As part of our plan to travel closer to home this summer we planned a trip to Bowen Island. While I am not sure if Bowen Island is actually considered part of the Lower Mainland it is very close to us. Much closer than it would be for us to drive to say, Chilliwack. And we have not ever been to any of the many Islands that surround us, except of course the big one. We chose to travel to Bowen Island on a Monday and to leave from Granville Island aboard the Granville Island Water Taxi instead of using the BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay. This enabled us to walk to the Water Taxi dock at the Aquatic Center (Bute & Beach) and to take the $3 shuttle across in time to browse the Granville Island market for dinner before boarding for the 35 minute ride. For only $15 one way or $25 round trip and with scheduled trips every 2 or so hours, this was a much better option than driving to Horseshoe Bay and leaving our car overnight. Our ‘captain’ for the trip was Simon who told us that the ride would be ‘choppier’ than usual because of a storm system to the north, and choppy it was. But we made it safely across into the calm waters of Snug Cove.
After the bumpy ride we decided to stop for lunch before exploring. We found a great table on the upper patio of Doc Morgan’s Restaurant and Marine Pub with a view of the marina. We ate seafood chowder, salmon and cream cheese wontons and fish & chips all while watching the BC Ferry pull in and out of the tiny bay. Once recovered from the bumpy ride, we ventured on soon to realize that the only flat place on the Island was the first 20 meters from the dock, otherwise everything was uphill. We browsed the stores on the main drag – Bowen Trunk Road – but were disappointed to find several of them closed. We were also happy that we had eaten at Doc’s as many of the restaurants were closed as well. We noted for future that for all of the restaurant and stores to be open visitors should plan for a mid-day trip Friday to Sunday. From the main street we decided to make the hike up to the Artisan Square which though not far by distance required the use of a steep uphill trail including several long sets of stairs. Once at the village the view was great, but again several of the businesses were closed. We did find Cocoa West Chocolatier open and purchased some organic chocolate treats for desert. After making our way back down we were ready to head to the place that we had booked for the night.
The name of the property was ‘Eagle Cliff Suite’ and the owner told us that the bus would take us there. We waited at the Library for the Bowen Island Translink Bus that provides service every 1 to 1.5 hours to two routes on the Island. The bus will stop to drop-off or pick-up anywhere along the routes. While our bus driver did not know the exact location of the suite another passenger on the bus did and we were dropped off right in front after the 10 minute ride that was basically all up hill. From the road we climbed another 40 or so steps up to the suite. The room was spacious and well decorated and the little extra touches made us feel right at home. There was a large deck with two chairs facing the water and of course, with the walking and the driving all up hill our final destination did have one great view! Besides the deck, another great feature of the room was the outdoor rain shower complete with granite slabs and moss growing at your feet. The very quite and still night was a completely different from the night sounds of traffic and sirens that we are used to.
The next morning while waiting for the bus back to the center of town a nice local offered us a ride. Being a resident since 2003 he told us about the great community feeling that exists on the Island that is hard to find in other areas and that with people of all ages and all professions as diverse as anywhere else in BC that he would likely not leave. We spent the morning hiking a few of the many island trails and took in some more of the great views. After lunch we again boarded the Granville Island Water Taxi for a ride that was even worse than the first and I was glad that I had declined the second beer at lunch. We picked up dinner at the Granville Island market before the return Water Taxi to the Aquatic Center and the walk home. The trip was a great experience and we will likely make it again when we need a ‘break’ from the business that is our life. But we both did agree that we love the city and will likely never choose to live anywhere else for a long while.