A Different Kind of Tigh-Na-Mara Getaway


Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 — 1:29pm PST
Comments 2

“We should do this when your parents visit,” is a phrase that I’ve said to John for the last six years, which is the amount of time it’s been since his mother and father traveled to Vancouver from Iowa. My in-laws are incredible people who just happened to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this October so they planned a cross-continent journey to mark the occasion in style. They set out on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line from the Midwest, arriving in Washington state to have their own “2 Days in Seattle” experience before I picked them up.

Tigh-Na-Mara
Sunset ferry ride over to Vancouver Island.

While the list of restaurants and attractions for us to show them was seemingly endless, our overall goal for their visit was this: We wanted them to experience the West Coast in the most relaxing way possible, and we wanted to get them as close to the forest and ocean as we could. One place immediately came to mind: Tigh-Na-Mara.

The ferry across the Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia, the quick drive to Parksville from Nanaimo, the twisting arbutus trees, the rustic and modern amenities of the resort’s lodges, and the spectacular sunrise views over water made our decision to stay at the oceanside resort a no-brainer.

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Our building, Texada, and the Tigh-Na-Mara lobby building.

We were setup in two oceanview suites in the Texada building, on the very edge of the property that sat above the bay’s sand bars that disappeared and reappeared with every tidal shift. The post and beam lodges radiated a scent of warm cedar, which always evokes feelings of comfort, coziness, and being “home” for a born and raised Pacific Northwester like me.

Upon our arrival we discovered a bottle of BC wine and a cheese platter in their room, along with a 50th anniversary card that made my mother-in-law smile. In fact the pair was so giddy that they linked arms as they sipped their first glasses of wine. I knew our plan to help them relax and celebrate was already successful.

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Views from the balcony.

The first morning I set an early alarm so that I could catch the sunrise, which had already began illuminating our room through the skylight over the living room area. Within a few minutes we received an iMessage from John’s mom saying she was up to catch the sunrise as well.

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Stunning sunrises are a Tigh-Na-Mara staple.

We enjoyed two nights at Tigh-Na-Mara and each morning we would tip-toe over to John’s parent’s room in our pyjamas, like children on Christmas morning. We’d brew a pot of delicious in-room coffee and we’d all sit around on our MacBooks and get some work done for the day using the complimentary WiFi.

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Touches we enjoyed: The full kitchen and the LED lights on a dimmer switch.

After everyone was fully awake and ready to take on the day, we planned some leisurely activities:

Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Park

  • From Tigh-Na-Mara we drove 29 minutes to Cathedral Grove to show our Midwest family some good old-fashioned ancient cedars. We did the trail loop on the south side of the highway, which was easy to navigate.
  • On the way back from Cathedral Grove we stopped in at the Coombs Old Country Market (aka the Goats on Roof Market) to pick up some snacks and treats for our room. Maple salmon jerky, Raincoast crisps, Comox brie, fresh-baked buns, ham, and more.
  • Later on we went for dinner at The Cedar Room at Tigh-Na-Mara where salmon entrées were savoured and followed up by a pumpkin-spice cheesecake for dessert which arrived on a special plate decorated with “Happy 50th Anniversary”.

    The chef also sent over some pumpkin donut holes with crème anglaise for dipping. My mother-in-law is still talking about those sweet and spicy morsels to this day.

Other activities on the list that we just didn’t get to were to have tea at Milner Gardens or visit the award-winning Grotto Spa on site — where John and I have previously had some of the best massages, ever.

Having been there before on a girls spa getaway and also a romantic getaway with John during Parksville Uncorked, this was such a different experience at Tigh-Na-Mara for me. However, it was just as rejuvenating to be there with people we love and to give them that truly West Coast experience we wanted them to savour.

Tigh-Na-Mara also went out of their way to make some of the most important people in our lives feel welcome, refreshed, and celebrated, and for that I truly have to give them top marks — even higher than I have already scored them for years.

Disclosure: Review
This is not a paid post. Views are my own. We paid for one of the rooms and our meal at The Cedar Room. One room was complimentary.

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2 comments

  1. Andrea says:

    Glad to hear that you and your in-laws had a wonderful experience at the resort. Happy 50th to them 🙂

    My husband and I got married there 5 years ago and it was absolutely fabulous… the location, the views, the staff, the food, the spa, the accommodations and of course our ceremony/reception! We look forward to being able to go there again someday!

    *dreaming of treetop tapas*

  2. Josie Bollwit says:

    The vist to Tigh-Na-Mara was one of the many enjoyable things we did in B.C. Everyday spent with you and John was a real adventure but Tigh-Na-Mara stands out as a real favorite When we arrived at our cabin the hospitality extended to us made us feel so special. And when the hostess greeted us for dinner knowing we were the “50th Anniversary couple,” we knew the eveining would be nothing less than memorialble. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough for such a wonderful two days.

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