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  • Meg Cuthbert

Tacos, Beer, Succulents: A Classic “Girl's Day” in the Comox Valley

I have some pretty rad ladies in my life who enjoy the finer things (desert plants and beer), and they’re very willing to travel for it. This entire girl's day road-trip up island started because of succulents, just another classic example of ladies travelling for cacti. Valley Succulents in Comox, was the prime target of this mission, but we decided we couldn't go all the way up there just for fancy plants. So, we added a taco stop, and a beer stop, and boom! Just like that, you’ve got yourself an ideal itinerary.

The Comox Valley is a really exciting area, it feels like it is brimming with an infectious adventurous energy. With Mount Washington Alpine Resort just up the hill and the ocean to the east, the Valley is a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Cumberland, within the Valley, is such a cool town. The main street is lined with little shops that are bursting with personality. Everyone seemed to be driving 4Runners and Tacomas with mountain bikes on the back as if all the residents are either just coming back from or just about to go on some wicked adventure. For the record, we were also in a 4Runner, but no mountain bikes (so we’re cool, but not so cool). Our time spent in Cumberland consisted of us continually parroting, “Are we doing this? Are we moving to Cumberland?”

We’re not. But I would.

We cruised into Cumberland and headed straight for tacos (because we’re ladies). Biblio Taco is one of the aforementioned shops on the main drag. Their food is crafted from local ingredients and everything is made in-house, including the hot sauces. The tacos are outrageously good — like so good, they make you want to leave your life behind, move to Cumberland and eat tacos every day until you fall into a taco coma (a Tacoma! Everything here is a truck!).

I ordered a Chicken Mole, Seared Albacore Tuna and a Pork. These tacos paired nicely, not only with the hot sauces but with their house-made sangria.

Righteously filled, we walked about 25 metres to our next stop, Cumberland Brewing. This place ALSO SERVES TACOS (sorry for yelling, but like, dang)!

“Are we doing this? Are we moving to Cumberland? Is this happening!?”

Cumberland Brewing is another fine example of the microbrewing movement that has taken hold on Vancouver Island. With their own personality, the brewery offers a ridiculous range of beers. We had one flight each, but we could have had another without tasting the same beer twice (this might not be true, but they had a lot of beers).

From here we moved on to the reason for the whole expedition: succulents. We hopped back in the truck (with a designated driver of course) and headed through Comox to Valley Succulents. Full disclosure, plants aren’t really my thing. I like to look at them, but I’m wary of anything I have to keep alive. I was expecting to go to the Valley Succulents with the ladies and kind of hang around until they had finished. But no, this place is awesome.

“Are we doing this?”

From the outside, it looks like you’ve arrived at someone’s house, but around the corner is a huge greenhouse. Inside lives hundreds (thousands?) of plants that could have been harvested from a Dr. Suess book. We all snagged a cardboard tray and started filling them up with whimsical plants (Tuffula Trees and the like) — I didn’t expect to be so excited about cacti, but sometimes you just have to embrace what’s in front of you. The back of the truck was packed full of plants by the time the three of us were done.

As we headed home (we had to go early because I had an evening shoot, what a downer), our main thought was that we have to spend more time in Cumberland. There’s so much to do there that we couldn’t cram into the one afternoon. So just like Arnold, we’ll be back.


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