Posted on June 3, 2010
A Day By The Ocean
Picking my favourite spot on Vancouver Island is about as simple as choosing my favourite flavour of ice cream. However, few places on the Island hold a spot in my heart the way the oceanside communities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Coombs do. I’m not one to be kept away by rain, so on a recent showery afternoon, my mom and I made our way there.
Being that she’d never visited any spa ever before, I knew that a trip to the Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara would be perfect. Moms work tirelessly and that couldn’t be more true of my own. I firmly believe that it’s crucial to our own well-being to be kind to ourselves, and sometimes that kindness involves indulgence. Though I think she was a bit hesitant at first, the smile that spread across my mom’s face as soon as she dipped her toes into the Grotto pool was reminiscent of a kid in a candy store.
Allowing ourselves to unwind and relax before the massages I’d booked us in for was an important part of the experience, and every little detail at the Grotto Spa is designed with maximum bliss in mind. Plush robes, tranquil tunes, fresh fruit and water, deliciously-scented lotions and elements of the outdoors-in all worked together to create a perfectly serene atmosphere.
For a woman who’d never before enjoyed a complete and professional massage, it didn’t take long for my mom to find her inner princess. It’s simply an incomparable experience, and the skillful staff at Grotto Spa ensure that it’s a memorable one. I’ve been to my fair share of day spas, but none have ever proven as unique as my visits to Grotto Spa.
Unfortunately, like most of the best things in life, our time at Grotto Spa had to come to an end. However, I refused to head home without a trip to my personal must-visit each time I’m in the area – The Old Country Market at Coombs. I’m a self-confessed “foodie” and this place is my mecca.
While the shelves are stuffed full of international flavours and savours, the best part of the Old Country Market is the local abundance offered. It’s not difficult to prescribe to the 100-mile diet in a place like this with harvested vegetables, golden honey, fluffy bread baked from scratch and even Island Farms ice cream – thanks to some of Vancouver Island’s best cows.
Aside from the rosemary cheese bread that I always grab, I added curds from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Port Alberni honey, juicy corn and plump strawberries to my basket. However, I have no doubt that if I lived near Old Country Market, I could easily stock my entire kitchen all in thanks to this one market.
For more information on Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara, and to book yourself in for some heavenly body treatments, visit Grotto Spa online or call them directly at (250) 248-1838. Grotto Spa is located 1155 Resort Drive in Parksville. The Old Country Market is located in Coombs on Highway 4A between Parksville and Coombs. Please visit them online.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked to write about either Grotto Spa or The Old Country Market. I did however, receive the massages for myself and my mother as compliments of Grotto Spa.