Oceanfront Hotel and Organic Farm Overlooking Ganges Harbour
The Crofton family’s farmhouse along Ganges Harbour in British Columbia was opened to travelers in the early 1900s. At that time, there was no regular ferry service to bring food to surrounding Saltspring Island; in turn, the family relied on their own farmland to feed guests. Nearly a century later, Harbour House Hotel is still primarily self-sufficient. Beehives supply the 2.5-acre organic farm with honey, and gardens and greenhouses yield more than 70 varieties of fruits, grains, and vegetables, from carrots to quinoa. Homegrown produce also supplies the hotel's onsite restaurant, and chickens provide fresh eggs daily, which earned the honor of Best Brunch in Canada from Food Day Canada in 2011.
The farm staff can guide you on a complimentary tour through big-leaf maple orchards and into the property’s greenhouse; they might even pluck produce from the ground so you can try it. At the hotel's restaurant, the menu features items that use house-harvested produce; that includes the maple syrup, boiled in one of British Columbia's first evaporators, which gets drizzled on the candied-salmon benedict ($14) and maple-quinoa pudding ($8) for breakfast.
Inside many of the hotel's wood-furnished standard rooms, you can peer onto the lush grounds where goats and sheep roam around. In the harbour-view room, there’s a balcony where guests can enjoy winter sunrises over Ganges Harbour, and some rooms have gas fireplaces.
Ganges Village, British Columbia: Artistic and Farm Community in Seaside Hamlet
Ganges Village is located on Saltspring Island, off the southern coast of British Columbia. The village brims with craft studios, where artists blow glass, handcraft pottery, and whittle wood. This creative community purveys handmade candles and jewelry for local boutiques. ArtSpring shows string quartets, dance performances, and art exhibits inside a two-level timber structure.
Saltspring Island is dotted with farms and wineries; it’s well known for sheep farming, in particular, and you can enjoy a nice rack of lamb at a number of area restaurants, including the on-site restaurant at Harbour House Hotel. The region is also well suited for cool-climate grapes, and there’s a handful of local wineries within walking distance, including the organic Mistaken Identity Vineyards that offer tours and tastings on weekends from noon–5 p.m. Guests visiting from March until May will receive a complimentary tasting.