Having lived in Vancouver all my life, I’d say our city is pretty accessible by transit. Once you venture outside of Vancouver though, commutes tend be more difficult without a car. We had the opportunity to test drive the 2014 Ford Fusion, and we decided to take it on a road trip to Pender Island.
Home to just under 2,500 permanent residents, this small island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands located in the Gulf of Georgia. Its 36 square kilometers of land consists of many rolling forested hills, rocky beaches, open farmland, and lakes. Pender Island is actually two islands joined together by a one-lane bridge, with the city centre and most of the residents living on the North Pender Island side.
Our home for the next couple of nights was the lovely Poets Cove Resort & Spa, located on South Pender Island. Despite giving ourselves ample time to claim our reservation at the ferry terminal that morning, the traffic still managed to slow us down. Lucky for us, a couple of spots on the ferry were left when we arrived.
— Dennis & May Pang (@Pangcouver) August 29, 2014
After a 2-hour ferry ride with stops at Galiano and Mayne Islands, and a short drive, we finally arrived at Poets Cove. We spotted locals gathering at the Growers and Makers Market, which was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd just steps away from our resort. We saw a farmer selling large zucchinis and bought one for $1.
Poets Cove is a great place to relax and unplug from the hustle and bustle of the city. The rooms in the lodge have great views of the water, while the villas and cottages are more spacious to accommodate larger families.
The marina, beach, pools, steam caves, spa, and tennis courts are just some of the amenities offered at this resort. Dining options include the Aurora Restaurant, Syrens Pub, and a small cafe attached to a small beer & wine store.
After a quick lunch at Syrens (fish & chips shown above), we headed off to Sea Star Estate Farms & Vineyard. Having been in operations for just four months, they have received some impressive accolades, including taking home gold and silver medals at the 2014 Northwest Wine Summit. They have also managed to distribute their wines to some very well-known Vancouver restaurants such as Blue Water Cafe, Hawksworth, L’Abattoir, just to name a few.
Production could not keep up with the demand, and so their blends such as the Stella Maris are already sold out. You may be able to find some bottles at Blue Water Cafe if you’re up for trying some new BC wines.
What I love about this winery is their location (and their dogs, Hope and Hudson). While many of the best and most renowned BC wines are found in the BC Interior, something needs to be said about Sea Star and their superb production of wines. We visited on an evening where they hosted an art exhibition in their tasting room. Although we didn’t purchase any art pieces, we brought back a few bottles of their Siegerrebe to enjoy back home.
After a lovely visit at the winery, we headed off to have dinner at The Cafe at Hope Bay. We read great reviews for this place, and since there are only a few dining establishments on the island, we made sure to make reservations. We shared a house salad (above), coconut curry seafood bowl (left), and a dungeness crab gnocchi (right), which were all delicious and very well-priced.
The next day, we visited the local farmer’s market, located at the Community Hall on North Pender Island. It was a bit wet out, but it didn’t deter locals from coming out to snatch up great organic produce, gourmet goodies, and crafts from local artisans.
Afterwards, we retreated back to the resort where we pampered ourselves in the eucalyptus steam cave and spa. Dennis opted for a massage, while I got an Eminence Organics facial. After a relaxing afternoon at the spa, we headed to Port Browning Pub for dinner, where we filled our stomaches with crab cakes and full racks of BBQ baby back ribs for $11.50/each. You won’t find those prices in Vancouver!
Whether you’re driving in the evening or morning, you’re bound to see deer during this time of year. This particular one was either caught off-guard or wasn’t particularly camera shy.
Having a car gives us options to escape the hectic city life. With our home currently under renovations and our living arrangements being less than ideal, it was nice to stay at a resort and explore an island that is so close to home.
Review: 2014 Ford Fusion SE
The Ford Fusion was introduced to North American markets in 2006. As a mid-sized sedan in a crowded vehicle class, it competes against the likes of the popular Honda Accord, Mazda 6, and Subaru Legacy, just to name a few. It really made waves when it won Motor Trend‘s prestigious Car of the Year award in 2010. The Fusion is built on the same platform as the Lincoln MKZ (click here to read our review from late last year). As Lincoln is the luxury line of Ford, one can expect the Fusion to be more or less the same car minus the luxurious finishings and trim. The park assist is always a joy, as it makes parallel parking completely effortless. When you turn on park assist, you just roll up to a parking space, wait for the notification to put the car into reverse, and you let the car do the steering. The results are perfect every time. The infotainment system was also really user-friendly and intuitive. Ford really invested a lot of time and resources into developing their infotainment systems. I had the opportunity to see their research and development firsthand when I went on a tour of their plant in Michigan a few years ago (click here to read about it). The Fusion boasts a very spacious cabin with plenty of head and legroom in the front and rear passenger seats, and it offers plenty of trunk space. The leather seats are comfortable for long drives, and the SE model that we tested came well equipped with a slew of active and passive safety features including blind spot detection, front and rear bumper sensors, and more.
The model that we tested had the new 1.5L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, which produces 178 horsepower, more than enough to get you through your urban commute. Things were a bit different when we hit the dirt roads though, as the steering felt quite heavy and front visibility was poor when we were driving up hills due to its high and sloping hood. We averaged around 10.5L/100 km during this trip, which was also a bit surprising for such a small engine, but the car is also a hefty 3,615 pounds, and I also do tend to drive with a bit of a heavy foot. Priced at just under $24,000, overall the Fusion delivers a good ride and provides excellent value for those looking for a reliable vehicle in the city.
Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by Ford Canada. All thoughts and opinions are our own.