The first blog post of 2016 goes to a new friend and fellow blogger from San Francisco, Tomadaonline. I must confess, before meeting Tom (virtually, that is; we have yet to meet in person) I had never heard the term ‘SUP’. And for the uninitiated SUP stands for “Stand Up Paddleboarding”. Since meeting Tom, he has certainly piqued my interest in the sport. Victoria and Vancouver Island have become favoured destinations for SUP enthusiasts. UltimateBnB is ideally located to accommodate such adventurers.
So without further ado, please give Tom a warm, Vancouver Island welcome!
Victoria British Columbia left its prints on me. I was only there once, back in 1973, on the return leg of a leisurely jaunt through B.C. and Alberta. The place seemed magical. I saw my first Belted Kingfisher in Victoria. It was on the west coast. There were Bald Eagles too, but the Kingfisher is the bird I remember best. There were two and they sang. They danced in the air. They flew high, and turned hard. It was a courtship of sorts, and it brought the coast alive.
We spent the late afternoon and evening at Buchart Gardens touring the grand landscape while waiting patiently for the sun to set so we could bask in the garden’s luminous evening light. It was as promised.
I hadn’t been to England yet, but in retrospect, Victoria reminds me of the quaint bits of London. Very proper, yet ever so enchanting. And they have Stand Up Paddleboarding, from flat water to surf.
And there’s great surfing up the west coast at Tofino. You can rent gear atTofino Paddle Surf.Check out the Tofino SUP Surfing video.
If you have 8 minutes, check out the Naish SUP trip into the northwest. They paddled in flat water, SUP Surfed in Tofino, and paddled by bears. Naish has a full line of stand up paddleboards for flat, surf, downwind, and more.
By the time you have taken a few steps inside your vacation getaway suite at UltimateBnB you will have recognized the obvious; your hosts have a deep affinity for wood. In particular, Maple. Wherever possible,Canadian maple. Because what could be more Canadian than a maple tree? The maple leaf has adorned our flag for nearly 50 years and our Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team(though somewhat beleaguered) is one of the most successful sports franchises on earth.
But I digress! Back at UltimateBnB the fireplace mantel is a beautiful slab of thick Western Maple, the cabinetry throughout is maple, floors in the bedroom and den are fine Canadian maple, the doors are maple, and yes, even the baseboards are maple. Even though the dresser, night stand, and cubby are from Wood Castle’s Calvin collection in Albany, OR, they are still made from solid maple!
So when we first read about the ‘One Tree’ exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre we were more than a little interested. We were among the first to take the tour on opening day in early November, 2015.
For nearly 100 years this grand old maple stood next to the Cowichan Valley farmhouse. Generations of children climbed in it, swung from its branches and picniced in the welcome shade it provided. But in the end, it was determined the tree was in poor health and would need to be taken down to mitigate risk to the family home.
Rather than chop it up for firewood the family contacted Live Edge Design in hopes there might be a more noble use for it. From there, folks at the Robert Bateman Foundation became involved and the ‘idea seed’ was planted. What could be made from this tree? What was its true potential?
The answers are astounding! 42 artists from communities that span the continent went to work to see what they could do. Their enthusiasm and excitement on opening day was palpable. I spoke to some of the artists and they told of the creative process; of gazing at the block of wood (sometimes for weeks) waiting for it to ‘speak’ to them. Others knew instantly what their project would be. Either way, the eager anticipation amongst everyone who helped to bring this project to fruition was obvious as they talked about opening shipping crates in the days leading up to the exhibition. In the end, this potential firewood produced an amazing array of woodworking majesty that approached $175,000.00 when all was accounted for.
The One Tree Exhibition continues at the Robert Bateman Centre: 470 Belleville St., Victoria BC. through January 15, 2016.
There are many reasons to consider spending the Holiday Season on Vancouver Island…lovely mild weather, incredible scenery, and fun, friendly people to start. But there are plenty of themed events to take in as well. I’ve chosen 9 but there are many more!
#9 – 24th Annual Festival of Trees in support of BC Children’s Hospital. Each year a variety of business leaders present their staff decorated Christmas trees to adorn the public spaces throughout The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria. Shoppers are encouraged to view the trees then donate to vote for their favourite. The 2015 campaign raised over $23,000 for a very worthy cause.
#8 – Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase – Another fundraiser for a great cause: Habitat for Humanity. Last year $38,102 was raised for “Building homes – Building Hope”. There are 2 categories: professional & home baker. Entries are judged during a kick-off gala evening at The Laurel Point Inn where they can be viewed until January 3rd, 2016. Tip: don’t take in this event when you’re hungry!
#7 – A Sentimental Christmas featuring soprano Eleanor McCain. December 11-13, 2015. Celebrate the season with the Victoria Symphony’s traditional concert of yuletide cheer featuring soprano Eleanor McCain. Maestra Tania Miller and the Victoria Symphony will be joined by choristers from the Victoria Choral Society for a concert full of Christmas favorites including an opportunity for the audience to join in with sing-a-long holiday carols.
#6 Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show – Tuesday, Dec. 15/15 – 7:30 PM. It has been 8 long years since this incomparable 5-time Grammy winning act has graced the stage in Victoria. They normally appear at the summer Jazz Fest so this special Holiday Season appearance promises to be a real treat.
#5 17th Annual Sing Along Messiah – December 16th, 2015 – 7 PM at Alix Gooldin Hall and presented by the Civic Orchestra of Victoria. This event is the perfect opportunity to give those vocal cords a workout on some of the most challenging Christmas music around.
#4 Magic of Christmas at world famous Butchart Gardens – from Dec. 1st, 2015 thru Jan. 6th, 2016. A tradition since 1987, the lighting crew works for 2 months preparing the hundreds of thousands of lights for the December 1st light-up ceremony. Throughout the festive season the ice skating rink in Waterwheel Square adds an extra experience to the lighting extravaganza. Each evening the Festive Brass and Traditional Carollers perform in the crisp night air.
Deck your holiday season with the sounds of Holly! Juno-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Holly Cole returns to the Victoria Symphony and will delight audiences with her versatile and distinctive voice. Mixing jazz, pop and your favourite holiday music, her unique interpretations and original music are applauded as being highly musical, intensely innovative, and refreshingly witty.
# 2 One Tree Exhibit – Nov 14, 2015 thru January 15, 2016. For almost a century this old growth Big-Leaf Maple from the Cowichan Valley stood witness to the events that shaped Vancouver Island. It needed to come down in October 2014 for health and safety reasons. Initially destined for the wood pile, the visionaries at Live Edge Design and the Robert Bateman Centre had a dream. Together they gathered 42 artists who, in turn, created nearly $175,000 worth of incredible art-work from this old, dying tree. Now the public is invited to celebrate this tree through an exhibit of the artist’s work showing at the Robert Bateman Centre. Come see this impressive community project that celebrates a 100-year-old-tree through the creations of 42 artists from Vancouver Island and across Canada.
# 1 Grand Opening of Ultimate BnB – “The best vacation rental suite we’ve ever seen” – T & P, Cochrane Alberta. The number one reason to spend the Holiday Season in Victoria is the chance to be among the very first guests at our brand-new vacation rental. As an introductory offer we are keeping our rates at their current Low-Season levels throughout the month of December. Look for our listing on your favourite travel site:
There is only ONE Ultimate because there is only one…YOU
Brand new 1 Bedroom + Den suite with ocean, forest, mountain and city views
Self-catered breakfast included in the price (local, fresh, and organic where possible)
768 sq. ft.
Private entrance, self-contained with high-end (Miele/Bosch) appliances
Italian Granite countertops with tile and premium Canadian Maple hardwood floors
In-suite laundry, dishwasher and very well outfitted kitchen
Ultimate BnB has only one rental unit. It’s the best and only one we have: thus the name – Ultimate!
The best holidays include rest & relaxation, pampering, and joyous discovery. Our wonderfully appointed private and fully self-contained ocean-view suite has been carefully designed and outfitted to meet those ideals. Cleanliness, comfort and thoughtful details are a given. And they’re a great place to start, but the real difference maker is service. Lots of people will choose a hotel/resort over a vacation rental for that very reason;on vacation we all want to be ‘spoiled’ a little bit.That’s not to say we wait on you ‘hand and foot’ but we try very hard to go the extra mile for our guests:
Need a lift from the airport or ferry terminal? We can do that!
Need a restaurant or theatre recommendation? No problem!
Need directions to 2 Jack Nicklaus designed world-class golf courses just 15 minutes away atop Bear Mountain? We can help!
With many years of award winning hospitality service, we understand the tiny details that can make a vacation fabulous.
Ultimate BnB is away from city traffic and noise yet minutes to shopping (Big Box & Outlet stores), hiking, golf, and many south-island attractions. Off-street parking and private entrance allow for a come-and-go-as-you-like vacation.
The pampering begins with soothing warmth that greets your toes from our gas-fired in-floor radiant heating system and the humidity controlled HRV system completely recycles fresh-air every 4 hours. As well, our on-demand hot water boiler means you’ll never be out of hot water and complements all our home’s enviro-friendly mechanical systems. As you awake, reach for the remote control, lower the window coverings and take in the breathtaking ocean view. Step up to the window and enjoy the vista before you:
the 565 acre old-growth forest and lagoon at Royal Roads University
Fisgard Lighthouse at historic Fort Rodd Hill National Park
The City of Victoria
Cruise ships, freighters and plenty of marine traffic
On clear days, marvelous Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountain range just behind the San Juan Islands.
Oh, and in the evening, enjoy the same view with the added bonus of twinkly city lights beneath starry skies while relaxing in the soaker tub. Magical!
Ultimate BnB is equipped with Miele and Bosch appliances, Natuzzi Italian leather chaise lounge and swivel chair, solid wood furnishings throughout, tasteful art selections and accents that reflect this gorgeous part of the world you’ve chosen to visit. Your kitchen is well equipped and ready for a culinary adventure or… warming pizza; you choose! Missing something? Just ask, we’ll do our very best to help.
The bed is a queen-sized leather-framed Scandinavian design and there’s plenty of closet space. The tasteful décor found in the bathroom sets the scene for more pampering. The glass door on the shower allows for taking in the view while the Maax Jazz tub was chosen to allow for a ‘pleasurely’ satisfying soak. A convenient ‘towel-tree’ stands beside the Italian granite topped maple vanity.
Need a little space after a long day of ‘togetherness’? That’s where the separate Den comes in. There’s a desk for writing a letter or e-mail. (There’s reliable, no-charge Wi-Fi/Internet throughout the suite). A comfy love-seat to curl up on and read a book or…? For a romantic evening, curl up back in the living room in front of the fireplace and enjoy Netflix, listen to iTunes, YouTube or? A great time to crack open an award winning bottle of Vancouver Island wine; there are many to choose from!
Outside you will find 2 large terraces surrounded by understated greenery so as to not detract from the magnificent panoramic views. Patio furniture is available in-season and a natural gas barbecue is available in summertime.
Some notes about being pampered:
We only have one rental unit so guests get our undivided attention. That’s why we chose the name Ultimate BnB
Ultimate BnB is a self-catered bed & breakfast experience. What that means to us is that when we travel we like to operate on our schedule and we like knowing ingredients for the most important meal of the day are supplied, ready for us and are included in the price. The self-catered option allows us to do that. We can create a romantic gourmet brunch after a glorious sleep-in, or grab a toasted bagel, glass of orange juice and a piece of fresh fruit at 7:00 a.m. on our way out the door to whichever adventure the day may hold.
You can’t miss our lovely productive garden when you arrive. We happily share seasonal offerings when they are available and the garden-bed outside your suite is filled with fresh herbs…please help yourself.