A few weeks ago, I found myself enjoying a hike through Tofino’s old growth forest. With each step I took, I couldn’t believe the beauty I was taking in – and how lucky and thankful I was to be there in that moment. From the sweeping views of the boreal forest, to the wealth of cedar trees much older than Canada itself, this time provided me with a perspective and clarity that I really needed. All of this was courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company who flew me and a group of influencers to Tofino to test their luxe fleet of 2019 vehicles – still pinching myself!
Upon receiving my invite, I couldn’t believe my luck. There was the obvious: the natural beauty of this city is unparalleled and November is a fine time to escape the wintry doldrums of Ottawa. And then there was the unexpected: jetting over the beautiful Rockies, the luxurious pampering throughout the trip, the Wickanninish Inn which is officially the most beautiful and cozy hotel I’ve ever stayed in, and bombing around Tofino’s rugged landscape in Lincoln’s luxe vehicles.
So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable and please enjoy this Lincoln experience that I’m so excited to share with you.
A beautiful, black Lincoln Continental picked me and my friend Samantha up bright and early and took us to the airport in style. We then jetted off to Vancouver, chattering away excitedly the whole time wondering what this fun trip had in store.
Touching down in Vancouver, we were greeted by the Lincoln team who transported us to a small airfield where we would fly to Nanaimo. Here, we met up with the rest of the influencers who became fast friends of ours. Hi Nathalie, Melanie, Charlène and Luana!!!
After a short flight, we arrived in Nanaimo, where the fleet of 2019 Lincoln vehicles awaited. We took about a thousand photos and excitedly listened to the Lincoln team explain that each of us would be driving ourselves to lunch at the Lighthouse Bistro & Pub followed by a visit to the famous Coombs Country Candy Store in Port Alberni.
The Lighthouse Bistro & Pub holds a special place in my heart, so I was thrilled to learn we would be visiting. Ryan’s parents lived in Nanaimo for three years, and the Lighthouse Bistro was a favourite during our trips. If you ever get the chance to visit, I HIGHLY recommend the clam chowder!
Sam and I climbed into our Lincoln Nautilus and were delighted to find out that the Lincoln team had pre-programmed all of our destinations into our crossover’s GPS system. All we had to do was select the desired destination, and sit back and enjoy driving the Nautilus…which just so happens to be one helluva smooth ride.
After a great lunch and presentation on the fleet of vehicles, we headed out to the charming Coombs Country Candy Store in Port Alberni. We loaded up on some of the best chocolate, truffles and fudge I’ve ever had, and the kind staff whipped up warm peppermint mochas for us. We were in 7th heaven.
In true Lincoln form, “my” Nautilus was beautiful. This luxe crossover vehicle was a lovely White Platinum colour with a Panoramic Vista Roof that spanned both rows of seating. This allowed Sam to take in the crystal clear skies and towering trees that flanked the highway through Port Alberni to Tofino.
The interior was completely luxe, complete with ventilated heated and cooled seats. Oh – and the seats were clad in Bridge of Weir leather imported from Scotland which is of the finest leather available today.
Something Sam and I really enjoyed about the Nautilus other than its smooth ride (and cozy massage seats – whoa), was the SYNC 3 90 AppLink with Waze. Waze is a fave app of mine, as it alerts me to traffic issues and connects me with other users to get information on the best routes to destinations, receive real-time alerts about accidents, road hazards, etc.
In addition, the Nautilus features an Inductive Wireless Charging Pad for your smartphone which is great, as I use my iPhone so much that I carry a portable charger with me at all times (#addict). This proved very useful as we burned through a lot of battery power taking IG pics and stories throughout our Tofino adventure.
We wanted to make good time to our destinations, and the Nautilus delivered a fun and nimble ride thanks to her 2.7L Twin Turbo charged V6 engine. Despite having 335 horsepower, this beauty of a ride was fuel efficient and wonderfully quiet, providing a relaxing and enjoyable ride – something that Dom the Luxury Lover never takes for granted.
The Road To The Wickanninish Inn, Tofino
As we cruised to the Lighthouse Bistro & Pub, I couldn’t help but think this vehicle was the perfect size for me, as it offered just enough room to haul me, my pup Reese, and everything I would need for styling shoots like clothing racks, camera equipment and the usual 100 pairs of shoes I always seem to have in my car.
Lincoln offered us a chauffeur for the ride from the candy store to Tofino, which we happily accepted, and I’m so glad I did. I wondered if we were being lazy, being chauffeured in this crossover meant to be enjoyed by drivers, but I’m so glad we took the offer. It allowed us to sit back and take in the winding road flanked by some of the most majestic forest and lake views the world has to offer.
We also passed MacMillan Provincial Park, home to the world renown Cathedral Grove, a favourite spot of mine. Cathedral Grove features ancient Douglas Fir trees. Seeing this ancient growth forest is a lifetime experience and really puts into perspective the importance of protecting our planet.
Our chauffeur Bart was a kind, humorous and knowledgeable guy. He gave us the history of Tofino and neighbouring Ucluelet and was a walking encyclopedia of natural history. He suggested a beautiful, secluded spot for us to take some shots of the landscape that was magical…especially during the Golden Hour.
After our relaxing ride, we arrived at the Wickaninnish Inn. While I did my research on this famous hotel, I still wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it was along with its surroundings.
We were received by the hotel staff like celebrities, complete with a red carpet. Each of us was accompanied to our room by a staffer who explained the hotel’s history. When I entered my room, I was so overwhelmed by its luxury and overwhelming views, that I cried. I CRIED. The staff member laughed and hugged me, and encouraged me to enjoy it, and relax with the complimentary glass of port that was waiting for me.
Bodysuit and Skirt – Zara | Shoes – Aldo | Bag – Louis Vuitton
I composed myself, got cleaned up and headed to dinner with the rest of the group, which included a lovely whisky tasting hosted by the hotel.
Starting Off Day 2
After a very restful night, Sam and I woke up early to enjoy a healthy breakfast courtesy of the hotel’s Pointe Restaurant. Their Stuffed French Toast complete with Camembert and spiced hibiscus poached pears was seemingly sent from heaven above.
It was time to get going and explore Tofino. Sam and I were excited to learn that we would be driving the Lincoln Navigator for the day. Admittedly as we walked up to this big SUV, we both looked at each other simultaneously and wondered “how do you parallel park this thing?” We dissolved into giggles and climbed in happily.
As I got comfortable behind the wheel, I realized that I was a little scared. Believe me when I say this SUV is “larger than life”. She proved to be very drivable though, taking turns tightly and cleanly, and felt very powerful. The Navigator comes complete with all the bells and whistles the heart could desire also.
Ok – the first thing you’ll notice about the Navigator which we affectionately named “Big Blue” is that it is FAST. Like, really fast. With 450 horsepower, you’re going to get to wherever you’re going in no time. Offering six different drive modes, you can basically enjoy whatever type of ride you like, from Slippery to Excite.
Despite Big Blue’s size, it felt quick and light thanks to its aluminum body. Feel free to go off-road too. With her 4×4 capability, you will be able to navigate beaches to rocky terrain with ease.
One of my favourite features of the 2019 Lincoln Navigator is the Lincoln Way App (available on iTunes and Google Play) which allows you to start the car from afar, lock and unlock the doors and best of all, locate the vehicle in a crowded parking lot. No more getting lost at Costco! The app also has a feature called “Embrace” – a beautiful lighting feature which illuminates the car when you approach it. Trust me, this feature needs to be seen in person, it’s that cool.
Heads Up Display is another cool and helpful feature of this SUV. It’s a windshield projected informational display showing you a range of information from speed limits to exterior temperature.
There were a few destinations that Sam and I wanted to see firsthand, but we needed some more coffee. We headed to Tofino’s Rhino Coffee House, a cool little café that melded both an urban feel and outdoorsy atmosphere beautifully.
After grabbing our drinks and treats, we walked around taking in the sweeping views of the marina. Grice Bay was short drive away, so we hopped in the Navigator and hit the road.
Grice Bay is located in the Pacific Rim National Park. The drive to the bay is just as beautiful as the bay itself. Once there, Sam and I took explored the rocky beach along with taking in the beautiful coastline views. All of the annoyances we have grown used to in big cities were a distant memory.
Next up was lunch at Shelter Restaurant with our group. We sat in the restaurant’s atrium by the fire, while enjoying delicious soups and seared ahi tuna salads and talking about the day’s experiences.
Hot Springs Cove
It was now time to get changed for our hike to Hot Springs Cove. We would be taking a sea plane to Maquinna National Park, where we would spend the day relaxing in goethermic pools nestled in the rocks of Hot Springs Cove.
I won’t lie. That seaplane ride made me nervous, but thankfully, Sam and our friends Nathalie and Melanie kept my mind off of any sort of imagined air disaster. LOL – I watch too many horror movies.
Along with the laughs, the supreme bird’s eye view of Maquinna National Park was worth it. It was absolutely stunning!
We soon landed and begun our 45-minute hike to Hot Springs Cove. Once there, we all got into our bathing suits and relaxed in the hot pools for hours. It was heavenly. Definitely a highlight of this trip.
Beauty tip: the geothermic pools are high in sulphur which made our skin really soft!!
A Glamorous Evening
After our day of steeping in the hot pools, we returned to the hotel and got ready for cocktails and dinner at the Tofino Resort and Marina.
I sipped one of the best Boulevardier cocktails I’ve ever had (my favourite next to the Old Fashioned), and had a lot of fun recounting our trip experiences with my fellow influencers.
Dinner consisting of incredible sea food and other local fare was served while we listened to live music. I sat at my table, taking in the candlelit scene and again, had to pinch myself. Here I was, in beautiful Tofino, BC, enjoying a gourmet meal with a group of top notch people. I had just spent the day touring the city in Big Blue, taking in the gorgeous landscape, followed by a sea plane ride and relaxing in the hot springs for hours. I was truly blessed.
After another restful night at the uber comfortable Wickaninnish Inn, Sam and I had breakfast and headed to the airport to make our way home. We were a little sad, but felt rejuventated and were so thrilled at how great the past two days were thanks to the Lincoln Motor Company. Sam and I couldn’t have been more grateful for this wonderful lifetime experience.
This morning as I drove to work in the aftermath of yet another Ottawa blizzard, I remembered fondly my time with the Lincoln Navigator (a.k.a. Big Blue) and its supreme handling, drivability and comfort. I also remembered receiving the best massage from the luxurious Lincoln Nautilus as we took the Pacific Rim Highway to the Wickaninnish Inn.
As I slid around in the snow in my poor little car, I made a mental note to write to Santa and ask for Big Blue (my ride of choice) to return to me for Christmas. Hey – I’ve been a really good girl this year! ;o)
*In collaboration with the Lincoln Motor Company. The Lincoln Navigator and Nautilus were driven and loved by me. All opinions are my own.