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

travelWest Shore

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Museum at Campbell River and Greenways Land Trust are hosting a virtual talk by UVIC PhD candidate Garth Covernton on Nov. 5. Tickets are only $7 and are available at crmusum.ca. Photo courtesy Garth Covernton
New Museum at Campbell River speaker series leads off with talk on microplastics

Tickets for digital event Nov. 5 are only $7 and include the opportunity to ask questions

North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic
Babchuk declared winner in North Island

Nearly three-quarters of votes counted and mail-in ballots still to come

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read