Gimme Just a Little More Time – Part 2

Posted on August 29, 2013

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St. Mark's Annual Fair

St. Mark’s Annual Fair

St. Mark's Annual Fair

St. Mark’s Annual Fair

Hubby and I so enjoyed discovering St. Mark’s Annual Craft Fair in Qualicum Beach last year, we just had to return again for this year’s event. With over 100 vendors on site and a half-dozen buildings to sniff around in, it’s best to come prepared with comfortable walking shoes and cash. The smell of freshly baked cookies wafted in the air as good ol’ folksy music and line dancing were being performed. Searching through stalls of quirky flea market wares and hand-crafted, artisan products made for an eclectic few hours. Despite the large crowds of people searching for that unique and funky item, we managed to get a decent start on a few Christmas presents. It’s an event that brings people from all over Vancouver Island together on one Saturday – a bit chaotic with traffic but loads of fun.

Twisted Sisters Tea Room

The Twisted Sisters Tea Room

Chemainus mural 1

The first Chemainus mural.

Our travels next took us to the lovely community of Chemainus, south of Nanaimo. Its claim to fame is the 40-plus giant wall murals painted on walls and store-fronts around the town. The various industries and characters that belong to the history of Chemainus have been lovingly depicted in colour murals along a walking tour of the old and new parts of the town.

Couple statue - Chemainus

Sweethearts enjoying Chemainus’ main street.

Chemainus Town Laundry

Chemainus Town Laundry

Main street of Chemainus

The quaint main street.

As we walked past the charming Victorian painted shops with gingerbread scrolls and cupolas on the rooftops, and gorgeous floral hanging baskets adorning the streets, we were transported back to the days of early settlers who worked extremely hard and a social society that still valued prestige and formality. We were even entertained with a Blue Grass Festival taking place in the central town park – with banjos, plaid shirts and bales of hay!

Carved bears in Chemainus

Carved bears in the Hidden Garden

What is better after a long, toasty walking tour than a pit-stop at the Hidden Garden cluster of boutique shops on the main street for a cold drink and some ice cream. There were topiary creatures sharing our resting place in the shade and carved wooden teddy bears draped on bannisters and poles throughout the small area.

Harry Potter sorting hat

Looks fetching – right?

One shop, Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company proved to be a magnet for me, despite having had the ice cream treat. A sinister welcome “Come in my Sweeties …” lures you inside a world of sweets from around the world to explore. Menacing black crows share display space with bejewelled witch’s slippers and a chimney/oven waiting for unsuspecting children.

Hansel and Gretel Candy Company

A temptation for adults too!

There was even a Harry Potter sorting hat available to help direct customers towards novelties to taste and try. I thought the hat was pretty cool regardless, and both Hubby and I left with bags of sweet treats from our childhoods. Surprisingly, one variety of Flying Saucer disks (a zingy/tart candy powder sandwiched between two concave disks made from an egg-white mixture I think) never even made it back to our motel that day. Yummmm.

Unfortunately, life has a cruel way of bringing delightful vacations to an end, leaving thoughts of heading home and work. As our send-off evening before leaving the Island for another year, we re-discovered the totally authentic British pub called the Crow and Gate, just outside of downtown Nanaimo.

Crow & Gate Pub gardens

The Crow & Gate’s garden arbour.

Located in a rural area, it was a little difficult to locate (after a few years on a previous trip), but so worth the drive. Greeted by a stunning arbor and gardens, we walked through the heavy doorway and were suddenly back in the local pub in England!

Crow & Gate Pub - Nanaimo

The Crow & Gate is authentically British.

Nothing was left out in the décor, with wooden plank tables and booths, stone and brick-work chimneys, and a two-sided bar with Brit beers on tap. Hubby was in heaven. Beer coasters and brasses adorned the ceiling beams. Heck, they even had a row of crisps (aka potato chip packets) strung near the cash register at the bar where your drinks and food orders were taken, just like back in the U.K.!

The Crow & Gate Pub's gardens

The Crow & Gate Pub’s gardens are lovely.

After a sumptuous dinner of steak and mushroom pie and a fruity cobbler dessert, we waddled our way back to the car in utter content. We knew it would be a long journey home the next day (2 1/2 hours on the ferry, then a 5-hour drive home), but it had been an excellent trip.

Sooooo … Think that was it for my summer? Hardly. With house-sitting and baby-sitting, entertaining and concerts, and catching up on reading and learning, the time has gone by too fast. Just like the Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle”, “there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them.” That just makes me want to do more things before that nasty cold weather creeps closer.

Poof in sand

Before you know it, summer’s gone!

Street boy statue

Feelin’ a bit sad to be back at work.

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