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6 Off-Season Island Travel Ideas: Forget the Crowds & Save

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Is Bali on your bucket list? What about the Galapagos Islands? We’re heading into the off season for many popular islands and contributor Laura Hubber has put together a guide that makes your dream islands both accessible and affordable. Plus she’ll show you why the off-season is the best time to go. 

This is the time of year when daydreams turn to islands, not for the over-sunned and people-saturated beaches of summer, but for the isolated tracts of tranquility, where one can escape the urban crowds, the concrete and particulates, and nurture the bond with one’s own private island of individualism. It’s also the time of year one can mingle with the inhabitants of the islands as they go about their daily lives. And since its off season, deals abound.

Following are my top six island escapes:

1) Salt Spring Island: Let the Rain Shine In

After the long days of northern light, the fall brings cool nights and auburn days to the Pacific Northwest.

A quick puddle jump from Seattle or Vancouver, (we took the seaplane from Seattle. Kenmore Air), Salt Spring Island is known for its food, wine, scenery and colony of artists and artisans.

Food artisans who began their shops in the ’60s and ’70s have perfected their craft. At Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop, you can taste the cheeses and wander around the farm, and at Salt Spring Vineyards, you can sip blueberry port at the Annual Grape Stomp (October 20)–and even stay the night if you drink too much.

Take a “gourmet safari” or studio tour through the island’s cheese farms, vineyard and bakeries through Wendy Hartnett’s Island Gourmet Safaris, (250 537 4118).

While bed and breakfasts dot the island, it’s hard to pass up the elegant Hastings House Country House Hotel. Modeled after an English country home built in the 1930s, the Hastings House was converted into a hotel in 1980, and its present owners, Bonny O’Connor and Jerry Parks, fell for the property when they were guests some 20 years ago. Their attention to detail–from the wakeup hamper of homemade breads that arrives at the door of your room in the morning to the elaborate afternoon teas to the Pacific Northwest farm to table dinners including Salt Spring Island lamb—hasn’t wavered with the years.

From October 1 to the 31, stay two nights and enjoy a third night free, and a picnic for two. English breakfast and afternoon tea are included in all stays anytime of the year.