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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Five Top Travel Tips for Visiting the Creative Island Gem of Salt Spring near Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sometimes, you just know. Know that ultimately, you will “get to that place”. Know it’s on your list of destinations that call to you. Such has been prelude ahead of me going to Salt Spring Island, part of the Southern Gulf Islands in the Greater Vancouver area.

I first heard of Salt Spring Island – and believe it or not – in Japan. Japan!? Yes. It was when I met Prof. Masao Mizuno, and his team at Kanazawa Creative Tourism, that he told me to go Salt Spring Island. “Go there, Elena, whenever you get a chance to visit Western Canada.” I smile. 18 months after he had said that to me, I am here. And finding that he is indeed my missing link for being here: Half of the people I’ve met on Salt Spring Island know him AND are currently expecting him and his friends from Japan on another visit soon!

 

Salt Spring Island holds part of the same magic it does for me as a first-time visitor: Go there and you will be granted to slow down, smile, and see things differently.

“Salt Spring Island: Discover Yourself Here!”, is the brand message run by the local Salt Spring Tourism board, embodied by driven, capable and very warm-hearted Janet . Go and see her and her team at the Visitor Information Centre for a hand at planning your visit. So how do you even get to Salt Spring in the first place, you may ask?

Harbour Air runs regular sea plane flights from Vancouver Harbour and is a great choice if you don't bring a car and want a scenic flight in over a mere ferry ride arrival.

Harbour Air runs regular sea plane flights from Vancouver Harbour and is a great choice if you don’t bring a car and want a scenic flight over a mere ferry ride arrival: Tickets are $135 including luggage and – guess what – amazing Southern Gulf Islands views.

 

Here is a map to help you better locate Salt Spring Island on your future travel plans:

 

“Our big focus on Salt Spring Island is ‘Outdoor Recreation’,” Janet says. So why not start your visit with an “Island Escapes” kayak trip?

“We are running a morning tour right now, leaving at 11.45 a.m. It includes cookies & coffee at Chocolate Beach!”, Kevin and his team at Island Escapes Kayak are telling me, welcoming me with a smile. Chocolate Beach? My foodie self is thinking, “Chocolate Fountain!”, while Kevin chooses to keep it a secret for the moment, only deciding to reveal it to us at the very beach itself. I just love my three hour tour on a single kayak in a group of five – and find that I am more and more a natural at kayaking. Check this out.

Go kayaking: The perfect opportunity for being on the water in a natural place such as Salt Spring Island ...

Go kayaking: The perfect opportunity for being on the water in a natural place such as Salt Spring Island …

 

... landing ourselves here for lunch ...

… landing ourselves here for lunch: It’s “Chocolate Beach” for a type of orchid that used to grow here, on a “white sandy beach” made up by eons of travelling First Nation people, eating shellfish after shellfish here …

 

... and finding I have missed the childhood pleasure of being on a swing for much too long!

… and finding I have missed the childhood pleasure of being on a swing for much too long!

 

Island Escapes' kayak tour includes many an opportunity to learn more about the natural environment around us. Such as being handed a starfish for closer inspection!

Island Escapes’ kayak tour includes many an opportunity to learn more about the natural environment around us. Such as being handed a starfish for closer inspection!

 

Next up, Tip Number Two: Go get yourselves on a “Salt Spring Tour” bus exploring what the island has to offer in terms of wine, beer, food & local farm producers.

Jason’s tour is the perfect wrap-up for anyone who wants to explore what Salt Spring Island is all about in a “tasty nutshell”. For being only 10.500 people on an area 27 km long and 14 km wide, the Salt Spring Islander spirit is very much about being resourceful, inventive, driven as well as laid-back. “Tour Salt Spring” offers a taste of all of that spirit and more, expressed through meeting local food & wine/spirit producers. Come take this drive with me …

... boarding Jason's bus for our very first stop at "Mistaken Identity" Vineyards, the first out of three local wine producers we meet on Salt Spring Island ...

… boarding Jason’s bus for our very first stop at “Mistaken Identity” Vineyards, the first out of three local wine producers we meet on Salt Spring Island …

 

... continuing our visit by meeting the local cider producers at Salt Spring Wild ...

… continuing our visit by meeting the local cider producers at Salt Spring Wild …

 

... love how Jason knows how to compliment the information brought to us by the producers through his own wealth of knowledge ...

… love how Jason knows how to compliment the information brought to us by the producers through his own wealth of knowledge …

 

... taking us to Salt Spring Vineyards next ...

… taking us to Salt Spring Vineyards next …

 

... where the grape harvest is likely to be in full swing soon ...

… where the grape harvest is likely to be in full swing soon …

 

... and whose adjoining "Garry Oaks Vineyards" reveal locally grown treasures such as "Gewürztraminer" and "Zweigelt" varieties to me, making me feel like home as the Austrian where these names (and varieties) originally come from!

… and whose adjoining “Garry Oaks Vineyards” reveal locally grown treasures such as “Gewürztraminer” and “Zweigelt” varieties to me, making me feel like home as the Austrian where these names (and varieties) originally come from!

 

But there's not only wine on Salt Spring Island. A local brewery by the same name is just starting out, too ...

But there’s not only wine on Salt Spring Island. A local brewery by the same name is just starting out, too …

 

... and so is "Salt Spring Cheese", started by a gourmet professional from Toronto: Many of the things I find on Salt Spring Island are due to the passion, talent and creativity of the people that moved here over time.

… and so is “Salt Spring Cheese”, started by a food trade professional from Toronto: Many of the things I find on Salt Spring Island are due to the passion, talent and creativity of the people that have moved here over time.

 

So where to go for exploring more of that talent? That’s Travel Tip Number Three for you: Go check out the following farms, markets, as well as foodie hot spots on Salt Spring Island.

Morningside Organic Café & Bakery: A story in itself, located in Fulford Harbour. Hastings House for a perfect local food platter, complimented by great Salt Spring wines. Every Tuesday, the island runs a farmers’ market from 2.00 – 6.00 p.m. in the afternoon, rallying up gorgeous local food producers from sea salt, to violet peppers and all the way to lavender ice cream. A foodie fest not to be missed, for sure!

Exploring Salt Spring Island food can happen anywhere from people's own backyard ...

Exploring Salt Spring Island food can happen anywhere from people’s own backyard …

 

... to farmers' markets ...

… to farmers’ markets …

 

... (still dreaming about this one of a kind pepper selection) ...

… (still dreaming about this one of a kind freshly coloured pepper selection) …

 

... and local, "help-yourself" farm stands located near almost every driveway on Salt Spring Island.

… and local, “help-yourself” farm stands located near almost every driveway on Salt Spring Island.

 

As mentioned: Morningside Organic for a great local foodie / coffee / vegan / life philosophy place ...

As mentioned: Morningside Organic for a great local foodie / coffee / vegan / life philosophy place …

 

... or Hastings House for that delicious, shared local food platter complimented by Salt Spring wines. Mmmh!

… or Hastings House for that delicious, shared local food platter complimented by Salt Spring wines. Mmmh!

 

Adding to that, are some interesting facts about the local culture. Tip Number Four is all about keeping your eyes, minds & hearts open …

... for the fun part in

… for the fun part in learning that “squash” is not about being “squashed”, nor “playing squash” here, but actually means pumpkin!

 

Also, keep your eyes open for signs taking you up Maxwell Lookout, the island's highest elevation at just over 600 metres above sea level ...

Also, keep your eyes open for signs taking you up Maxwell Lookout, the island’s highest elevation at just over 600 metres above sea level …

 

... where down on the ground again, you can re-connect with some of the island's first nation history at the recently erected welcome poles at Byrgone Bay, spearheaded by local Joe Akerman ...

… where down on the ground again, you can re-connect with some of the island’s first nation history at the recently erected welcome poles at Byrgone Bay, spearheaded by local Joe Akerman. He really is one of a kind, and definitely one to meet if you, like me, are into learning more about the First Nation history while on Salt Spring Island (or British Columbia, at that).

 

Finally, my big tip for you is GO & MEET THE ARTISTS. People really are what make Salt Spring Island such a great place to be, visit and stay.

My heart is full of love as I write this. THANK YOU, Darlene & Vaughan: Staying on Salt Spring Island would not have been the same without your tender loving care, and feeling like family with you. Same for you, Ulrieke: I just loved participating in my creative wool workshop with you!

Here is who you, too, should meet or check out on the so-called Salt Spring Studio Tour that takes you on an artful itinerary around the island. Find out more on their website www.SaltSpringStudioTour.com: The same website that got me as a creative traveller interested to come here in the first place!

Talking about art on your trip to Salt Spring Island: Mahon Hall, just across the road from Ganges Harbour, is a good place to start for familiarising yourself with local produce and works of art ...

Talking about art on your trip to Salt Spring Island: Mahon Hall, just across the road from Ganges Harbour, is a good place to start for familiarising yourself with local produce and works of art …

 

... thank you, Janet, for taking me there (and to delicious, historic Hastings House ..!) ...

… thank you, Janet, for taking me there (and to delicious, historic Hastings House ..!) …

 

... thank you for that delicious lavender ice cream (and smile) ...

… that delicious lavender ice cream (and smile) …

 

... human warmth from the beginning: Staying with local Darlene & Vaughan, who had organised a welcoming night for me ...

… human warmth from the beginning: Staying with local Darlene & Vaughan, who had organised a welcoming night for me …

 

... having me stay as a guest at their beautiful French Country Fabrics House ...

… having me stay as a guest at their beautiful French Country Fabrics House …

 

... surrounded by Darlene's world of fabric, colours & beauty ...

… surrounded by Darlene’s world of fabric, colours & beauty …

 

... all the way to meeting the very people that helped me establish Salt Spring Island's connection with Japan ...

… all the way to meeting the very people that helped me establish Salt Spring Island’s connection with Japan: Thank you Lionel, Mana & Ulrieke (from left to right) …

 

... and Ulrieke Benner in particular here, who is part of the Salt Spring Studio Tour, too, including her "Art To Wear" world of wool ...

… and Ulrieke Benner in particular here, who is also a part of the Salt Spring Studio Tour through her “Art To Wear” world of wool …

 

... including me in a creative workshop ...

… including me in a creative workshop learning how to …

 

... make one of the gorgeous "Art To Wear" shawl creations she does: Can't wait to see the finished product as I go back to see her the following week on my travels!

… make one of the gorgeous “Art To Wear” shawl creations she does: Can’t wait to see the finished product as I go back to collect it later!

 

Ready for going to Salt Spring Island? As if you needed more reasons … Here is the complete photo collection I took while there:

 

I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂

 

See you soon in Salt Spring 😀

 

Disclaimer: I have been supported by Salt Spring Island Studio Tour & Tourism Board on this creative visit to Salt Spring Island. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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2 Comments

  1. Fabrizio Ranzolin

    Cara Amiga Elena!

    É com entusiasmo que estamos acompanhando suas aventuras no Canadá, esta terra tão linda, de beleza singular e selvagem!! Envie abraços aos indígenas desta terra, se os encontrar; sempre admirei a força dos nativos tradicionais desta região, por sobreviverem com dignidade e beleza, neste belo e inóspito canto do mundo…. Agradecemos por compartilhar essas belezas conosco! Boa viajem! Abraços do Brasil!!

    Reply
    • Elena

      Fabrizio,

      Muito obrigada como sempre, eu cada vez acho tão linda a sua forma de expressar os seus pensamentos e seguir os meus movimentos de viajante pelo mundo fora 🙂 A força dos nativos aqui realmente tem beleza, você tem toda a razão. 

      Segue para ver mais!

      Um abraço do norte,

      Elena 

      Reply

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