Exploring Tofino

I went west. Way west. And I loved it.

Another post about travel.

Tofino British Columbia

While everyone I know was stuffing their faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and all the rest of the fixings of a great Thanksgiving meal I was on the west coast in British Columbia exploring a small bit of Vancouver Island. I’d heard of Tofino and I finally found my way there over a long weekend. It was exactly what I imagined an easy long weekend on the west coast to be.

The visit was too wonderful to squish into one tiny blog post which would end up being epically long so here are some photos and reflections of those sweet days. I hope this convinces you to go there too. I’ve heard a lot about Tofino’s vibe and everything I heard feels accurate now that I’ve experienced it for myself.

Our first morning was a grey rainy west coast special which I didn’t mind. We stayed at a hotel that was this fascinating mix of timely mid-century and modern minimal décor. The place felt like a polished time warp. Breakfast was at a diner called Oh So Yummy in Qualicum, run by a guy named Dave. The name of the place says it all—it was yummy. Sadly, the restaurant has since closed. It rained hard but that was just fine. As the rain poured outside the place offered a cozy shelter from the moody weather.

My friend and I took our time eating. I mean what was the rush? There wasn’t one. Breakfast went on so relaxingly long it became brunch. So after brunch, we hopped in the car and headed to the other side of the island towards Tofino. The rain stopped and so did we—at the Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park where I saw some really big, really beautiful trees.

Cloud topped misty mountains also demanded some of my attention at a lake for a photo op. I noticed this eerie car at the bottom of the lake in the right corner. Very creepy. Very unsettling.

“Hey, a vineyard!” The words came out of my mouth. Before I had a chance to ask if Tracy wanted to stop there she had already squealed into the parking lot. Emerald Coast Vineyard had samples and they were delicious.

There are all sorts of styles of travel. Sometimes we need to get to the destination as soon as possible. Sometimes we don’t. In this case we didn’t rush at all. If it crossed our path and we thought it was interesting we stopped. This bridge was full of hopeful wishes locked on a chain link fence near the river.

We stretched our legs along this river and did a little climbing.

Our next stop was Rainforest Trail. I understand the power of forest bathing. I didn’t want to leave.

Canada’s rainforest, wet, lush and gorgeous.

Our lodgings in Tofino were at the Tofino Motel Harborview . The motel was humble and subtly musty but the view was outstanding.

That night Wolf in the Fog served supper on dishes from a grandma’s yard sale and somehow they pulled it off. They were voted best restaurant in 2014 in Canada. Although that was a few years ago their menu is still incredibly stellar and the maintained consistently mouthwatering food and drink.

Sunday was for exploring Long Beach

We parked the car and walked over the ridge of sand. Right in front of us was the word HOME scratched into the sand. Yes I thought. This is home. There is something about the air there, traveling across the Pacific Ocean, uninterrupted, rolling for thousands of miles and then greeting us on this shore—something so clean and fresh. It literally improved my mood. I was already grand but it got better. I walked and walked along the water’s edge, picked at treasures in the sand, plunked on tree stumps and logs and watched the world and surfers go by. I stayed to watch the sun set into the Pacific, warm and fiery. I could almost hear it sizzle.

Our last night dinner was at The Shelter. We sat outside in the cool fall evening. I didn’t want to be inside if I didn’t have to be. They offered us fleece blankets to keep us cozy. We noshed and talked and debated between pie and crumble.

The last morning on the way out of Tofino we stopped at Chocolate Tofino for homemade chocolate because—chocolate. Accidently, we came across Tacofino which was recommended by several local people. We didn’t think we’d even get there but guess what? They shared a spot beside Chocolate Tofino! Magical.

We ordered embarrassingly large burritos for the trip home and I perched on another stump in the sunshine waiting for the food to come. We people watched all the Tacofino fans who were also waiting for their breakfast of champions.

A few days later I’m thinking about this destination, satisfied with my short but lovely experience. Part of me wishes I had done the blogging while I was there and part of me gets the ‘in the moment-ness’ of experiencing the holiday. It has left an impression and I have to say that those who went understated what they experienced. I was completely open to every minute, every breath, every delicious morsel, every drop of rain and every beam of sunshine.

See you soon Tofino.

*October 12 2016

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