Vancouver Island: Cowichan Valley provides a taste of the countryside:
Need incentive to travel? Hand-crafted treats and homegrown flavors are sure to draw you to Vancouver Island’s delectable Saison Market Vineyard, north of Duncan. Thanks to the fine touch of Ingrid Lehwald and Frédéric Desbiens, garden-fresh soups, artisan breads, fruit preserves, savory treats, pastries and baked goods — all fashioned in the market vineyard kitchen — will have you singing their sweet praises each weekend when Saison opens its doors to guests. For flavors steeped in tradition, continue the journey north to the Teafarm. This four-hectare (11-acre) small-scale commercial tea grower — the first in Canada — produces aromatic pours, thanks to a landscape that nurtures a wide variety of herbs and flowers, alongside the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Here, just south of Nanaimo, Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann produce 23 original hand-blended cups that include the smoky Cowichan Caravan, the revitalizing White Lavender and the earthy Minty Nettle. You can even pull up a pillow in the tasting room to sample the farm’s Chinese Zodiac pours: warm the senses with a steaming mug of lemon balm, rose and chamomile Rabbit Tea (2011’s signature blend), or linger over the calendula flowers and ginger root of the green Dragon Tea, a 2012 brew sure to bring in the new year with a bite. www.saisonmarket.ca; www.teafarm.ca
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Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Glaciers, Mountains and Airplanes, Oh My!
Sometimes a bird’s eye view offers the very best vantage point. Not to mention a total adrenalin rush. With Squamish’s Glacier Air, you get both, thanks to flightseeing tours that buckle in for high-flying glimpses of glaciers, mountains and forests between Vancouver and Whistler. You could, for example, spend 25 exhilarating minutes high above the Squamish Valley, with unobstructed views of the rainforests, ice falls and glaciers that make up the Tantalus Mountain Range. There’s a 40-minute panoramic tour into Garibaldi Provincial Park — one of BC’s largest — complete with unforgettable glimpses of the mighty Black Tusk and the Mamquam Icefield. To cool the jets, the 50-minute “Olympic” tour of the mountain town of Whistler is a tad bit more sedate, with views of a natural volcanic dam, Cloudburst Mountain, and glimpses of the ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains that garnered so much gold during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. No matter your choice, you’re in good hands with the pros at Glacier Air; with over 25 years of in-flight experience, these pilots will surely demonstrate that the sky is the limit. www.glacierair.com. To read more story ideas from the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, visit www.hellobc.com/vcmbcmedia.
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