British Columbia’s sleepy secret
The seaside village of Cowichan Bay sits at the heart of an “undiscovered land where food is ultra-local, vineyards are low-key, and canoes replace taxicabs,” said Rachel Levin in Sunset. Located in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, where country roads are lined with small farms, the town provides “a glimpse of a different life,” one that doesn’t involve iPhones, traffic jams, or social calendars. A family-run shop offers binoculars and harbor views along with its artisanal cheeses. Wooden, “hand-scrawled signs” advertise free-range eggs and fresh-cut herbs. My dinner at Genoa Bay Cafe required a 1½-mile canoe trip past otters, sea lions, and “ospreys prancing in their nests.” The paddling only made my roasted duck risotto taste that much better. A glass of B.C. wine in hand, I took in the view from this “shack” on stilts and embraced Cowichan Bay’s definition of a night on the town.
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Mineral Point’s cultural mix
Art and history intersect in the small town of Mineral Point, Wis., said William Hageman in the Chicago Tribune. Artists’ studios and galleries sit among pharmacies and launderettes on the “hilly streets” of this southern Wisconsin burg. Settled in the early 1800s, Mineral Point was largely built when lead deposits were discovered and miners from Cornwall, England, flocked to the area. Limestone homes “reminiscent of those in Cornwall” can still be seen at the preserved Pendarvis settlement. Visitors can also explore the 1867 Gundry House, a pre–Civil War railroad depot, and the newly reopened Opera House to get a feel for the town’s history. Today, the place recently voted Wisconsin’s most beautiful town is home to about 80 working artists and no souvenir shops. Its “blissfully uncrowded” main streets are “chockablock with treasures” from both the 19th and 21st centuries.
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