Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Joe Schwartz.
Vancouver Island has a unique style compared to the rest of British Columbia. Maybe the separation from the busy mainland has something to do with it, or perhaps its the proximity to the ocean and the laid-back vibes that go along with that. "The Island," as it's known in British Columbia, has always been a place to escape from normalcy—a place to unwind and decompress from the daily hustle and bustle. A lot of folks who live here take this same approach with life, which is reflected in the funky, character-filled communities on the Island.
The Cowichan Valley
Hopping over to the island's eastern shores, one will notice some distinct changes in geography and climate. While the West Coast takes the full brunt of the Pacific Ocean's storms, the east side is sheltered by the mountains. The temperatures are generally warmer and the water calmer, but the adventurous island vibe pervades on this side, too.
The Cowichan Valley is a great example of this. A broad, fertile valley guarded by forested hills, the area is more British Columbia's interior farmland than a coastal destination.A broad, fertile valley guarded by forested hills, this area is more BC Interior farmland than Coastal destination. A quick detour onto the backroads will pass by vineyards, cows grazing, and lush farmland. It's pretty easy to forget that the ocean is just a stone's throw away.
The Cowichan Valley is a place to escape from normalcy, a place to unwind and decompress from the daily hustle.
Your Dream Cabin
Detour up to the Cowichan River—along a maze of country roads and up a steep gravel driveway—and you'll have arrived at this incredible, eco-friendly cabin on Stoltz Bluff. Fully off-the-grid and sustainably built, this property and accommodation are an inspiration, not to mention make for a luxurious place to stay.
As the name (and the steepness of the driveway) might suggest, the retreat is built on the top of Stoltz Bluff, overlooking the Cowichan River Provincial Park, and offers incredible views up and down the main valley, which allows for memorable sunrises and sunsets right from the porch. Seriously, the view alone makes it worth the trip.
Leon and Tonya, the visionaries behind this project, had no prior experience in building in this style, but were determined to create something that would serve to inspire others. The accommodation and property hit on all the requirements of their original vision: an eco-friendly design that utilizes off-the-grid systems and is located in a private, stunning area that shows off the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. Every detail of the house is hand-crafted, and it's clear it was built with the intent to create a haven of relaxation and contemplation for generations to come.