The Red Chair arrived at Cobble House Bed & Breakfast on February 26th. Meeting up with previous hosts from Hawley Place Bed & Breakfast at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre by the Forest Discovery Centre (which is unfortunately not yet open for the season), we took Red into the Visitor Centre for some background information about the many things there are to see and do in the Cowichan. After checking into the Hummingbird Room at Cobble House, it was off for his first outing to the Kinsol Trestle with innkeepers Ingrid & Simon.
The Trans Canada Trail runs through the Cowichan Valley west of Shawnigan Lake and all the way up to Lake Cowichan, Chemainus and Nanaimo. Once the goal of completing the trail is met on Canada Day 2017, the TCT will be the longest trail in the world. The star attraction is the restored heritage Kinsol Trestle, the largest wooden structure in the commonwealth and one of the highest trestles in the world. Red went all the way down the path to the Koksilah River and felt pretty insignificant! On the way home to Cobble House they climbed up to the railway tracks at Cowichan Station and discovered the old railway station there, dating back to 1885. It was great that this was a new discovery for innkeepers Ingrid & Simon too!
After a fairly early breakfast, Red and Ingrid set off the next morning for a full day of exploration. Their first stop was the Teafarm, and there was a special sign to welcome Red! With now 800 tea plants on the farm, Teafarm is still the only place in Canada growing tea. A cozy spot by the fireplace was waiting for Red as well as many interesting chairs to chat with! He enjoyed a lovely pot of rooster tea, innkeeper Ingrid’s favorite, and a delicious piece of macha cheesecake, yum! He also checked out owner Margit’s pottery gallery which is attached to the tea room. Thanks to Margit, Victor and their staff for a wonderful visit!
After the Teafarm, they were off to see some of the outdoor sights in the Cowichan Valley, with stops at the Somenos Garry Oak Protected Area to learn a little bit about these rare ecosystems, and the old stone (or butter) church on Comiaken Hill, a historically significant man made structure which is unfortunately being allowed to go to ruin. This made Red sad. They next drove past the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Courts, grass courts that are the second oldest in the world after the famous Wimbledon courts. A quick stop at Maple Grove Park opposite the tennis courts featured some of the oldest maple trees in the Cowichan Valley. Then it was home for lunch to plan the rest of the day!
The afternoon took the Red Chair to Duncan, the commercial hub of the Cowichan Valley, and to the funky seaside village of Cowichan Bay. Duncan is home to the world’s largest hockey stick and Red just had to see that for himself and have a picture taken. It was a bit of a challenge as the hockey stick was SO big and high up, but after Red climbed on top of the car and with some maneuvering, he got his picture! Next they checked out downtown Duncan and the Duncan station, another historic railway station which is now home to the Cowichan Valley Museum, as there is no longer a passenger train running on Vancouver Island. Duncan is also known as the City of Totems and there were several to admire right beside the station, as well as many others throughout town. There were crocuses flowering by the station, and as so much of Red’s travels through BC had been in the snow, it was lovely to see that touch of spring! Twenty minutes later though, Red was caught in a downpour out on the Government Wharf in scenic Cowichan Bay. This funky seaside community is an active fishing village and is also North America’s first Cittaslow Community, with some great natural and organic food outlets including one of Canada’s top 20 bakeries, True Grain.
Red had a full day of exploring the Cowichan Valley and was wondering what kind of adventures the rest of his stay would bring!
To be continued…..