Wake up with the sunshine, stretch, and prepare yourself for a day of nature loving, food munching, and community exploring.
No matter where you are staying, your first stop on a Saturday should be Mt. Maxwell Coffee. They are set up in the coolest, most space-efficient little shipping container-gone-coffee-can that you ever did see. It is bright turquoise so you can't miss it right downtown next to Mahon Hall. They will whip you up a caffeinated beverage made from locally roasted beans. As you sip your dark energy elixir, take a wander towards Centennial Park, where our famous Saturday Market takes place every summer weekend. Vendors are usually in full swing by 9am and stick around until about 4pm. The market policy is that vendors must “make it, bake it, or grow it” so that everything you see is locally produced.
There are over 140 artisans and food producers that participate in this market. For foodstuffs and snacks, we always like to visit Heather Breads, Rolly Polly Rice Balls, and grab a refreshing treat from Salt Spring Fruitsicles. A must is tasting the goat cheeses at the Salt Spring Cheese booth, and it is highly recommended to take some home with you. A wander down the farm stand aisle will lead you to offerings of organically grown veggies of the highest quality. Stock up for dinner and then some; take home a bouquet of cut flowers from Bullock Lake Farm and signature garlic salt from Duck Creek Farm to elevate your table.
There is a smorgasbord of artisan wares. Our humble Island doesn't seem large enough to produce the talent that pours out on to the many small tables. Scents flow from Salt Spring Soapworks, Sasspot offers unique ceramics, and jewelery made from wood, silver, rose petals, and glass catch the eye from all directions. For the kids, the best stall has to be the Monster Lab, with adorable furry creations peeking out of pockets and hanging from their cloth tree.
And of course, stop by to say hello to us at our Thrive tent! We bring all of our locally designed and produced clothes to add some style to the markets goers' wardrobes.
Undoubtedly our biggest market advice is to talk to the locals. The people running the market booths live and breath the Island lifestyle. Ask them about their farms, about what they love to do here, and what inspires them. Salt Spring is an extraordinary place, and that energy comes from the residents' ability to connect with their surroundings and give back to their community. Many a visitor has become enchanted with this place, some so much, that they never leave.
After you've connected with the Island's entrepreneurial force, it is a good time to go exploring, especially if you have never visited before. Head to Dockside Mechanical to grab a couple of scooters and zoom your way around our winding roads. A lovely loop is heading North, past St. Mary's lake, to Fernwood, and riding along the water and past the rolling farmlands. Stop for photo ops, take in the scenery, and make use of your peppy horn. Don't forget your stylish scarf!
If the sun is beating down on you, it's time to hit the water. There are many public swimming spots on the Island. Depending on your locale, St Mary's, Cusheon, and Stowell lakes are always reliably refreshing. If you are game for the salt water, head to Vesuvius beach and douse yourself in the shallows of the protective cove.
After a cool down, dinner is probably creeping up on you. If you have kitchen facilities during your stay, head to Thrive for some Foodie Dice to inspire a meal that you can make with your fresh organic produce from the market. Eat outside in the warm evening air, and pair your meal with a local wine from one of our many local vineyards.
If you need some assistance in the food making department, plop yourself down on the patio of Shipstones with a fish taco and a beverage and dine just feet from the ocean's edge. Or hop around the corner and eat under branches at the Tree House, which is quite literally built around a tree. Often live music sounds from both locations in the evening, making the Ganges Harbour come alive.
To round out your day, find some silence, and think about how lucky you are to be in such a naturally beautiful and safe place. Gaze up at the stars that will not be blurred from sight due to the bright orange glow of city lights. This little piece of west coast paradise is a haven for those in need of connection, of re-grounding, of a reminder that the simpler things in life are often the most important. Come and find what you need.