Every year Napper and I go on an anniversary trip just the two of us (except for last year when the little man accompanied us to France!). We always go somewhere we’ve never been together and we try to go for at least a week, although with a child at home with his grandmother and great-aunt, 5 nights and 6 days just the two of us felt GREAT this year.
I personally feel like this time is critical to our romantic bond and relationship and happily, my feelings are backed up by psychology! One thing I remember from getting my Masters in Psychology, is that when you go somewhere new or try a new experience with a partner, it triggers the part of the brain that is activated when first lusting/falling in love. It tricks your brain a bit into falling in love all over again! Sold.
Ok, onto Tofino! The most beautiful tip of Vancouver Island in British Colombia, Canada. Tofino is allegedly an energy vortex and it is also a sublimely undeveloped area of the world that still manages comfortable and chic accommodation and dining. Napper had been to shoot a commercial and knew I would love it. He was right!
Starting with our tiny Orca Airways flight in from Vancouver, the views are staggering. Lush green mountains, some snow capped in the distance, turquoise blue atolls nestled in mountains, and a coastline to take your breath away. Upon landing at the Tofino airport, smaller than my house, you go to the one rental counter (Budget and book ahead!), to pick up your car. The gravel road from the airport takes you to the “highway,” a one lane gorgeous mountain/country road that takes you into Tofino.
Tofino is a tiny and very cute town right on the water with phenomenal views everywhere you look. There are several amazing restaurants in town, as well as a hand full of cool shops. We also braved crazy winds, wild seas and cold temps on a kayaking excursion one day.
We broke up our stay and rented a house right on Chesterman Beach for three nights and then moved down the beach and into the Wickannish Inn, the most famous and luxury property in Tofino. I’m going to do a whole write up on the Wick, so look out for that next week. Chesterman Beach is the spot to stay in Tofino and be sure you are staying on the beach side! It is worth it.
Try a kayaking adventure with Remote Passages. But pick a calm sunny day!! Surfing also abounds in Tofino. Personally, it is was to cold for me, but if you are thick skinned, give it a go with one of the many surf schools in town.
Hiking is delightful although not rigorous as much of the land is protected. My favorite hike was going to Schooner Cove- pick up a picnic from Swell Juicebar– to have after you hike down to the cove. Words can’t do it justice! Bald eagles were posing and exploring the little off shoots of land and the wide sandy beach was awesome. We also did the Bomber Hike which was pretty intense, there is A LOT of mud, bring boots. It is not an official hike, but it is well marked and if you ask around, a lot of the locals love it. A WW2 bomber plane crashed in the woods and it is still there for us to marvel at. Luckily, everyone survived the crash. The Rainforest Loops are also majestic and worth doing. Riding bikes on the beach was also an awesome experience! It is so wide and flat.
We ate incredibly well in Tofino! So well that I have been implementing Gwyneth Paltrow’s, “It’s All Good” and The Ranch in Malibu’s cookbooks– cleaning it up, since home.
For breakfast, we made it at our cute little cottage while we were staying there which was lovely.
For lunch, tacos from Tacofino are a MUST. They are the best fish tacos you’ve ever had. Sobo was amazing for lunch and all the locals seem to go there too which is fun people watching. Big Daddy’s Fish Fry has scrumptious grilled salmon and halibut (super fresh) sandwiches and the setting is quintessential beach town fry shack cute. Wildside Grill and Swell Juice Bar are also great and casual.
Dinners were divine in Tofino. Wolf in the Fog is the new culinary darling in town and worth the hype- everything was delicious including a “local” chardonnay from BC- who knew? The Schooner looks like it might be a tourist trap, but so what if it is, it actually was an intimate setting upstairs and the Admiral’s Plate is so worth it. The Ice House is hands down the best location — on a dock in the water. It is also under the radar as it has just reopened under some new management and a new chef and our dinner here was one of the best. Calamari, clams and fries, salmon, bread pudding, more amazing BC chardonnay… yum! And a super cool, handsome Aussie running things. Shelter is the hip and happening hang out spot for locals and weekenders and visitors alike. Sit on the deck outside. Great service and festive and while the food was good, you’re probably here more for the fun scene. And the culinary competition is fierce!!
There a few cute shops in town. Don’t miss Pina — a local artist who has printed her cool designs in t shirts, dresses, sweatshirts, leggings, etc. Loved her stuff! She has a shop near Tacofino in Tofino but her larger one is in the adjacent town Ucluelet, which I didn’t find to be nearly as charming as Tofino. Love Craft had some cool jewelry and Caravan Beach Shop is tiny and well curated.
It was a restorative, inspiring, decadent, chill and ROMANTIC week! Check in next week for a full report on the Wickannish Inn! oxox