Mediterranean-Inspired Bed and Breakfast in Scenic Valley
With mild, moist winters and more sunny days than anywhere else in Canada, the Cowichan Valley has a climate reminiscent of the Mediterranean. This makes it great for growing grapes, as evidenced by the many wineries that have recently taken root here. The region has always been congenial to agriculture. Nineteenth-century settlers planted orchards and sheep pastures that still linger today.
Located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, Malahat View Guest House sits on 20 acres of farmland nestled between mountains and Shawnigan Lake. In a nod to the area’s many vineyards, the boutique bed and breakfast has a distinctly Mediterranean look, thanks in part to its natural stone accents and wood floors and beams.
You’ll find marble and granite throughout the guest rooms, which all have views of the surrounding scenery. Stay in one of the superior king or deluxe queen rooms if you want a deck with mountain or lake views. The more secluded queen suites feature private entrances and kitchenettes equipped with a bar fridge, microwave, and other appliances. You won’t have to prepare your own breakfast, however. Each morning at Malahat begins with a full meal prepared by the innkeepers.
Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia: Waterfront Spot Close to Victoria and Wine Region
When Victoria residents go on a weekend retreat away from the city, many head about 45 minutes north to Shawnigan Lake—one of Vancouver Island’s top destinations for waterfront fun. It’s a great place for boating, fishing, and jet skiing, and kayakers can take to the area’s numerous shoreline marshes. The mild climate makes it possible to enjoy the outdoors all year round. If it’s too brisk to be on the water, you can head to one of the parks for hiking trails and picnic areas. The standout is Old Mill Park, which has an enclosed beach and remnants from its past life as a 19th-century lumber mill.
Staying in Shawnigan Lake puts you within easy reach of other attractions in the Cowichan Valley, a pastoral region of South Vancouver Island dotted with old-growth forests and mountain ranges. U.S. News & World Report named visiting the valley the No. 1 thing to do on the island due to its vibrant wine and culinary scenes. Limited exporting of British Columbian wines makes them hard to find outside the province; touring the many local wineries is an out-of-towner’s best chance to taste the wines and ciders. There are also a number of family farms and seafood docks around the valley, providing local chefs with fresh ingredients to work with in their restaurants.
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