After our stay in Nanaimo for Christmas we had planned to head up to Tofino for a week of much needed R&R after all of the craziness of our move! We were a bit nervous about the highway up, as it is narrow and windy, not to mention very bumpy in spots. No big deal with a regular vehicle, but a bit more of a concern with the RV. Dom was most concerned about blowing a tire, which thankfully didn’t happen, however we did manage to completely total our bike rack. We were slower going than other vehicles so we made good use of the pull outs for slow moving traffic, and at one point a passing car slowed to point at the back of the RV. Dom got out to check and found that the bike rack completely destroyed, to the point that our mountain bike was trailing on the ground and the bike tire was demolished. The combination of the weight of our bench bike and the bumpiness of the highway was apparently too much for the rear bumper. We’ll have to look into another option, but thankfully in the meantime we can store the bikes inside the RV while traveling. Dom and I were really impressed that a guy took the time to stop and make sure we were ok while sorting everything out, the kindness of fellow travellers is really amazing.
We got settled into our spot without any glitches, and decided to light a few candles to create a festive atmosphere. Armand was eating a snack and ended up making a huge mess, which Dom cleaned up by leaning across the table - completely forgetting that we had lit candles. Next thing we knew the front of his shirt completely lit up in flames! He tried to pat the fire out, without success but managed to get the shirt off and in the sink very quickly (as I reached for the fire extinguisher as back up). It wasn’t necessary, but it is great to know that we have several readily available. Dom had multiple layers on so no burns, thankfully. The stress of the situation had us laughing so hard that we had to then proceed with a safe fire talk with the kids to ensure they didn't take the situation too lightly. Dom is down a shirt, but we did make good use of the remnants as kindling for our very first campfire (seeing as we had already tested its flammability out first hand).
We have been up to Tofino several times, and are in awe of the natural beauty of the area. Crystal Cove was a wonderful place to stay, in addition to the RV spots they also have cabins, and it backs onto MacKenzie beach. The resort is within walking distance to the Outside Break complex, which features awesome stops including Tacofino, Chocolate Tofino, Wildside Grill, the Tofitian coffee shop and Coastal Bliss yoga. I took full advantage of this by stopping in for several yoga classes while we were there, my favourite was a beautiful restorative class held on Monday nights. We were also able to connect easily to a walking/biking trail that leads into town, the walk was about 45 minutes of gorgeous fresh air and sunshine. I walked in and met Dom and the kids in town, as Jack Frost had paid us a visit and it was more than a little bit slick, but if we come back again in warmer weather it would be a great option for biking with the kids. We stopped in at Mermaid Tales book shop, one of my all time favourite book stores on Vancouver Island. The shop is small, but the selection is excellent, with a pretty incredible collection of kids books.
I was thoroughly impressed at the abundance of groceries in Tofino, we visited Green Soul Organics and stocked up with a great selection of organic produce and dried goods (many of which are available in bulk). The local Co-Op also had a decent selection as well, which resulted in some great meals. I am continuing my love affair with our instant pot, I love that it facilitates whole food cooking relatively quickly. I did blow a few fuses trying to simultaneously bring food to pressure and boil water at the same time, but I think we’ve sorted out the power dance and will be good from now on.
We visited MacKenzie beach for New Years fireworks with the kids. In addition to being a gorgeous spot to view everything from (with stars aplenty!) it was also hands down the best firework spectacle I have ever seen. And it was literally right in front of us (minus the 50 foot safety distance we respected as we had no desire to light ourselves on fire again). Internet in Tofino is slow at best, which forced us to unplug and relax. As much as I love social media for staying in touch with friends and family, letting go of it was really fantastic. We visited the Tofino Botanical Gardens to view their gorgeous Winter Lights display. We read, did puzzles with the kids, got outside (the girls even braved the ocean in their wet suits!) and had multiple cups of tea to keep warm. The heating in the RV is great, although we dipped so low in temperature that our water pipe froze one night! It was a quick fix once we got it inside, making use of ambient heat and our handy dandy hair dryer. I don’t dry my hair very often, but it certainly comes in handy with situations like this.
This is definitely the most relaxed we’ve ever been at the start of a new year. Our holidays were low key and relaxed, and our stay in Tofino was just what we needed to release any residual stress. Dom and I were chatting about the fact that when you are in alignment and working towards your goals, even challenges feel manageable. We have definitely had a few thus far, but we’ve managed to tackle them with humour and lightness rather than getting bogged down. We have cleared away everything that no longer resonates with us, and what is left is a much simpler way of living. We both feel so much gratitude for what we have, and a beautiful sense of harmony and engagement with everything we are doing. I feel as though the physical shifts and changes we’ve made have had a profound effect on all aspects of our lives, in the best possible way.
The next leg of our journey will have us taking a ferry from Sidney to Anacortes, exploring the Washington and Oregon coasts. We can’t wait, as we have heard so many wonderful things about the Pacific Northwest!
Until next time,
Juliette, Dominic & Family
Chocolate Tofino - Chocolate Tofino is one of our favourite spots, mostly because in addition to their regular menu they also feature a gorgeous vegan chocolate coconut ice cream! They have recently expanded to include a beautiful quick serve space that backs into the Outside Break complex.
Coastal Bliss Yoga - Coastal Bliss Yoga is a lovely studio, located along the Island Highway as part of the Outside Break complex. They feature a wide variety of classes, with great instructors and a fantastic cedar lined space in which to practice.
Crystal Cove Resort – We had such a great time staying at the Crystal Cove Resort, which features RV sites and cabins. It is close to the Outside Break complex and walking trails into town. The resort backs onto MacKenzie beach, a fabulous location for fireworks and (for the brave at heart) wet suit swimming in the dead of winter!
Farmer's Market - Tofino features a wonderful farmer’s market on Saturdays from 10 - 2 from May - October. It is located in the centre of town, on a large field beside the kids play area. With a wonderful selection of food and local artisan crafts, there is a little something for everyone.
Green Soul Organics - I absolutely love this health food store in the heart of Tofino, it features a great selection of organic produce, bulk items and a variety of different healthy living products. Within the health food store, you can find Earth Mama Love Kitchen Collective, which features smoothies, juices and delicious whole foods items.
Mermaid Tales - This is hands down my favourite book shop on the island. Small and cozy, it features a beautifully curated collection of books for adults and kids alike.
Sea Monster Noodle Bar – we discovered this awesome food stop in Tofino the last time we were in town. They have a great selection of asian inspired noodle and rice dishes, with several gluten free and vegan options available.
SoBo Restaurant - SoBo is one of our favourite stops in Tofino. It was sadly close for the season (until February) but it is well worth a stop when you are in town as the food is incredible.
Tacofino - Tacofino is an institution in Tofino, a taco and burrito stand that has expanded from its original single food cart to restaurants in Victoria and Vancouver. It is really fun to come back to the original cart, but be prepared to wait as there is always a line up!
Tofino Botanical Gardens - The Tofino Botanical Gardens were closed for the season, with the exception of the fantastic Winter Lights in the evening. The botanical gardens feature a fantastic outdoor walking path, kid friendly activities and the Darwin Cafe (which serves tea, coffee and snacks).
Tofitian Cafe - The Tofitian is a fantastic coffee shop, that features gorgeous Fernwood Coffee from Victoria in addition to tea and a variety of different lattes. They have recently moved to a bigger space around the corner from their original location.
Ucluelet Aquarium - The aquarium was sadly closed during our visit (they close annually from December - March) but if you are there any other time of the year it is a fantastic spot to visit. They feature a wonderful selection of local species in addition to helpful and knowledgeable staff, plus lots of activities and camps for kids.
Wolf in the Fog – Wolf in the Fog is another favourite of ours, it is a fantastic restaurant featuring a great selection of food. We called ahead in advance of my husband’s birthday last June and found them to be very accommodating with requests (vegan, etc.)