September 25, 2006 | Tips from Us >
100 Mile House, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
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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
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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
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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
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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
July 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
The kids and I woke up last Saturday to a beautiful sunny day, and decided to go on a spontaneous overnight camping trip. Knowing that many of the BC Parks camping grounds would be full, we headed out on one of the logging roads just north of Squamish
, and camped for free along the Squamish River. We drove past our usual camping locale and, lucky for us, found a campers dream come true – a perfect spot equipped with leftover firewood, a raised fire pit, easy access to the glacial-fed river and its sandbars, complete privacy, and a mountain view of two receding glaciers complete with waterfalls. Not bad for a 2 ½ hour drive from Vancouver (not counting the stop in Squamish to watch rock-climbing on the Chief and to fill our cooler with marshmallows, popcorn, hot dogs, ketchup, hot chocolate, and other mandatory camping fare).
Camping along B.C.’s logging roads doesn’t require a 4x4 – our little Mazda Protégé did just fine going 60 km/hour on the relatively smooth gravel road (I was pretending I was on a road rally!). Ironically, I got a flat tire on the newly paved highway on the way to Squamish (putting on spare and mandatory stop at Canadian Tire also not counted in our 2 ½ hour timecount… and thank you to the two cars who stopped to help), and yet made it through 40 miles of logging road unscathed. Check out this link for more info on free camping in B.C
If you are interested in seeing the mountains and glaciers on-the-move, the Squamish River has also become quite the hot spot for river rafting
. We saw four expeditions heading to the river as we were heading home.
July 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Victoria - Dining
That was the question Sunday morning after Canada Day. We chose to benny, and by this I mean indulge in heart-stopping eggs benedict for breakfast. I am a big fan of breakfast, and when I travel I like to eat in unique, greasy-spoon joints. You know the place I mean – long line-ups, stuff on the walls, old music and an endless flow of coffee being poured by a woman who calls you “honey.” In the case of our Canada Day weekend trip to Victoria
, we found two delightful diners.
The first day we stopped at John’s Place
. The lineup was 20 minutes long, the walls were filled with celebrity (and not-so-celebrity) pictures, posters of rock stars and sports memorabilia, and the music stuck with us for the rest of the day. The waitress kept filling our coffee cups even though we said we had enough… a few times. She addressed us as “daahh-lings.” My veggie benny was $8.95, came with a heaping mound of hash browns, and could have used a bit more hollandaise sauce, but really, isn't that a given?
Superman, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe all grace the menu at our second-day stop, Floyd’s Place. The building is appropriately painted pink. My stomach couldn’t take another benny, so I ordered the $3.95 traditional – eggs, hash browns and toast – which also came with a heaping mound of seasoned oh-so-yummy carbs. Floyd’s has a sunny outdoor patio and the inside is comfortably decorated with deep couches, bright walls and a lively fish tank for the kids. I dare you to order the Mahoney – you get what the kitchen prepares and you can either pay the original price or flip them for it – double or nothing! No lineup that day and located at the corner of Pandora and Yates.
June 30, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Powell River, Sightseeing Tours
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A word of advice - while visiting small islands, teeny towns and remote parts of British Columbia, be sure to bring extra food with you, just in case.
Just as an example, my husband and I kayaked to and around Savary Island
last weekend, and despite much research and preparation, including talking to locals and checking websites, it was not until we landed on shore that we were informed the one general store was not yet open for the summer season. (Did I mention this was June 25?) Also, one of the two local restaurants did not open on Sundays (which we knew) and the other was closed on Sunday nights beyond 6 pm. This last bit we didn’t know until Sunday night because the waitress told us earlier they would be open as long as people were there, which unfortunately was not true. In fact, earlier in the day she had offered to set aside an order of BBQ ribs for my husband, to ensure they wouldn’t sell out before we arrived for dinner. When we got there at 6:30 the pub was still busy, but they informed us the kitchen had closed at 6:00. Hmmm....
Fortunately for us we were staying at a B&B and the gracious hostess offered us leftovers from her dinner party. Shameless plug here for the Savary Island Lodge – Jean is wonderful and the beachfront view from her home is more than worth the trip.
Despite our minor culinary setback, we loved our trip and I highly recommend Savary to anyone. It is an idyllic island completely surrounded by white-sand beaches, located at the south entrance to Desolation Sound
. Overall, a great destination for kayaking and hanging on the beach. Just bring a bit of emergency food to ensure you can leave the island without a bad taste in your mouth.
June 27, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Lytton - Attractions
I just read about this and although it sounds kinda kooky, it could be a unique way to spend Canada Day. Hell’s Gate Airtram
in the Fraser Canyon is celebrating Canada Day (this Saturday, July 1st) by breaking their world record of 230 flavours of fudge on site at one time in the Fudge Factory. Sounds like there will be free samples of gooey goodness...