Escape the Winter Blues with West Shore Destinations

Take the grey out of your day

– Story by Lauren Kramer Photography by Don Denton

From West Shore Life + Style magazine

Winter can feel endless in the Pacific Northwest, where rainfall is an almost constant companion and the cold weather is relentless. But there are lots of options that will help take the grey out of your day, warming your body and soul with fun experiences. From nourishing spa treatments to art classes, invigorating forest forays to social gatherings with fine Vancouver Island spirits, there are many opportunities to explore a wealth of wintry fun.

Spa Solace: If your tired muscles need some relief and indulgence this winter, consider booking a Rejuvenating Arbutus Wrap at Bear Mountain’s Sante Spa.

Similar to the arbutus trees that shed their skin-like bark each year, this wrap includes a full body exfoliation to remove dry skin. A slathering of therapeutic clay over the body follows, with a wrap that gives the clay time to do its magical healing. A scalp and face massage will leave you in a state of bliss, while the 45-minute soothing cocoa butter cream body massage delivers a heavenly finale.

Relax before and after your treatment in the cedar sauna and steam room, and take time to enjoy Sante Spa’s Forest Lounge and Terrace on the Mountain. The spa’s indoor and outdoor relaxation areas boast intoxicating mountain and forest views, offering the serenity you need to unwind.

Info: santespavictoria.com

Sarah Wilford pours a tasting sample of Akvavit at the Sheringham Distillery’s tasting room in Sooke. Photography by Don Denton

Spirits that Shine: There’s no question that Sheringham Distillery’s akvavit is a star on the aquavit horizon.

The Sooke-based distillery’s akvavit spirit won a gold medal and was named Best in Class and Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition last February. That’s despite the distillery’s relative newness to the scene.

Sheringham joined the distilling industry in 2015, and has distinguished itself for complex flavours that deliver a fabulous taste of the region in which they are crafted. The company’s akvavit is made by allowing Sheringham vodka to mix with caraway, dill, star anise, angelica, orris root, lemon and winged kelp.

Info: sheringhamdistillery.com

Sarah A gin still at the Sheringham Distillery’s tasting room in Sooke. Photography by Don Denton

Art Smart: Winter is a great time to warm up to your creative side and the Coast Collective Gallery & Arts Centre is the place to do it. The centre showcases fine art and craft, offers art educational programs and acts as a venue for public performances and community cultural events.

Peruse the rotating artwork in the gallery, where the work of emerging and established Canadian artists and artisans is exhibited.

Keen to create your own art? Book a class in one of the artistic mediums that interests and inspires you. The broad range of educational programs includes fibre arts and fashion, jewellery design, painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics, and drawing and pastels.

Info: coastcollective.ca

Sarah Looking at the art in the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood. Photography by Don Denton

Forest Forays: If you’re looking for an energizing hike with spectacular views, Gowland Todd Provincial Park is a great destination for an invigorating warm-up.

Mark, owner of Hike Victoria, is a great guide to enlist for this route; he’s a longtime hiker who knows the mountain like the back of his hand. Mark leads groups up an escarpment adorned with the dramatic, orange-brown trunks of arbutus trees that lean at precarious angles off the slope.

At 1,350 feet, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of Finlayson Arm, a winding glacial fjord carved millions of years ago that cuts deep into Vancouver Island.

An expert at taking city folk and sharing with them his love for and deep respect of nature, Mark is also an accomplished photographer known for taking memorable photographs of hikers enjoying the great outdoors.

Info: hikevictoria.com

A wooden bowl by Mike Ready in the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood. Photography by Don Denton

Just Posted

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read