I knew it was going to be awesome when I headed off to Long Beach Lodge Resort in Tofino this past weekend, but I didn’t quite realize just how special it would be. You know when a friend comes back from a trip and shows you a slideshow of photos that is just way too long, but you put up with it anyways because you know it’s important to them? Well, I left Tofino with almost 1000 photos and even my family found it difficult to help me narrow them down to an acceptable number for a blog post. That is how epic the trip was.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Tofino, but it’s a town on the west coast of Vancouver Island that is famous for surfing, storm watching, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and basically any other Canadian coastal activity you can think of. I went there knowing I would be enjoying these activities and that it would be awesome, but what I didn’t know was that staying at Long Beach Lodge Resort would add a special little twist to each thing that I did making it that much more memorable.
I have been contemplating how to write this post for several days now because I really want to give it the justice it deserves. I wish I could tell you about every one of the wonderful things that happened during this trip, but I also don’t want to turn this into a mini adventure novel. So, after some serious thinking, I have decided to write you a few little stories, each one based around some of my best memories of the weekend. Here it goes.
Getting my first dog
I’ve never owned a dog before, but I am pretty obsessed with them.
It’s early morning in Tofino and we are standing on the beach in front of the resort. A surf girl walks passed us with her board in her hands and a dog trailing behind her. She heads straight out into the water telling her dog to stay on the beach. We think we hear her say Jessie and although we aren’t 100% sure, that’s what we decide to call her. The dog listens to her owner, stops where she is and watches her swim out into the surf. Once her owner is safely out in the waves, Jessie turns around, walks over to us and takes a seat at our feet. The situation is already pretty cute, but it just keeps getting better.
We are wandering around checking out the beach and Jessie comes with us each step of the way. We never say anything, but she walks right beside us (never in front) and stops every time that we do. If we pick up a rock or a sand dollar, she makes sure she’s looking at it with us. If we throw something she always brings it back. As we near the end of the beach, we pretty quickly realize that this dog basically ours until her owner comes back. Finally, I have a dog of my very own and to top it off, she is the best dog ever.
We aren’t sure if this is a good idea because she isn’t actually ours, but we walk past the end of the beach and head into a trail. Jessie comes with us. Eventually we reach a series of cliffs and whenever we sit down, Jessie sits down beside us. I have never seen a dog this adorable, let alone have one decide to be my friend.
We could adventure forever with Jessie, but then her owner would be sad. We return to the beach and get ready to head into The Lodge for lunch. Jessie follows us right up to the hotel’s stairs and our hearts hurt when it’s time to leave her behind. Jessie watches until the hotel doors close behind us and then turns around and heads back onto the beach. We see her sit there, watching and waiting for her owner to return. We aren’t sure if she makes new friends every day or if we are particularly special, but I consider her my first dog and will remember her forever. Cheesy, I know.
We later find out that Long Beach Lodge Resort is dog friendly; if I had known this at the time, I can assure you that this story would have ended quite differently. I hope you enjoy all Jessie pictures below. If only we spoke with her owner so that she could see the photos too.
Sunrise coffee walks
Morning coffee is one of my favourite times of day. When I go to sleep at night, I am already excited to wake up and drink coffee.
Because of my obsession with this morning ritual, it is one of the travel experiences I value most. My morning coffee time at Long Beach Lodge Resort was up there with the best. Because it’s winter, sunrise doesn’t happen until after 7 am making it pretty painless to wake up and enjoy it. Mornings at The Lodge would involve waking up, pushing the brew button and looking out the hotel room window to catch the first glimpses of the sun as it appears over the water. Once the coffee was ready, we would throw on our coats and head out to the beach. I can’t remember having seen frosted sand before, but it’s a pretty magical thing. We spent awhile obsessing over the ground and windblown trees that looked like something out of Disney’s frozen. Hi, Elsa!
Our fascination with the sand complete, we sat down on a few of The Lodge’s beachside chairs and turned our eyes back towards the water. Alongside our delicious cups coffee, we took in the day as it slowly began. It was another one of those perfect coffee filled mornings.
Making a surf friend
We wandered into The Surf Club at The Lodge to inquire about surfing. We were greeted by a lovely girl who informed us that if we wanted to surf, we had better do it now because the waves were going to be far too big for us tomorrow. Although I didn’t surf because I was too busy taking photos, the next thing we knew my friend was headed out to the beach in her wetsuit. On our way passed the hotel, we ran into Regan whom we had met working in The Great Room during lunch. He had just finished work and was headed out to surf. Although we had only spoke briefly, we were excited to have someone we knew out there on the beach with us.
Regan quickly clued into the fact that Isabelle was a beginner surfer and offered to give her some help. Maybe I’ve been in the big city for too long, but I was very touched by Regan’s willingness to give his time to teach my friend; it is people like this that can make a good experience that much greater.
Our new (human) friend also gave us some other inside tips about Tofino which helped to ensure that we had the best experience possible. Thank you, Regan.
Relaxing in the greatest room ever
Before arriving at The Lodge we had already heard about The Great Room, but walking into the hotel and actually seeing it is another experience all together. The room is essentially a big open space with high ceilings and walls of windows that looks out over the stunning ocean. Within the room there is an open kitchen cooking local seafood, dining tables arranged with perfect window views, a lively bar in the corner and a series of couches arranged around a grand fireplace. Yes, Tofino is meant for adventures, but I could have easily spent the whole weekend sitting in this room.
Throughout our few days there, we tried out almost every form of “luxuriating” that The Great Room had to offer. We enjoyed morning coffee alongside the fireplace, a seafood lunch looking out over the midday waves, as well as afternoon drinks from The Great Room’s bar. At the end of the day we sat by the windows and watched in awe as the sun set over the water, casting a glow over our surroundings that is impossible to take a photo of let alone write about. I tried my best and the photos below are beautiful, but nowhere near as wonderful as the real life experience.
Alongside these stories, we had many other memorable experiences in Tofino. Whether it be the Resort’s warm hot tubs, sunset walks on the beach, reading on the room’s balcony, watching people Kayak surf or checking out the local attractions, our weekend at Long Beach Lodge Resort left us with a long list of wonderful memories and far too many stories to tell for one little blog post.
It was a winter holiday like none I’ve had before, but definitely one that I will take again. The warm and welcoming atmosphere of The Lodge was a great reminder of what I want my Christmas to be about and couldn’t have come at a better time as the holiday season approaches. Although we didn’t do any winter storm watching, we can’t really complain about having perfect weather. The storms will be saved for my next trip. What do you think, family? Perhaps next Christmas?
Until next time, Tofino.