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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

I wasn’t made for winter!

And today feels like winter on the Island! We woke up to a very gentle dusting of snow, slowly falling in big frosty flakes from the sky. The temperature was -1C and it felt a lot colder today at -1C with the wind coming directly off the Strait of Georgia/Salish Sea.

I really like this photo (below) sent to me by my good friend Janet, from Chester N.S. The winter of 2021 was to be the winter we would finally have been able to meet up with Janet and her good husband Paul, down in Florida to play golf, or visited at their beautiful Oceanview condo in Blind Pass. Now that I’m finally retired, we had all the good intentions of meeting up with friends who have moved away from the GTA area of Toronto...but Covid has definitely changed a lot of plans for everyone!

I can so relate to this little girl! I’m a ‘Florida’ girl. Give me flip flops and no socks all day long!! A cold day in Florida means I wear a fleece on top, but still wear shorts and flip flops! Oh well..this cold weather is only supposed to last for another day on the Island and then we are back to +6C-+7C next week.

Speaking of +6-+7C, we’ve got to get out and play quite a few more golf courses in the area that we haven’t had the chance to play yet. I was speaking to Richard tonight about playing at Crown Isle in Courtenay, Comox, Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach and Eaglecrest Golf Club in Qualicum Beach. We really got spoiled with being able to get tee times at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club and because the course drained so well, it has been a great course to play during a rainy winter like we’ve had on the Island this winter. Now that it is not raining as much, and its warming up next week, we need to start expanding our horizons a bit and try new things!

This morning was all about cleaning Newman inside. Vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms and washing the floors. While I was on another call with my former work, Richard did the cleaning. It is so simple to clean, when we only live in less than 300 square feet!

I’m not sure Richard has this physique, but he sure does a great job cleaning Newman!

Our plan today was to bring the cinnamon buns to Parksville that we had bought yesterday for St. Stephen and his wife Karen. We also wanted to check out the Nanoose Bay area, (which is next to Parksville) a bit more in terms of waterfront/waterview real estate, so we could understand what it would be like if we were to ever consider living in Nanoose Bay.

As we headed down the main Hwy 19 to Nanoose Bay, it started snowing a lot heavier than in Fanny Bay.

Snow on the trees in Nanoose Bay. It’s almost a Christmas winter wonderland!

We went to visit some condos we had seen for sale in Nanoose Bay, and it turned out they were in a resort called ‘Pacific Shores Resort’. We re- read the real estate listings and saw that the condos could be put on ‘VRBO’ or ‘AirBnB’ and we didn’t like the fact you could be living next to weekend partiers! Also, the view on some of the condos was on a not so nice River vs the Ocean. So we headed down the road to the next condo development called ‘Schooner Cove Village’. ‘Schooner Cove’ has a 300 berth marina and a dated hotel, which is being converted into 40,000 sq ft of retail, restaurant and rental units and should be open in 2021. In addition, a new luxury condo building with 39 one and two bedroom units was going up called “The Westerly”. There are also plans to build a 35-unit townhome development with townhomes ranging form 1,500-1,800 square feet, on the other side of the harbour from the yacht club.

Schooner Cove didn’t look too inviting today, but I imagine this would have been a lovely spot last week to sit and enjoy the sunshine and watch the sail boats and the world go by.

Gabriola Island off in the distance on this snowy day. This shot was taken looking south from Schooner Cove in Nanoose Bay.

No activity today in the harbour at Schooner Cove.

I switched it up to my HBC mittens today as it was really cold on my hands.

I imagine it would be nice to sit on this bench, in front of the condos, watching the goings on in the harbour, on a sunny day! These condos did look interesting, if we ever wanted a condo.

Still trying to convince Richard on the sailboat idea!

He’s smiling but he’s pretty chilled...he couldn’t find his toque!

We drove from Schooner Cove up to the Fairwinds golf couse, along Dolphin Drive, looking at the nice homes that were on the water, but built into the side of this very hilly road. Some of the driveways looked very treacherous and I could not imagine even attempting to go up or down them in the snow without snow tires and 4 wheel drive on an SUV or pick up truck! The RV parking was quite ingenious too on these residential lots. If the driveway was straight up hill, the home owner built a parking pad for the RV at street level on their property, to house the RV. I should have taken a picture of the ingenuity, but it would not be my first choice on where to park my RV!

After driving around and checking out some home listings in the Fairwinds community, we decided we would stop for lunch again at the Fairwinds Golf Club. We had eaten here before after golf, so we knew the food would be good.

Richard had the rockfish tacos which were delicious!

I had the grilled cheese with cheddar & mozzarella cheese on garlic toast, with a bowl of homemade turkey, chorizo, vegetable soup. What a nice hearty lunch on a cold chilly day!

View from the dining room of the Fairwinds Golf Course down to the 1st fairway on the left. Last time we played here in December it had started to rain. What a difference a few months make. You can see the bulbs starting to come up in the pots on the deck! I don’t think anyone worries about a snow like this in February, as everyone knows it won’t last.

In the dining room of the Fairwinds Golf Course there were only 2 other tables of people having lunch in the entire large dining space. We could overhear the couple on the right of us speaking about the home they had for sale on Madrona Drive, in Nanoose Bay for $1,830million and what they liked and didn’t like about their home. They were having lunch with their real estate agent and they were speaking about dropping the price. The funny thing was they were also talking about how they knew their home needed ‘updating’. Not to speak ill about people, but the woman was really obnoxious and having to listen to her - who had an opinion about everything, really made our lunch a lot less enjoyable, than had we been able to just enjoy the view of the snow on the golf course.

With some time on our hands after lunch, we decided to go and drive by the listing on Madrona! Ugh. We didn’t like it, even though it had beautiful views of the Strait of Georgia. No wonder the home isn’t selling! A beautiful lot, with an ugly house. Being from Eastern Canada I have these preconceived notions of what a ‘West Coast’ home looks like. The cedar shakes and shingles, stone work and timber posts at the entrance, large beams on the ceiling, cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors and big expansive spaces inside. I think we’ve seen enough beautiful homes now in B.C., that we’ve fallen in love with this kind of architecture. When we see something other than our preconceived B.C. architecture, we don’t like it. We saw some gorgeous homes in Predator Ridge, near Vernon for example which exemplify the whole West Coast vibe that we love. Anyway, after visiting Nanoose Bay we decided that despite how nice it was, it was very remote from the Highway, any stores or shopping and it didn’t really appeal to us. It was too cold to get out for hikes today, so what better thing to do than drive around and acquaint ourselves with new neighbourhoods?!

Nice decks and landscaping as well as architecture. House for sale in Fairwinds, Nanoose Bay.

Cedar shakes and shingles. Nice lines on the home an landscaping. House for sale Fairwinds, Nanoose Bay.

As we were heading back to Parksville we noticed that the Parksville Museum was on our way, so we decided to stop and visit. The Museum looked like a miniature “Pioneer Village” with buIldings that looked like they were from another era.

Entrance to the Parksville Museum grounds.

French Creek Post Office which was open from 1888 to 1912. The logs in this building were broad axe chopped to make the interior walls flat. The logs were dovetailed and moss was used between the logs as chinking and the logs were charred to increase longevity. The building was donated by the Tryon family and moved from its original site on their farm at Columbia Beach.

This cottage was built by James Craig in the 1930’s and was one of several cottages rented to summer vacationers at ‘Craig’s On The Sea Auto Camp’. The cottage now houses a display of the Craig family history.. James Craig was one of the first settlers to realize the tourism potential of Parksville when he opened the Auto Camp. Jim had observed travellers camping by the beach and sleeping in their cars and inspiration struck. What if he built small cabins with a shelter for a car? He hoped that people would pay to have a more comfortable sleep and he was right! The visitor ledgers show visitors coming from far and wide to stay in Craig’s cabins and enjoy the serenity of the Parksville beaches. The camp operated form the the 1930’s to the 1980’s with two types of accommodations; the cabins and the cottages.

Built in 1885 in Errington (near Coombs), this log house is one of the few houses left standing from that era. The house is constructed of hand cut squared-off logs, beautifully dove-tailed at the corners. The fireplace was reconstructed as close as possible to the original using local stones. The building is designated a Heritage Trust building. The house was built by Duncan McMillan a young Scottish farmer from Ontario who came out west lured by the promise of temperate weather and arable land. He was one of the first Europeans to claim a plot of land in Errington; land that had been preempted by the E&N Railway Company and taken from from the local indigenous peoples.

Smiling through the cold. This Columbia jacket with the reflective lining has been amazing this winter on the Island.

Knox Church was built in downtown Parksville in 1911 and opened in 1912. Original stained glass windows exist to this day in the church. Up until recently the church has been used for weddings and memorial services.

The Parksville Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1942 in response to the threat of attacks from the west during WWII. The pump was supplied by the government under the Air Raid Precaution program and a 1929 Graham delivery truck was purchased by the locals to tow the pump. The Fire Hall was built in 1943 totally by volunteers.

We were unable to go inside any of the buildings at the Parksville Museum today, but it was still nice to see them and read about their history online.

An interesting structure on the Museum grounds.

As we were leaving the grounds of the Parksville Museum we saw a sign for a Trail.

What were they thinking putting my good friend Heather’s trail out here at the Parksville Museum? This trail led to nowhere and not to ‘Heather’s Hideaway’ where it should have led to!

After visiting the Parksville Museum, we decided we would drive to Columbia Beach in French Creek to check out another waterfront listing and to hike down this rocky, slippery beach to the point on Columbia Beach.

Frigid cold day on the beach.

Nice little cove on Columbia Beach in French Creek. House for sale is the low teal coloured one in the middle of the two larger homes. This small home was way overpriced for a 2 bedroom home in our humble opinion!

After visiting the Columbia Beach area of French Creek, we headed over to the Eaglecrest Golf Club area in Qualicum Beach to tour around their waterfront homes. We found a neat little street down below the subdivision homes called ’Seacrest Place’ where we couldn’t even see into the homes, because of their hedges and very private gates. It was a very cool street, but there was nothing for sale, so it was hard to judge what the price point would be on these homes If they were for sale.

After leaving Qualicum Beach, we headed back to meet Steve and Karen to give them their cinnamon buns from the Old Town Bakery in Ladysmith, B.C.! ENJOY!!

As we were driving home we decided that we had a good day driving around in Jerry - despite the fact it was a cold day. It’s nice to drive through the streets of the many towns on the Island, to really get a feel for what a MLS listing doesn’t show you - for example - the bad homes that the houses are next to, or the obstructed views, or the terribly steep driveway, etc etc. We aren’t planning on moving to the Island anytime soon, but today certainly helped us understand our options if we would ever consider moving in the future. My knee was bugging me pretty bad after Monday’s workout and with the cold weather today, I was told to lay off longer hikes. Let’s hope the knee co-operates more tomorrow and we can get some fresh air and a hike in, although I would still rather be in flip flops, than cold weather!

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