Golf Package

Ready for a day on the links? Choose our Golf Package and leave all the details to us, including tee time and dinner reservations.

SCGGEnjoy 18 holes at the Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club with accompanying ocean and forest views. Relax those muscles and reflect on the day in our hot tub. Enjoy a delicious farm to table west coast dinner at Nova Kitchen.

Book your Golf Package now – only $495/couple + GST (based on double occupancy)

  • 2 night stay, full home-baked breakfasts
  • 2 player green fees
  • $75 gift certificate to Nova Kitchen
  • hot tub under the stars

Get your preferred tee time by giving us a few days notice.

Torrent – Mount Elphinstone

New Trail Day! I love exploring new trails and getting to know a trail network better. Today started as one of those days where I just couldn’t get motivated to work so instead headed for a workout & re-energizing trip to the forest. I needed something challenging to get the energy flowing. I first hiked Torrent a few years ago with a much fitter friend and I remembered how exhausting yet exhilarating it was. It was a whole new part of Mount Elphinstone that I hadn’t seen before. Now that I’ve explored many more trails in the area, I decided to try and find it again.

Torrent is a black diamond downhill mountain bike trail. This is a steep cardio climb, but it was also very exciting to see how much fitter I am now than the first time a couple of years ago. Before, I never would have made it without my competitive spirit to try and keep up with my friend. Today I made it up in one hour and felt great at the top. One major rule needs to be observed when hiking a trail like this…this was made for mountain bikers and they love flying down it. If you’re hiking, you must be alert to give way to an oncoming bike. There is nowhere for them to swerve to miss you without crashing…you must get out of the way. Today, though, I had the entire trail to myself.
Torrent 710For hikers, the bottom of Torrent is within Sprockids Mountain Bike Park and is accessed from Sidewinder very near where Sidewinder breaks off from the yellow/orange trail. It heads off outside the park, but you’d never know that. When you reach the top (where mountain bikers start the trail), you’re at the intersection of Pressure Drop, Ridge, Sidewinder, and the yellow trail that becomes the Summit Trail at this point. Talk about choices!

Torrent 716

I am all about hikes with rewards at the end. There is no major viewpoint to the ocean on Torrent. The forest is much to thick. However, as you near the top you will find significant rewards. These are the trees that literally will have you saying “WOW” while you hike. I see trees like this and I can’t imagine how massive these west coast forests must have looked when European settlers arrived 150 years ago. I love these spiral trees! This one is so tall, I couldn’t get it in the camera frame. It’s huge! Spiral trees were left behind when the rest of the area was logged as they didn’t have ‘any value’. Boy do I value them today.
Torrent 712Check out this massive tree that fell years ago.  There is an entire forest sprouting up out of its massive trunk. The entire length of the tree has new trees growing from it.

Torrent 707Rather than building trail around it, this massive tree became the trail when it fell. You literally walk/ride the length of the tree. So cool!

So I started this post with ‘new trail day’. At the top of Torrent I saw this piece of art. (can’t believe the photo turned out fuzzy). How do you resist a trail marked by a painting?

Ridge 711Ridge is another black diamond downhill mountain bike trail that runs just west of Torrent. Luckily, I was hiking down to explore this because an hour of steep climbing is enough for one day. Gorgeous hiking..and sure enough…it lived up to its name and I found myself on a ridge with drop offs on either side where I could here rushing water from a creek. Ridge intersects Sidewinder again and I realized I’d been at this part of the trail lots of times, but never realized that it went up at this point. It’s another major trail junction of Sidewinder, Fuzzy Hugs and Ridge…just a short distance from the bridge over Gibsons Creek. I took Ridge further down and realized I had hiked this section many times. It’s fairly easy hiking in the lower section and connects to a lot of fun biking trails…Technical Ecstacy, Rock-n-Root, Skoolz Out. Nice easy hiking and the reward of knowing that I’m really getting to know my way around this fabulous park. One of these days I’m going to set aside the time to hike the Summit Trail. I’m told the views are spectacular.

 

 

 

 

Francis Point Provincial Park

What a beautiful day! The sun beckoned this morning so I forgot about any paperwork and headed outside to enjoy. You just can’t pass up sunny January days sitting inside. I decided to follow Sunshine Coast Tourism‘s suggestion for #52weeksoftrails by heading to week #1 Francis Point Provincial Park.

Francis Pt 598 Francis Point is located in Pender Harbour…about 45 minutes from Arcturus Retreat. Well worth the drive! I’ve never taken the time to hike here before and I was pleasantly surprised. A perfect way to spend 15 minutes or an hour. A place for clearing your head and just taking in the view.

Francis Point Provincial Park

Francis Point Provincial Park

The entire park is along the Malaspina Strait in the Pacific Ocean and the sound of waves crashing on the ancient granite rocks is a soothing constant. This is easy hiking (not a cardio day) although hiking on the rocks makes for an uneven surface in places. There are 2 trails in the park. Either way, you start your journey here in front of a beautiful bay. Waves were crashing in the distance and I thought, “Love to see that up close”. Sure enough, the trail hugs the coastline and before I knew it I was getting a great view of crashing waves on huge granite boulders. Choosing to start left takes you down the longer trail that probably took 20 minutes to the surprise lighthouse at the end. Hard to say on time though…I just kept taking pictures and enjoying the view.

Francis Pt 605

Arbutus Trees

Arbutus Trees

Rocky Pacific coastline is a sure sign to find arbutus trees. These are the coolest trees. They keep their leaves all year and shed their bark instead. It leaves a perfectly smooth orange texture that you won’t find anywhere else. These trees grow right out of the boulders where it is hard to imagine how any tree could take root.

Circling back to my original starting point, I found the short trail that goes right. Just when I thought I wasn’t going to get any cardio for the day, I found the 50 or so steps that lead to an amazing viewpoint. So worth the burst of energy! I’ll definitely be back to enjoy these views. It would be very interesting to see it in different seasons…but I imagine it is always picture perfect when the sun shines bright.

Hello Pacific Ocean

Hello Pacific Ocean

Girls’ Get Together

rejuvenateRediscover – Reconnect – Relax

How long has it been since you and your best friends truly got away from it all? Replenish – your body, your creativity, and most importantly your connection with close friends. Let us take care of you!

Release your tensions with your choice of a 60 minute relaxation or deep tissue full body massage by Rachelle, conveniently located next door to Arcturus Retreat B&B.  Now that you’ve fully transitioned into relaxation mode, the group pays a visit to our other neighbour, Just Practice – art & yoga studio. Marlene will guide you through a 2.5 hour workshop to liberate and regain your confidence as a creative being. Playfulness & joy, move your bodies and spark your creativity.

All this complete with 2 a night stay with plenty of space to catch up with each other. Talk all night like you once did. Delicious and nutritious home-baked breakfasts to start your day and a hot tub under the stars for a perfect finish.

massageReserve your Get Together now – only $299/person (based on double occupancy) Groups of 4 are guaranteed to be our only guests.

  • 2 night stay, full breakfast each day
  • 60 minute massage
  • 2.5 hour art & yoga workshop (no experience necessary)

This package unavailable December 21 – January 10 for holiday break. Please reserve in advance to ensure availability of all providers.

Living Room

more than just a room, enjoy and relax in our living room or loft

 

 

Winter Adventure Packages

Enjoy the magic of snow where sunshine & brightness warm you right up. Leave all the details to us while you play in the snow of Dakota Ridge high above the Sunshine Coast.

An amazing day on the mountain

An amazing day on the mountain

Reserve your Snowshoe Adventure now – only $525/couple + GST (based on double occupancy)

  • 2 night stay, full home-baked breakfasts
  • 2.5 hour guided snowshoe adventure with hot chocolate break
  • mountain transportation, equipment & trail passes
  • hot tub under the stars

 

Try Cross Country Ski Lessons – only $525/couple + GST (based on double occupancy)

  • 2 night stay, full home-baked breakfasts
  • 2.5 hour cross country ski lesson & practice on the trails
  • mountain transportation, equipment & trail passes
  • hot tub under the stars
Be skiing on your own in no time

Be skiing on your own in no time

***Dakota Ridge season runs until March 31, 2017***

In order to recognize the value of our guides, cancellations within 1 week will be charged a $100 cancellation fee. Cancellations within 24 hours will be charged the full package price.

Basking in the Sun

It’s been a very cold week here on the Sunshine Coast with daytime temperatures at or below freezing. OK, so that is still better than most of Canada, but it’s chilly for us. However, it has brought sunny crisp days that are perfect for getting outside. Today a friend and I ventured out to my happy place…the top of Soames Hill.

Hike with a reward

Hike with a reward

There are 434 steps to the top so it is a bit more of a stair climber than a true forest hike, but I love it. Five minutes from Arcturus Retreat, 20 minutes of cardio and then a magical view looking down over Gibsons Landing. The granite rocks were warm in the afternoon sun and we took some time to chat and enjoy. Daily tensions disappear from this spot. What is really special is that I always feel great the rest of the day. Cardio burn over and I’m left with endorphins and a full dose of Vitamin D that carry on for hours.

Soames 563

Here is to many more sunny winter days to get out and explore the Sunshine Coast.

Roberts Creek Provincial Park

Today was one of those perfect October days. Clear blue skies…short sleeve shirt temperatures…orange & yellow leaves falling everywhere…a perfect day to be outside. I knew I was enjoying one of those last perfect weather days of the year…but I didn’t realize just how special it was until I saw the news tonight and saw 20cm of snow in Calgary. Yes, I LOVE living on the edge of the Pacific Ocean!

Roberts Creek Provincial Park Picnic

Luckily, I attended an event in Roberts Creek this afternoon which got me out of the house and all the potential garden chores that I could have been focused on for the day. I made a special point of stopping by Roberts Creek Provincial Park on my way home. This is a lovely picnic area with ocean view tables and plenty of grassy area for kids to run and play.  I discovered it a few years ago in winter. The best part, is quick and easy access to the beach. This afternoon I had it all to myself. Seated on a huge piece of driftwood, jacket off & sunglasses on….this was my view to the left…

RC Beach 537

and to the right (see what I mean about huge pieces of driftwood)….RC Beach 539

and nothing but the waves of the Pacific rolling in straight ahead.  My spot was facing west into the sun, so I couldn’t get any good photos of Vancouver Island in the distance. Such a welcome change after a week of mostly fog that has kept the sun hidden.

RC Beach 538

I only wish I had brought a book along….I might have stayed for an hour. It felt so good to soak up some sun and listen to the waves crash. The water is so clear here…you could literally see inside the wave to the rocks below as they rolled in. Yes, this was the end of October on a Canadian beach….pretty darn special. A perfect afternoon on the Sunshine Coast.

 

 

Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

Inspiration. For me, that is what this weekend was all about. This was the 4th annual Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. 122 studios and galleries representing over 300 artists who opened their studios (and many their homes) for everyone to come and see. The crawl stretches the entire Sunshine Coast, literally from Langdale to Lund. It involves every kind of visual artistry you can think of…painters, sculptors, potters, weavers, glass blowers, blacksmiths, photographers, carvers, woodworkers, fibre artists, and even a chocolatier.  It is an amazing group of talent…many artists who are quite famous and some who are just getting started and building confidence. They all open their doors for one weekend and invite us to experience a bit of their work.

I really don’t know anything about art. No education…no artistic talent myself….but I know when I see something that amazes me…makes me feel inspired. That is what I take most from this weekend.

Marleen Vermeulen's studio in and of the forest

Marleen Vermeulen’s studio in and of the forest

Who inspired me most?  Let’s start with Marleen & Marlene…my incredibly talented friends and neighbors. Marleen Vermeulen captures the beauty of our west coast surroundings in her life-size oil paintings. She is at home hiking in the forest and you can just reach out and touch the trees, the beach and the water in her paintings. They are thick with texture…a trowel is her tool as much as paintbrush…and fully capture changing light. Marlene Lowden paints abstracts full of life and love and blends her yogi spirit into her art. Everything is in balance. Everything is at peace. Quotes of inspiration line the walls alongside the paintings.

Art Crawl 516

I was completely taken aback by the Watercolour Journey of Hiroshi Shimizaki. He has literally traveled the world and has been capturing it in watercolours along the way. He is a geographer (a man after my own heart) and with his paintings, he took us on a world tour through his home and gallery. Every room a different continent. Famous places and unknown places…all captured beautifully in simple yet elaborate watercolours. I was reminded how important it is to see the world and experience many different cultures. We only understand and appreciate fully when we travel and experience first hand the simple aspects of sharing a meal and talking with people.

 

Art Crawl 523    Art Crawl 522

 

 

 

Art Crawl 521

 

George Pratt is an exceptionally talented sculptor who clearly loves animals and nature. Amazing works of granite and marble and I’m sure many other types of rock alongside wood and paintings. Life-size works like these lined the driveway and many more small pieces were found inside his studio. He invites you to touch and feel the art…many smooth as silk spinning on glass, others rough and textured with their own stories.

Bot Garden 526

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden

Coopers Green in Halfmoon Bay

Coopers Green in Halfmoon Bay

 

 

The other thing I love about Art Crawl weekend is that you have to get out and explore. This isn’t walking down a city street to visit neighboring galleries. These artists have made their homes in the rural communities of the Sunshine Coast and most of their studios are a part of their homes. To Crawl the Coast is to walk along the waterfront…to climb steep hills…to drive down single lane gravel roads into the forest. You think you’ve gone to the end of the road…and then it turns and just keeps going. You visit neighborhoods that you didn’t know existed. You get the chance to see natural beauty that you don’t take time for on a regular day.

I can’t wait for next year! October 2014  Have a look at these Art Crawl videos to take a bit of inspiration for yourself.

SUP – Davis Bay

What a summer. Today was the last day of July and not a single drop of rain all month long. Nothing but sunshine and perfect temperatures to be outside on the ocean. Today I took advantage of one of my favourite summer programs: WOW – (Wednesdays on Water) coordinated by my friends at Alpha Adventures.

SUP Davis Bay 10

Really, this picture says it all. Can you picture a better way to spend a summer evening? What a sunset! (Big thanks to Sarah for sharing the photos! I’m not brave enough to paddle with my camera.)

Having fun

Having fun

I’ve paddled in a number of places on the Sunshine Coast, but I really enjoy the WOW SUP program. Every Wednesday evening a group paddle goes out of either Davis Bay or Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I love the social aspect. It is always a different group of people at different levels of experience. The conversation is always different and interesting. Tonight there were 4 of us along with our high-energy leader, Sarah. A teenager and his dad, a very mature 12 year old boy, and myself. The others were new paddlers, but Sarah had them confidently stand up paddling in the bay in no time.

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

I always enjoy paddling in Davis Bay. It faces west, so great sunset views and Vancouver Island is off in the distance. Cruise ships bound for Alaska sail past every evening, and we got to watch 2 of them tonight while we paddled. Davis Bay opens to the Salish Sea, a.k.a. Georgia Strait. A heron landed on the edge of the wood pilings shown above. It was so still, I thought it was a statue but soon enough it took off in flight skimming just above the water. Beautiful! Davis Bay is an active area where people come to swim, walk the long seawall, fish off the pier, or just watch the sunset. Tonight there were a group of about 10 who were jumping off the pier into the warm ocean. It wasn’t quite high tide yet, so they were jumping a good 10-15 feet into the water.  Definitely braver than me, but fun to watch while I paddled.

Let’s hope August is just as nice and provides many more days of fun on the ocean.

Smuggler Cove

What’s a girl to do with a free Saturday afternoon? By all means, go hiking! This time of year I am always looking for hikes with big rewards at the end. The skies are blue, the sun is shining and being outside is the best way to spend the day. Last weekend I took the opportunity to visit Smuggler Cove Provincial Park…40 minutes from my doorstep.

Smuggler Cove Provincial Park

Smuggler Cove Provincial Park

Smuggler Cove is an easy hike with big rewards. It is very well signed…no one is going to get lost here. The first half of the park has a number of boardwalks that wind through a marsh. Very interesting to see ducks and frogs and various creatures in this quiet wetland.

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

To me, the real enjoyment begins when you pass the sign that says “organized trail ends here”. Don’t let this stop you…the best is yet to come. The next part of the trail is still very well marked…but there are some stairs and a bit of elevation change. It’s not strenuous at all, just some uneven ground. The real reward comes when you reach the ocean…
Smuggler Cove 468
Does it get any better than this?
Smuggler Cove 473
Have a seat on the warm granite boulders or the memorial bench and soak up the sun and the view. I could sit and think here quietly for hours. Thormanby Island is just offshore and the southern tip of Texada Island (the largest Gulf Island) is in the distance. It is a perfect spot for dreaming….
Smuggler Cove 469