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thetis_islandAs you may have heard, Nanaimo is a great central location on Vancouver Island.  Using the Painted Turtle Guesthouse as a home base and exploring the surrounding area with day trips is an extremely convenient option!  Whether you have a vehicle or not, it is so easy to get out and explore.  I love living in Nanaimo for this very reason; we are so close to so many great hotspots that are not to be missed!! One of these hidden gems that not many tourists know about is a small island called Thetis Island.  As part of the many gulf islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island, you can get to Thetis on a 1/2 hour BC Ferry ride from Chemainus.  You can get to Chemainus directly from Nanaimo by car, Greyhound bus, or VIA Rail train. Once you get to Thetis Island, it is yours to explore.  If you are on foot, it is just a short walk to the Telegraph Marina where you can buy unique gifts featuring local artists, maps, postcards, and have a classic milkshake or banana split in their retro style soda shop.  On your way to the marina, don't miss the "Trust Shop".  It is a small market on the side of the road where local artists from the island sell their homemade pastries and jams, locally caught seafood, artwork, and so much more!  Everything is priced accordingly and it is 'trusted' that you leave the appropriate amount of cash in the box before leaving, as no one is there to collect payment.  This is what I LOVE about a small island!! Other highlights include Pot of Gold Coffee Roasting Company, White Peony Tea House, and The Pub on Thetis which has great food and drinks overlooking the pristine Telegraph Harbour.  Also, hike to High Point for a great view from the top of the island, and don't miss the AMAZING sunsets from Pilky Point at the northern tip of Thetis. Thetis Island is perfect for those looking to get off the beaten track for a day and indulge in a local west coast community.  I have been going here for 14 years and keep going back to this little paradise because it is so great!  Check it out! [caption id="attachment_419" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Biking on Thetis Island, BC"]thetis_island_2-640x480[/caption]