Prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime on Vancouver Island, British Columbia… an ocean-carved land of extremes ranging from mild to wild, cultured to life-affirmingly raw. Cruise through serene coastal waters. Take in majestic wilderness parks. Marvel at orcas, black bears and the sheer abundance of furred, feathered and finned wildlife. Gaze at distant snowcapped mountains. Stroll seawalls and loop trails. Inhale crisp ocean breezes and the mossy fragrance of ancient, old-growth rainforests.
Day 1 – Wednesday, July 6th – Salem, OR to Nanaimo, BC
First stop is Lunch at Stanford’s in Seattle… Offering delicious Northwest cuisine, and Wednesday’s are ½ price bottles of wine – all day! (Note – You’re only allowed to bring 1 bottle of wine per person across the border into Canada.) Arrive in Tsawwassen BC for our first scenic ferry crossing Horseshoe Bay to our home for the night, “The Harbor City” Nanaimo, BC. Enjoy spectacular views of the bay and downtown from your rooms at the Coast Bastion Hotel… Your evening is free to explore the harbor with its many shops, eateries and more. Coast Hotel Nanaimo, BC (L)
Day 2 – Thursday, July 7th – Nanaimo, BC to Port Alberni, BC
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel…. Tour the Nanaimo Museum… The Nanaimo Museum is the guardian of the Bastion, a former Hudson’s Bay Company outpost. The Bastion is a local icon that has endured many challenges since the founding of Nanaimo, British Columbia’s third oldest city. Built in 1853, the three floors of the Bastion were skillfully crafted using traditional wood working techniques by workers of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Over the years, politics and land deals saw this sturdy wooden fort moved twice. Today it is Nanaimo’s most recognizable landmark. While the Bastion’s timbers are original, the interior represents activities of the early mining post from 1853 – 1862. We’ll ferry out to a unique experience this morning, lunch on the Dinghy Dock Pub! The Dinghy Dock Pub is the only registered floating pub in Canada! Moored off beautiful Protection Island, originally known as Douglas Island, the expansive views, relaxed atmosphere and great pub fare make it a popular destination year round. We’re off for Port Alberni… First stop Cathedral Grove… a rare and endangered remnant of an ancient Douglas fir ecosystem… The biggest trees in The Grove are about 800 years old and measure 250 feet in height and 29 feet in circumference. They are the survivors of a forest fire that ravaged the area some 350 years ago. Next stop, The Old Country Market… history dates back to the 1950s when Norwegian immigrants Kristian Graaten, his wife Solveig, and their children opened the market complete with a sod roof reminiscent of many of the homes found in their native Norway. One year during the Coombs Fall Fair, several goats were borrowed to “mow” the unkempt roof and their ensuing popularity have kept several goats atop the roof ever since. Next stop the McLean Mill… Tin Pants Troupe make history come alive as they entertain with stories of days gone by. We’ll see the old original buildings and lots of restored logging equipment around the site including a steam donkey, logging trucks, graders, and lumber carriers. Next Ride their No. 7 Baldwin locomotive… The steam train will take us through some truly spectacular scenery to Port Alberni… our home for the next 2 nights. Best Western Barclay Port Alberni BC (B, L)
Day 3 – Friday, July 8th – Port Alberni, BC – Local Touring
After breakfast we’ll depart on Lady Rose Marine Services’- Frances Barkley… You are about to spend the morning much as you might have done over 70 years ago, when the Lady Rose was a baby and the principal means of transportation along the B.C. coast was by ships and crew similar to the Lady Rose and today’s Frances Barkley. The Frances Barkley emulates the slower pace of life of yesteryear. There is always an opportunity to see wildlife while sailing down the Alberni Inlet. Enjoy the whales migrating or seals sunning themselves on the rocks. See bears on the beach, foraging for mussels, crabs and clams or frolicking mink and otters on the shoreline. Enjoy watching various sea birds and always sightings of eagles. We’ll arrive at the Pacific Ocean and Ucluelet this afternoon where our bus will meet us… You’ll have some time to stretch your legs before we make the spectacular journey back to Port Alberni where a scrumptious dinner awaits. Western Barclay Port Alberni BC (B, D)
Day 4 – Saturday, July 9th – Port Alberni, BC to Marysville, WA
We’ll Ferry back to the US today… with great memories of beautiful British Columbia… You are on your own for lunch today… the ferry has a few different options to choose from.You will have an option today to visit The Hibulb Cultural Center or head to our home for the night… the beautiful Tulalip Casino & Resort… The Hibulb Center is a place of learning and a source of civic pride for the Tulalip people and their neighboring communities. Tulalip Casino & Resort (B, D)
Day 5 – Sunday, July 10th – Marysville, WA to Salem OR
After a scrumptious breakfast at the resort we’ll make our way south to Pike Place Market… where you’ll have some free time to explore. It’s filled with intriguing tales! At 105 years old, Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously operating market in the United States. The original Starbucks and Sur La Table stores can be found here, as well as the world famous fish throwing “Pike Place Fish Boys”! We’ll continue south… with a few more stops along the way including a farewell lunch (B, L)
“Custom Tours” were designed for groups of 24 or more… If you have a group that wants to book one of these trips… or wants us to design a tour for your groups specific needs… please don’t hesitate to call us. Our tours are designed with a “love of discovery”. Our creative itineraries can be custom-designed to your request including some “must see” attractions as well as “off-the-beaten-path” experiences.