Enjoy the Charm of a Farm of Yesteryear
by Lynn Welburn
Contributor to Travelink Publishing
When people talk about getting away from it all, what they usually mean is the search for peace and quiet. A place where time stands still and where the bleat of the cell phone is replaced by the whisper of wind through a tree branch.
A spot where the hustle of traffic makes way for the gentle passage of cattle in a nearby field. Just such a place is Malahat Farm, an historic Bed and Breakfast in Sooke, B.C.
Less than an hour from all the excitement and activity of Victoria, B.C.'s capital city, Sooke is a one-stoplight town where the plethora of B&Bs speaks volumes for the quiet beauty of the surrounding countryside on the south coast of Vancouver Island.
William Anderson built Malahat Farm House in 1910 to replace the log cabin he built when he settled there in 1895. It's a charming, homey place constructed of framing lumber and grooved clapboard siding milled from timber on the property. And Anderson's craftsmanship, honed in his years as a journeyman carpenter in Yorkshire before he emigrated to Canada, shows throughout.
The curving fir staircase, for example, is constructed of pieces of flawless wood, without so much as a knot to be seen, and this attractive eye for detail is carried out in all the woodwork in the building. Hosts David and Frances Stocks have owned Malahat Farm since 1998, and continue the a long-standing tradition of welcoming visitors from all over. From 1915 to 1930, it was a guest house, and then, in more recent years, was run as a B&B by the former owners, who did a great deal of restoration work on the house.
The Stocks, also, have done as much as possible to maintain the historic home's character, and keeping old photo albums and copies of guest registers from 1915. In fact, when you wend your way up the Farm's tree-lined drive, it's like stepping back into time.
Malahat Farm includes two buildings. There's the original farmhouse, plus a cottage built in 1919 where Anderson's son Herbert raised his family. Accommodations in the main house consist of two rooms, named for Anderson's daughters. Lavinia's Room overlooks the meadow and orchard and is furnished with a queen-sized bed and en suite bathroom. Margaret's room offers a view of the front garden and includes both a queen-sized and a day bed plus private bath. The main house also offers guests a comfy living room with fireplace, a reading room stocked with an excellent collection of books and magazines, and a dining room where Frances serves up home-baked breads, garden vegetables and orchard fruits.
While rooms in the main house are adult-oriented, families can enjoy the cottage which has been restored yet has few alterations from its early days. It is completely self contained with three bedrooms (sleeping up to eight people), a living room with fireplace, a wide verandah and a delightful country kitchen where guests can cook their own meals.
There's lots to do in Sooke. In addition to simply relaxing at the farm, you can hike, bike or horseback ride along part of the Galloping Goose Trail, a 60 kilometre trail between Victoria and Leechtown. Or, you can explore the 3,512 acres of East Sooke Regional Park which includes secluded coves, forests, a petroglyph and an abandoned copper mines. Then there's the entire West Coast Road which follows more than 70 kilometers of beaches ranging from the sandy China Beach to the fascinating tidal pools at Botanical Beach. Eco-tourists will find plenty of opportunity for whale watching, fishing and kayaking. And for those who prefer indoor activities, there's a museum, dozens of galleries and artisans' shops in the area, as well as restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and other places to while away a day. Then, at the end of the day, you'll realize just how 'away from it all' you really are. Settling into Malahat Farm's hot tub, you'll gaze up at the stars over the silent fields and as your cares wash away, you'll hear the whisper of wind through the tree branches.
If You Go:
2675 Anderson Road
Tel: (250) 642-6868.
Fax: (250) 642-1543
Web site: www.malahatfarm.com.
Hosts: David and Frances Stocks
You can reach Victoria by ferry or airplane from Seattle or Vancouver.
At the north end of Victoria, along Highway #1, follow the road signs to Sooke along Highway #14 (the West Coast Road).
Malahat Farm is on Anderson Road, about 15 minutes west of downtown Sooke.
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