Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Frugal Holiday

I live in a large coastal city but seldom actually get to the waterfront.  I also live very close to many small and larger islands but seldom get to visit or sight see at these places.

This week I fulfilled a small dream of spending some very quiet time in the forest near the water.  Some place where I could enjoy the quiet of nature, the beauty of the ocean and completely relax for a few days.

Though I suggested to my friend that we go as foot passengers over the ferry to Vancouver Island, she preferred to take her car if I would share the cost.  I didn't really want to pay the cost of taking the ferry over but given we were sharing the cost I thought it was a fair deal.  Neither of us had ever been to the venue before and we didn't know whether we would have inclement weather at this time of year. It is not so fun to struggle with luggage through rainy weather.

The cost of ferry for the car and two passengers was our largest expense for the 2 night and 3 day getaway (all costs in Canadian dollars).  Total round trip cost of taking the car over the ferry was $165.00 (or $82.50 each).  Gas/fuel/petrol came to an additional cost of $12. round trip which my friend paid.  The accommodation cost was $137.00 (+ tax) each.

Our rooms included 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and several tea breaks each day.  Our room rates included use of the hot tub, sauna and gym (kayaks and bikes too but we did not use those).  The total cost of my portion of the holiday was $225.00.  The only additional cost I had was a $2.00 coffee (one way on the ferry).  Overall, I thought I was getting excellent value for what turned out to be a wonderful period of relaxation.  (My friend's additional cost was $55. because she decided she wanted to buy a fleecy vest with the lodge's logo on it as a memento of her holiday. This cost was entirely optional of course).

There is a variety of accommodation facilities at the "lodge".  There are numerous rustic cabins and several cosy and larger cottages. The place is extremely popular.  The vast majority of guests return at the same time of year, each year and stay in their favourite accommodations.  This makes it challenging to get the booking you would like.  I managed to make a booking about a month ago and I took whatever accommodation they gave me for a 2 night period in late October.

This little rustic, red cabin was my home for a few nights.

The little red cabin in the photo above was my home away from home.  It only had room for two single beds, a small closet, a dresser, nightstand, some lamps and a wood burning stove. Though the cabin didn't have a washroom or heating, it did have electricity and extra duvets were provided.  Washroom and shower facilities were very close by and shared by guest lodgers in a cluster of cabins located near by.  The shower room was well heated and lots of towels and floor rugs were on hand.

I made my bed for the picture.  Even though I was checking out I didn't want two messy beds in the photo.

I thought I would have a lot of free time to do crafts and read the latest of my books, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.  There was no television, radio or internet service at the hotel but I found myself too busy to read much or do crafts.

Instead I spent a little time reading.  Most of the time I was relaxing in the lounge area and walking around the property and taking photos. I also went several times to the sauna and hot tub and spent a lot of time talking to other guests relaxing in the main lodge.  Most people were exceptionally friendly and wanted to talk to the new comers like my friend and I.

This lovely cabin was occupied by a sweet elderly couple from Ottawa, Ontario.  They were visiting with their son who stayed in a more rustic cabin with his wife.

The grounds had tennis courts, hot tub and sauna, gym facilities, and massage room. All of these amenities were located in different locations on the premises and everything except for massage services is included in the room price.  If you want a massage it will cost an additional $80 per hour. I opted for the free sauna and hot tub instead. 

I enjoy scenes like this.  There was a lot of driftwood on these beaches because the area is unprotected from the winds and waves.

It was foggy during much of my short stay but I didn't mind. It wasn't cold and the views were still very beautiful.

It's always thrilling to walk through old growth, coastal forests. These are "roads" in the photos but I also walked on dirt paths located high above the shoreline.

This is a view of the lodge from the direction of the water. I was taking the photo through the spider web which you can just make out in the foreground.

The path to the sauna and other cabins.
The main lodge had a huge lounge with a gigantic fireplace, a large dining room, a games room downstairs and rooms for guests who did not wish to stay in cottages or cabins.  Lots of boards games (backgammon, cribbage, scrabble, cards) were provided with lots of seating nooks, foot rests, throw covers and cushions for comfort.

The couple in the foreground immigrated to Canada from Israel and have been visiting the lodge for about 30 years.

On Saturday nights there is a jam session and dance for the guests. The menu is posted outside the dining room each day.

Weather on the way back was much improved. The sun was shining brightly.  However on the ferry ride it was very misty and foggy.

As we approached Horseshoe Bay, the sun was shining again though you can see some mist over the water. By the time we got to the city, the fog was rolling in.

Though the weather looks miserable it really wasn't that bad and the sun did break a few times over the course of our stay.  Sleeping in the little cabins was not cold either and we only had to build a fire each night as we prepared to retire. My friend enjoyed herself so much she wanted to return soon. Of course I enjoyed it too so we've already booked a return trip during warmer months before the summer begins.

Next time we will park the car at the ferry before boarding as foot passengers and then catch the lodge van on the other side.  The cost would be $27 (each) to park the car for 3 nights plus an additional $15.  to have the lodge to pick us up in their van once we disembark the ferry.  The total cost per person for getting to the lodge and back would then be $42.00, instead of $82.50 (each + gas/fuel/petrol).  We hope to extend our stay by 1 night which will increase our accommodation cost slightly.  If we wanted to save a few dollars more we could take a city bus to the ferry.  The savings for this approach is very minimal when compared to parking the car and sharing the cost of the parking.  It is also less convenient for transporting the luggage.  Another way we might shave a few dollars off the trip is if my friend's sister joins us.  We would save about $15. a night with a 3rd person sharing.

I don't know if I will be a lifetime guest of the hotel but I will certainly be enjoying the time I do get to spend there.


Unknown said...

What a magical escape, just my cup of tea. Thank you for sharing - I wish I could snap my fingers and be snuggled up in that little cabin! Chrissie x

Jo said...

What a wonderful getaway right on your doorstep, Penny. You're amazing the way you save and I'd do well to take a leaf out of your "financial planning" book. I'm so glad you had a good time and will be going back sometime. Blessings and love Jo

LindyLouMac said...

Sounds perfect and you obviously had a great trip as you are returning.

Joanne Noragon said...

I felt the peace of the adventure as I read along. How lovely and I hope you can repeat your stay often.

Cindy said...

What a lovely place to visit, your photos are beautiful. You must have been on the western side of the island. I thought the spider web photo was especially unique. All in all that was a very frugal vacation and what a very relaxing place it must have been.
Hugs Cindy

Ceil said...

Oh Joyful! This was a wonderful travelogue. (And LOVE Ken Follett...). The grounds and area look so perfect for Autumn reflection. And the main house provides some meeting and greeting time. Did you dance? That would be fun.

I am so happy that you could get away on holiday. Good for you :) and thank you for sharing it with us!

Kay L. Davies said...

I love your photos, Penny.
I'm trying to figure out where you went, if you took the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to The Island. (I'm very much the navigator in our family of 2+dog, and have always loved maps.) Did you go north, south, or west from Nanaimo?
Not likely we would go there anyway, because Dick doesn't like "roughing it" and I would need a bathroom within easy stumbling distance, but I'm forever curious. LOL
I also like Ken Follett.
Luv, K

Terra said...

My hubby and I would enjoy this place, it looks like a tiny glimpse of paradise. I hope you return soon, it sounds good for body and soul. The lodge offers a lot, and nice everything is there so you don't need a car.

Joy said...

How wonderful to have such a beautiful area available to visit and relax into; I would just love that - those leafy walks and rustic charm would have me every time! I'm so happy for you that you managed to have this time with your friend, and without too much expense too. Thanks so much Joyful, for a lovely sharing.
Hugs and blessings, Joy xo

Linda said...

This is brilliant! Looks so cozy, serene and enjoyable!

Margie said...

Sounds like a perfect getaway.

Margaret said...

What a wonderful getaway.
Just my "cup of tea".
You are fortunate to live so close to this treasure.

clairz said...

What a lovely place. I think that the cost of lodging, with all those meals included, was very reasonable. I'm glad you pampered yourself for a nice getaway. And I'm very glad you shared the experience with us.

Stewart M said...

Frugal or not it looks great!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

I love the cabins and the scenery. What a great way to have a holiday.

December 1, 2023 - Sky Over Vancouver

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, Happy new month of December to you. I hope you all had an excellent week and are looking forward to the C...