Further Afield Trips asks a local in a town well beyond Vancouver’s city limits where to find the best places to eat, drink, chill, and have a good time. Think of it as the country cousin to The Dishes.
Good morning! Let’s take a walk/hike in nature before it gets too hot. Where should we go?
“It never gets too hot! That being said, if a cooler morning hike is your preference then I would recommend hiking up Mount Galiano. The view from the top is spectacular: broken islands, ocean and the Vancouver Island mountains. One tip is that people are often so blown away by the initial view that you encounter at the top of the trail that they turn around and miss the Gary Oak meadow that is on the western side of the park. Be sure to keep walking and check it out. Also look for orcas. I’ve seen them just off Mayne Island before and made it down the mountain fast enough to see them go through Active Pass.”
Is there somewhere along the way we can stop for coffee?
“I’m a bit biased as I am part owner of Bowline Cafe which has great Foglifter Coffee. It is located on Sturdies Bay road, just by the ferry terminal. My friends Gabe and Tahira also have a great coffee shop called Solomon Rose which is located in the back of the Daystar Market. Stop by for a mocha and a croissant.”
Now we’re starving! Where should we eat? (breakfast/brunch or lunch)
“Bowline – (get the mushroom breakfast wrap. It has confit tomatoes. So good!) – or the outstanding Flying Black Dog (try the the souvlaki pita or the rice bowl).”
We’ve got some free time for an afternoon adventure. What do you suggest we do?
“Go for a paddle with the good people from Gulf Island Kayaking. You can rent a kayak or paddle board by yourself or go on a guided trip with Chessi or Ben Miltner. They have a wealth of knowledge of the local marine life, ecology and even geology. Ben blew me away when I went out with him a number of years ago. It made me realize how much I have to learn about the area we live in.”
That was fun! Now we need a pick-me-up plunge in some cool water. Can you let us in on your favourite secret or not-so-secret beach?
“I love Pebble Beach or, if you have time, Dionisio is even better.”
Where should we head for a post-adventure beer, glass of wine or cocktail?
“The Crane and Robin. Located right at Montague Marina. Great staff and a spectacular setting. Their beer is always frosty cold. Have a Hoyne Pilsner. If you are coming in the summer of 2020 I should have a waterfront patio of my own for you to check out at Bodega Cove too.”
Now we’re hungry again. What’s the dinner plan?
“I always tell our guests at Bodega that they have to do two things after they make a booking with us. First they have to make a ferry reservation to make sure they can get here. Second is they have to make a reservation at Pilgrimme. It is not only by far the best restaurant on Galiano, it is one of the best restaurants on the planet. Chef Jesse – or Dark Jesse, as I like to call him – is exceedingly creative, fresh and thoughtful in both his food and ambiance. My favourite is always his seafood, especially the spot prawns and the panisse! Life on Galiano got much better after Pilgrimme opened its doors.”
Any tips on a good lookout to take in the view and watch the sun go down?
“If you didn’t make it up Mount Galiano in the morning now is the time. Hike up there with a few beer then descend to Pilgrimme to have Dark Jesse blow your mind.”
Photo of Jesse and his daughter by Eva Grace Photography