March 15, 2018
If you’re craving a Mother Nature reconnect, you’ll find it in the mountains of British Columbia—a quick flight or scenic drive from the American West….
By Carla Mont October 27, 2017 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
When the temperature cools in British Columbia, thoughts turn to hunkering down with creature comforts. From oceanside inns to treehouse-style escapes, here are hideaways far from the madding crowd.
Quaint. Quiet. A former dry goods store. Vancouver Island’s Seine Boat Inn is all of these things. Set above the shoreline on tiny Cormorant Island, the inn was once a bustling supply centre for the North Island and South Central Coast in the 1940s. Today, the site is a far more sedate; renovated in 2010 with reclaimed, restored, and repurposed old-growth fir, the inn offers homey, rustic quarters boasting views of the harbour, the ocean-going fishing boats that ply the waters along the North Island, and the village of Alert Bay.
It’s the details at Rowena’s Inn on the River that tell a story—like opera singer Dame Nellie Melba’s bed, the banister salvaged from the original Hotel Vancouver, and the dining room table that once belonged to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The former English-style manor turned bed and breakfast boasts five bedrooms in the main house, with balconies overlooking the Harrison River, and four luxury cottages adorned with wood-burning fireplaces. Spend a Sunday afternoon warming over High Tea, soothe with in-cottage spa treatments, or view migrating bald eagles, a yearly spectacle at its peak throughout November and December.
At Kayanara Guest Ranch & Resort, a crackling fire, good company, and a light dusting of snow on a log cabin isn’t a winter’s dream—it’s reality. Here, southeast of Williams Lake, you can select your log home away from home (with names like Wolf, Bear, and Moose) for an escape that is sure to recharge. Saddle up for guided horseback rides year round or choose from a bevy of winter pastimes, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. While cabins are outfitted with kitchens, the crew at Kayanara provides a hearty daily breakfast of waffles, muesli, and more to start each day.
The Chilcotin grasslands are home to rolling hills, canyons, fast-flowing rivers, and the occasional historic property. Enter Chilcotin Lodge. Built in 1940, west of Williams Lake, the lodge has 10 bedrooms and two shared bathrooms; you can relax, read a book, or play a board game by the fire in the communal lounge, or gather in the dining room for home-cooked meals paired with BC wines and beer. If the weather is fine, enjoy your country-style breakfast (tip: order a homemade cinnamon bun) on the patio, with views of the grasslands this region is famous for.
If bygone train travel era is on your wish list, head to Cranbrook. Here, the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort is home to an array of accommodations, including guest rooms and suites, plus—you guessed it—a vintage railcar. With two suites at just under 300 square feet (at either end of the car), these compact quarters showcase the ultimate in nostalgic luxury travel, plus a few modern conveniences (jetted tubs and plasma TVs, to name a few). For train enthusiasts, the experience doesn’t end there: view a collection of 28 railway cars at The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel at the Cranbrook History Centre or ride the steam train at Fort Steele Heritage Town in the summer.
South of Penticton, the Similkameen Valley is home to some of Canada’s best wineries and organic farmers. At Tree To Me farm market and B&B, you can explore the farm, linger in the lavender patch, climb the tower for a bird’s-eye view of the landscape, or make your home away from home in one of six fully-equipped, private suites. The Market-Bistro features seasonal organic produce grown on site or locally, alongside fresh-baked goods and signature sourdough breads. Peruse original paintings by local artists in the market and pick your favourite small-batch preserve to take home. In any season, Tree To Me provides an excellent base camp for exploration and adventure, including wine touring, hiking, biking, and skiing and snowboarding at nearby Apex Mountain.
The Landgasthof (German-style country inn) at Crowsnest Vineyards makes the most of its Similkameen address. Set in wine country southwest of Penticton, Crowsnest offers a tasting room and seven guest rooms above the winery’s restaurant. Explore neighbouring vineyards or sip winery pours during Friday Pizza Nights or in the comfort of your room (consider pairing a dessert wines with a tasty cake or streusel, made fresh in the on-site bakery). In the morning, enjoy a hearty European-style breakfast of cold cuts, cheeses, and homemade jams served with oven-baked bread—just one of the touches that makes this Heinecke family-run winery worthy of a toast.
In northwest BC, an escape from the everyday is as simple as changing your point of view. At Hidden Acres Farm and Treehouse Resort, you can do just that in treehouse-style cabins. Built by the owners on their secluded riverside acreage, each cabin offers minimalist accommodations equipped with a kitchenette, electric fireplace, and private balcony. The best part? These private perches offer year-round views of mountains, forest, and local wildlife.
Four-legged and equine family members are welcome at Norton North Ranch Cottages, where three self-contained country cottages beckon on a 121-hectare (300-acre) spread. With or without your steed (or dog or hamster), you can stay at the Cowboy Cabin, complete with kitchenette, overlooking the horse pasture; opt for the Corral Cottage with its modern interiors, full kitchen, wood-burning stove, and small, personal horse paddock; or cosy up, loft style, in The Old Logbarn with its full kitchen and pellet stove. Outdoors, you can snowshoe, walk the trails, or build a toasty bonfire.
Feature image: The marina in Alert Bay. Photo: Nathan Martin
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