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Homegrown at Hollyhock

By Loretta Laurin. Posted on April 12, 2019 in Movement + Nature, Stories + Recipes

Don’t wait for 30 years to be wowed by Hollyhock like I did; get yourself there and prepare to be immersed in nature, wonderful food, and people. – 2018 Guest

One of Hollyhock’s biggest draws is the fact that our main campus rests on a remote west coast island, home to not only some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes, but also some of the most unique and lovable people. Creative, down-to-earth, friendly, sometimes a bit wild, and always ready to lend a hand; many people come for the land, but stay for the community. We at Hollyhock would not be who we are without the dedication of our long-time Cortes Island staff and presenters.

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Bill is an amazing person and a treasure! He animates the forest and got us to think like a tree. – ‘Discover Cortes’ 2018 Participant

Take for instance, Bill Ophoff, our resident naturalist. Our guests often rave about their naturalist excursions, and more often than not, they are talking about Bill and his quirky sense of humour. Bill landed on Cortes Island on “May 3, 1993 on the 3:05pm ferry” and jokes that he just never left. He has seen the evolution of Hollyhock over 25 years, holding down a lighthearted and no BS foundation, filling our bellies with beachside oyster barbeques, and beguiling our hearts with stories of the land.

Bill inspires many with his endless knowledge; “I would have participated in a row every morning had it been offered. We went once and loved it. We especially appreciated Bill’s knowledge about the biology, geology, oceanography, anything we asked him about. He made the outing much more valuable,” says a 2018 participant.

Every year, Bill offers an intimate program limited to 12 participants, Discover Cortes: Nature Adventures, where you can immerse yourself in and learn about the vibrant ecology of our island home.

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Food doesn’t get better than this – each meal left you feeling nourished, cared for and incredibly full (in the best way)!  – Ashley Weinstein, 2018 Guest

Of course, Hollyhock would not be what it is without the delicious meals that come from our famous kitchen. For the last 12 years, you can thank Rebeka Carpenter and her team for the ever creative dishes that line our buffet table. One guest was completely blown away; “[This is] the most glorious food I’ve had in years. I truly had a magical experience.”

A California girl at heart, Rebeka joined the Hollyhock kitchen on an invite from then CEO Dana Bass Solomon. She took one step into our spacious and beautiful kitchen which overlooks the ocean, and fell madly in love. She has never looked back since, and just this year has transitioned to a new and exciting year-round role as Kitchen Supervisor at the Cortes Co-op.

Not to worry, Rebeka remains a key presence in the Cortes landscape, and has passed on her legacy to our new Kitchen Manager, who has studied under Rebeka since she was 20 years old. Rebeka will also be leading a program with us this year, Garden to Table: Cooking & Mindful Movement, which will be a rare opportunity to learn how to make some of our renowned dishes!

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Come experience an inner peace seldom achieved elsewhere. – ‘Sea Kayaking with Misty Isles’ 2017 Participant

Many people who come to Hollyhock tell us they really appreciate the journey across the water, and the stunning ocean-views they get to witness from the lodge and hot tubs. For 17 years, we’ve partnered with Misty Isles Adventures to get our guests out on the water, and into the “deep end” of their nature experience. Mike Moore and Samantha Moore cofounded Misty Isles Adventures 20 years ago. From stunning bioluminescence paddles to horizon-expanding sails aboard the 43-foot Misty Isles schooner, Mike and Samantha’s goal was to show folks the natural world.

They took many people into Desolation Sound and to Mitlenatch Island, where Samantha led fascinating walks showing guests the flora and fauna. Samantha and Mike also run a small farm in Manson’s which produces many of the ingredients used in the lunches for the Misty Isles trips, as well as Samantha providing her absolutely delicious and legendary cookies for all the excursions.

Mike is a great kayak safety instructor; he used clear terminology and geared our discussions to our skill level. My best experience with kayaking ever over a 15 year kayak history. – ‘Sea Kayaking with Misty Isles’ 2017 Participant

They recently passed on the torch after having been in business for 20 years. The sailing half of Misty Isles is now with Jonas and Amy who live on the island with their two young daughters. Kai Harvey purchased Misty Isles Kayaking and is excited to grow the company to serve the Cortes Island residents and visitors.

Each year “Misty Mike” runs Sea Kayaking Adventures Aboard Misty Isles, where you have the opportunity to cruise on the Misty Isles sailboat and kayak around the spectacular waters of Desolation Sound. Mike brings his kind heart and good humour to every interaction, and does an incredible job of pointing out the vivid details and sharing captivating stories of the surrounding wildlife, in a way that is both informative and fun. This year we’re already sold out, but you can join the waitlist!

I’ve never been to a more magical and powerful place or met as many warm, loving, welcoming people. – Jen Kiok, 2017 Guest

From land, to food, to water, our Cortes Island campus nourishes and feeds the soul unlike any other place. But it is the people behind the experience – who live, work, and play on this island every day – that make the experience what it is. We are incredibly grateful to our longtime islander staff and community, and hope on your next visit that you get the chance to meet some of the amazing people who live here and support the work they do. For more information about happenings around the island during your visit, check out cortesisland.com

 

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