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Monday, 01 May 2006

Hollyhock: British Columbia's Retreat - Page 2

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Hollyhock was a delicious break on a journey through fjords, gardens, & forests. It took forever to get there, but it was worth it! Hollyhock is on an island and to get to that island by car from the mainland you need to take at least three ferries. The first ferry is to Vancouver Island, then a drive to Campbell River, then a ferry to Quadra island, a drive across it, and yet another ferry to Cortes island where Hollyhock resides. There is nothing quick about this journey, but going by ferry seems like a nice prelude to the retreat. There is nothing to do but watch the superb landscapes slowly pass by, your car tucked


imageHollyhock has an organic garden for herbs, lettuces, and hundreds of varieties of flowers. It is a great place to sit and read a book or write poetry as you watch the bees zip around pollinating everything. There is a lodge with a comfortable lounge and a dining hall with a wide front porch and welcoming round tables with friendly company. As for the food, it was a gourmet feast – the best retreat center food I’ve had! Every meal was perfect. You could tell that such care went into the preparation and that they were using the freshest ingredients. Though the food is mainly vegetarian, there is an oyster barbeque once a week down on the beach which was a lot of fun. The charismatic guy who was roasting them to perfection kept trying to get me to try more, though to be honest, I’m not a big oyster fan even though I’m from Boston. I act more like someone from the Midwest that hasn’t been around seafood much. Everyone around me kept commenting on how fabulous the oysters were, so I believe you’re in for a treat.

ImageMany people go to Hollyhock for their 5-day workshops on subjects ranging from ‘Zen of Business’ to ‘Beach Wood Carving’ to ‘Seven Valleys in the Soul’s Journey.’ Others come to live and work, for 3 month long personal retreats, or, (like I did), for R&R.

There is a popular spa at Hollyhock where you can book a variety of massage styles, facials, and other treatments. I opted for trying Cranio-Sacral, a very gentle modality where they hold your head and sacrum and make small movements. It doesn’t sound so great, but it feels very good. When I left I felt much lighter, as if I was gliding on water.

My two favorite places were The Sanctuary, (a Southwestern style adobe hut filled with character where morning meditation was held), and the outdoor Jacuzzis overlooking the rocky bay which was surrounded by fjords & mountains on distant islands. Watching the sun set in those bubbly waters filled me with ease as I exhaled and inhaled the clean salt air.


Details: Tent single $84 CN (~74 US), tent double $73 CN pp (~64 US), Dorms with bunk beds $106 CN pp (~93 US), Single with private bath ocean-front $273 CN (~239 US), Rooms for couples with private bath $163 CN pp (~143 US), check website for other housing options, Rates include all meals, yoga classes, and use of hot tubs & facilities. They do not include workshop fees which vary (approx. $500 CN for a five-day program).


©Christina Bolton

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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