Residents of and visitors to Vancouver Island often drive the island highway without exploring some of the towns and attractions that are off the highway. Returning home from Victoria we often take to the side roads and cruise through Mill Bay, Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay, Crofton, and Saltair picking up the main road in Ladysmith. The trip is slower but far more interesting. Winding roads, and usually very little traffic makes for a driver’s delight.
One out of the way places you could, no should, consider is Genoa Bay. As you drive through Duncan, Turn at Trunk Road and head East ( There is a Chevron on one corner a PetroCan on the other). Follow the signs to Maple Bay. Then turn right on the Genoa Bay Road and at the end of the road you are at the Bay. It’s about 10 kilometres.
Why would you want to go there? Firstly, it’s a pretty drive. Secondly, you may want to dine at the excellent GENOA BAY CAFE. Overlooking the Bay and Marina, this cafe caters to boaters and landlubbers alike. It’s cozy inside and in good weather the large deck is very inviting. Open for lunch and dinner, the food is delicious. The emphasis is on locally sourced ingredients.
If you are lunching you may like the Brandied Garlic Escargot as an appetizer or the Manila Clams in White wine or the Famous Calamari. Halibut & Chips is a great choice for a big appetite or maybe an Angus Beef Burger. For dinner consider the Seafood Jambalaya or the Whiskey Walnut Apricot Stuffed Pork Loin. Finish with a Traditional Creme Brûlée. I have never met one I didn’t like. .
Consider arriving on Friday or Saturday for the Prime Rib dinner but be sure and make a reservation. Be sure you call ahead to see if they are open. Right now dinner only on Wednesday & Thursday. Lunch & Dinner on Friday through Sunday. Their hours expand during the boating season. You can peruse the complete menu here.
Before or after you dine, stroll down the docks. Check out the Marina Store. You might run into Will or Ben Kiedaisch, the owners, two of the friendliest guys anywhere. Take a look at the visiting yachts and you can dream about owning one. Or if you did own one you can admire them, smugly knowing you are not paying for the fuel, moorage and maintenance.
Genoa Bay is charming, friendly, and a wonderful place for lunch or dinner. Well worth the drive❗