This article is starting the old fashioned way (pen to paper) – while I look across miles of sandy beach and crystal clear waters. As I sit in a beach chair on a beautiful sunny day and write this article I am watching my children exploring tidal pools teaming with an abundance of magical sea life, running from one tidal pool to another, splashing and having the time of their lives. I can’t help but think how lucky we are to be here. Where are we, you ask? No we’re not in Mexico or Hawaii…we are in beautiful Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, such a magical place and just a short drive and ferry ride from our home. In this day and age, with the economy and the environment being what it is, vacationing locally just makes sense. Especially since we live near one of the most beautiful islands on the globe.
Recently voted 10th on a list of top 10 Islands in the world (wow!!) by Travel and Leisure, its’ easy to see why… Vancouver Island is spectacular. A great local, easy get-away for West Coasters and Pacific Northwesters and well worth the travel for families further away. As for accommodations, we couldn’t have picked a better place for our family. The Parksville resort Tigh-Na-Mara nestled between the forest and the ocean front in Parksville has elevated what will become an annual vacation for our family. I’m proud to support a local vacation destination and love the pampering we’ve received. How awesome to get the entire experience of a sea-side vacation and not have to worry about passports or boarding a plane. The combination of the Tigh-Na-Mara’s family friendly activities, rustic cabins and award winning dining and spa services seems to have every aspect covered for families that want the combination of family time and adult pampering.
Since arriving here on Saturday, we have gone to a local farm where our children got to ride ponies, milked and then bottle fed that milk to baby goats. We have played mini-golf and gotten soaked on bumper boats equipped with water guns. We spent an afternoon at the unique Coombs market and had a great lunch on an outdoor patio while goats walk around on the roof eating grass right above us. The best part is that all this was within 15 minutes of the hotel!
While at the resort, parents are able to relax and watch kids play unscripted in nature with shovels, buckets and imagination in-hand. The perfect environment for families of all ages, but for our family, wonderful because of how safe you feel with young children. Tigh-Na-Mara is located right at Rathtrevor Beach, where you can walk out into the ocean for a kilometer and still only be ankle deep, which makes it the perfect beach for families with young children. When the tide goes out it leaves hundreds of tidal pools perfect for toddlers to splash in and big kids to boogie board.
I’ve always thought the concept of ‘kid’s clubs’ and babysitting services were only available on cruise lines or all inclusive resorts, but that is not the case. Tigh-Na-Mara offers a wide variety of family and kid friendly activities during the summer including, swimming and tennis lessons, build your own bear workshops, Campfire stories, cave tours, dinner and movie for kids, qualified baby sitting services and the very impressive “Tigh-Na-Mara Kids Club” which offers a variety of games, arts and crafts and activities such as treasure hunts and beach tours. The kids club is safe and supervised by several of the resort’s knowledgable and friendly staff who ensure that all the kids have a great time. It runs all day and parents can drop off and pick up thier kids at thier convenience. And did I mention that it is complimentary for hotel guests. Wow…that blew me away.
While the Tigh-Na-Mara keeps your children happy and engaged, high end adult amenities are on-site like the Cedar Dining Room, Copper Lounge, and Grotto Spa. We have a spa package booked including the Grotto Mineral Pool, infused with natural minerals and elements to detoxify our weary bones <grin>. Funny, the last time we treated ourselves to this sort of luxury was on our honeymoon in Antigua 10 years ago. It’s been a busy couple of years creating our wonderful large family…so we are so looking forwards to the spa. It’s so great to know that childcare is readily available so we can enjoy this time together.
When on vacation, the whole idea is family bonding, spending time concentrating on each other without outside distractions and we have definitely been able to do that. However, it is also important to give the kids some independence and make new friendships while taking some time to enjoy some time alone as a couple. Ray and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary during our stay here and have already booked our spa time followed by a scrumptious meal at the “Treetop Tapas and Grill” which is exclusive to spa guests and where we will be dining in our bath robes. Needless to say, we don’t do that type of stuff everyday. The options offered at the Tigh-Na-Mara are truly the best of both worlds.
We are just half way through our vacation and have three glorious days left. I may just have to write another post when we get back home.
A sneak peek of the spa. . . I’ve been in love since I saw this picture on the Tigh-Na-Mara’s web site. This is the kind of natural beauty everyone needs to pamper themselves with occasionally.