John and Wendy ffrench
Artistic & Peaceful
Navigating from British Columbia’s Vancouver Island by ferry we arrived at Salt Spring Island, staying three days at the Monivea Bed-and-Breakfast. John and Wendy O’Brien-French, hosts and owners, welcomed us as we drove up the drive, gave us a quick tour of our room-with-private-entrance and the landscaped gardens, and thus began an enchanting discovery of the island’s many charms and nuances. Salt Spring Island is part of Canada’s Gulf Islands, just a little further north than the U.S. San Juan Islands, which are in fact all part of a single archipelago. The names change at the U.S./Canada border rather than due to geological feature. Like all of these islands, Salt Spring enjoys a Mediterranean climate, giving claim to Canada’s longest frost-free growing season. The island hosts organic orchards and farms, supplying bountiful produce to farmer’s markets, roadside stands and local four-star restaurants. Each morning John and Wendy prepared a gourmet breakfast with lush berries and fresh eggs from their own chickens. They were great hosts—attentive to our needs while respectful of our privacy. Tell them of your interests and they’ll suggest a range of island experiences and landmarks for you. We explored the fragrant Sacred Mountain Lavender Gardens, relaxed along the shore at Ruckle Provincial Park, and enjoyed the animals and goat cheese at Salt Spring Island Cheese, Company. Salt Springs is home to an eclectic mix of artists, woodworkers, potters, craftspeople, musicians and nature lovers. The island is only 74-square miles, equipped with a rental car, it was easy to get around. At Monivea B&B, the rooms are cozy and clean, the gardens colorful and charming. Everywhere you look there is a new discovery…a sculpture, lotus blossom, fountain or trail. They even have their own art gallery, the Monivea Artisan Garden Gallery, with artwork by John and Wendy, Conrad O’Brien-ffrench and other local artists. I bought a number of smaller prints and cards. Their gallery offers art classes, and is included in the Salt Spring’s self-guided studio tour with 32 stops all along the island, showcasing fine art paintings, sculpture and glasswork to handmade crafts by local artisans. We were impressed with the great restaurants on this island—our favorite being House Piccolo and Hastings House. Most of all, it was the care and hospitality of John and Wendy that made this an exceptional visit. We highly recommend Monivea B&B to others and are already making plans to visit again!
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At A Glance
100% would stay again
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