November 26, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Fernie, Historic & Heritage Sites
I just received the winter issue of British Columbia Magazine
and the front cover is spectacular – a fabulous shot of downtown Fernie all decked out in sparkles and wrapped in a perfect winter wonderland! The snow-sprinkled mountains in the background seem as though you can walk from Main Street to mountain top in less than five minutes. No wonder Fernie
is getting praises from the likes of Rolling Stone
, Conde Nast Traveler
, and National Geographic Adventure
. Read a portion of the British Columbia Magazine article on Fernie
Also in the winter issue: a photo essay on jellyfish
; a feature on Rossland
(another B.C. winter resort town); Vernon's Hot Air Balloon
festival; and a kayaking journey in Haida Gwaii
, where decaying Haida carvings compelled two famous artists, Emily Carr and later Bill Reid, to preserve the past for future generations.
Perfect reading for a day like today; the snow has been coming down since last night and I am sitting in front of my fireplace after shoveling the neighbour’s sidewalk, hot chocolate and magazine in hand.
November 20, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Richmond, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Richmond - Sightseeing Tours
Ever since The Fairmont
opened at the Vancouver International Airport
I have wanted to spend a night there, thinking that it would be fun to order room service and watch planes comes and go. Last week I got my chance and my expectations were blown away. My 5-year-old son loved the coupon he was given for free milk and cookie delivery. The two-feet-deep kiddie-pool is right beside the hot tub, so I could soak and keep on eye on the kids at the same time. Our room had a luxurious tub and a scrumptious bed. A comfy chair was set up for sitting by the floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows and watching the action. Binoculars provided. The room looked north into the International arrivals and departures areas. Ground crew moved about below like a real-life Little People Airport. Due to the stormy weather, the view of the North Shore Mountains was replaced by close-ups of airplane tails tattooed with markings from WestJet, Air Canada, Fiji, Alaska, and KLM. We turned off all the lights and spent hours in the dark staring into the microcosm. Overall, a perfect mini-vacation 20 minutes from home. p.s. While wading in your bathing suit at the pool, walk to the windows and wave to the passengers checking in for International flights below!
November 10, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Cache Creek, Historic & Heritage Sites
Find more information about Cache Creek - Historic & Heritage Sites
It was one of those crisp fall days when my family and I pulled into the Historic Hat Creek Ranch
in the Fraser Canyon, just north of Cache Creek
. The ranch is on one of the few remaining sections of the original Cariboo Waggon Road – the same road that miners, pack-train operators, stagecoaches, and wagon trains took to head north for the gold rush in the late 1800’s.
Here are the highlights we encountered: stepping down into the kekuli pit house at the Shuswap National Interpretive Centre and imagining 25-30 Stuctwesemc people living in it; riding atop an original stagecoach along the famous dusty road; spying on chickens in the sunflower garden; crossing a footbridge over Hat Creek; walking though the original Hat Creek House, complete with original wallpaper, antiques and well, everything; watching clouds pass over the sod-roofed chicken coop; and of course, finishing the visit off with ice cream cones from the Roadhouse Restaurant.
The kekuli can be rented out for overnight camping trips, which would be a great way to spend a night next summer. I’ll add it to my growing list.
October 09, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Whistler - Dining
All I can say it that I’m glad I forgot my dancing shoes and had to wear my stompin’ boots when I went out "clubbing" last week in Whistler
. It had been a while since I had gone dancing in the village and I forgot about the variety of music that gets played at Buffalo Bills
, a favourite après-ski, après-mountain biking, and après-ziplining dance club.
While current top hits like “SexyBack” (Justin Timberlake) and “Maneater” (Nelly Furtado) were on the list, so were old favourites like “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” (Corey Hart), slam-dancing songs from Spirit of the West and The Pogues (not that anyone wanted to slam dance with me and my boots…), and a myriad of head-banging tunes (there were plenty of folks to bang my head and whip my hair around with. Bettina – you rock!)
Pique, Whistler’s newmagazine, calls it “A mainstream mix of tunes that gets the dance floor going.” Fair enough. Don’t forget to hit the bar for the Jager Bombs.
September 25, 2006 | Tips from Us >
100 Mile House, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
Find more information about 100 Mile House - Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
I have never been so thankful to have been bumped off a ride. I was at the Hills Health & Guest Ranch
with my family last weekend, and the late-night hay ride was full, so the six of us got bumped to the second run. The 30 minute wait gave us time to snoop in the barn, slow dance in the horse stall, and mosey around the grazing meadow. We heard horses neigh in the distance, but couldn’t make them out in the din of the night.
When it was our turn to catch the ride to the campfire, we were able to pick whatever spot we wanted on the large wagon. My five-year-old son and I just fell back into the hay and looked straight up into the stars - all 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them. OK – not quite that many, but it was a lot! My husband and dad hung up front with Carl, who drove the two blonde Belgians (horses, not cowgirls). My son flipped his legs over the back and happily bounced his way down the road while my mom just tried to stay warm, scenery aside.
The campfire, blazing inside a wigwam, was good, the hot chocolate was better, and the singing cowboy would have been great if he remembered more than the first verse of each song. Definitely the best part of the night was the slow bumpedy-bump of the wagon and the twinkle of the Car
September 09, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Whistler, Festivals & Events
I know the celebration is still two months away, but now would be the time to book your wine tasting at Cornucopia
as tickets typically sell out prior to the four-day event starting November 9th. I love Whistler in the pre-ski season, so I just might see you there! The festival is jam-packed with B.C. wine and food, but it's the Pre-parties, Parties and After Parties that go from 5 pm and end at 4 am that I want to go for - unlike a good B.C. Pinot Gris, I just can't seem to find these extreme parties at other fine dining establishments.
Here’s a direct quote from the event schedule describing the After Party at Bearfoot Bistro: “Part urban myth and part reality, the After Party has taken on a life of its own over the years with live entertainment, painted human artwork, wine, bubbly, caviar, chocolate and other mouth-watering delights from some of Canada's best restaurants including Lumiere, Vij's, Chippino's, Bin 941 and Tojo's.”
If you are interested in some visuals, British Columbia Magazine
currently has an article on Cornucopia, complete with pictures of painted bodies, fresh-shucked oysters, and bottles of bubbly. As writer Daniel Wood puts it, it’s a delicious and quick descent to the decadent. I'm in!
September 09, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Sechelt, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Sechelt - Sightseeing Tours
While at the onboard visitor information centre on the ferry to Langdale this last weekend, I came across an incredibly detailed, but easy-to-read map of the Sunshine Coast
. The Sunshine Coast Super Map
it is called. Well, I thought I knew the area pretty well, but this map revealed many new-to-me parks, beaches, hiking trails, beach access points, dive sites, and camping spots I didn’t know about before. Tip of the day: check with the local Visitor Centre
, as sometimes their maps lead to more treasures than the maps available elsewhere.
August 29, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Victoria, Art Galleries & Artists
Find more information about Victoria - Art Galleries & Artists
The first thing I notice as I walk into room #308 is the amazing array of artwork. The immense Roy Henry Vickers
carving of a Tshimshian Halibut and Octopus Red Cedar House Post dominates the entrance way. An original Jack Shadbolt collage, Birds in a Tree #2, is tucked away in the corner of the living room, humble in its place, yet bursting with colour. The Toni Onley
in the dining room is, unfortunately, too big to stuff into my suitcase and take home, like shampoo and shower caps.
To say I am in awe would be an understatement. I am standing in the middle of a private art gallery / hotel room, filled with the work of famous B.C. artists - who wouldn’t be drop-jawed? And then there are the antiques. Original Louis Vuitton luggage in the bedroom. Asian dressers with secret drawers. Light fixtures, vases, butlers and books. Too many to place in time.
I can easily (and literally) see why the renovated heritage hotel, the Swan’s Suites Hotel
, is known as Victoria
’s “Art Hotel.”
The next morning, in the Brewpub
where breakfast is served, I spot three Toni Onley watercolours in the entranceway, and many Firs
August 16, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Kamloops, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Kamloops - Sightseeing Tours
On my journey this last weekend I experienced utopia down the stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway (good ole #1), between Kamloops
. I had Johnny Cash blaring in my ears and warm wind streaking through my hair, which was still wet from swimming in the North Shuswap Lake
, but drying fast. I was a happy traveller and doing just fine. So fine in fact, I wanted to share it with you.
At this point on the road, the highway runs along the South Thompson river at the bottom point in the “V” between two cowboy-country mini-mountain ranges, with the meandering river splitting the valley in two. Train tracks run sandwiched between the riverbank and the roaring sound of motorcycles, RVs, and pick-up trucks pulling speedboats and dirtbikes. The hills on the highway side are covered in Ponderosa Pine, with green agricultural lands butting up against where the needles start. I drove by roadside fruitstands, rodeos and golf courses. On the other side of the river I could see eroding cliffs of dusty earth, farmhouses, cows, horses and riverfront mansions. I would have liked to transform the highway into a dirt path and ride horseback. Or perhaps just float along the river on a log raft or inner tube!
As Cash’s rail-driving song, Legend of John Henry’s Hammer, was hammering away in my ears a long train passed by (or perhaps I zoomed by the train). Perfect timing! Sunny day, good music, and a perfect one-hour drive down a road meant for driving.
August 09, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Prince George, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Prince George - Sightseeing Tours
A friend of a friend recently drove from Toronto to British Columbia
, through the Yukon and north to Alaska - and then back to Toronto. Across Northern BC
they took the Cassiar highway and had this to say about it: "basically it is THE only road... and very remote. It was a great drive. We saw tons of wild life including a linx and 3 kittens, our first of the trip. We then headed through Prince George towards Jasper. We were looking forward to the comparison of the Rockies to what we had seen... and well when we literally turned a corner in the road and were smacked in the face with Mount Robson
... we both, slack jawed agreed -the rockies do not disappoint!!" She also sent out an email with great notes from the entire trip, which I thought I would pass a few along to you. Subject: I almost miss the car.... Number of kms driven -15952 Number of nights away -37 Number of nights camped -22 (the remainder spent with friends, family and motels) Number of bears seen -11 (5 Grizzlies) Number of Moose seen-8 Number of Mosquitos seen -I don't know... lost count at 1 BILLION Other animals seen... lynx, multiple fox types, elk, mountain goats, big horned sheep, countless bald eagles, sea otters, porpoises, seals, humpbacks and puffins... oh and mosquitos Best animal sighting, 1 grizzly with 3 cubs Scariest animal sighting, the mosquito (scariest animal non-sighting, the 'no see em's') Number of Cracks on the windshield -1 (pretty good considering......) Number of kms driven on gravel/dirt roads -about 1600 Number of oil changes 1 Number of times we could have driven to Vancouver in the distance we traveled... 4 Number of times flipped raft (while white watering in GLACIER fed water) 5 Number of kms hiked in 4 straight days of chilkoot trail 7