For Christmas I was given a gift certificate for a two night stay at an accommodation property called Morning Moon on Pender Island, British Columbia in the Gulf of Georgia . I had never been to Pender Island before so I was really looking forward to this new adventure.
The trip took some planning. First reservations were made through BC Ferries, www.bcferries.com, which are strongly recommended for the Gulf Island Ferry. The ferry departs from Tsawwassen at 10:10 am during the week and makes stops at Galiano, Mayne and then arrives at Pender at 12:20 pm. My friend and I had breakfast on the ferry and hooked-up with a fun group in the cafeteria lineup that was heading to Pender Island for a wedding at Poets Cove. We even got an invite to the wedding, could have been a sequel to the “wedding crashers”!
Upon arriving at Pender we followed the directions we had been given from our hosts to Hope Bay, which is on South Pender. The accommodation Morning Moon, www.Morningmoon.ca, proved to be a lovely self-contained property wrapped in ocean and woodland vistas. Our first greeter was a friendly and very healthy tabby cat, who we later learned was named Pippin. He was our constant greeter when we left and came back from our ventures. We had a wonderful oceanview from the deck, it was very relaxing to sit, read a book, sip wine and listen to the birds, watch sea life and boat traffic go by.
After settling in, we decided to go for a drive around the island, our first destination was Poets Cove, located on north Pender. This resort is tucked away in Bedwell Harbour and offers accommodation, spa and full-service marina. It is well-known for corporate and wedding events. The next stop was Gowlland Point, at the very southern end of Pender Island; it offers a crescent shaped pebble beach reached by wooden steps from the road and has an impressive view of Mt. Baker, a volcano snow-capped mountain in the US. We were informed by locals that this is one of the best public parks and beach on Pender.
It was then time to go for an afternoon snack. Friends had recommended that we try the Pender Island bakery at the Driftwood Centre which is centrally located on the island. We were not disappointed. They had a great selection of savory and sweet pastries, offer cooked lunches and their Nanaimo bar we ordered was wonderful and not too sweet. They also boast a selection of artisan breads which are baked fresh every day. There is seating area outside the bakery that’s surrounded by lovely gardens. The Driftwood Centre is definitely the hub of the island and hosts a variety of stores.
It was then time to head back to our home away from home, enjoy the view, relax and plan our night out. In the evening we headed to Hope Bay, which was a 5 minute walk from the property. It’s a lovely spot! There is a public moorage dock available, a newly constructed Hope Bay Store that houses a number of businesses including a gallery, hair salon (for us girls), goldsmith, real estate office and a restaurant. We had dinner at the restaurant called the Hope Bay Café, which offered panoramic stunning views from the dining room. The staff is very friendly and reservations are highly recommended. We ended up going there on Saturday for dinner as well, their specialty was mussels, and on Sunday we went back for breakfast. I enjoyed one of the best eggs benny I’ve ever had and the variety of choices was excellent.
On Saturday it was time to hit the road and do more exploring. First stop was the local Farmers Market, located in the Community Hall grounds. Various vendors showcase their wares such as locally grown fruit and vegetables, assorted cheeses, homemade jams, pies, savoury and sweet pies, jewellery, fresh bread, pottery and a display of photographs to purchase. I did buy some fresh focaccia bread and also some creamy smoked jalapeno cheese, which was wonderful. Inside the Community Hall there were several displays which outlined the history of Pender an interesting and informative read. Our next stop was Magic Lake, which we learned from the display Magic Lake had been a swamp, which got dredged and now developed into a sub-division skirting the lake area. There is also a small picnic area for people to use at one side of Magic Lake.
Our next stop was work related for me, a visit with Dave Dryer, owner of the Inn of Pender Island, Dave’s property is a member of the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association and I had spoken to him many times, www.innonpender.com. We just managed to get a quick visit in before Dave left to get the ferry. In that short time, I learned he is quite a character and has lived on Pender with his wife for 20+ years. The property is situated on 7-acres, has a main lodge and cabins. It is located next to Prior Centennial Campground.
From there we went to Port Browning Marina and had lunch at the Port Browning Pub. The food and service was really good and our waiter was very friendly. There is a very wide selection of food including the usual pub fare to a variety of nontraditional food to please everyone’s tastebuds. This location seems to be a favourite spot for boaters, islanders and visitors, there is a picnic area with tables for people who just want to enjoy the view or have fun with their dogs. There is a convenience store, laundry and shower facilities. Pender Island Kayak Adventures is based here and offers kayak rentals and tours around the Island.
What a great trip, this is a nice island to visit and the people are very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, the time we chose to visit many of the artist studios were closed. I’ll save that for my next visit.
Sunday was time to pack-up and leave our away from home base for our ferry trip back to the city, we took the ferry from Pender Island, which left at 12:35 pm to Swartz Bay, (Victoria) and then took another BC ferry from Swartz Bay returning to Tsawwassen, meeting up once again with our new found friends, who had a wonderful time at the wedding, but were a lot quieter heading home!