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Salt Spring Island, British Columbia Canada:

How romantic could a night in a barn, a hayloft, or a greenhouse be?

By Jane Cassie

If they're the ones at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island, one night just won't be long enough!

Nestled among twenty-some acres of serene meadows, forests and gardens, are wonderfully restored lodgings which house a number of country-style suites. The two-story Farmhouse features two suites with fireplaces, soaker tubs, and private porches viewing the gardens and harbour.

Beyond the vegetable garden, lie pastoral meadows with grazing sheep: in its foreground is the first structure built on Salt Spring. Once known as the Hudson's Bay trading post, it has since been refinished and refurbished as a two room Post Cottage, featuring French doors, an ocean view, soaker tub and wood burning stove.

A winding path bordered by a colourful display of crocuses and daffs led us to the Barn, where we would spend the night. Although the rough cedar exterior somewhat resembles a farm structure, each interior of these sumptuous suites are far from what it may sound like! All the personal touches and attention to detail gives Hastings House the exceptional reputation they so well deserve. A beautifully penned name card welcomed us to our Sealoft suite and the fireplace was prepared and waiting for us to enjoy. Sunlight flooded through skylights onto peaked, wood-beamed ceilings and warm French vanilla walls. Wedgewood blue florals dressed the down duvet, complementing two deep blue wing chairs in the sitting area. The view from its bay window looked over peaceful gardens to the ocean beyond.

We later took a stroll to the 16th century Sussex-style Manor House, which was built by and home to Barbara and Warren Hastings from 1938 to 1979. The tranquillity and charm of their gracious home is captured today with a fine display of original paintings and period furnishings. We enjoyed the warmth from the expansive Inglenook fireplace, a marvelous focal point that encompasses almost one entire wall of the cozy living room. Patterned Persian area carpets are scattered over dark oak floors and complement small furniture groupings. Looking out original leaded glass windows, we admired the manicured garden beds above picturesque Ganges Harbour. What an idyllic setting for board games or complimentary Afternoon Tea! Two more guest suites are housed on the second floor, each with a stone fireplace, and leaded windows and beyond on the neighboring hillside are six more sumptuous suites.

Adjacent to the living room is where meal time magic occurs! Gentlemen, don't forget your jackets, so that you may enjoy formal evening dining at its finest. The five course daily menu, built around the herbs and produce from Hastings House garden and orchard, is unforgettable. The Snug is another dining room option, during the summer, offering the same delectable delicacies in a more casual, atmosphere.

The gastronomic experience continued the next morning when fresh-brewed coffee and delicious home baked blueberry muffins were quietly delivered to our door. Later it was back to The Manor to enjoy a leisurely English breakfast - perhaps a traditional Farmer's Breakfast, with your choice of ham, bacon, or Salt Spring lamb sausage; or a creation called The Gulf Islander, consisting of eggs with a field mushroom cream sauce and Swiss Gruyere cheese. After such a hearty breakfast, guests may want to work up an appetite for Afternoon Tea with an activity such as hiking, biking, or kayaking.

The service at Hastings House was exceptional and both of our meals, like the rest of our visit, were "out of this world." ...Hardly what you might expect when booking into a barn, a hayloft, or a greenhouse!

Hastings House
160 Upper Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia Canada, V8K 2S2
Phone: 800-661-9255 / 250-537-2362
Fax: 250-537-5333
email: hastouse@saltspring.com

Jane and Brent Cassie are a travel writer/photographer team. Follow their other adventures on their website - www.janecassie.com.


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