Hollyhock was a delicious break on a journey through fjords, gardens, & forests. It took forever to get there, but it was worth it! Hollyhock is on an island and to get to that island by car from the mainland you need to take at least three ferries. The first ferry is to Vancouver Island, then a drive to Campbell River, then a ferry to Quadra island, a drive across it, and yet another ferry to Cortes island where Hollyhock resides. There is nothing quick about this journey, but going by ferry seems like a nice prelude to the retreat.
There is nothing to do but watch the superb landscapes slowly pass by, your car tucked safely in the hull. Some even see whales on the journeys, although I wasn’t that lucky. The quick way to get there is by seaplane, but it is very expensive and you’ll see much more of the lifestyle here if you take the ferries. I would definitely recommend making Hollyhock just one stop on a longer journey around Vancouver Island and the outlying islands, as there is too much beauty here to skip quickly through.
Once I arrived at Hollyhock, I didn’t leave until it was time to make my way back to the ferry. Though the island seemed like it would be a great place to discover, I really needed a rest. I spent my two days relaxing in their beautiful hot tub, walking through the forest & along the beach, meditating, eating (more about the food later!) and trying to find ways to dry out my tent. I’d made the mistake of camping (British Columbia is essentially a rainforest) and it rained all night, despite being sunny both days I was there. No wonder why the prices drop so much when you tent instead of staying in a room. As with most retreat centers I’ve been to, the prices begin to soar when you think about getting a single room with a private bath.
Hollyhock does have dorms which I could have afforded, but I preferred to have my own ‘room’ in my tent. The campsites are very quaint, though; they are all mapped out, little plots between trees laid with pine needles. The trees work well for tying tarps to (bring one). The support staff was very helpful when I went to ask if I could borrow a tarp, someone came to help me, though I got the feeling this was an unusual request. Nearby the campsites are nice, clean cedar bathhouses with toilets & hot showers.