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Saturday’s scene: a vision in the estuary

Vancouver Island Estuary

This used to be a meadow. Now it’s an estuary.

I’ve been collecting stories about people Alan and I meet on our travels who have a passion for what they do. On a road trip to Vancouver Island, we met innkeepers who are passionate about the environment. This is their story.

Harold and Marianne Robinson had a vision. Where everyone else saw a meadow that had been created by a dike, they saw a wetlands sanctuary that could be compatible with a home and luxury inn. When most neighbors, government officials and regulatory agencies said that it couldn’t—and shouldn’t—be done, the Robinson’s doggedly moved ahead. They consulted biologists, convinced agencies, obtained permits and eventually demolished the dike, which allowed  water channels to return to their meandering paths through the land. An abundance of wildlife returned as well. As Harold Robinson says, “we brought the estuary to us.”

Alan took this photo when we stayed at Inn the Estuary near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. It’s certainly an appropriate name for an inn with a lush, green landscape that sits on the edge of an estuary. During our visit, we stayed glued to the over-sized windows in our suite watching red-winged blackbirds feeding at bird feeders placed around the property. A family of bald eagles perched in that far tree with bare branches at the top that you see in the photo. We watched as deer threaded through the marsh, reaching into large mounds of wild roses for a tasty dinner. Unfortunately, our trip didn’t coincide with the salmon spawning season, but if we’d arrived during that time, it’s a site we might have witnessed.

Harold and Marianne Robinson have a passion for what they’ve created on the edge of Nanoose Bay. And it shows.

Read the rest of our Road Trip to Vancouver Island articles to create your own itinerary to this lovely part of the world.

Do you collect stories on your travels? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email.

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