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

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

WCPS looks to its schools and communities for new mission, vision, values and beliefs

WCPS’s Board looks to students, and staff in advance of larger community engagement

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Team Alberta adds nine medals on day two of competition at Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta had a solid day at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

Most Read