by Darlene Foster
Pender Harbour is a great place to visit by boat and we have always enjoyed the pleasant marinas and boating community. At one time we had an unplanned, extended stay as we awaited a part for our disabled boat and decided it was a great place to be “stuck” for awhile. On this occasion we were looking forward to seeing this coastal community from land. We chose our visit during a recent Thanksgiving weekend after having won an overnight stay at The Painted Boat Resort. With threatening clouds overhead, it didn’t appear that my husband and I would have any sunshine though for this trip to the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.
After a leisurely forty-five minute drive up the coast from the Langdale Ferry, we easily found the exquisite resort set amongst the towering fir trees. The air smelt fresh from the shower that had just passed through and the incredible quiet made us wonder if we were the only people there.
Our spacious, comfortable, luxury villa overlooked the tranquil marina. We sat on our balcony enjoying a cup of tea and observed a majestic heron as he stood on the dock like a sentinel guarding the flotilla. The clouds floated away leaving a pleasant evening so we took a leisurely stroll around the well landscaped grounds and inhaled the wholesome, coastal mountain air. It took some getting used to the unfamiliar silence and stillness. Barely a ripple on the water, the boats rested for the night under the watchful eye of the heron who seldom changed position. Dinner at The Restaurant at the Painted Boat was exquisite, both in quality and service. A wonderful Thanksgiving treat made even better by the fact that I didn’t have to cook! After a glass of wine by the fireplace and a steep in the huge soaker tub, I slept like a hibernating bear.
The Painted Boat Resort has an infinity edge pool, a hot tub with a fabulous view of the harbour with its many inlets and a luxury spa with a relaxation patio and waterfall. Many hours could be whiled away at this facility watching the various boats come and go and the eagles soar overhead, while enjoying a soothing massage, facial or pedicure. A few children splashed in the pool and, although it looked inviting, I decided it was too cool outside for me to brave and would stick to my soaker tub for water activity.
We woke up to an enchanting misty morning with the shrouded boats barely visible except for their tall masts poking out from the haze. Reading on the deck, sipping tea and feeling well rested, we were in no hurry to leave. We eventually enjoyed a late breakfast at The Copper Sky Gallery and Café in nearby Madeira Park village where I met Cindy, the friendly owner and a talented artist. While my husband enjoyed his fair trade coffee and homemade blackberry muffin, I did some Christmas shopping. Across the street I met Dale, owner of Blue Waters Books, a delightful book store well stocked with local authors and best sellers. Once again, I was made to feel most welcome, had a nice chat and found a few more Christmas gifts for the book lovers on my list, being sure to pick up a book for myself as well.
It was refreshing to spend time in a small community where you are made to feel like special guests instead of intruding strangers. People actually smiled as we passed them on the street. Perhaps that is why it is called the sunshine coast, not so much because of the weather, but more because of the sunny dispositions of the inhabitants.
We discovered there was something for everyone in the surrounding area; numerous fishing charters, hiking trails, boat rentals and golf courses. The area is well known for its community of artists and there were many galleries and studios where you could visit with the artisans, watch them at their craft and possibly come away with a unique memento of your stay. There happened to be a gallery tour the weekend we were visiting, and since I am not much for sporting activities, I made sure to visit a number of places on the list. A handcrafted, copper, heron pin seemed the perfect item for me.
We headed back to the ferry later that afternoon just as the clouds released torrents of rain they had been saving up. We may not have got any sun but the rain kindly held off until we left for home.
The Painted Boat Resort is an ideal spot for those, like myself, who wish to escape the fast pace of the city but don’t enjoy camping. It proved to be a great get-away in a perfect setting. We had a fabulous time and look forward to returning soon to see if that heron is still standing guard.
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