Vancouver Island

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Mar15

Cathedral Grove: A Majestic Sanctuary of Ancient Giants

A short drive from the quaint communities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, unveils a place of wonder and reverence: Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. This natural sanctuary is home to a congregation of ancient giants. Towering Douglas fir and red cedar trees that have witnessed centuries of changing seasons. Telling tales of resilience, survival, and the timeless beauty of the temperate rainforest. Cathedral Grove: A Majestic Sanctuary of Ancient Giants

As you enter Cathedral Grove, the air becomes infused with a palpable sense of antiquity.  Towering trees, with their colossal trunks and expansive canopies, create a living cathedral that inspires awe and admiration. The star attractions of this arboreal haven are the Douglas fir trees.  Some reaching heights of over 75 meters (250 feet), and the majestic red cedars, standing as sentinels of the ancient forest.

Walking through the grove, visitors are enveloped in a serene hush.  Broken only by the occasional rustle of leaves or the distant call of a bird. The forest floor, adorned with a carpet of ferns and moss, provides a soft underfoot experience. Inviting you to slow down and immerse yourself in the grandeur of nature’s cathedral.

One cannot help but feel a sense of humility in the presence of these ancient trees.  Some of which have stood tall for more than 800 years. Their weathered bark tells a story of resilience against the elements. Their towering height beckons visitors to crane their necks skyward, attempting to grasp the magnitude of these arboreal titans.

Cathedral Grove offers a network of well-maintained trails.  Allowing visitors to meander through the heart of this ancient forest. The trails are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, offering a gentle introduction to the wonders of the temperate rainforest. As you traverse the pathways, informational signs provide insights into the ecological significance of the forest. The forest educates visitors about the delicate balance that sustains this unique ecosystem.

Photographers and nature enthusiasts will find Cathedral Grove a treasure trove of visual delights. The play of light filtering through the dense canopy creates a mesmerizing dance of shadows and highlights.  Adding a dynamic element to the forest’s timeless beauty. The textures of the moss-covered trees and the intricate patterns in the bark provide endless opportunities for capturing the essence of this enchanted woodland.

Beyond the aesthetic appeal, Cathedral Grove serves as a vital educational resource. Fostering an understanding of the importance of preserving ancient forests. The park’s interpretive programs and guided walks offer visitors a chance to delve deeper into the ecological intricacies of the temperate rainforest and the role these ancient trees play in maintaining biodiversity.

Visiting Cathedral Grove is not just a nature excursion; it’s a pilgrimage to a living testament of time. It’s a journey that reconnects us with the natural world. Reminding us of our place within the intricate web of life. The sheer magnitude of the trees and the ancient wisdom they embody inspire a sense of awe and respect for the delicate ecosystems that sustain our planet.

Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park is a sanctuary for the soul! Inviting all who venture within its bounds to witness the majesty of ancient giants and to reflect on the importance of preserving these living monuments for generations to come. It’s a destination that transcends the ordinary, offering a glimpse into the enduring beauty of nature and the profound interconnectedness of all living things.

Cathedral Grove, MacMillan Provincial Park

Activities

MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) Map 

So, what are you waiting for? Load up the car and the kids and head out for an experience of a lifetime! 

Share your favourite experiences at the Cathedral Grove and come visit us at Breakaway this 2024 season, don’t forget to tag us in your photos @breakawayvacations for a chance to be featured!

Are you still looking to book your cottage getaway? Look at our amazing rentals and you can get in touch if you have any questions! We are always happy to help you book your amazing getaway! Call us today

 

 

 

Nov10

We know that Winter in British Columbia can be a challenging time for those who do not like the cold including our plant babies. With cold temperatures and limited sunlight, maintaining outdoor gardens can be a daunting task. However, the solution to keeping your green thumb active during the winter lies in embracing indoor plants. These resilient houseplants not only add a touch of nature to your living spaces but also improve indoor air quality. Here’s a selection of indoor plants that are perfect for the winter months in BC:

1. Spider Plant:
– Spider plants are hardy and adaptable, making them excellent choices for BC’s winter. They thrive in moderate light conditions, which are often the norm during the winter months.
– These plants are known for their air-purifying qualities, making them ideal for improving indoor air quality.

2. Snake Plant:
– Snake plants are virtually indestructible and can tolerate low light and infrequent watering.
– Their striking upright leaves add a unique aesthetic to your home while requiring minimal care.

3. Peace Lily:
– Peace lilies are popular for their elegant white flowers and their ability to thrive in low light.
– They can help remove common indoor air pollutants, providing a breath of fresh air during the winter.

4. ZZ Plant:
– ZZ plants are incredibly resilient and can tolerate low light, drought, and fluctuating temperatures.
– Their glossy, dark green foliage adds a touch of sophistication to any room.

5. Aloe Vera:
– Aloe vera is not only a beautiful succulent but also a practical one. Its gel is well-known for its soothing properties, which can be used to treat minor skin irritations.
– Place it in a sunny spot near a window to ensure it gets adequate light.

6. Philodendron:
– Philodendrons come in various species, and many are suitable for indoor growing during the winter.
– They are low-maintenance and can tolerate low light, although they appreciate a bit of indirect sunlight.

7. Pothos:
– Pothos is an excellent trailing plant that can thrive in low to moderate light.
– It’s also known for its air-purifying abilities, making it a great choice for indoor winter spaces.

8. Ficus:
– Ficus plants, including the weeping fig, add an elegant and classic touch to your interior decor.
– They prefer bright, indirect light and consistent moisture.

9. Ferns:
– Ferns, such as the Boston fern or maidenhair fern, are known for their delicate, feathery fronds.
– While they do require more humidity, they can thrive indoors if provided with adequate moisture.

With a little attention and the right selection of indoor plants, you can enjoy the benefits of greenery and fresh air throughout the winter in beautiful British Columbia.

Oct18

As the leaves transform and the air takes on a crisp edge, there’s an undeniable charm in snuggling up with a comforting autumnal beverage. Be it the inviting allure of a spiced latte or the soothing essence of a hot apple cider, we’re here to inspire your journey through heartwarming fall concoctions.

1. Spiced Pumpkin Latte:

– Embodying the essence of fall, this quintessential spiced pumpkin latte is a must-try. Learn to craft this seasonal favorite in the comfort of your home, featuring velvety milk, aromatic spices, and an optional, lavish topping of whipped cream.

– Ingredients:
– 1 cup strong brewed coffee or 2 shots of espresso
– 1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or a dairy-free alternative)
– 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
– Whipped cream (optional)

– Instructions:
1. In a saucepan, heat the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice over medium heat. Whisk until well combined.
2. Pour the spiced milk mixture into a mug.
3. Add the brewed coffee or espresso to the mug and stir.
4. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice if desired.

2. Homemade Apple Cider:

– Experience the simple joys of preparing your very own apple cider using freshly picked apples.

– Ingredients:
– 10-12 apples (a mix of sweet and tart varieties)
– 1 orange, sliced
– 2 cinnamon sticks
– 4-6 cloves
– 1/4 cup brown sugar (adjust to taste)

– Instructions:
1. Wash and chop the apples (no need to peel or core them).
2. Place the apples, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the fruit.
3. Simmer the mixture on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Use a potato masher to crush the softened fruit in the pot.
5. Strain the cider into another pot or bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the juice.
6. Stir in brown sugar while the cider is still warm.
7. Serve the homemade apple cider hot or cold.

3. Chai Tea Latte:

– The blend of spices in a chai tea latte makes it an autumn staple. Dive into a creamy homemade version that promises warmth and comfort.

– Ingredients:
– 2 chai tea bags
– 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tablespoons honey or sweetener of choice
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Ground cinnamon (optional)

– Instructions:
1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
2. Add the chai tea bags and let them steep for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the tea bags, then stir in honey and vanilla.
4. Pour the chai latte into a mug and sprinkle with ground cinnamon if desired.

4. Cinnamon Hot Chocolate:

– Immerse yourself in the warmth of a rich, cinnamon-infused hot chocolate—a perfect companion for those evenings by the fire.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups milk (whole milk for creamier hot chocolate)
– 2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
– 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– A pinch of salt
– Whipped cream, marshmallows, and cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the milk, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, sugar, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the chocolate chips and cocoa powder have fully dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

3. Once the mixture is hot and well combined, remove it from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness by adding more sugar if needed.

5. Pour the cinnamon hot chocolate into mugs.

6. If desired, top each mug with a dollop of whipped cream, marshmallows, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

7. Serve hot and enjoy your cozy Cinnamon Hot Chocolate!

5. Mulled Wine:

– Embark on an autumnal journey for your taste buds with a steaming cup of mulled wine. Learn how to infuse red wine with a harmonious blend of spices and citrus for a spicy, warming treat—ideal for festive gatherings.

6. Spiked Hot Apple Cider:

– For those seeking an extra touch of warmth, we’ve given a twist to traditional apple cider. By adding a splash of your preferred spirit, you can create a delightful adult version perfect for those brisk evenings.

7. Maple Pecan Latte:

– Maple and pecan—a harmonious autumnal pairing. This latte combines these delightful flavors with a caffeine kick for a drink that will have you coming back for more.

8. Herbal Teas for Fall:

– If caffeine isn’t your cup of tea, we have a selection of herbal teas that are tailor-made for sipping on a crisp autumn afternoon.

Fall is a season of vibrant colors and even more vibrant flavours. With our guide, you can embark on a journey of taste, comfort, and snug moments, all within the confines of your own home. Be it the allure of pumpkin, apple, or the spices of chai, there’s a warm fall drink to suit every taste. So, grab your favourite mug, gather your ingredients, and let your autumn sipping adventure commences. Here’s to the simple joys of fall!

Aug23

Vancouver Island is a large island located in the southwestern part of British Columbia, Canada. It is separated from the mainland of British Columbia by the Strait of Georgia to the east and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south. The island is known for its stunning natural landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant communities.

Key features of Vancouver Island include:

  1. Natural Beauty: The island is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, including rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and majestic mountains. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and whale watching.
  2. Victoria: The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria, is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is known for its British colonial architecture, beautiful gardens, and a charming waterfront. The famous Butchart Gardens and the Royal BC Museum are popular attractions in Victoria.
  3. Tofino and Ucluelet: These coastal communities on the western side of Vancouver Island are known for their stunning beaches, surfing opportunities, and access to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The area is also famous for its storm watching during the winter months.
  4. Nanaimo: A city located on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is known for its harbor, waterfront walkways, and the Nanaimo Bar (a popular Canadian dessert).
  5. Wildlife: The island is rich in wildlife, with opportunities to spot orcas, humpback whales, gray whales, sea lions, and bald eagles. The island’s proximity to the ocean and its varied ecosystems contribute to its diverse animal and plant life.
  6. Outdoor Activities: Vancouver Island offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking in Strathcona Provincial Park (the oldest provincial park in British Columbia), fishing in its numerous lakes and rivers, and exploring the many trails and parks.
  7. Island Communities: Beyond the larger cities, Vancouver Island is dotted with charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character and attractions.

Overall, Vancouver Island is a popular destination for both residents and tourists alike, offering a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. It’s a place where you can enjoy the tranquillity of nature and the vibrancy of local communities.

Jan25

Nothing is better then the smell of a freshly brewed coffee, birds chirping, bacon sizzling and family laughter dancing through the house. During your stay with us we want you to be as comfortable as possible, skip the meal planning we have already done that for you. Giving you extra time to enjoy that coffee and time with your loved ones.

Clementine Sunshine Smoothie

This deliciously fresh, citrus smoothie will kick start your day and energize you for the adventures to come around the beautiful land surrounding La Casa!

  • 4 clementines, preferably chilled
  • ½ cup ice
  • ¼ cup yogurt or almond milk (plain or vanilla flavors work)
  • Tiny dash sea salt

Savoury Breakfast Bowl

Bring your favourite breakfast bowl from the cafe of your dreams to reality with this delicious recipe.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup Everything Bagel Potatoes
  • 1 to 2 eggs (fried, scrambled, soft boiled, whatever your preference)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese or nutritional yeast, optional
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, or basil, if desired
  • Hot sauce or salsa, optional

Baked Sweet Potato Egg Cups

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and grated, on large holes sweet potatoes (about 1 8-ounce potato)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste,
  • 1 ounce finely grated Pecorino cheese, 2 teaspoons reserved
  • 6 large eggs

Apple Dutch Baby

  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons salted butterdivided
  • 1 applepeeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamonoptional
  • powdered sugarfor serving, optional
Jan01

2023 new year, new me… maybe not but why not a few new recipes to start us off?

Charred Cabbage Skillet Gratin

This recipe has us drooling! The perfect combination of healthy vegetables with a kick of blue cheese and of course bacon.

  • 1 Savoy or green cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large leek
  • 1/2 cup  walnuts
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 ounce blue cheese crumbled apox 1/2 cup

The easiest Skillet Mac

Simple yet delicious, great for those Sundays in during your stay at Breakaway Vacation Homes

  • Kosher salt 1 (11 to 14-ounce) box deluxe macaroni and cheese with cheese sauce (not cheese powder)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chili
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pork and Broccoli Rice Bowls

Why not add some new flavours to your 2023 pallet

  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 boneless pork loin cutlets (about 12 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 small head of broccoli) or Broccolini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Our locations come with all of the simple cooking necessities to support you during your stay. Happy Cooking!

Dec14

Nothing says holidays like over indulging in cookies, or coming home to the smell of freshly baked cookies. Treat yourself this year.. literally!

Our home away from home offer beautiful kitchens that are ready to be baked in, stop by the store for a few ingredients and you are ready to bake. At Breakaway Vacation homes the smell of your freshly baked cookies will linger throughout your stay and bring joy and happiness to your stay. Celebrate the holiday with us this year, we offer houses ranging from sizes at 3 locations including Tanglewood, Qualicum Landing, and Otter Bay – book now and relax later!

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (for the coating)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup jam, raspberry or strawberry
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons almond milk
Nov03

Did you know that two billion pounds of pumpkin ends up in landfills worldwide each year? Are you looking to dispose of your pumpkin differently so it does not land in the landfill this year?

Here are a few ways you can dispose of your pumpkin:

  1. If you pumpkin is bare with no candle residue, paint, marker etc pumpkins are a great snack for wildlife to enjoy. On your next hike bring your pumpkin cut into pieces and dispose it into the bush off the path and out of the way of other hikers. If animals decide to pass on enjoying this snack not to worry pumpkins are 90% water so they will decompose into the earth.
  2. Compost your pumpkin and reuse the dirt for your garden in the upcoming years!
  3. Create a “snack-o-lantern” for the birds around your neighbourhood follow this craft here
  4. Plant the pumpkin seeds to see if you are able to grow your own pumpkins next year!
  5. If your pumpkin was freshly carved and no mould or decomposing has taken place you are able to make a long list of recipes from the pumpkins “meat” aka the inside of the pumpkin!
  6. Reach out to local farmers and see if their pigs, chickens or goats would enjoy your pumpkin as an afternoon snack!

A few recipes you can try are:

  1. Pumpkin Pie
  2. Vegan Pumpkin Soup
  3. Pumpkin Spice Latte
  4. Pumpkin Based Vegetable Stock
  5. Pumpkin Bread
Oct23

Fall has fallen upon us and we found some of the most delicious fall recipes for you try during your stay with us!

Busy day ahead and no time to cook? Not to worry – toss all ingredients into the slow cooker and be prepared for the delicious smells once you arrive back at the Breakaway Properties!

You will need to pick up the following ingredients to make this delicious Slow-Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup!

  • Butternut Squash
  • “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
  • Onion
  • Curry powder
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Coconut Milk
  • Lime
  • Cilantro

Do you have a extra pumpkin laying around inspiring you to make a special dish for Halloween..? Look no further this Cheesy Pumpkin Lasagna is a must try!

You will need to pick up the following ingredients to make this delicious Cheesy Pumpkin Lasagna!

  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cider vinegar
  • Dried sage
  • Cans pumpkin purée
  • Maple syrup
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Shredded Fontina
  • Egg
  • Box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Cooking Spray

Halloween birthday upon you? Try these festive cupcakes this year!

You will need to pick up the following ingredients to make these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground ginger
  • White sugar
  • Ground allspice
  • Teaspoon salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon

Icing:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Ground cinnamon
Oct15

Have you had the opportunity to indulge in local ingredients and produce? The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is a must add to your list when looking for local, fresh ingredients. Hosted year round every Saturday from 8:30am-noon.

A few common asked questions from the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market website attached below:

  • Are Dogs Allowed? No – The friends of  Qualicum Beach Farmers Market love the fur babies but ask for them to stay at home for the market trips!
  • What is in season? Check out the in season diagram here!
  • Is there food at the market? Yes
  • Are there washrooms? Yes – located outside the Community Hall
  • Where do I park? – In the church behind the market there is parking offered during the market.
  • Where is the Market? 644 Veterans Way, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1L8

There are so many vendors who frequently are at the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market from produce, eggs, baked goods, and crafts just to name a few. To view the entire vendor list check out the website here.

Happy Shopping and don’t forget your reusable bag!