it feels like home to me

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me, it feels like I'm all the way back where I come from. It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me, it feels like I'm all the way back where I belong.

~ Chantal Kreviazuk

I breathed a deep sigh of relief, letting stress out as I filtered the rocks through my hands searching for sea glass. I glanced over at my husband where he had collapsed amongst the rocks, his freckles danced in the sunlight and reflection from the waves. He looked up and whispered to me “I haven't felt this relaxed in a really long time”. We both felt at peace, at home, we felt like we had been transported to our roots on the east coast, even though we hadn't left southern Manitoba.

For the past few summers we have traveled home to Nova Scotia to see family and friends, and to unwind close to the ocean. We love our new life in Manitoba, but sometimes we deeply crave the sound of waves and trips to the east coast seashore. We have always thought of the ocean as our happy place, where we decompress, the space where we feel the most at home and comfortable in our own skin. So many of our favourite memories revolve around the sea, and the seaside lifestyle is engrained into our soul, our being, and is part of our heritage, helping to shape our personality and lifestyle. Besides missing family and friends back home in Nova Scotia, missing the ocean and quaint seaside communities is my biggest form of homesickness as I adjust to becoming a prairie girl.

This summer we decided to mix things up. No trip home to the east coast. Instead we wanted to finally visit Hecla Island, located in The Interlake area of Manitoba, and surrounded by Lake Winnipeg, the sixth largest freshwater lake in Canada. We heard rumors that the island felt like it was a “taste of the maritimes” right here on the prairies. As we are both proud Bluenosers, a claim like that demanded we check it out and see firsthand. With the assistance of Travel Manitoba we booked a room at the recently re-opened Lakeview Hecla Resort and set off for our own Manitoba maritime adventure. 

I find myself struggling to adequately describe our experience on Hecla Island. All the words and descriptions that come to mind do not quite do the island justice or completely capture the essence of the island. It is a place that you simply must feel and experience to understand how lucky Manitoba is to have such a beautiful resort and provincial park with a bit of a maritime flair. It is a combination of pure luxury at Lakeview Hecla Resort, the simplicity of pristine fishing villages, water views that will pull on your heart strings and bring a sense of calmness to your soul, and the ability to be so in touch with nature that makes this place so darn special and a true Manitoba gem. For me, it felt like the minute we drove across the causeway to Hecla Island we were transported to our own special place, a Manitoba maritime secret, and immediately we chilled out and our bodies shifted to island time.

Lakeview Hecla Resort offers beautiful rooms, delicious food, pure pampering with the pools, spa and golf amenities, and a peaceful and serene landscape. It completely lives up to its slogan “simply inviting”. The rest of the island offers simplicity with nature from rocky coastline beaches dotted with boats and lighthouses to hiking with seaside cliff views to grassy marshlands perfect for encounters with wildlife. Throw in a quaint fishing village and a marina and it is everything we hoped for and more for our Manitoba summer seaside retreat.  In all my Manitoba adventures there is no place in the province quite like Hecla Island. It is unique, and I immediately felt right at home. For us it was the perfect Manitoba getaway, and a place we will return to in the near future.

Heather Hinam, of Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery, which offers customized learning based adventures, met up with us one morning for some hands on exploring. Heather knows the island like the back of her hand, and graciously showed us around, sharing with us some of her favourite spots. As we explored the island together she described it perfectly, proclaiming that there is something for everyone and that all people can discover their own personal oasis on the island. She is bang on. My personal oasis was sitting on Sunset Beach watching the sun go down, while holding hands with my husband, soaking in the last of the day's light as it danced off the water. For my husband it was hiking out to the lighthouses, searching for sea glass, followed by skipping rocks. Those are just two options, but there are plenty more, and I encourage you to explore and find your own personal Hecla Island oasis too. 

So as summer draws to an end, once again my husband and I have made great memories at the seashore, this time without even leaving the province. Our experiences at Lakeview Hecla Resort and Hecla Island did not disappoint and we definitely experienced a little “taste of the maritimes”. It has made me fall even more in love with our fine prairie province, and I have never felt more at home here on the prairies.  

 How To Find Your Personal Oasis On Hecla Island

Watch the sunset at Sunset Beach. Climb the limestone rocks at East Quarry Beach. Have a picnic and enjoy a shore lunch. Enjoy a spa treatment at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Plan a unique adventure with Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery. Tour historic Hecla Village. Play a round of golf at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Hike one of the many trails on the island. Climb a viewing tower and search for wildlife. Chill in the various pools at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Go birdwatching at Grassy Narrows Marsh. Rent a boat or kayak and go for a cruise on the lake. Cast your line off the pier and reel in a big fish. Ride a bicycle all over the island on the designated bicycle trails. Enjoy dinner and drinks at Lakeview Hecla Resort or at the marina. Go for a swim at Gull Harbour Beach or Sunset Beach. Play a game of beach volleyball with friends. Watch the boats come and go and listen to the waves. Sing songs around a campfire. Search for sea glass and other treasures. Find a quiet corner and just simply relax and enjoy the view.

For assistance with planning your perfect Hecla Island adventure please visit Travel Manitoba at www.travelmanitoba.com.
For more information on Lakeview Hecla Resort please visit www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels.php?entry_id=17994.
For more information on Hecla Provincial Park please visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/hecla.html
For more information on Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery please visit www.discoversecondnature.ca.