When my wife and I left Victoria for our luxurious anniversary weekend getaway at Metchosin’s Hidden Pond Bed and Breakfast and Retreat Centre, the November windstorm had just begun. As the wind increased and we began to notice evidence of power outages in the darkened houses along the way, we realized that Mother Nature might have other plans.
When we arrived at the retreat, nestled on 10 forested acres a few kilometres off Happy Valley Road, we had just enough time to look around the warm and welcoming rooms (including a large open living room, fully stocked kitchen and dining area, and a spacious bedroom with a king-sized bed) when the lights went out.
With help from owners Rob and Jo-Ann Kevala, we found flashlights, lit candles, made a roaring fire in the stone fireplace and joked that our luxurious getaway had suddenly turned into “glamping.”
With our dog, Sasha, comfortable on the fur rug in front of the living room fireplace, we knew our time there would still be comfy and cozy.
“We opened Hidden Pond about three years ago,” Jo-Ann says. “We had always wanted to create a smaller, dog-friendly space where we could host family reunions, small retreats and that sort of thing.”
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Although the retreat is only about a half-hour from Victoria, it feels remote and tranquil, with an orchard, forest trails and spring-fed swimming pond – a feature that called to us both as cold water swimming enthusiasts.
“There are quite a few nearby attractions,” Jo-Ann says. “But most people find that when they get here and experience our rural retreat and the uniqueness of the pond, they don’t want to go anywhere else!”
We awoke the next day to a beautifully sunny, quiet morning, and with tea in hand, strolled the thickly forested property, enjoying the fresh air as the dog frolicked in the ferns. Next we measured the temperature of the pond – six degrees! – and jumped into the frigid water. With hoots and hollers of exhilaration, we broke the peace, then scurried to the exquisitely warm hot tub
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Things to do nearby
After starting the day off right, we took the scenic half-hour drive up Highway 14 through the community of Sooke, to the Shirley Delicious café on Sheringham Point Road. This popular West Coast roadside gem serves up lunch, brunch and all kinds of fresh-baked goodies – the laughing and energetic young woman behind the counter gave my wife a free muffin – just because!
With coffees in hand we continued a little further up the road to visit Sheringham Point Lighthouse, a 20-metre-high beacon of safety that’s stood on the rocky coastline for more than 100 years. We took our time there, mesmerized by scenery and the waves crashing on the rocks below, before heading back to Hidden Pond.
After a lazy afternoon checking out the orchard and berry patch and fetching more firewood from the ample supply, we made the short trip down Happy Valley road for dinner at My-Chosen Cafe.
A rustic and cosy fixture of the Metchosin community, this restaurant features a backyard paddock called Critter’s Corner, complete with an assortment of goats, donkeys and other farmyard animals.
After being seated beside the fireplace, I enjoyed their delicious Workman’s burger, made with local Berryman Brothers lean ground beef and served on a toasted brioche bun, while my wife tucked into their tender breaded veal cutlet, topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions and gravy.
We completed the meal with a glass of smooth, indigo-coloured Empress Gin, made by local Victoria Distillers, before returning to Hidden Pond where we found the lights back on. After stoking the fire once again, we settled in for a wonderful evening of peace and quiet, before a restful night’s sleep.
We arose the next morning and at a leisurely pace – our gracious hosts told us we were welcome to stay the whole day – cooked a hearty breakfast, had one last walk through the trees, then packed up and headed back to the city.
All said and done, it turned out to be both a fun adventure, and a restful respite from the hectic pace of everyday life, at an amazing retreat, thoughtfully created by our amazing hosts!
If you go:
• Hidden Pond Bed and Breakfast and Retreat Centre is located just 30 minutes from Victoria at 4431 Spellman Pl., Metchosin. Learn more at hiddenpond.ca
• Shirley Delicious – Both a local favourite and visitor staple, this roadside café serves fresh-baked goodies, brunch, lunch, coffee and treats, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Monday. Visit at 2794 Sheringham Point Rd., about 15 minutes west of Sooke, or online at shirleydelicious.ca
• My-Chosen Café is in the village centre of Metchosin at 4492 Happy Valley Rd. Visit from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday (from 9 a.m Saturday and Sunday) and online at mychosencafe.com
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