Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our Haven

This year we continued the tradition of heading to our favorite getaway on Gabriola Island. It now goes by The Haven but to me it truly is Haven by the Sea (it's former name). We didn't get the best weather but this year we ended up with a large, comfortable room with a complete kitchen, patio and lovely view of their small garden plot. It didn't really seem like any less of a vacation to be reading books and cooking pancakes in our nice room.

We were lucky that the rain held out for a trip to the market. Every time we go we love visiting a local tie dye artist. I have never come across someone who does such beautiful dye work and the folks at Tied Up and Dyed. Of course we had to pick up a few tie dye items for April to wear this fall. Although the tie dye was all we came home with, the market itself was a wonderful experience. The smells of local herbal products and soaps, the beautiful colors of the apples, beets and corn, the happy sounds of friends coming together, it was the perfect community gathering place.

Even though it was raining, it was still warm. It was so warm it was uncomfortable to wear any kind of rain gear so we walked around and let the rain soak us. April was determined to spend some time in the pool at The Heaven so even in the rain, she and her dad were splashing away. She has become such a little fish. The wearable water ring we got for her has given her a lot of confidence to put her face in the water and kick her feet to get around. We could barely get her out of the pool, even though she was shivering away.

April's other very favorite experience from our trip was the visit to the Paradise Island Alpaca Farm. I found myself getting very excited to visit these fuzzy ladies. Alpacas are just so cute and soft. Though I must say they are not exactly cuddly. Still April enjoyed letting them snack away from her cup. However, the alpacas were nothing compared to the miniature horses. These horses came to the farm from abusive homes and they seem overjoyed by all the food and attention they receive here. April could have fed them all day long, she couldn't get enough of these sweet boys. Unfortunately, the farm had to remind her that they had many other visitors to see and she could not spend the day shoving hay through the fence.

The disappointment of leaving the miniature horses was soon remedied by a trip to the beach. Jon and I kicked back and wiggled our toes in the sand while April built castles, collected treasures, chased sand pipers and splashed about. It wasn't long though before the rain showed up. April, being the beach bum she is, wasn't ready to head indoors so we walked along the beach in the rain. We found jellyfish and crabs washed up on shore, we splashed in tide pools and finally made our way across the rocks back to the room.

It's always bittersweet leaving Gabriola. It is never anything less than enjoyable and we feel so relaxed by the slow pace of the island. It also feels like summer is over when we board the boat to come home, it feels a little cooler and a little darker when we say goodbye to our Haven. But we will be there again, next summer.

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