Escape the Winter Blues with West Shore Destinations

Take the grey out of your day

– Story by Lauren Kramer Photography by Don Denton

From West Shore Life + Style magazine

Winter can feel endless in the Pacific Northwest, where rainfall is an almost constant companion and the cold weather is relentless. But there are lots of options that will help take the grey out of your day, warming your body and soul with fun experiences. From nourishing spa treatments to art classes, invigorating forest forays to social gatherings with fine Vancouver Island spirits, there are many opportunities to explore a wealth of wintry fun.

Spa Solace: If your tired muscles need some relief and indulgence this winter, consider booking a Rejuvenating Arbutus Wrap at Bear Mountain’s Sante Spa.

Similar to the arbutus trees that shed their skin-like bark each year, this wrap includes a full body exfoliation to remove dry skin. A slathering of therapeutic clay over the body follows, with a wrap that gives the clay time to do its magical healing. A scalp and face massage will leave you in a state of bliss, while the 45-minute soothing cocoa butter cream body massage delivers a heavenly finale.

Relax before and after your treatment in the cedar sauna and steam room, and take time to enjoy Sante Spa’s Forest Lounge and Terrace on the Mountain. The spa’s indoor and outdoor relaxation areas boast intoxicating mountain and forest views, offering the serenity you need to unwind.

Info: santespavictoria.com

Sarah Wilford pours a tasting sample of Akvavit at the Sheringham Distillery’s tasting room in Sooke. Photography by Don Denton

Spirits that Shine: There’s no question that Sheringham Distillery’s akvavit is a star on the aquavit horizon.

The Sooke-based distillery’s akvavit spirit won a gold medal and was named Best in Class and Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition last February. That’s despite the distillery’s relative newness to the scene.

Sheringham joined the distilling industry in 2015, and has distinguished itself for complex flavours that deliver a fabulous taste of the region in which they are crafted. The company’s akvavit is made by allowing Sheringham vodka to mix with caraway, dill, star anise, angelica, orris root, lemon and winged kelp.

Info: sheringhamdistillery.com

Sarah A gin still at the Sheringham Distillery’s tasting room in Sooke. Photography by Don Denton

Art Smart: Winter is a great time to warm up to your creative side and the Coast Collective Gallery & Arts Centre is the place to do it. The centre showcases fine art and craft, offers art educational programs and acts as a venue for public performances and community cultural events.

Peruse the rotating artwork in the gallery, where the work of emerging and established Canadian artists and artisans is exhibited.

Keen to create your own art? Book a class in one of the artistic mediums that interests and inspires you. The broad range of educational programs includes fibre arts and fashion, jewellery design, painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics, and drawing and pastels.

Info: coastcollective.ca

Sarah Looking at the art in the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood. Photography by Don Denton

Forest Forays: If you’re looking for an energizing hike with spectacular views, Gowland Todd Provincial Park is a great destination for an invigorating warm-up.

Mark, owner of Hike Victoria, is a great guide to enlist for this route; he’s a longtime hiker who knows the mountain like the back of his hand. Mark leads groups up an escarpment adorned with the dramatic, orange-brown trunks of arbutus trees that lean at precarious angles off the slope.

At 1,350 feet, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of Finlayson Arm, a winding glacial fjord carved millions of years ago that cuts deep into Vancouver Island.

An expert at taking city folk and sharing with them his love for and deep respect of nature, Mark is also an accomplished photographer known for taking memorable photographs of hikers enjoying the great outdoors.

Info: hikevictoria.com

A wooden bowl by Mike Ready in the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood. Photography by Don Denton

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

First residents move into Nuxalk Nation’s tiny homes

Four of the tiny homes are now complete and residents have moved in

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read