Canada

My Weekend on the Sunshine Coast

The Winterphoto-39 season in Vancouver can get the best of you if you let it. Sure, ski season is bliss for most, but let’s face it, not everyone can spend all day every day on the slopes! Oh, to dream. Then there are those of  who aren’t really snow bunnies at all. I took an early retirement years ago and traded in my skis for  activities that didn’t threaten to put me on crutches or worse! These days, I much prefer to indulge in the warmth of a crackling fire, cup of Earl Grey in hand, reading Bill Bryson’s latest. If I’m feeling a teeny bit adventurous, taking a tranquil stroll along the blustery shore, peering into tidal pools, and  watching a mating pair of Eagles stand guard over their precious nest is my idea of a perfect day. Escaping the rat race is generally on everyone’s itinerary at some point during the year, but for me, that doesn’t always mean palm trees, drinks with umbrellas and sunscreen. Amidst British Columbia’s ruggedness is treasure trove of peaceful hideaways and because of Vancouver’s proximity to everything, it means venturing less than an hour out of town guarantees me all the tranquil nature I want.  We’re off to the Sunshine Coast!

I have been exploring the Sunshine Coast for the last five years now. I went intermittently as a youngster, but was never old enough to appreciate its uniqueness. I’ve rented a number of different properties over the years, each with their own charm, but none had stolen my heart like Sunnyside Acres Cottage. I have to give some credit to my partner because unbeknownst to me, he had scoured the internet for the perfect spot to take me as a surprise, and he found this little gem. We caught an early ferry on the Saturday of the long weekend, and the weather, well, just look at that azure sky! After arriving in Langdale, not ones to break with tradition, we had lunch at Molly’s Reach. If you’ve never been, it’s a beloved fixture on the Gibsons landscape, and you would be remiss not to drop by for a fresh plate of Halibut and Chips, or a Shrimp Sandwich. The staff epitomize what it means to be a Sunshine Coaster, friendly, charming and eager for visitors to love Coastal life as much as they do! After lunch, we set off for our final destination, Sunnyside Acres Cottage.

IMG_1160Before we even had time to close our car doors, hostess extraordinaire Karen Mahoney, was making her way across the lawn with the warmest of smiles. I was so transfixed on her gardens and the cottage itself, that I hadn’t noticed the best surprise of all, her menagerie of animals. But more on that in a moment. The cottage itself is quaint, cozy, and decorated to perfection. My partner loves to cook and we were well impressed with her choice of cookware. In the middle of  the room, stood an intimate dining table with a loaf of fresh bread. In the refrigerator sat a basket of farm fresh eggs, milk, bacon, homemade blackberry jam, and butter. A beautiful antique claw bathtub to soak weary bones and a toasty gas fireplace promised to be the perfect ingredients for a peaceful weekend away. And just when I thought my weekend couldn’t be anymore perfect, Karen asked me if I wanted to go outside to meet the horses. The horses?!

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Yes, Sunnyside Acres is home to two beautiful National Horses (yes, Canada has a National horse and yep, you guessed it, it’s called a Canadian!). Gigi, and Jaye are lovely mares and if you happen to be around the cottage during feeding time, snuggle into a chair with a blanket on the back porch, and watch them graze quietly on the front lawn. Or,  venture into their expansive playground, and watch them trot around the acreage. Next stop was Karen’s fabulous flock of red hens. I never knew chickens had so much personality until I met this boisterous bunch. Karen, being the mother hen that she is, showers affection on her gaggle of gals, and let me tell you, they lay the most delicious eggs that I have ever tasted! We loved them so much that we bought a dozen to take home with us.

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And if this wasn’t the epitome of an animal haven, Karen has three dogs and her dressage ring (yes, she has a dressage ring!) doubles as an agility course! So if you’re thinking about bringing along Fido for some time away from the big city, the cottage is not only 100% pet friendly, but a cozy, a freshly washed pet bed, dog dishes and treats await your furry friend! So save some dough on dog sitting, and bring your pooch to the Sunshine Coast for a little R&R!

After two of the most restful nights we’ve had in months, on our day of departure, Karen whipped us up two lattes and, a bowl of freshly baked scones. Talk about the perfect way to end a perfect weekend. We spent our two days birdwatching, walking some of the local trails, visiting with the animals, listening to music and lounging around the cottage in our PJ’s. Perfect winter weather activities!
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Sunnyside Acres Cottage has officially become our favorite spot on the Sunshine Coast. And as beautiful as the acreage is, it’s really Karen’s delightfully infectious energy and bright smile that makes the place so lovely. If you are thinking about stealing away to the Sunshine Coast, I can’t recommend this stunning property enough. I must warn you though, if you stay long enough, you just may leave your heart on the Sunshine Coast.
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Jordana is a Canadian based travel author, travel manager, and anthropology graduate with a passion for all things cultural.

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