Those clever Canadians; they can celebrate even the worst weather and find little rays of sunshine in the harshest climates. I'm referring, of course, to the Wickaninnish Inn, a handsome boutique hotel that clings to a rocky promontory on the west coast of Vancouver Island near the charming little town of Tofino.
A few years ago, the Wickaninnish (pronounced wick-an-IN-ish) figured out a way to celebrate truly lousy winter weather by promoting winter storm getaways. Let the winds howl! Let the rains lash the windows! May you be stranded on the west coast of Vancouver Island for days and weeks! With a bottle or two of wine from the hotel's bountiful cellar, and a sumptuous dinner in the fine-dining restaurant that is cantilevered over the ocean's breakers, and a warm Jacuzzi tub waiting in your snug ocean-view suite … well, it's not exactly roughing it. We can all enjoy a raging winter storm if somebody else's insurance is covering the roof and shutters.
When the sun comes out there are long, vacant stretches of beach to walk, and Tofino to explore, and boat rides on the wildly scenic, sheltered Clayoquot Sound. The last time I was there we came upon a deserted beach where there were easily a hundred eagles perched in trees, a reminder of how natural and untamed this part of Canada remains.
What I didn't get was a raging winter storm, so it must be time to go back. And this time, I hope the weather really sucks … so I can feel right at home at the Wickaninnish Inn.