the wandering chick
...the Cowichan Valley

There are a few highlights in Cowichan Valley that helped make my trip on Vancouver Island so very enjoyable.

I remember the friendly seaside town of Cowichan Bay and its colorful, cheery boathouses and harbor.

I will forever remember the Alderlea Farm and Café, its charming grounds, its delicious wood-fired pizza and its new baby calf that had just been born a few days before we visited.

And I will remember fondly Chemainus, the town of murals.

a stark difference from the wild coast
boathouse with plants
Not all of the nearly 3000 residents of Cowichan Bay live in floating homes, but they are the ones who attract the most attention and draw both locals and tourists to the waterfront.
colorful houseboat
waterfront building
small boat
waterfront homes
waterfront buildings
nautical garden
main street shops
mainstreet shops
Cowichan Bay's main street is lined with all sorts of shops that offer everything from organic breads to whale-watching tours.
autumn tree
A stark difference from the bayfront is the quiet charm of the countryside dotted with wine vineyards, farmhouses and roadside honesty markets. Here, the Alderlea Farm and Cafe welcomes visitors to local produce and savory meals.
farmhouse porch
This week-old calf seems still unsure of life outside the shelter of his mom's protection.
pizza and salad
Only certain days of the week are wood-fired pizza days at Alderlea. This day was a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
yellow blooming flower
one-land bridge
One-lane bridges are common not only in the Cowichan Valley, but throughout the whole of Vancouver Island's countryside.
The Kinsol Trestle is said to be the most impressive of several wooden trestles in the Cowichan Valley. It's more than 600 feet long (187 meters) and rises 145 feet (44 meters) above the Koksilah River. Its construction took nine years, from 1911 until 1920 and was used in the huge logging industry of the time to transport timber. In the 1930s it was heavily damaged by floods, then went through many years of neglect and vandalism. It wasn't until 1999 that the Cowichan Valley began work to restore the structure for park use. Its new opening was in 2012.
Looking down at the Koksilah River from the Kinsol Trestle, 600 feet above.
sunset over lake with pier
Sunset over Cowichan Valley's Shawnigan Lake
mural of first nation people
Chemainus is a quaint little seaside town known for its some 40 murals scattered around town on the sides of buildings. The murals depict the culture and history of this town of First Nation heritage and logging and fishing industries. It's fondly called Muraltown by the locals.
Prior to World War II, Chemianus had a strong Japanese population. In fact, a section of the town was called Japan Town, and most of its residents were mill workers. Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese residents were sent to internment camps on the island.
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