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Salt Spring Island escape

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Salt Spring Island rises from the water just off the coast of Vancouver Island and is surrounded by the other Gulf Islands. Regular ferry service connects it to Victoria (Swartz Bay) in the south, Nanaimo in the north and Vancouver across the Georgia Straight.

Home to artists, artisan cheese makers, wineries and a wide range of accommodations and eating establishments, Salt Spring Island makes a great weekend escape from Vancouver or Victoria. A relaxed ferry ride from Tsawassen, stopping at the other Gulf Islands of Galiano, Pender and Mayne, brings Vancouver travellers to Long Harbour. Victoria travellers are serviced through Fulford/Swartz Bay and Nanaimo travellers arrive at Vesuvius.

There are just over ten thousand residents on Salt Spring Island along with thousands of deer and sheep. Much of Salt Spring Island is forested and has dozens of hiking trails and an extensive bicycling network both for road cycling and mountain biking. The roads are narrow but have very little traffic and lead to places like Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, where they have some of the smartest and friendliest dogs along with goat cheese and sheep cheese – basil, lemon and truffle are just a few of the flavours found here.

One of the many hotels on Salt Spring Island is Hastings House Country House Hotel. It's built like an old English (Sussex) manor house with several outbuildings also serving as hotel rooms. This charming hotel has gardens, sheep, shoreline walks and wonderful breakfast and afternoon tea. The food at the restaurant is reputed to be some of the best on the island and the staff are an absolute delight—friendly and helpful. This is a great place to base yourself for exploring the island—the biggest challenge is pulling yourself away from the temptation to simply relax at the hotel!