I've been Sac'd
Photographic copyright: Charis Johannson
I had to post both of these pictures and tell you the story behind them. Neither of them have been edited, this is natural colouring and just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
So ... I'm sitting at The Delta King having dinner with some friends and everyone's phones start going off. It was the emergency notification system. Beep beep beep beep beep. Everyone looks at their phones, then promptly puts them down again. No sooner did it stop, it started all over again , beep beep beep beep beep. Repeat. The sky was turning orange, I quickly ran upstairs to the top deck to get some pics. The beeping started all over again. I asked the waitress what the heck was going on and she said it's a tornado warning but not to worry, we never get tornados. ( I was like what the hell, why isn't anyone moving, taking cover, anything?) All I know was although I wasn't in Kansas and have no desire to go there, I also didn't want to land up in Oz. I was quite happy hanging out in Sacramento. Was there a table to duck under?
I went downstairs and asked my friends as well, they responded with the same comment, no worries dear, we never get tornados. Sure enough. There had been one, just not right on top of us. We continued to drink our wine and chow down, no trip to Oz tonight for this gal, thank goodness. Long story short, that's why the sky looks so amazing. Sacramento you can thank me later for the pic.
Photographic copyright: Charis Johannson
My favourite tools for finding what’s happening in any given city like most of you is the internet and for me, more than that, enjoying the knowledge of the locals. I wanted tourist attractions, events, concerts, classes ... I wanted it all. I had a month of activities planned before even left home. I’m not sure that they are like anyone else’s to do list, but I wanted to do more than tourist stuff while I was there. I wanted to become part of the community, and take part in community events, hang with the locals. To be perfectly honest, some of the things I planned, I didn't do only because I found other things to do once I was there. The other side of that was that I wanted to be spontaneous, I didn't want a rigid schedule because that really was not the point of this trip. I also wanted, NEEDED to relax. The awesome part of this thought process was, I actually did SO MANY THINGS, but did come back feeling completely rejuvenated. The only think I'm pissed about is that I didn't go to the Post Malone concert while I was there.
Photographic copyright: Charis Johannson
Now lucky for me, I had a crew to hang out with the minute I arrived, thanks to my TrustedHousitters homeowner, she introduced me to all of her friends before she left, all of which were very obliging to take part in the bevy of activities I wanted to check out. I really was the most fortunate, but then again, it’s all about putting yourself out there. Not everyone might have the same experience as I did, not everyone is as extroverted in new situations. The thing to remember here is that 100% of the time, your experience with others is what you are putting out there yourself. When you are throwing nothing but good vibes out there, people are more than happy to talk to you and give you recommendations.
Photographic copyright: Charis Johannson
I had so many people welcomed me to the city, gas stations, grocery stores, the gardener, the artists I met, the restaurants I reviewed. EVERYONE. Seriously Sacramento gets a 10 out of 10 for being an INCREDIBLY friendly city, I LOVED the people there. Did you hear me? LOVED!
Photographic Copyright: Charis Johannson
As far as a great month to head to Sacramento, September is it. Even the locals are breathing a sigh of relief when the weather drops down to a balmy 90-100 degrees. I’m laughing, that is still prime summer time vibes in my book. I extended my summer by and entire month, Life is fricking good. So, while the locals were breathing a cool sigh of relief, I was still sweating my buns off. I was decked out in summer gear and they were already pulling out their fall clothing. At 90 degrees, Us Viking types just think that’s just crazy talk.
So, there’s me in flip flops, shorts or a sundress and everyone is in jeans and sweaters.
If you look at some of these apps, you can plan any length of trip and highlight both local activity and tourism hot spots. Many of the events I went to were courtesy of my local peeps giving me a heads up on sweet locations, and such.
The other reason why it's a great time to visit Sacramento is the fact it's the Farm to Fork month. They really take this to the next level, restaurants, wineries, and festivals, EVERYONE is pulling out all the stops to showcase all of the locally grown produce, fruit and wines. (and so much more). This of course appealed to me in so many ways, there's just nothing like fresh ingredients. I spent many a Saturday in one of the many farmer's markets. I filled my bags with avocados, heirloom tomatoes, fresh fruit and baking. I would eat just fresh food for days, I don't thing I actually cooked anything except if I was pigging out on salmon from Whole Foods. (I love this store) Otherwise, fresh goat cheese, hummus and my fresh food was all I could ever want. The thing is, it just never tasted so damn good. In comparison to the food we get at home, the flavour was so robust, it was delicious, I couldn't get enough of it.
There were festivals every weekend and you could choose what your fancy was that day. And if a festival didn't work for you, there was a million wineries to hit as well. The key with the wineries in September is to check to see when they are open as in the fall, tastings are usually from Thursday to Sunday. Google maps will show you a mass of wineries if you just throw winery in the search terms. I then researched the routes I wanted to travel and what they were offering and when.
Photography copyright: Charis Johannson
Truthfully, (and my peeps from Sacramento will tell you) I should be working for Sacramento tourism. Work in Sac? I’m game. I had everyone running weekdays, weeknights, morning, afternoon and night. As always, and I think for everyone, there were places I liked to hit several times over, I just liked the vibe, more than likely, they made me feel at home. (just better weather.) That is moreso for the restaurants really. I definitely had several go to hot spots. For the CharisOnFood review of all #sacramentoeats check out The Norm Effect blogpost as soon as it's posted. Food is the spice of life folks, if you can't enjoy the local tasty treats that a new city has to offer, then I'm not sure why you're travelling. Food is life. The restaurant guide is an eclectic mix of everything from fine dining to the delicious food truck offerings around the city.
Photographic Copyright: Charis Johannson
Here is a list of some of the top festivals and activities that you might want to check out is you make plans to fly to Sacramento next September. I'll meet you there.
1. Farm to Fork Street Festival: https://www.farmtofork.com/
2. Farm to Fork restaurants:
3.Old Sugar Mill Farm to Fork Activities on each weekend. (live music)
4. Folsom Live: Street party and live music: http://www.folsomlive.com/
5. Open Studio Art Tour, two weekends in September
6. Farmer's markets each Saturday:
Midtown: http:// .org/best-of-midtown/second-saturdays/
Art Walk: https://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/2nd-saturday/
8. Midtown Block Party Series: https://www.facebook.com/this916/
My go to research tools including favourite APPS, websites, and Facebook pages that I used to find activities, cross-referenced restaurant recommendations are as follows. Some are Sacramento based, others are international. You can connect with many of these right from my website. Many of these you can access events in any location that you happen to be travelling to, they are a great resource.
This Airbnb link offers you a special deal when you use any of their services.
The Delta King in Old Sacramento. Photography copyright: Charis Johannson
The American River with its trail system was s beautiful and winds all the way to downtown Sacramento. Photographic Copyright: Charis Johannson https://regionalparks.saccounty.net/Parks/Pages/AmericanRiverParkway.aspx
Old Sacramento: There are a wide variety of things to do in Old Sac, but even just enjoying a stroll through the boutique shops is a treat. For more attractions click this link for a ton o'fun: https://www.oldsacramento.com/attractions
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What a Crocker
As you know if you have been following me for the last month, I'm out and about in Sacramento, CA. I'm here housesitting and I'm taking advantage of all the things this city and surrounding areas have to offer while I'm here. Everyone that I stop and chat with asks me what brings me here and the company that I work with to get these amazing housesits, Trusted Housesitters has allowed me not only to travel but stay for extended lengths of time in international locations.
As an artist, one of my favourite things I like to enjoy while visiting other destinations, is to see what they have to offer culturally. Art Museums, galleries big and small are always a treasure trove of old and new brilliant artists. The Crocker Art Museum is one of the oldest art galleries on the U.S. western seaboard and has much to boast about.
The Art Museum completed in 1872 by Edwin Crocker, a wealthy banker, landowner and philanthropist, with the design abilities of Seth Babson. If you would like to learn more about the buildings themselves, click the link: About the Crocker.
The Museum is super easy to get to, even as a newbie driver in the city, but I find navigating the city is a breeze. (I'm even used to the freeways now!) It is located at 216 O St. in downtown Sacramento and there is plenty of parking right beside it. Download the ParkMobile app while you are in town as all the meters that I've run into are this company.
One of the most captIvating exhibits was the Chiura Obata collection, which encapsulated the magnificence of Japanese artistry. Born in Japan in 1885, he emigrated to the United States in 1903. The Crocker has over a 100 of his artworks including many that have never been on public display. If you click on the picture link it will take you directly to the Oculus, the blog written by the folks at the Crocker Museum that talk extensively about Obata. It's worth the read.
PHOTO CREDIT: THE CROCKER MUSEUM WEBSITE
PHOTO CREDIT: CHARIS JOHANNSON
The architecture of the building itself is quite remarkable as well as the sculptures placed strategically around the property. No matter where I am, I love to take in the finer details of the design of the buildings, the finishes and the extraordinary craftsmanship. The interior decorator/designer is always looking for new concepts born from other sources, what better place that an art museum.
PHOTO CREDIT: CHARIS JOHANNSON
One of the things that I have decided to do on my extended vacations, is to take up classes while I'm living briefly in these cities. Learning from different artists all over the world? a dream. I did my research before coming to Sacramento and signed up for classes in a variety of my interests, art being one of them. Many of the local artists and art centres also offer a variety of art classes that you can find on these links: The Verge Center of the Arts , Sacramento365, and Sacramento Fine Arts. The Crocker does offer a series of art classes that would be a dream for any artist to partake in, peruse their offerings by hitting the button.
PHOTO CREDIT: CHARIS JOHANNSON
I would take my time and would advise that you allow about three hours to tour the museum and a relaxed pace, so you are able to see everything that they have to offer. Also go, when you aren't in any time restraints and stay away from the front or back end of rush hour. Here is a quick run down of what you will see on each floor:
First Floor: Education Center
Second Floor: African and Oceanic Art, Works on Paper, International Ceramics
Third Floor: Asian Art, American Art, European Art
If you would like to purchase tickets for The Crocker Art Museum, please hit the button!
While you are downtown, check out Old Sacramento at the same time, head there for cocktails and dinner once you're done at the museum. Check out Viator and look up Sacramento for events listings online!
#sacopenstudio #sacramento #sacramentofinearts #sacramentoarts #californiaarts #openstudio #sacramento365 #sacbee #sacramentobee #visitcalifornia #visitsacramento #charisonlife #charisontravel #lifestyle #lifestylecoach #travel #travelblogger #blogger #art #artist #photography #destinations #worldtravel #girlsgottatravel #designer #interiordecorator #travellingartist #artistonthego #blog #lifestyleblog #influencer #zoomermagazine #affiliatemarketing #adpost #travelzoo #travelocity #unitedairlines #aircanada #qatarairways #westjet #expedia #viator #tripadvisor #tripadvisorrentals #lillypost #subscriptions #pascoe #naturalremedies #trip #tripadvice #adventure #adventuretravel #experiences #airbnb #travelexperience #amazon #myheritagedna #etsycanada #foodie #foodblogger #foodreview #restaurants #popbox #zoomermagazine #trustedhousitters
The Art Of Living
One of my most cherished things to do in this world is to appreciate everything art. I always think that it's a privilege to be able to see and experience the beautiful creations of other artists. An artist with well-honed talent is a gift like no other, no matter the medium, I am so humbled by the talent I saw this past weekend. I can only hope that one day, I can create equally as exquisite artworks. I believe that creativity in using new mediums, experimenting and thinking out of the box are the characteristics of a true artist, those are the things I appreciate about art because that's what I find exciting about evolving art. For a small spattering of a few of my pieces, take a look at my gallery at CharisOnArt. Who knows, perhaps in the future I can be a visiting artist and showcase some home-grown Canadian art. I know I will be sourcing out artists from all my travels for my new project.
September has been a great month to visit Sacramento with all of the events that they have going on. The last two weekends has been the SacOpenStudios extravaganza, that let's you peek into the studios of the artist community, and it's a wonder to see the spaces that they have created to showcase their works. As a designer and in love with all things artistic, I couldn't help but appreciate some of these spaces, it showcased the art, in the beauty of their homes and outdoor spaces, many of which were like art all on their own.
I endeavour to say that my artistic bug has been revived and it's time to start creating again. In fact, Rhonda Egan is giving me art classes today in her particular technique of painting. I think I'm going to get my butt moving on the pottery front as well, and my jewelry design. I'm literally SOOOOOOOO inspired. The sun helps, this California sun is like food for my soul.
I spent a fair amount of time with these gals, enjoying the banter and the enthusiasm, only in a way that artists can exude that zest for life and all things beautiful. They pegged me as an artist the minute I walked on to the driveway, my flowered shoes by BLOWFISH, my flower purse from Chapters (much to the chagrin of all the Americans that want it) and my Rifle and Paper Co. phone case, and my self-designed pendant I had custom made several years ago.
This yard display made me want to just stay for the afternoon and have a few cocktails or a glass of wine with whoever may come along. It seriously was so inviting, it truly was an art gallery outdoors, each and every corner uncovered a new exciting experience. Sheila Jacobs, David Peterson and Carol Wittich did a remarkable job and I would love to see more of their creations in the future.
#sacopenstudio #sacramento #sacramentofinearts #sacramentoarts #californiaarts #openstudio #sacramento365 #sacbee #sacramentobee #visitcalifornia #visitsacramento #charisonlife #charisontravel #lifestyle #lifestylecoach #travel #travelblogger #blogger #art #artist #photography #destinations #worldtravel #girlsgottatravel #designer #interiordecorator #travellingartist #artistonthego #blog #lifestyleblog #influencer #zoomermagazine #affiliatemarketing #adpost #travelzoo #travelocity #unitedairlines #aircanada #qatarairways #westjet #expedia #viator #tripadvisor #tripadvisorrentals #lillypost #subscriptions #pascoe #naturalremedies #trip #tripadvice #adventure #adventuretravel #experiences #airbnb #travelexperience #amazon #myheritagedna #etsycanada #foodie #foodblogger #foodreview #restaurants
Once a Wino ...
I caught this brilliant event yesterday out in Clarksburgh, CA. I've been trying to catch as many local events as possible in the last two weeks that I'm here and loving every minute of it. Old Sugar Mill Winery has events all September for the Farm to Fork Sacramento and I'm was excited to try yet another venue.
Fifteen minutes from downtown Sacramento and a quick trip down #5, I was there in no time at all. Now it's taken me a good couple of weeks to get enough balls to get on the freeway but I LOVED it! I wish we had these at home truthfully, man to can get anywhere so bloody fast! So now, I'm a freeway convert and most likely junkie.
They have 15 wineries set up on the grounds (don't forget to walk around as some are not in the main building) The wine selection was delicious and well, who doesn't like a good wine tasting? It's a beautiful set of buildings and I took some great shots while I was there. If you get a chance, head out to this gem, make sure to grab a spicy chicken gyro from the food truck, sit and listen to the music and just relax.
#oldsugarmillwinery #californiawineries #winetours #winerytours #wine #california #clarksburgh #visitcalifornia #draconiswinery #elevationtenwinery #clarksburghwinecompany #threewinecompany #californitourism #sacramentoeats #sacaramento #sacramentoriver #farmtofork #trustedhousitters #adpost #affliatemarketing #viator #tripadvisor #goldstar #travelocity #foodie #travelblogger #travel #blogger
A Tisket, A Tasket
Grateful today for this fun filled road trip with a couple of THE S4 Gals to Orangevale, CA (If you don't know who they are, check out this blogpost The Disappearance of Mama C). I have been conflicted over the past ten days here in Sacramento whether or not I should be traipsing around seeing all the sites or making a concerted effort to just soak up the sun and relax. So far, it's been a bit of both. I feel like I'm stealing a bit more of the summer that we covet and so sorely long for in Manitoba as it comes and goes all to fast. The temperatures since leaving home have been cool, so when they tell me it's 7 degrees at home, I go sit on this beautiful deck here in Sacramento and soak up as much Vitamin D filled sunshine that I can. That's what the real gold is out here, the priceless ball of warmth up in the sky.
I scoured for events in several different places and found this gem on one of the sites I usually peruse. I loved the sound of it because it was a more intimate experience and I could enjoy not only the scenery and surroundings, but the company of The S4 gals. The weather was outstanding as it was hitting the dream time hour, the sun was setting at the perfect time, picture opportunities were everywhere but then ... I just wanted to experience the day.
Heirloom Acres offers a unique paint nite and wildflower picking extravaganza. Settled under the enormous sycamore tree, picnic tables were laid out with the painting supplies we needed for the evening. A classic VW truck, strewn with apple spice cupcakes made by Megan's daughter, cookies, sparkling pop and artichoke dip were for the tasting and it looked as pretty as it was delicious.
Megan Squires, pictured above and her husband Brad own this picturesque parcel of land, and are avid supporters of helping to save small farming in their area. Their history of how they started and where they came from is as adorable as their property. They run the wildflower farm as a u-pick and charge a set fee per bucket, which I LOVED. I might move here for this reason alone, lol, if I lived here, I would be a weekly customer, and their favourite customer, obviously. They offer different types of events, with a new one coming up at the end of September for Pumpkin season. There is also an AirBnB that sleeps ten, is snuggled up in the trees at the top of the hill overseeing everything on the property. (can you imagine waking up in a field of wildflowers, with the Highlander cows bellowing in the distance?) It's out of a movie really. My kind of movie anyhow, probably a love story, maybe a comedic love story ... and the starlet (me of course) runs off with hmmmm ... I think maybe Josh Lucas fits the bill on this one (you know from Sweet Home Alabama fame) ... and ... and ... and
So Josh and I are sitting under our tree with our names carved in the bark along side our six kids, our cooler of lemonade and our collection of gourds ... very proud of those gourds. Ha! Kidding. Again, this place kinda lends itself to that kind of vibe, seriously one you want a piece of, to any movie location scouts, check it out and thank me later. (thank you payment: a date with Josh Lucas thank you very much)
For a set price of sixty-five dollars, it included your stained sign board, all of the stencils, paint and tools for your sign project. It also included all of the sparkly drinks and goodies AND a bucket full of wildflowers, as many as you can possibly stuff in that bucket. Half the fun was wondering through the wildflower field and cutting the flowers yourself. I was lucky enough to have a buddy along for my wildflower experience, a lovely little girl named Bliss (her mama was painting instructor). She helped me cut flowers and followed me around while we each filled our buckets, we chatted about each of the different kinds of flowers, and who she wanted to give hers too. It was the sweetest and I was able to enjoy some little kid time while missing my own grandbabies, the joy that children bring, priceless.
The fruits of our labour, ever so grateful for the beautiful painted signs, our armfuls of outstanding wildflowers, the experience, the laughs and of course the company. Thanks to everyone that I coerced into taking a few pictures, it was so appreciated.
If you would like to check out more, click on the links for about Heirloom Acres here are a click on these links to their websites and this link to find their AirBnB. Input 10 Acres Farmcation Experience in Orangevale, and get yourself booked in. Please, tell them I sent you on over, and pick me a bouquet of flowers. Heirloom Acres is worth the trip.
Thank you again to Trusted Housitters for allowing me the ability to fulfill my adventuring and travel dreams. Click on the ad below to find out more how to fulfill your travel dreams and allow others to live out theirs.
#CharisOnLife #CharisOnTravel #travel #lifetyle #blogger #travelblogger #lifestylecoach #trustedhousitters #HeirloomAcres #paintnight #wildflowers #crafting #airbnb #savesmallfarming #eventbrite #viator #sacramento365 #visitorangevale #visitcalifornia #orangevale #california #TheS4 #travelocity #tripadvisor #airbnb #sacramento #movielocation
The Disappearance of Mama C
She packed her bags, kissed her loved one’s good bye, started singing this tune …
(Cue Joni Mitchell) I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again …
Okay, I do know when I’m coming back, and yes, I am returning and yes it was with the blessings of my family. Oh wait, I didn’t ask for their blessings as much as I told them what I was up too. You won’t believe it.
I’m in Sacramento, California, it’s gorgeous, warm and sunny. Exactly what this girl needed for that rejuvenation piece I was telling you about. (If you didn't read the last blog post, you'll need to back up and give it a go, and no, it's not really about my feet, go to the Life Blog and read: Itchy Feet ) There have been so many possibilities to think about, I wanted to travel, I wanted to meet people, I wanted an adventure. I remember reading a friend’s Facebook posts about a trip she was on with her husband. (Thank you forever Elaine for finding this gem and sharing it with me.) I followed her travels just this past year and was very curious about the whole idea of what the website she described as house and pet sitting. I didn’t think about it again until I was conspiring with the universe to get me travelling. The more I looked into it, the more I thought it sounded intriguing and fun (also a bit exotic).
So … I signed up.
To what you ask …
TRUSTED HOUSESITTERS, it is an international house and pet sitting company based out of the UK. It helps people that want to travel, in that, they get someone to look after their homes while they are away AND if they have a pet, love their pet from the comfort of their own home. On the other side, I helps people like me travel and I could not be more appreciative. The house/pet sitter gets to choose the places they would like to go, apply and the home/pet owner gets to choose from all the applicants, one who they feel is the perfect match for their Sit. IT’S BRILLIANT.
It is an ingenius way to adventure, meet people and see the world. For me, it's more afforable than booking accommodations at any vacation location, it's in a beautiful home, and I get to love up and care for a family's greatest possessions. Pets are like kids, pet owners want them well cared for, and someone they trust caring for them. if you can book far enough in advance, you can get a great deal on a flight and off you go!
Fast forward to today, I’m housesitting for the sweetest homeowner and loving up her pet Georgie. I just finished picking grapefruit, lemons, and limes off the trees in the yard, cut a fresh bouquet of roses for the table and am enjoying the 26-degree weather out on the deck. Georgie the cat, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice with a sprig of rosemary and my computer, are the tools of the trade for the afternoon. This morning, I enjoyed a lovely morning stroll through the neighbourhood with a lovely new friend from across the fence. We came across the peacocks that saunter around the residential streets, roosters ( cock-a-doodle-doodling) and chickens running around with their little chiclets, it’s darling. (okay psycho chicken isn’t so cute, but the rest were.) AND … this is all normal around here. I called home this morning at it was 7 degrees, it kinda looks like I got the hell out of dodge just in the nick of time! LMAO
Like I said, throw what you want out to the universe and VOILA! I can’t even believe it. I am seriously pinching myself that I am here and amongst the sweetest and funniest gal pals (from this point on shall forever been known as The S4’s, The Sexy Sassy Sacramento Sweeties), these lovelies welcomed me to their hood like I’ve known them for years. Thanks to my hostess with the mostest Ms. S, for introducing me and including her in her S4 Club. I couldn’t have asked for a better first hostess, Ms. S is really out of this world and I was lucky enough to spend a few days with her before she left on her trip. She has gone out of her way to make me comfortable in her home and could not be more appreciative for the time I am spending here. EVERYONE should be so lucky.
To get the most bang out of my buck for the price of my plane fare, I was looking at longer stays, and I will be here a month. A month of getting to know some amazing folks, seeing the sights of Sacramento, sit, enjoy their weather, the diverse food scene and take in farmer’s markets, festivals, wine tours and the list goes on. My cup runneth over, truly.
I’m also spending the time as I said in my last post adding revamping my biz and website. I FINALLY HAVE TIME and the creativity I need to do that. I’m going to ask that if you are interested in what I’m up to, please sign up for my blog post updates and subscribe. If you want to check out TRUSTED HOUSESITTERS, which I recommend everyone check out if you think you might like to travel a wee bit and help someone out at the same time, just click on Trusted Housesitters links in the side bar and it will take you to the website.
It would help me out as well, if you sign up from my links as I have gone into a paid partnership with them and I will get a commission on anyone that signs up from here. You don’t know how thankful I would be, supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners is supporting our families and our dreams. In advance, thanks from the bottom of my heart. I will keep posting my exciting adventures here and would love for you to follow along.
This is a recommendation based on personal experience that is is no way influenced by the paid partnership between myself and Trusted Housesitters.
Salt Spring Island, BC
Flying over the clouds never gets old, my son took this shot on our flight to Calgary, AB. This our first married family trip, Salt Spring Island here we come! We flew into Abbotsford as I'm finding that the price difference for West Jet is huge rather than flying directly to Vancouver. (For those of you that don't know, my hubby lives there.) We are definitely becoming vigilant at checking prices, Air Canada is always out to lunch with pricing so we don't even bother. Abbotsford can be anywhere from $100-150.00 difference, so the half hour drive (depending on traffic) isn't that bad. I would be interested in hearing from anyone that's flown New Leaf.
We hopped on the ferry at Tsawwassen Terminal, our first ferry ride and loved it. It really is truly beautiful in British Columbia. You can hop on with the family in your car for around a hundred dollars one way or walk on, for about seventeen. For a bit extra cash you can reserve your spot which I would recommend, we wouldn't have been able to come back at the time we wanted if we hadn't. To check out the ferry prices, schedules and tickets, check out the BC Ferries website.
We landed in Ganges Harbour, and what a lovely little town that was. As you know, my favourite thing are water and boats, anything quaint and pretty. This place had it all. Oh and let's not forget amazing food.
We wondered around the shops as there were many galleries with extremely talented local artists, one of the reasons I wanted to go to Salt Spring Island. It is known for it's artistic community, that includes, artists, craftsmen, cheesemakers, winemakers, and really anything else you can think of. I can't help but think that the sheer beauty of the place helps to feed those creative juices and keep them flowing! The peace and serenity that comes with island life would be so incredible. You can tell that the pace is a bit slower on the island, and if you're a Vancouverite like my hubby, it felt like a snail's pace for him. I loved every minute of it, so did my son.
I decided on this trip to stay in Bed and Breakfasts, as well as, venture into the Airbnb world, first time ever. If you decide to try it out once you've read this, please let them know when you sign up that I gave them a glowing recommendation! I wanted to try something different than the normal hotel route, primarily because my experiences over the last few years haven't been great. My biggest beef, cleanliness. I was sick of stinky rooms, dirty bathrooms, poor room service, and it goes on. The other part of that is I actually don't like eating in restaurants 3 times a day.
I like to be able to have fresh food on hand as well as the staples from the eating program we are all on, I don't particularly want to stray to far from that just because I'm on holidays. Moderation, everything in moderation, so it's become important to be able to prepare some of our own food. That being said, the airbnb or BnB option seemed perfect, and I'm looking for a cozier experience, and I really like meeting new people. Let me declare now, it was a fantastic experience.
Linda and Harry were our hosts of this newer guest house, The Gatehouse B&B, that they added on to their beautiful home. Truthfully the pictures online or mine for that matter do not do it justice. The place was immaculate, and I liked the fact that it was newer. The beds and furniture was comfy and fresh, we had a full kitchen with all of the goodies we could need and a lovely view out all of our windows. We were only there for one night, but it would be so easy to stay for an extended visit, the outdoor space is yours to use as well as a Barbecue. It was a quick drive into Ganges, and there was plenty of things to do there. the best part, Linda baked us a fresh loaf of bread for the morning along with homemade preserves, a pear and walnut jam and marmalade, it was glorious.
There were so many great little shops to venture into and peek at all of the fine artistans work from the Island. Everyone is very Island proud and definitely try to showcase island residents at their best. The galleries and artwork is spectacular, if I actually had more wall space, I would have purchased more art. Not only were there paintings, jewelry, organic soaps and toiletries, the list goes on and on. We managed to pack away a few goodies while we were browsing. Jill Campbell had her own little gallery and I think it might be my favourite of all. Her paintings were happy, whimsical, and bright. My son looked at them and said, "Mom, I feel like if you actually painted THINGS instead of blobs, it would look like this." I laughed, I think he is right, it's just not where I want to paint at the moment. If you would like to check out some of my own pieces, check out CharisOnArt. Instead of painting my own, which I could do, I sure would like to buy some of the pieces I found in Ganges!
Our next stop, and the place that actually peaked my interest enough to get to Salt Spring Island was actually the Salt Spring Cheese Company. I had seen there specialty goat cheeses in the stores in Vancouver and literally fell in love with them. They are little works of art, and as you know me so well, presentation is everything. The picture above is some of the goodies that we purchased at their store and tasting room, except for the bread, I made that today. But we are eating it with this lovely selection of cheeses and jams made on Salt Spring Island.
The great thing about this little gem was the set up. You could walk around the cheese factory and peek inside at the gourmet cheese makers, creating their deliciousness inside. It was like a big barn fish bowl really, but they were lovely little cheese fish. On the other side of the walk way, there where some of the goats that they raised, some chickens and then their cafe. Like I mentioned in my food blog, Savoury Salt Spring Island, my hopes were to eat here once we arrived, but sadly, they were still closed for the season. Damn!
Our next rainy day adventure took us to the Salt Spring Vineyard and Wineries, met up with them on bottling day and were able to steal them away for a few tastings and pack up a case for the ride home! Our hostess a lovely gal originally from Greece, let us try the freshly bottled Apple Pie dessert wine as well as their current Red Pinot Noir, a White Chardonnay and a blueberry Dessert wine, which we brought home as gifts as well as for ourselves. (Okay me, the hubby doesn't drink wine, oh well, don't have to share!)
The trick was going to getting it home in one piece. Let me add that I was able to do so, I first bagged it in ziplock bags, then wrapped with bubble wrap and packing tape around that, then another layer of bubble wrap, nestled within the middle of each of our suitcases wrapped in clothing. It was well worth the bother!
I should add here that I was not able to carry the cheese on board the plane. I seriously thought I should be able to carry it on. I thought if the amount was good, and it was solid it should be fine, but no. As I went through security they told me I had to throw out all of the cheese or go back to West Jet and get it checked in somehow. I wasn't bought to throw away the $200.00 worth of cheese I bought so we trudged through security and all the back to the counter to get it wrapped up and checked in. Both security and West Jet were great, we breezed in and out in no time and didn't mess our timing up.
That was really our only mishap with the food purchases, most of the wine and cheese has been given away as gifts to our other children that were at home, and they were ecstatic about it.
Although there was hiking trails everywhere, and more exploring that could have been conquered, it was raining like nobody's business and our time was short. I would like to go back and do the artists and studio tour that they have once the season is open, and I was really hoping to catch their Saturday Market in Ganges, the other reason why I wanted to go. Timing was just off, as the market didn't open until April, I get it, it was still a tad cool.
I would definitely recommend travelling over to Salt Spring Island, but stay at least five days, do the tours, relax, hike, and just slow down and enjoy the beauty.
The best thing about travelling is the experience. New places, new people, and new everything. This travel blog will help you navigate some of the places that I have travelled or will be travelling to, in hopes of making your own trip more enjoyable. If you aren't a traveller, perhaps you just would like to catch up on the fun. Enjoy!
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