I love weekend getaways; a short and sweet escape from your regular routine and usual weekend activities. However, in order to do the art of weekending well you need to make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of your trip! Yes a bit of a tedious task but usually every group may have a planner(or volunteers) to take charge and make sure everyone has the best time. My list below is tips that I find helpful, a little how-to guide if you will...
- Location! Location! Location!
- This weekend my friends and I went to Half Moon Bay, BC on the Sunshine Coast, not to be confused with Half Moon Bay in California - that location looked great too, but unfortunately was not in the sailing schedule for BC ferries... It was everyone's first time to the Sunshine Coast and it did not disappoint! Even better, from door to door the travel time was just less than 3 hours - that included a ferry ride!
- **FIRST TIP: For weekend getaways, don't spend your whole time travelling, you'll barely feel relaxed before you have to back up and go again! I'd say destinations in the 3-5 hour range are best for Friday-Sunday trips.
- **SECOND TIP: Whether you're a group of six or a twosome, think about what you're looking for out of the weekend to plan for the best accommodations. Trips to the spa might mean you're best suited for a resort or hotel, in our case we were looking to relax by the fire pit and make some delicious food (Seafood Boil!! More on that later!). An Air BnB was the best value and suited our agenda, be sure to note the number of people in the house allowed and any additional costs! We rented a house that had enough space for everyone to have a room, a huge kitchen, a fire pit and the seclusion from city life we were looking for.
- Again, location becomes a factor when planning the food situation, for our destination to the island we decided it was the perfect setting to try our first Seafood boil. We hit the local fish market and picked up fresh crab, mussels, prawns and clams - paired with some lemon, a plethora of salt and we were in business. Oh, and butter, can't forget that! We served it up by dumping the pot of seafood deliciousness right on the table - such a fun way to feast. And an easy clean up!
- **THIRD TIP: The rest of the weekend was mostly groceries we brought over, I'm a big fan of this approach as I think that on short vacations grocery trips should be limited so you can just enjoy (also saves you some dollars in the end usually)! We had lots of family styles meals and grazing. For your next trip look at what the local specialties are and try something new!
- **FOURTH TIP: I find activities are always best to not necessarily be set in stone, you don't want weekends to feel over planned... that would defeat the purpose of a weekend away! Unless that's your goal and you want to fit in all the things - go for it! We realized that one of BC's greatest natural spectacles was right in our back yard, the Skookumchuck Narrows were about 45 minutes away from our place and the 4km hike led us to where twice a day there is a change in tide reversing the direction of the rapids! How exciting! Sadly, we were a few hours late to witness this phenomenon but it was still a gorgeous hike... we'll be back for you Skookumchuck. Next we stumbled upon Smuggler Cove after missing our turn off, it was literally just us on the rocky beach and a few jelly fish, so serene! Lastly, we were introduced to the long running tradition of the 'Sleepy Hollow Rod Run' where literally the entire town sets up on the side of the highway (think living rooms set up on the side of the road), needless to say there were some pretty impressive cars to admire. So basically is what I'm saying is that sometimes, even planners, need to fly by the seat of their pants and see where the day takes them! Enjoy, talk to locals, get suggestions and explore.
So that sums up our little summer weekend getaway! I love going new places and a change of scenary, we booked this trip only on a few weeks notice so don't be deterred that we're already in August (when did that happen by the way?!), lots of summer left to enjoy.
The last tip I'll pass along is that while outside stargazing and having sing alongs around the fire, be mindful that voices DO carry and islanders will call in a noise complaint. We had a visit from the local authorities but he appreciated that us city folk forget the stillness of the island means voices carry... or it could have been the Nate Dogg song choice on the speaker, we'll never know!