This is a zippy number with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine; 278 hp, 252 lb-ft and a 6-speed automatic transmission. It looks expensive, but comes in around around $30,000-$35,000 depending on features. The car has the standard 2 doors, seats 5 passengers, and gets 21/32 mpg city/hwy. Great on gas and lots of room for luggage and shopping purchases on our road trips.
With a key-less entry and push start you can get going quickly and there’s lots of great safety features that I can’t believe I ever had to live without. The lane keeping assistance, forward collision warning, electronic stability control, Honda LaneWatch Right Side Camera, and back up camera are literally life-savers.
This model has an stellar entertainment system, great sounds, with SiriusXM, touch-screen features, and bluetooth syncing for your phone so you can go hands-free. Heated front bucket seats and a 2-position memory for when you’re not the only driver add to the super-comfy driving experience. Seats fold down in the back for extra cargo room and there’s an Integrated Navigation System w/Voice Activation and even a Voice Activated Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning and 2 Power Outlets.
The wheels on this model are 18-inch and the brakes are 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control, for super fast stopping. The Accord’s ride is fluid and acceleration is relatively seamless.
This is a great car for a road trip and we were sorry we weren’t going further and certainly didn’t feel like returning this one!
We love getting out from the city, especially during bland winter days; often just for a night. We’ll take an easy drive out to Harrison Mills head to Pretty Estate’s and check in to Rowena’s Inn on the River.
The Pretty Family still runs this majestic estate, their history in the area dates back to the 1800s. The family’s manor has been converted into a bed and breakfast and several cabins are scattered throughout the property. In the summer golf is popular, as the property is home to Sandpiper Golf Course, but we prefer to go when it gets a bit cooler and the eagles are flying in full force during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. We were out in 2013 and were thrilled to return this fall. See our last trip coverage here.
Thanks to Honda Canada, we were able to travel in style with the Honda HRV (more on the SUV here).
We got to Rowena’s just in time for dinner at the River’s Edge. The Chef featured a salmon menu with the local salmon coming from the nearby Sts’ailes nation.
The French Onion Soup is one of our must haves here and the escargot and the lamb chops are also a favourite. From the salmon menu, we ordered the salmon & chic pea curry with grilled salmon, peppers, carrots and spinach in a tomato curry, and a delightful pastry-encrusted wild salmon Wellington. There’s a good selection of BC wine and beer, and we were walking home, so sipped a few.
The cabins have a fireplace so luckily Michael’s boyscout skills came in handy as I don’t think I could start a fire to save my life. Actually, I best remedy this in case I have to!
The bathrooms heated floors and a jacuzzi tub are an excellent addition to the package.
Breakfast is included in the stay, so we took advantage of the omelettes and fresh coffee before heading out.
We journeyed to Harrison Lake for an Eagle Tour but the water was too rough for us to feel safe in the rather small boat that pulled up, so we opted out. Instead took a leisurely drive home, stopping at Hopcott Farms to stock our freezer with their excellent meat selections.
Get to know your Millionaires from your Lord Derby’s at the Annual Salt Spring Island Apple Festival
Before apple trees were planted in the Okanagan Valley, Salt Spring Island was growing an assortment of the fruit as early as 1860. To celebrate, the Island holds a festival celebrating the apple with apple displays, pie sales and apple orchard visits each harvest. There are now over 350 varieties grown on the Island, all organicallly. We joined the celebrations on Salt Spring Island this fall as it was a great opportunity to fully test drive another vehicle, stay at one of our favourite hotels and, of course, eat our share of apples.
We tested the Honda HR-V, a subcompact SUV with plenty of cool feaures. The vehicle model is new for this year and has an attractive and sporty design. It is super roomy inside, has top of the line safety features and zips in and out of parking spots easily. For all the specs on the car and more check out our full review here.
October is generally a good month to visit Salt Spring Island as the sun is out most days and the air is crisp but still fairly warm. It can rain, but luckily for us, it didn’t. The sail over on BC Ferries is easier if you take just one ferry, instead of changing over in Swartz Bay but you’ll have to plan and reserve ahead to get the best route.
I was traveling with my girlfriend Tess and it was her first time to the Island and the farmers market was at the top of her list, so we made sure we had some time to check it out and sampled some apples, apple fritters and apple tarts to get us in the festive mood. The cheeses on the Island are unbelievable, both Salt Spring Island Cheese and Moonstruck Organic, so don’t leave the market or the Island without trying and buying a few types.
We also went for a quick shop in the stores around the small town, and I even found an vintage James Beard book and a punch bowl at the charity store!
country hotel with a restaurant that grows much of it’s own produce. The property is Relais and Chateau and their standards are indeed set high; even the cot that Tess stayed on was insanely comfortable and there’s a daily complementary afternoon tea in the manor. We had dinner booked at the hotel as I’ve had some fantastic meals there and went for a pre-dinner drink just down the Hill Unfortunatley, the very moment we returned for dinner the power went out, and stayed out, so we had to quickly grab one of the few taxis on the Island and make other plans! A bit of drama, but we took it in stride!
Fortunately there was only a brief wait at Auntie Pestos, a favourite of mine on the Island and the meal was fantastic. We went for the a spinach salad, Salt Spring Mussels, an incredibly butter-like tender steak that we are still talking about and headed back to Hastings House for bed.
Sunday’s apple festival started at Fulford Hall with a display of endless apples and plenty of apple pie!
A little bit on the Honda HR-V and the festival in this “super” video!
From there the options of apple viewing were vast, but we plotted a route and hit some of the larger orchards and thankfully one where not only was lunch served, but where I purchased some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted. We sat on the patio with a stellar view out across the Island and enjoyed some BBQ pork and chicken. I learned later that this was the home of Salt Springs famous Bread Lady and I am hooked on the garlic and cheese bread. Sadly, I had only bought one loaf!
While there’s several worthwhile wineries to visit, the newish Salt Spring Ales Brewery was right on the route and they’d even done an apple beer for the festival. When in need of gifts for my partner, Michael, I can always count on beer!
The ferry took the long route home, stopping at a few other Gulf Islands but we had plenty to read and it was a nice wind down to a rather special apple-filled weekend.
*Honda provided the HR-V for our test drive and supplemented our trip expenses.
*Thank you to Hastings House for the lovely accomodations.
I’ve been driving a few sporty vehicles lately, but when I decided to take a trip over to Salt Spring Island I needed to bit of a larger ride to carry the inevitable excess of luggage, along with my friend Tess (and her bags), ample room for two others that I’d had planned to take with on an apple festival adventure, and possible purchases. More on our apple festival adventures here.
Honda has a new vehicle out this year, and it fit the bill precisely, without the price tag you’d expect from a ride with such attractive and sporty design. The Honda HR-V comes in a basic model, the LX starting at $20, 690, and there’s an EX-L Model in between but we test drove the EX-L Navi model which has features that drives it to the $29,990 price tag; a bit more, but the trims are worth it. The EX-L is all wheel drive and has a continuously variable transmission. All models of the HR-V have a 141 horsepower, 1.8 litre 4-cylinder 16-valve engine and 127 lb.-ft of torque.
The safety features of this car earned it the highest overall score for collision safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and fortunately we had no chance to test this out. The Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning came in handy though, especially on the ferry, and the expanded view driver’s mirror meant far less blind spots.
The interior is rather elegant, with lots of well-thought out details inside, and the HR-V seems far roomier than I expected from a vehicle that is billed as a subcompact SUV. The wheelbase is 102.8 and the car 169.1 in length and the driver seats are super comfortable. There’s a moon roof for sunny days and heated seats for cooler ones. The second row is also ample for two and the seats fold flat should you want to load up the car from the back, and rotate up if there is something taller to pop behind the driver and passenger seats; like a big plant or IKEA furniture.
The Honda starts with a button, which I drastically missed on the next car I drove as I kept leaving the keys in my purse. If you go for the LCD screen you can control everything within reach there, and there’s also controls on the steering wheel, but I didn’t figure them all out. Multiple USB ports meant both our phones stay charge and the camera helped us avoid any back up accidents.
The HR-V hugs corners and zips around precisely. It’s got power but not enough to tow and I wasn’t in need of towing anything, anyhow. Parking is a breeze in this model, even when we were back in the city, and the HR-V barely sips gas; not a guzzler here.
Where’s your happy place? I always feel like I’m in a pretty damn happy place when I’m on Vancouver Island. While I love the Mainland, road trips to the Island feel like a true escape and I can actually sense the pace of my thoughts slowing down. Whether I’m roaming the streets of Victoria, the hills of the Cowichan Valley, the beaches of Qualicum or Tofino or biking through the Comox countryside, there’s most likely a big grin on my face. So, when Honda asked followers on twitter to name a happy place and enter to win $1,000 towards a trip to it, I tweeted just that and WOO HOO!!! I actually won the contest!
With my new found winnings in hand, and also, very conveniently a 2015 Honda Fit (review here) to drive, I boarded BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay over to Nanaimo and then drove up to The Comox Valley for their annual BC Shellfish Festival! Check the BC Ferries website for fall specials and accommodation and travel packages! Lots of deals on.
The festival includes a full week and more of events, everything from oyster farm tours, to wine and shellfish dinners and champagne seafood brunch.
I checked into the Old House Village Hotel in Courtney and got ready for the evenings adventures. Super great spot with roomy rooms and en-suite laundry and kitchens should you need to stay a while.
First up was the Prime Chophouse Wine Bar‘s 40 Knots Winery and Seafood Dinner. Starting with some Comox Valley Hollie Wood oysters and 40 Knots Winery Spindrift Brut we sampled dishes showcasing the best of the region along with the estate wines from this very local winery. I wrote more about 40 Knots in BC Wine Trails Magazine here.
The following day we hit the ocean to check out a Deep Water Oyster Farm Tour onboard Comox Harbour Charters. Cruising throught the Baynes Sound we ventured over to the shores of Denman Island to visit Hollie Wood Oysters oyster growing site. We sample oysters from the farm and then enjoyed there clams and oysters cooked right onboard. All washed down with an oyster stout made by Victoria’s Spinnakers Brewery and these same oysters, so perfect!
The highlight of the festival, every year (I’ve been to two others) is the Gala Dinner held among the gardens of Filberg Park and Lodge, overlooking Comox Harbour and the Beaufort Mountain Range. Starting with oyster raw bars with a variety of oysters from different regions of the BC coast, the reception is then followed by six courses, each plate designed by a different chef along with a selection of BC wines.
The setting, food and wines makes for a truly magical evening.
Saturday’s Comox by the Sea Celebration at Filberg Park is all about roaming the park and sampling shellfish and seafood tastings prepared by chefs and seafood producers. And there’s a beer and wine garden and chowder competition to round things out.
Next year’s Shellfish Festival will be June 10-19, 2016 and I’ll certainly be posting about it well in advance, and, with any luck, will be there again.
I’ve been testing out cars again, and I don’t think I’ll stop, even if I have found one that I love! I have to say this Honda Fit’s colour was really what I was initially and fully excited about. This particular ride is bright YELLOW, although, of course, it comes in less prominent colours, but why would you not want to be able to find you car so easily in the lot? And there’s a lot more going on in this subcompact ride than just the colour.
I took this vehicle over to Vancouver Island, so got some good highway rides in, plus scouted in and out of parking spots and did some city driving. This is me driving a boat, not the car; that dashboard is far more modern. As I was solo on the trip it would have been unsafe to get a picture of me driving the car!
There’s a lot of new features in the 2015, and I was surprised at the amount of power in this model; it’s now got a 1.5-litre engine with 130 horsepower and 114 pound feet of torque, and still has that great fuel economy the fit is known for. The interior is far from sparse and feels quite luxurious with larger seats and more leg room. It’s looks and feels sporty , and is super fun to drive with a nice smooth and now even quicker acceleration. The 2015 Honda Fit is available in six colours, including my very vibrant option. The Blue backlit instrument dials are stylish and functional and the Display Audio touchscreen interface and available leather seating increase the premium feel of this new Fit.
Also of note is the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink, heated front seats, and leather seats if you choose these upgrades.
The car is super safe with traction control, side curtain airbags and the highest available crash-safety ratings, which thankfully I did not have to test. The 2015 Honda Fit – It’s a Fit for me! Sad to return this one.
Pricing: MSRP, + $1995 freight & pdi
Disclaimer: The vehicle was loaned to me by Honda, but unfortunately I didn’t get to keep it!
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