The east coast is excellent for Vancouver Island travel. A very enjoyable road trip is along the east coast from Ladysmith (just south of Nanaimo, BC in central Vancouver Island) to Saltair to Chemainus to Crofton to Cowichan Bay to Arbutus Ridge Lavendar Farm and Arbutus ridge Golf course area and then back to highway 1. A delightful way to spend an afternoon.
The starting point for the trip is Ladysymith just 23 km (14 miles) south of Nanaimo on the main Island Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway). Ladysmith is a charming small town with a population under 8,000. The historic downtown area has good shopping and dining. Nearby are trails through forests and hills. There are services and areas for great kayaking.
Travel south on Highway 1 from Ladysmith, then exit left onto Chemainus Rd (Highway 1A). A short drive will take you to the tiny community of Saltair. Local attractions are the ocean views, boating, parks and the Mount Brenton Golf Course. The Chemainus River runs close by and is a popular fishing spot for Rainbow Trout as well as Steelhead salmon. In the summer you can relax and picnic on the riverbank.
Another short drive on the Chemainus Rd and you will arrive in Chemainus, a charming small town with the ocean (Georgia Straight) on one side and a mountain range on the other. This former logging town is known as “The Little Town that Did” and became internationally famous be reviving the community with art. There are dozens of giant outdoor wall murals on the sides of local buildings depecting its history. I have been there several times and never get tired of walking the tour. Chemainus also has some delightful shops and restaurants.
Continue down Chemainus Rd for a few kilometers then veer left onto Crofton Road, then a short distance is the town of Crofton. Stretch your legs by taking a walk along the seawall which begins at the fishing warfs. Also drop by the Old School House Museum (near the ferry to Saltspring Island) which has historial exhibits and a gift shop.
Take the Cowichan Bay road south to the waterfront village of Cowichan Bay which is both charming and quaint. It has an unique assortment of restaurants, shops, floating homes and fishing wharves. Close by are vineyards producing some excellent wines. Another claim to fame is the 2nd oldest operating lawn tennis court – second only to Wimbledon.
Damali Lavender Farm
From Cowichan Bay to the Damali Lavender Farm is about a 15 minute drive. Go south on Cowichan Bay Road to Telegraph Road to an intersection with Hutchinson Road where the Farm is located. The address is 3500 Telegraph Road, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L4, Canada. At the farm there is also a winery and a B &B. There are self-guided tours to make your visit enjoyable and educational. Visit their website for visitor hours www.damali.ca
Arbutus Ridge Golf Course
Across the street is the Arbutus Ridge Golf Course which has a beautiful country setting. The club house is on a hill overlooking the course and beyond. There are also tennis courts on the property. Contact Information: Tel: 250-743-5000, Toll Free: 800-446-5322
End of the Road Trip
Go west on Hutchinson Road which will take to the main Highway 1 which is the end of this delightful road trip in the Chemainus area. It is a delightful Vancouver Island travel excursion which you can take at your own pace. Of course, you can start here and end at Ladysmith which is where I started. A very pleasant and relaxing day.
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