early, so had breakfast at Smitty’s, a good old fashioned restaurant that stands the test of time.  That was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had, and I often eat breakfast out.  I ordered a mushroom omelette – the mushrooms were sliced thin and perfectly sautéed, and there was more than enough to eat.  Service was excellent, and I would definitely go back there again.

For lunch, we went to The Landing West Coast Grill at Pacific Shores, just south of Parksville in Nanoose Bay.  Although it is in a timeshare condominium complex, the restaurant, which was launched by North Island College’s chef and instructor Christine Lilyholm, has a great menu and nice wine list that are both surprisingly reasonable considering the posh surroundings.  Great views of the water too, especially if you sit out on the deck.  But the highlight of the Grill is the two enormous fish tanks filled with local species from starfish to halibut shown here, that allow you to get up close and personal without getting wet.

To top off the day, stop in at Rathtrevor Beach, a provincial park.  True to it’s name, the beach goes on forever at low tide – but be prepared, once the tide comes in, it comes in in a hurry.  It’s a great place for kids to swim as it is shallow for some distance – but you do have to watch out for lots of crushed shells that can be hard on the feet.

So if you like to eat and play on a summer’s day, Parksville has it all!

For more on the sand sculptures – http://www.parksvillebeachfest.ca/