Right off the top, I have to offer a disclaimer: the place about which I am about to tell you has been a family favourite vacation location for forty years and three generations. That’s not an unusual thing for the many loyal regulars who have visited St. Andrews Lodge and Glen Cottages in Qualicum Beach for decades, and there are many good reasons for that.
Although the lodge building now operates only as operation headquarters and does not offer rooms to travelers, the eight quaint, old-fashioned beach cottages built in the early part of the 1900s are still popular destinations for hundreds of vacationers each year.
What there isn’t at St. Andrews is almost as important as what there is for those seeking a truly relaxing, laid-back break from the hurly-burly of the modern world. St. Andrews doesn’t have a spa (thus no appointments to keep), it doesn’t offer telephone service in the cottages, it doesn’t have a swimming pool, or a mini-golf course, or any of the many other ‘attractions’ offered at modern resorts. What it offers is cosy, old-fashioned cottages with soothing views of Georgia Straight and mountains, an outdoor ping-pong table, teeter-totter and tire swing, a great beach for family gatherings and marshmallow roasts, and spectacular sunsets. Other favourite activities of those staying at St. Andrews include swimming, digging for clams and kicking back with a good book. Dogs are welcomed at no extra cost (almost unheard-of in this day and age), and other than a minimal fee for extra sleeping cots, there are none of the up-charges with which most resorts seem to delight in dinging travelers. In other words this charming, historic spot offers an old-fashioned vacation and old-fashioned values.
The cottages continue to house an eclectic mix of furnishings, oil heaters and oil stoves. The floors are linoleum and the charming small gardens at the cottages are edged with clam and oyster shells from the beach. Each cottage has a picnic table and a couple of weather-proof chairs for lounging outdoors, and the kitchens are equipped with all the basic cooking utensils. There is nothing fancy about this place, but there is so much to love about it.
Managing to snag a cottage during the summer may prove to be a bit problematic, but travelers would do well to consider staying there at other times of the year. The lodge and cottages are located very close to some of the best fishing opportunities on the east coast of the Island, not to mention the many golf courses that abound in the Oceanside area of Parksville-Qualicum. But for so many visitors over the years, it has been something much more basic that has made them fall in love with St. Andrews. The simplicity, clean ocean air, sun-splashed lawns and pristine beach offer great opportunities for a guilt-free state of doing absolutely nothing. How rare is that in today’s world?
Keeping in step with its love affair with the days of yesteryear, St. Andrews does not accept credit cards. Nor does the place have a web site. Further information on rates (which are extremely reasonable, considering the waterfront location) and availability can be obtained by phoning 1-250-752-6652, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Andrews is located at 3319 West Island Highway in Qualicum Beach.
GPS co-ordinates are: Lat. 49.36010796590377 Long. -124.47321474552154
N 49 21.606 W 124 28.393