“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.
Field Trip to Pender Island
Leaving Vancouver, driving Highway 99 South and then Highway 17 West to take BC Ferries over to the island from Tsawwassen, sailing on the (80 minutes) ferry to Pender Island. There is a lot to do once on board the ferry. As we took the only non-stop ferry of the day, it is best to make a reservation far in advance if you need to make your way to the island on a specific the day you are planning to travel. There are other ferries that go to Pender Island which have a few island stops along the way, see the BC Ferries schedule for details. Arriving on North Pender Island it was an approx. 25 min drive to reach Poets Cove Resort located on South Pender Island.
Arrived to the beautiful Poets Cove Resort & Spa which was home for the next few days. Situated within a secluded bay on Pender Island, this luxury resort featured a full-service marina and spa. The West Coast-style lodge boasts stunning ocean views and sunsets overlooking Bedwell Harbour.
We stayed in a Lodge room that featured a king bed, bathroom with turbo jet bathtub, and a harbour view.
The resort features the Susurrus Spa, a nice fitness room, an outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor fresh salt water pool and hot tub, a couple of restaurants, and more.
On the first night, we had dinner at Syrens Bistro & Lounge, an upscale pub with indoor and outside patio seating which is where we dined.
Here Lawrence and I shared several dishes starting off with a Mango juice for me and a Ginger Beer for him, along with the Poets Artisan Greens with grilled salmon; followed by the delicious Kale & Roast Garlic Artichoke dip with Naan and tortilla chips, beet chips.
The Salish Seacuterie board with candied & smoke salmon, mason jar pickled vegetables, warm baguette, whipped fennel butter, lavender rosemary stone mustard, caper berries and hot peppers was another great dish to share.
The Harbour Burger with smoked Gouda, applewood bacon, Avocado green goddess, served with yam fries was very good as was the Cauliflower Tempura Bowl with toasted quinoa, edamame, Korean chilli sauce and sesame.
The next morning we experienced the Susurrus Spa where I enjoyed a Medium Pressure Massage; and Lawrence had the Poet’s Signature Facial. Each spa appointment includes a private locker, lemon water, herbal tea, dried fruit and nuts, complimentary use of their eucalyptus steam cave which I loved and ocean view hot tub. It is best to book your spa appointments or packages in advance even before you arrive at the resort.
We spent the afternoon exploring both the Southern and Northern parts of the islands, aside from the resort being located on South Pender Island, most of the other spots worth noting from the shops, eateries, cidery and the winery are located on North Pender Island. For lunch we visited independently owned Jo’s Place where they offer inside and outside dining, we enjoyed our lunch inside where I had the West Coast Skillet off of their all day breakfast menu.
A couple of minutes away is Twin Island Cider, the only cidery on the island which is located at 5601 Lupin Rd, Pender Island, their tasting room is open daily from 12pm – 4pm (seasonaly) here I had a chance to taste all the different ciders they produce and learn more about their operation and which restaurants they supply on the mainland and islands.
A couple minutes drive and we were at Sea Star Vineyards which is the only winery on the island, located at 6621 Harbour Hill Drive, Pender Island, their Tasting room is open daily 11am – 4pm (seasonaly). Here I had a chance to taste a selection of wines that they produce using grapes from their Pender Island vineyard as well as their Saturna Island vineyards.
For dinner on our second night, we ate on the outside patio at Aurora, open seasonally, is known as the best fine dining experience on Pender Island with dishes inspired by local produce and it is located within Poets Cove Resort & Spa.
We started our dining adventure with a glass of the Sea Star Vineyards Blanc Du Noir (Rose) which paired well with our appetizers, the Halibut Ceviche & Grilled Peach Crisps with avocado, sweet potato, Pender Island pea tendrils; and the Chilled Mediterranean Olive Soup .
For our mains, I had the West Coast Halibut with puy lentils, Kale & shiitakes, summer squash, grape tomato salsa, preserved lemon vinaigrette; while Lawrence enjoyed the Filet of Beef with lobster gratin, smoked mashed potato, island vegetables, oyster mushrooms, grain mustard, and dark matter jus.
For dessert, I had the delicious Vanilla Citrus Crème Brûlée; while he had the Strawberry Cheesecake.
The next day after checking out of the resort, we headed back to Jo’s Place for lunch where I had a tasty Salmon Burger. From here we drove around the island visiting other scenic spots that included Hope Bay where a cute little chocolate shop Pender Chocolates is located, here we got a selection to enjoy.
It was a nice few days visiting the Pender Island before heading back to Vancouver.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: The Poets Cove Resort and Spa provided us with complimentary accommodation, spa experience and meals. BC Ferries provided the ferry transportation.