The long, hot days of summer are fading into shorter, cooler days as the season changes to fall. On the coast it is time for locals to dig out our toques, heavier jackets, and gumboots as we know the weather is about to change. The rain is coming and we have to adapt to it, and even to enjoy the downtime that inevitably results. Before that we have a bit of time to go back outside, pull up the last of the summer veggies from garden, gather up the falling leaves to start the compost for next spring, and tie down anything we don’t want to loose to the winter winds. Maybe even visit Tofino’s OCN Garden Centre to pick up some tulips to plant for that early spring burst of colour before getting the leash for the dog and taking a walk to say hello to your neighbours that seemed to disappear during the hectic summer months.
Fall on the coast is the time to kick back a little from the full-on pace of the summer tourist season and start to settle into the rhythm that will take us through the winter. In the fall, the sun still shines but the visitor landscape changes; the kids are back at school, their summer adventures told in stories for their classmates to share and enjoy. The beautiful beaches they once roamed over are less busy and back to their naturally enlivening and soul enriching best. Even the shorebirds seem to recognize the added space as they congregate unconcerned near the water’s edge. The forests are shedding their leaves and producing the fall bounty of wild mushrooms, free to pick up if you know the “secret” spots or can persuade someone to take you. If you want to pick, please take one of the courses from experts who share their forest knowledge and keep you safe from picking the wrong type of mushrooms.
Offshore the waters surrounding our towns still teem with wildlife. The whales are still here, the sea lions too, the bears are out there scratching under rocks on the foreshore, and if you feel physically adventurous the kayaking conditions are still great, the surf schools are all open and the fish are still jumping. Visit our outdoors page for a full list of all the outdoor adventures available.
In town the accommodation providers have started to adjust their pricing to the ebb and flow of general demand, which makes the fall a great time to come out west for a bit of downtime of your own. This slackening of demand and slowing down allows visitors and locals alike to find a prized parking spot to park the car, get out, stretch the muscles and wander the streets, breathing in the naturally fresh air as we gaze in admiration at the nearby water and mountains. During your stroll stop in to one of our locally owned bakeries or coffee spots for a nice mid afternoon break. Inside the stores, the staff are chilling to the fall vibe and are as likely to start a conversation as you are. Take advantage and ask them questions as they are the best tour guides.
Once evening comes around, you will find all the restaurants are still open and many are offering new fall menu items as well as special features; some even have that most elusive of gifts, the “Happy Hour” where the prices are dropped to encourage early or late evening diners. You can visit our Opulent Eats page for a list of the wide variety of restaurants in both Tofino and Ucluelet.
To keep the body and mind active, both communities have a large selection of keep fit, craft, sport, and learning opportunities taking place at the community and recreation centres. Details can be found on our arts & crafts, health & wellness, and talks & classes pages. Entertainment wise, the Tofino Legion has its Tuesday night DJ’s playing a great blend of funk and soul, followed on Wednesday by the world’s best karaoke night, all starting at 9.00pm. If you don’t believe me about the Karaoke, well, just turn up and see for yourself. You can be a good singer, a fair singer, or downright awful, it doesn’t matter. After 11.00pm the locals will be up dancing and singing along to anybody brave enough to put the mike in front of their face. We have a very forgiving crowd on the coast. The weekends are generally filled with music at the Maq Hotel, the Legion, and the Army and Navy in Ucluelet, and of course our local community choir will be lifting the roof Tuesdays in Ucluelet and Thursdays in Tofino as they prepare for their very popular Christmas concerts in both towns.
And as the day disappears and you return to your home or rental accommodation, forget the TV and stay chilled. The world’s problems will be there tomorrow if you want to take part. Instead, why not grab a book? Perhaps one you just purchased from one of our local book sellers; one quite possibly written by a local author that you might just have sat beside in the coffee shop. The west coast is a safe and friendly spot that the world loves to visit, so I encourage you to say “hello” as you spend time here. You never know who you might meet or what might happen. Enjoy the fall on the coast; it is a special time of year.
Top photo courtesy of ESCapology.eu