Midden Lane Suite – a gem in the middle of nowhere

Midden Lane Suite

The view from the suite at Midden Lane

Finding a great place to stay in isolated locations (without having to hand over big bucks) can sometimes be problematic.  But we lucked out during a recent visit to Sointula and Malcolm Island, which is a 35 minute ferry ride across from Port McNeill on the northeast coast of the Island.  The Midden Lane Suite, located above beautiful Mitchell Bay, proved to be just the ticket for us during our 2 ½ day visit.

Deck at Midden Lane Suite

The charming covered deck, complete with small barbeque

The problem with finding accommodation in remote areas lies in the fact that so many small bed and breakfast operations don’t even have websites, much less a presence on social media.  So finding them is half the battle.  Many of them don’t accept credit cards, either, so travelers to the likes of Sointula and other outposts need to be prepared to pay cash.  I actually sent a deposit by cheque to Audrey Purdon to hold the Midden Lane suite for us – there isn’t even a credit union left on Malcolm Island.

Still, the minor hassles in finding and reserving Midden Lane were well worth the effort.  The suite is located on the ground level of the Purdons’ beautiful home, which is located a 25 minute drive (on gravel roads) from Sointula. Our initial foray to Mitchell Bay found us following a single-lane track almost to its end, and left us wondering what we had got ourselves in to.

The fully-equipped kitchen looks out over the water

The fully-equipped kitchen looks out over the water

Once we had swung through the gate and up the driveway, however, we were transported to the loveliest environment, with sweeping views of sparkling water and a warm welcome from Audrey, her two horses and two dogs.

We settled quickly into the spacious pet-friendly self-catering suite. Audrey supplies organic eggs and a bottle of home-made wine, home-made bread, jam and hot beverages, but it’s up to guests to do their own cooking.  I loved the fact that there are plenty of flat surfaces in the suite to put things on, and a well-stocked rack with local information informs guests of all that there is to do and see in the area.  Additionally Audrey is an enthusiastic hiker, so she can dish the goods on all the hiking trails of which Malcolm Islanders are justifiably proud.

A comfortable lounge area makes for a great place to read, relax or listen to music

A comfortable lounge area makes for a great place to read, relax or listen to music

In addition to the very comfortable bed and spacious bathroom there is a small lounge area with a comfortable futon and a fully-equipped kitchen with a window that looks out to the water. The suite is fronted by a charming covered patio area with chairs and table and a small barbecue. I spent the better part of our final morning out there, enjoying the sound of the waves below while imbibing in a cup of coffee.

The chunk of Midden Lane beach that we enjoyed during the evenings (complete with beach fire, a cooler for cold beverages and a table) presented spectacular views of sunsets, water and mountains. Lulled by the lapping of waves on the beach and the calls of sea birds, it is easy to stay there indefinitely.  For anyone who prefers to be closer to the water (or for a larger group of travelers) there is a tiny cottage on the beachfront that sleeps three, so it is possible for Audrey and her genial husband Frank to accommodate a fair-sized group of guests.

The beach at Midden Lane offers a beautiful spot for a waterside dinner

The beach at Midden Lane offers a beautiful spot for a waterside dinner

Midden Lane is one of those places, undoubtedly, that draws people back.  Its simple, homey comfort, peace and quiet and lovely location make that 25 minutes on the gravel road more than worthwhile. My dream is to return when I don’t have so much work on my plate and to simply laze the days and evenings away surrounded by the sounds of ocean and the wind sighing through the trees.  If you are looking for a vacation that includes doing nothing (or at least, not much) this is the place for you.

Further information on Midden Lane Suite can be found at:


Sunset at the Midden Lane beach

Sunset at the Midden Lane beach

Midden Lane is located at 295 Mitchell Bay Road

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 50.6217449549302  Long. -126.83802980939663

N 50 37.305 W 126 50.282


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.

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2 Responses to Midden Lane Suite – a gem in the middle of nowhere

  1. Ingrid Raw says:

    I found you in the local paper to-day.(Qualicum beach)
    I wish my husband and I had access to your web site 16 years ago,when we were new to the island. I am going to get to know more and more about this beautiful place.

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