British Columbia

Sep01

Surfing Tips!

Have you ever gone surfing and caught the biggest wave? Whether or not you are a seasoned surfer or first time catching a wave we have a few tips for you as you set out on your way.

Here are some hot tips provided by Surfer Today!

1. Learn to Pick the Right Wave

2. Fine-Tune the Position on the Peak

3. Eye Your Target

4. Keep a Low Center of Gravity

5. Paddle With Nearly-Closed Fingers

6. Check the Time Period Between Waves

7. Adjust Your Feet While Riding the Wave

8. Set One Goal and Improve It

9. Manage the Wave Face Timing

10. Watch Wave Videos in Slow Motion

11. Analyze Your Mistakes

12. Broaden the Working Area on the Wave Face

13. Pick the Right Surfboard for the Right Wave

14. Focus on Rail-to-Rail Surfing

15. Learn How Waves Are Formed

Most importantly Breakaway Vacation reminds you, and your family to have fun!

Aug25

Looking for a delicious quick snack to enjoy during your vacation, but you can’t choose what? Look no further we are here to support you and all snacking ideas!

Guacamole and Chips Recipe: Depending on how much Guacamole you would like you can double or triple this recipe!

  • 2-3 Avocados
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2-3 tomato’s diced
  • jalapeno a lot or none (if you like spice add about a tablespoon thinly cut)
  1. Peel avocados and mash to your preference of chunky or smooth
  2. Dice onion, tomato and jalapeno if you want to add a little spice
  3. Mince Garlic or use garlic press
  4. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl mix and add lime/lemon and salt to taste
  5. Match with your favourite chip and enjoy!

Pina Colada Dip – found here!

  • 1-1/4 cups cold 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup pineapple yogurt
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Optional: Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and maraschino cherries
  • Fresh pineapple wedges
  • Vanilla wafers
  1. In a large bowl, whisk milk, yogurt and pudding mix 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours.
  2. If desired, top with coconut and cherries before serving. Serve with pineapple and wafers.

Coconut, Lime, and Pistachio Cookies – found here!

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and lime juice. In another bowl, whisk flour, pudding mix, baking soda and baking powder; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in pistachios and dried cranberries. With clean beaters, beat egg white on medium speed until thick and foamy; stir in coconut.
  2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Top with coconut mixture. Bake until until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with lime zest. Store in airtight containers.

Jalapeno Popper Dip – found here!

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sliced green onions, optional
  • Corn chips, tortilla chips or assorted crackers
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheddar, chilies, peppers and 1/4 cup Parmesan until blended. Spoon into an ungreased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, oil and remaining Parmesan. Sprinkle over cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 min. or until golden brown. Sprinkle with green onions, if desired. Serve with chips or crackers.

Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Hummus – found here!

  • 3 fresh medium beets (about 1 pound)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional
  • Minced fresh dill weed or parsley
  • Assorted fresh vegetables
  • Sliced or torn pita bread
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Pierce beets with a fork; place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover loosely. Microwave beets on high for 4 minutes, stirring halfway. Cool slightly. Wrap beets in individual foil packets.
  2. Remove papery outer skin from garlic bulb, but do not peel or separate cloves. Cut in half crosswise. Sprinkle halves with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap in individual foil packets. Roast beets and garlic until cloves are soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven; unwrap. Rinse beets with cold water; peel when cool enough to handle. Squeeze garlic from skins. Place beets and garlic in a food processor. Add garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, cayenne pepper and remaining olive oil, salt and ground pepper. Process until smooth.
  4. If desired, pulse 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt with beet mixture, dolloping remaining yogurt over finished hummus. Sprinkle with dill or parsley. Serve with assorted vegetables and pita bread.

Enjoy your summer snacks!

Jul12

Enjoy the experience of local food and local talent all at once at the Black Goose Inn. Minutes from the Tanglewood beach vacation rentals you’ll find some great eats and live music!

Check out their extensive menu full of snacks, starters, salads, mains, pies and even something for the kids! It’s traditional British cooking just minutes from your vacation home! Black Goose Inn offers an authentic experience welcome to the entire family, including your 4 legged friends. An outdoor patio is available. Happy hour is offered from 3-5pm with live music between the hours of 6pm-8:30pm. Find the live music schedule here!

Some of our favourite items on the menu are:

Strawberry and Pecan Spinach Salad – Spinach, Strawberries, Feta, Home made candied pecans, Balsamic Dressing

Lamb Shank – Red wine rosemary oven braised lamb shank, Buttery mashed potatoes, Peas, Red win lamb jus

Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon – Sockeye salmon, Buttery Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables and a Creamy lobster sauce

Of course, our cottages come fully equipped with everything you need to make your own home cooked meal – but who wants to cook every night of their vacation!

Jul05

Picture this: You spent the entire day in the Qualicum Landing pool and hot tub splashing and playing in the sun. But your stomach begins to rumble and you are ready to eat! No worries! In under 20 minutes you can be in Coombs at one of our favourite local spots: Cuckoo Trattoria!

Cuckoo is located in the Coombs Market (famous for their goats on the roof, amongst other things!) So head over a bit early and take your time wandering the local shops before heading in for dinner.

Cuckoo boasts a large menu of delicious authentic Italian cuisine made with local West Coast ingredients. The best traditional Italian recipes we all love! From pasta, to Italian thin crust pizza, homemade desserts and more.  Head Chef Fausto Bellicini was born and raised in Italy and brought all his expertise to us locally in the heart of Coombs. You can read more about Chef Fausto here. Choose to eat in or take out, but I recommend staying and enjoying the ambiance!

A few of our favourite dishes:

Fettuccine Salmone – The Italian spin on a West Coast classic, with wild B.C. smoked salmon, garlic, capers, dill and a touch of white wine in a light cream sauce

Boscaiola – Flavours of the forest, with local wild chanterelles and a medley of seasonal mushrooms sautéed with garlic & thyme, topped with mozzarella cheese on a creamy mascarpone cheese base, drizzled with Italian truffle’s oil

Mussels – Fresh steamed mussels served Neapolitan style with garlic and white wine, or yellow curry and coconut milk

Your taste buds will be tingling the minute you walk in the door with the aroma of fresh, local, delicious, homemade Italian meals and ingredients.

Be sure to check out Cuckoo Trattoria during your stay at Qualicum Landing!

Realm Local Food
Jun28

Looking for a taste of local food during your Tanglewood stay? We have loads of tips on local treats and eats, and Realm Food Co is high on our list! Realm is a great place from breakfast, to on the go bites, tacos, sandwiches and so much more!

Located minutes from Tanglewood in Parksville is Realm is a great pick for a meal out. All the items on the menu are sourced locally right from Vancouver Island, and we all know you can’t beat the taste of local. Check out Realm Food Co’s website to see all the items on the menu and explore more about them.

A couple of our favourites on the menu are:

Ramen (vegan options available) – poached egg, bone broth, carrot, cabbage, kale, wild mushrooms, rice noodles, nori, bone broth, chili-hoisin gastrique choice of chicken, pork or tempeh

West Coast Bowl – seared albacore tuna, avocado, carrot, beet, sprouts, cabbage, marinated kale, rice, nori, chipotle-basil aïoli, ponzu sauce

Local Sandwich -basil chèvre, marinated tomato, cucumber, apple-thyme slaw, greens, sprouts, turmeric aioli

Looking to bring the deliciously fresh food back to your Tanglewood Beach Home patio – Realm offers take out so you can bring it back to your beautiful beach home for the entire family to enjoy.

Haven’t booked your island vacation yet? Make sure to check out our rentals page to see all that we offer – and get in touch if you have any questions at all!

Eat Local, Eat Fresh!

B.C. Forest Fires
Jul02

The truth is that B.C. is both heavily forested (which we love) and can be incredibly hot and dry (perfect for beaches)—but sometimes these two beautiful sentiments combine into something nefarious: B.C. forest fires. First of all: take a deep breath! You don’t necessarily have to cancel your trip and forest fire-related casualties are exceedingly rare (and more likely for emergency personnel like police and firefighters).   

That being said, here are 6 things you should know about B.C. forest fires before your trip.  

Many, Many Forest Fires are Human-Started  

This is the sad truth. So many forest fires could be prevented each year if campers, hikers, visitors, and locals worked together to adhere to fire safety rules. Never throw a cigarette butt on the ground; listen to fire bans in the area; make sure your fire pit is completely extinguished before going to sleep; never leave live flames unattended.   

B.C. Averages 1,352 Wildfires Annually, but…  

Many of them are small, quickly put out, or far away from human civilization of any kind. In fact, forest fires are a natural and important part of the ecosystem. It clears away dead matter from the forest floor and makes room for fresh, new growth. Sometimes controlled burns (human started and monitored) are used to “clean up” the ecosystem on purpose.   

COVID-19 Actually Decreased the Number of Fires in B.C.  

This is mainly because people were not travelling and therefore were not lighting fires or leaving them unattended. As stated before, please, please take care while camping or hiking so that you aren’t the cause of an unexpected blaze.   

Many B.C. Cities and Towns Are Not Affected  

Many areas don’t get that many forest fires and the most you see will be a bit of smoke in the sky. You will still be able to be outside, go to beaches, attend events, camp, and go about your daily life. The only time you need to take caution is when there is an air quality warning.  

You Can Track Current Wildfire Activity  

Worried about whether a fire will pop up in your area? You can track B.C. wildfire activity yearly using the B.C. government’s wildfire dashboard. Fires are very common but most of them are so small or isolated that you won’t even notice them during your stay.   

We Will Inform You of Noteworthy Fires Beforehand  

We send out newsletters that encompass everything from local events in the area to wildfire warnings. If something is amiss, we’ll let you know well ahead of time. This includes anything like water advisories, major highway shutdowns, and anomalous weather events. We strive to keep you informed all throughout your trip!   

Always be fire safe but also keep in mind that fires are a normal part of the first lifecycle and are usually not cause for alarm at all. Still have questions? Give us a call at Breakaway Vacations.  

You might also like Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals: 7 Things to Look for Before You Book

Jun28

B.C. has mild, warm weather and long summers that make it perfect for farming culture. You’ll see local B.C. produce at farmers’ markets and in grocery stores (both corporate and boutique). If you’re visiting British Columbia, say at one of Breakaway Vacations‘ luxury vacation cottages and rental, you might even get the chance to pick these products up right from the source!   

Here are 4 local B.C. produce and products to look for while you’re here.  

Donia Farms’ Grass-Fed Milk, Butter, and Yogurt  

Donia Farms is a third-generation family farm located in South Surrey, near Vancouver. Their website is packed with love, carefully detailing the special ways they care for their animals, what they feed livestock, and recipes to use with their produce. Their logo is an iconic staple in Canadian supermarkets: a calm bovine bent down, feeding. They specialize in grass-fed milk-based products, including milk, butter and yogurt.   

BCB Honey Farm’s Raw, Clover, and Raspberry Honey  

BCB Honey Farms is also located in Surrey, B.C., and makes an appearance at many of the local farmer’s markets around the greater city area, like the West End Farmers Market and Kitsilano Farmers Market. Not only are they dedicated to providing delicious, raw honey, but their mission statement also includes a desire to foster a healthy bee population for generations to come. They make regular honey or flavoured honey, including clover and raspberry varieties.   

Morningstar Farm’s Little Qualicum Cheeseworks  

B.C. actually has many cheese makers scattered throughout the province. If you’re visiting the Islands, including the Parksville area, you might want to check out Morningstar Farm’s and/or Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. Morningstar Farms is a 90-acre dairy farm that specializes in Swiss-style artisan cheese. They now offer many varieties, like bleu claire, caerphilly, caraway jill, curds. Feta, island brie, and more. Their produce is sold in many locations across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the Sunshine Coast—the details of which are listed on their website.   

Sirene Chocolate Bars and Cocoa Powder  

Some things we just can’t grow in B.C….like cocoa beans. However, there are local companies dedicated to ethically sourcing ingredients before putting them to work in a Canadian kitchen. Sirene Chocolate sources their beans from Guatemala, Tanzania, Ecuador, Peru, Uganda, and Mexico. Once they get their hands on the beans, they turn them into delicious bars and powder in their custom chocolate workshop located in Victoria, B.C.  

Have you tried any local B.C. produce or products that you want to scream about from the rooftops? We hope so! If not, come stay with us at Breakaway Vacations‘ and we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for in the bustling local markets.  

You might also like Pender Island Attractions: 10 Things to See & Do

Pender Island Attractions
May21

There’s a lot to love about Pender Island. Here are some of our favourite Pender Island attractions, sites, and hot spots.   

The Beaches  

Pender Island is divided into the North and South islands and both have plenty of beaches to choose from. Try Beaumont Marine Park or Brooks Point Regional Park (south island) or Roe Lake, Medicine Beach Sanctuary, or Roesland Gulf National Park (north island). Waterfront hot spots vary across the island so you might find rocky shore, silky smooth sands, or winding marina docks. 

Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards  

If you know anything about B.C., you know that we love our vineyards and wineries. Pender Island has one of its own: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. Their tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 PM. They were featured by SIP Northwest as one of the “9 Wineries to Visit Before You Die”.

The Parks  

Pender Island offers many parks and natural areas for the wilderness loving traveler. Check out Greenburn Lake or Bridge Trail park on the south island; or, try Community Park or Roe Lake on the north island. You can also access many areas of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, which has touchpoints on both island halves and spand across 15 islands total!

Mount Norman  

Mount Norman Park spans over 100 hectares of land covered by plains, forests, and mountain slopes. Mt Norman is actually a part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as well. You can trek to the mountain summit (44 metres/800 feet) for an unparalleled view of the vistas and waters.

Kayak Rentals   

Pender Island is a great tourist spot for water sports like kayaking and canoeing. Check out Pender Island Kayak Adventure or Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions. These venues offer hosted tours, day trips, or DIY equipment rentals. Any waterway adventure has the potential to expose you to B.C. wildlife like eagles, sea otters, and whales.

The Hiking Trails   

Pender Island has plenty of hiking trails to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty and length. Do some research on the paths before you depart. You can try Beaumont Trail, Greenburn Lake Look Out, William Walker Trail, as well as smaller local hidden gems.

Pender Island Golf & Country Club  

Pender Island Golf & Country Club is very close to Otter Bay and has been in operation since 1945. This 9 hole public golf course is open year round and the property includes access to a well stocked golf shop and the El Faro lounge. You can also book golf lessons with trainers on site.

The Coffee Shops  

Pender Island shirks big chain venues in favour of small, locally owned cafes like Vanilla Leaf Bakery Cafe and Slow Coast Coffee. Wherever you are staying will have its secret spots and local favourites. Be sure to ask around or do a bit of online searching to see what’s around.

The Summer Markets   

Both North Pender Island and South Pender Island have their own major farmers’ markets. Up north, keep a look out for the aptly-named Farmer’s Market on Pender Island; down south, look for Nighthawk Farm Farmers’ Market. Both have a wide variety of local goods.

Breakaway Vacations Cottages

Big, sterile hotel chains are so blah. As a tourist hub, Pender Island offers visitors a broad choice of where they want to say. For example, a luxury lakeside vacation cottage with access to a pool, BBQs, outdoor seating, and firepits. Contact us at Breakaway Vacations and ask about Pender Island vacation rental availability for summer.  

What Pender Island attractions are you most excited for? Let us know so we can help you plan the perfect getaway.

Snow activities
Nov27

Don’t have a ski hill in your backyard? No problem! There are plenty of things to do when your yard gets a fresh layer of snow. Your neighborhood is probably rich with parks and nature areas, too, which can work if you don’t have your own yard. Coming up with some fun snow activities can keep the wintertime blues at bay.

  1. Build a Snowman

If you have enough snow on the ground, this is an obvious go-to winter activity. Instead of a regular old snowman, add ears or a tail or a beak and build a snow animal of your choice. See what odds and ends you can collect up off the ground—sticks and twigs, small rocks, pinecones and pine needles, whatever is around!

  1. Build an Igloo

This activity is perfect for families with small children, as yard-built igloos will be a perfect wintertime fort for them. There are also plenty of jobs to do, so everyone can participate in building an igloo: gather snow, shape bricks, stack bricks, and pack together the snow. Make the first “brick” slanted on one side in order to get a proper dome shape as you pile them up.

  1. Make Snow Angels

Everyone in the family can make an angel from eldest to youngest lined up in the snow. You can use twigs and rocks to draw on faces and even make crowns or halos using pine needles. Don’t forget to take pictures once you’re done!

  1. Go Sledding

Find a safe hill nearby and bring along a plastic sled or sled alternative (some people even just use plastic garbage bags, etc.). You’ll get some exercise carrying the sleds back up the hill each time, too. This is a great way to generate some body-warmth on chilly days.

  1. Paint with (non-toxic) Food Coloring

Add food coloring to cold water in spray bottles jars and use them to decorate the snow in the yard. Snow activities don’t get any easier than this (best done when there is freshly fallen powder). You can build models of flowers or animals and then use the “paint” to color them in.

Dreaming about summer already? Book your summer vacation rentals with us on Vancouver Island or the mainland NOW before they fill up. 

Healthy smoothies
Nov06

As the weather goes down, so does our body’s natural immunity. Wintertime tends to mean: being indoors more, where germs travel more easily; a lower body temperature, making you vulnerable; and germs get tougher as the weather gets chillier. That’s why you should try to incorporate vitamins and minerals into your diet that boost immunity and help keep you healthy! Smoothies are an easy way to do this. Here are a few nutrient-rich healthy smoothies to get you started:

  1. Citrus Immunity Boosting Smoothie Recipe

Citrus fruits have a ton of vitamin C so this recipe is a perfect, healthy smoothie choice. The vitamin C in citrus fruits are also proven to slow aging and prevent cancer. Oranges and mangoes are the primary ingredients, which is great because mandarin oranges are in season. Lime juice and coconut water finish this recipe off. With no yogurt or milk, it is also low calorie.

Full recipe here.

  1. C-Blast Smoothie

Pink grapefruit, pineapple, and strawberries are all packed with vitamin C. Because most fruit is out of season, feel free to sub in frozen or canned varieties where applicable. This blend included half-a-cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, too, which makes it more filling—perfect for breakfast or a midday snack to tide you over until dinner.

Full recipe here.

  1. Immune Boosting Winter Citrus Smoothie

Mangos, turmeric, ginger, a pinch of cayenne, oranges make the base of this rich, delicious wintertime favorite smoothie. Try swapping in blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, or mandarin oranges to change up the flavor a bit. You can even mix varieties in the same dish. This smoothie is perfect for winter blues, with plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Full recipe here.

  1. Superfood Power-Up Smoothie Cups

This smoothie cup contains coconut milk, oatmeal, raw honey, chia seeds, vanilla, quinoa, as well as an assortment of spices that you can modify based on what you have on hand. We suggest using turmeric, which is known to help control blood pressure and boost your body’s natural restorative properties.

Full recipe here.

What are your favourite healthy smoothies for wintertime? Let us know in the comments. Want to tap into some sweet, sweet Okanagan produce for your healthy smoothie recipes? Book your summer vacation plans with us now at Breakaway Vacations. We book up fast!

Stay fed, stay healthy.