Built from the foundations of a beloved resort on South Pender Island the new Poets Cove Resort & Spa makes an ideal getaway.
There's nothing else quite like Poets Cove in the Gulf Islands, or in the San Juans for that matter ― picture a newer, more intimate Rosario or Roche Harbor on an island that has the scale of Lopez rather than Orcas or San Juan. Hand-lettered signs ― paintings, eggs ― point the way to treasures off the island's winding roads. And with no real town, the 2,000 residents catch up with their neighbors at the single small grocery store or the weekly farmers' market outside Pender Island Community Hall.
But Poets Cove isn't the only new thing on the islands. Chunks of the landscape are now part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, established three years ago to preserve the islands' ecosystems and protected marine areas. A trail leading up Mt. Norman, within the park on South Pender Island ― a quick water-taxi ride or kayak paddle away from Poets Cove ― offers breathtaking views of Bedwell Harbour, Wallace Point, and beyond.
Over in Driftwood Centre ― a mini mall serving as the islands' commercial hub ― is Pistou Grill, opened five years ago when chef-owner Pierre Delacôte traded in a career-driven life in Vancouver for a little bistro of his own. Since then he's been treating locals and visitors to lamb shank and cassoulet, seared Thai prawns and sea scallops, and "sunburned" lemon tart.
A few miles away, the century-old Hope Bay store was rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1998; now it houses a couple of gift and interior shops, a gallery run by the island's artist cooperative, and Hope Bay Café, the islands' only on-the-water restaurant.