It probably seems backwards to start with dessert, but because Nanaimo is famous for the bar of the same name, try at least one of the stops on the Nanaimo Bar Trail. After one bite, you’ll understand. Then it’s time for a beer from one of the two craft breweries. Look for the labels featuring Island artists. If you prefer a glass of wine and a bit of music in the vines, Nanaimo’s winery hosts local musicians and a salsa night.
A short ferry ride from Nanaimo, is Gabriola Island, a local arts haven with a cidery using heritage apples. They have survived the hundred years because of the mild climate and long growing season, which also contributes to the abundance of fresh produce, much of it grown from heirloom seeds, especially tomatoes, but often beans, corn, and potatoes. Look for at farmers markets throughout the region – different days everywhere but easy to identify by the cluster of chatting people with cloth bags overflowing with greens. Ask questions; food and drink is the best way to meet the locals.
The scenic Oceanside Route that winds from Nanaimo through Parksville and Qualicum Beach to Fanny Bay is for the wandering kind. It meanders in and out of sleepy beach towns, past summer cabins, along the coast and back into farmland. Pick up fresh herbs, cheeses and charcuterie from farmgates and small grocers specializing in local. Add a bottle of Gooseberry wine from Parksville’s fruit winery. It pairs well with the fresh oysters you can get from Fanny Bay, a short drive north. That picnic you been gathering is complete.
No question, this is seafood country. Many chefs feature the seasonal catch – halibut, salmon, scallops, oysters, mussels, clams, crab, side stripe shrimp, and spot prawns, a west coast delicacy with a very short season. If you are lucky enough to try, you have truly dined local.
Vancouver Island Expeditions Ltd.
A visit to Vancouver Island isn’t complete without going on one of our many year-round local food, craft beverage & estate winery tours!
Vancouver Island is rich with fertile land and a mild climate perfect for producing wine, cheese, fruits, vegetables, and much more. Sip by sip & nibble by nibble, we will explore the family owned vineyards, breweries, distilleries and local food producers that make our island such a wonderful place to live.
Let us show you our backyard and help you discover the places that will inspire stories that last a lifetime!
Qualicum Beach Inn
The Qualicum Beach Inn and C-View Restaurant- the perfect blend of romance, charm and culinary pleasure!
Our restaurant provides awesome ocean views, the finest in West Coast cuisine and an impressive wine cellar. Our Chefs are continually sourcing the freshest local ingredients and seafood is a speciality.
In the warm weather you can take advantage of our full dining experience on our expansive, landscaped patio complete with fireplace and, yes, those ocean views.
Stay for a night or two in our newly renovated boutique hotel that is a reflection of the values and character that make Qualicum Beach such a unique place.
You will find beautifully appointed rooms across from the beach and within walking distance to Qualicum Town Centre. Rooms have a patio or balcony for relaxing and watching our famous sunsets. They also include complimentary wifi, 50” HD TV, Nespresso coffee maker, iPod docking station, luxurious bathrobes and parking is free.
The Hotel is complete with a Fitness centre, indoor pool with outdoor sunning terrace, hot tub and sauna.
Host your next Event at the Qualicum Beach Inn! Our Conference room is the perfect venue for meetings, corporate and special events. The room opens to a covered terrace and patio with lovely views and the room itself is fitted with the latest wireless audio visual equipment and 90” television. Food and beverage service is available in the conference room, on the terrace and licensed patio.
Discover what our guests are raving about: “Qualicum Beach Inn is a gem!”
Longwood Brewery & Tasting Room
Nestled into the heart of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, this small brewery has a bigger heart than most. Our goal is to create not only beer that we are proud to drink, but beer that all our friends are proud of, too.
It doesn’t matter if you are a first-timer or one of our regulars at the Tasting Bar, feel free to pull up a stool and sample the Longwood Line Up. Easily accessible, we are located just off the Nanaimo Parkway. Our friendly and amazing staff will impress you with their vast knowledge about Longwood’s recipes and will definitely help you find your perfect beer. Here at Longwood, we source locally to not only benefit our beer but it brings growth to the economy in the town we call home. Some might call us Obsessively Local and we wouldn’t disagree.
This is a place for fun, beer, and a little bit of business.
Tasting room hours: Wed – Fri 2-6pm and Sat 12-5pm
Reconnect at Tigh-Na-Mara, Vancouver Island’s Natural Choice for your next getaway, retreat or corporate event. Located in picturesque Parksville, BC, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre provides rustic charm in the heart of nature. Experience the comfort of handcrafted accommodation nested in a 22 acre forest above 3 kms of sandy beach. Enjoy the Grotto Spa voted the #1 Spa in Canada, two unique restaurants, free wifi, indoor pool, fitness facilities, plus the warmest ocean swimming waters in Canada. Our extensive seasonal Recreation Program offers families opportunities to reconnect, discover, explore and enjoy memories to last a lifetime.
Recently named the #1 Spa in Canada – The Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara believes in offering guest experiences that go beyond the expected. Guests enjoy treatments with a focus on West Coast natural ingredients and all treatments 60 minutes or longer include complimentary access to the Grotto Mineral Pool, invigorating cool-splash
waterfall and whirlpool on the day of their visit. The Grotto Spa is also home to a dining experience unlike any other. The Treetop Tapas & Grill is reserved exclusively for robed spa guests to enjoy tapas samplings from the chef’s menu. Choose to try one or two or indulge in “Endless Tapas, sampling as many items as you wish from the chef’s presentation. With fresh local seafood, spa inspired anti-oxidant cuisine & delectable desserts; the tapas sized portions are perfect for sharing. With 20,000 square feet of spa bliss, we give relaxation a whole new meaning.
All our accommodation units offer unique log construction, a wood or gas fireplace, kitchenette or full kitchen,
and many rooms feature their own jetted tub. Our pet-friendly cottages are perfect for vacationing families, the ocean view condos are ideal for romance seekers or busy business travelers and the spa bungalows can accommodate
groups, girlfriends and couples seeking a one-of-a-kind spa getaway.
At cedars restaurant & lounge, our inspired chefs are creating local, regional and international dishes from the past and present. The seasonal menu showcases the freshness of the season with appetizers and entrées that embrace rustic dishes with a contemporary spin. Enjoy the restaurant and enjoy the city’s best lounge.
Regroup in the heart of nature with over 10,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate small and large groups. Oour team is committed to providing service excellence that suits your needs while amenities and
banquet facilities ensure a distraction-free experience.
We welcome all our guests to take time to enjoy our 22 forested acres, 3 kms of sandy beach, many resort amenities as well as exploring the abundance of hiking, mountain biking, golf, marine & outdoor attractions only a short drive away. Reconnect here and create lifelong memories together!
Millstone Winery is located just on the edge of Nanaimo, along the Millstone River. The winery boasts an old plantation style home, and a production facility built from re-claimed timbers. With a love of wine, music and food you can enjoy our wines with thin crust wood-fired pizzas, and live music on the patio (weekends from May-Oct) www.millstonewinery.ca for a schedule of guests