Lift The Latch... And Go Back In Time
By Chris McBeath

Imagine a romantic getaway that takes you to just that. Away! Away from frantic busy lifestyles of cell phones, voice mail and conference calls.

Back to an era when books replaced TVs and people conversed in parlors instead of through e-mail. Well, on one weekend away, we decided to go in search of just that. And what we discovered, we loved!

Half an hour from Victoria, in the small town of Sidney, B.C., The Latch Country Inn and Shoal Harbour Inn, sit side by side, privately nestled among towering firs and cedars. Built in the 1920’s for the Lieutenant-Governor Walter C. Nichol, it was once used as a summer retreat for entertaining dignitaries to debutantes.

All of the suites express the era of the early 1900’s, with effective use of antiques and reproductive furnishings. Magnificent paintings on some of the paneled walls are original art works by artist, Sheldon Williams when the Inn was first built.

Our suite, The Miraloma, was the largest of the five and was at one time the drawing room. It boasts a knotty pine four poster, puffed up elegantly by fine linens, plump pillows, and is overlaid with a goose down duvet. Before dinner, we curled up in one of the love seats with the complimentary bottle of champagne and enjoyed the glow from the gas fireplace.

The cozy library dining room lit by candlelight and decorated with lace was a wonderfully elegant setting as we sat at our garden view window. The menu is European combined with a Westcoast flair, and the use of locally harvested produce is flavourful and delicious. We savored every spoonful of the heavenly squash soup and our main entree’s were both out of this world.

Lavish in the luxury of a soaker tub or take time in the fireside sitting room, originally known as the parlor. It’s great stone fireplace surrounded by an array of heirlooms takes you to a time past. After dinner, we relaxed to the sounds of soft jazz and classical while enjoying the tranquil view of the harbour inlet.

The aroma of brewed coffee enticed us out of bed the next morning, and waiting in the guest sitting room was a continental breakfast of freshly baked croissants and a cheese platter. Wanting to enjoy the view, we finished off our meal by taking our coffee onto our private balcony. Looking over the harbor, the only sound that we could hear was the squawking from the occasional sea gull. The tranquillity and peace was such an inviting change we didn’t want to leave.

For us, this getaway was a wonderful chance to escape our busy pace and reconnect with each other. With fine hospitality, divine accommodation and a setting made with romance in mind, we were able to go back in time, and do just that, simply by lifting... The Latch.

Groups can also be accommodated for family events, private luncheons, meetings and corporate functions. The ultimate dream wedding can also be arranged, complete with a horse drawn Cinderella Carriage.

Activities close by include The Butchart Gardens, Museums, whale watching, fishing, golf and kayaking rentals. The town of Sidney is also great for browsing with varied craft shops and book stores.

If You Go:

The Latch Country Inn & Shoal Harbour Inn
2328 Harbour Road, Sidney, B.C. V8L2P8
Tel: 250-656-6622
Fax: 250-656-6212
Web site:

Vancouver and other lower mainland travelers: B.C. Ferries accommodates travelers from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay terminals to Swartz Bay. General Information for sailing schedule is 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)

For our State-side Neighbors: Either the Victoria Clipper, The Princess Marguerite, or the Washington State Ferries will meet your needs

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