Innkeeper Recommendations: Why You Should Visit Ucluelet

June 11th, 2015

Tofino is the place everyone mentions when talking about visiting Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island’s west coast, but there are just as many reasons to visit the other village, the one with the difficult pronunciation, “You Clue Let”.  Our Ucluelet Bed & Breakfast innkeepers have been welcoming guests to their community for many years, so who better to ask what makes Ucluelet special and why you should come and explore.

Great kayaking around Ucluelet

Great kayaking around Ucluelet

 

Tracy from Majestic Ocean B&B and Kayaking mentions the spectacular Wild Pacific Trail, as did all our innkeepers. This trail is now rated the #1 attraction in British Columbia on TripAdvisor.  How is that for a great reason to visit just for starters!  All our innkeepers also mention the Ucluelet Aquarium, a catch (to ensure the sealife’s health) and release aquarium.  The waters around Ucluelet are great for kayaking; currents are not that strong and boat traffic is relatively light.  The famous Pacific Rim National Park Broken Group Islands are close by.  The ocean also provides world class fishing with seasonal runs of Coho and Chinook salmon as well as halibut, cod, and rockfish.

Do you hear the foghorn in Ucluelet?

Do you hear the foghorn in Ucluelet?

Kellyanne from Ocean Mist Guest House B&B recommends the beautiful sunsets on local beaches as a great reason to visit, but also loves the sound of the lighthouse fog horn in season and that wonderful fresh ocean air!  Bear, wolf, sea lions, sea otters, and of course whales, as well as a huge variety of bird life in the area make for frequent wildlife sightings to thrill visitors.  There’s also excellent surfing year round nearby between Ucluelet and Tofino, as well as paddle boarding, beach combing, or just watching the tides roll in.

Located on Little Beach Bay, Bostrom’s Bed & Breakfast innkeeper Judy says the people are one of the reasons to come and visit Ucluelet.  Everyone is so friendly and helpful and is happy to share their community with you.  Many of Ucluelet’s inhabitants came as visitors themselves and never left.  There are also some fabulous restaurants in town, offering world class dining even in such a small community. Judy mentions Norwoods and Jiggers, the fish and chips truck that sells the best fish and chips she’s ever tasted!

Enjoy a scrumptious oceanfront breakfast in Ucluelet

Enjoy a scrumptious oceanfront breakfast in Ucluelet

So, have you booked your Ucluelet vacation yet?  Chose one of the wonderful Ucluelet B&Bs and their innkeepers will be able to pass on all their great recommendations so you’ll have a fabulous holiday.  Or plan just a weekend get-away to Pacific Rim if you can’t fit in a real holiday right now.  There are so many reasons to come and visit, so why don’t you!

Great Events coming up in BC!

May 9th, 2015

If you’re traveling around BC this spring and you’re in the neighborhood, you might like to check out some great events coming up in the next few months.  While there are of course festivals and events throughout the year, spring is the time when we start to really relish the great outdoors.  Outdoors in BC in spring just really makes you appreciate the beauty of our province, the spectacular surroundings, the big cities and the small towns, and the great people!

Victoria Highland Games

Coming up on the Victoria Day long weekend, May 16 – 18, in Victoria’s Topaz Park are the 152nd Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival.  Celebrating the Scottish heritage of many Canadians, this is a very popular event in our capital city.  Check out such events as the Tartan Parade, the Tilted Kilt Pub Crawl, and the Clan Torchlight Ceremony.  The Highland Games competition is one of the premier heavy events competitions in the world: Putting the Stone, Weight the Distance, Throwing the Hammer, Weight for Height, and Tossing the Caber are part of the eight traditional events that have been part of Highland Games for centuries.

And while you’re in Victoria, take in the Victoria Day parade, another long-running annual tradition in the city named after Queen Victoria.  Victoria Bed & Breakfasts can be found close to all the activities in the city.

Seafest in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert's waterfront Eagle Bluff Lighthouse B&B

Prince Rupert’s waterfront Eagle Bluff Lighthouse B&B

Prince Rupert’s 37th annual Seafest is happening Friday June 12th to Sunday June 14th.  This year’s event celebrates Prince Rupert Marine Rescue.  Prince Rupert is the closest North American port to Asia and a leading Canadian port city and has a rich maritime history, always on display during Seafest. Events include a parade, food, entertainment and lots of exciting activities in downtown and on the waterfront. Need a place to stay while enjoying the great atmosphere and activities at Seafest? Our favorite Prince Rupert Bed & Breakfast, now in its 25th year of welcoming guests from around the world, is Eagle Bluff Lighthouse B&B.

2015 Canadian National Hang Gliding Championships

While not a festival, the 2015 Canadian National Hang Gliding Championships taking place in Golden from July 12 – July 18, should offer great sights and lots of color and excitement.  The Mount 7 flying site in Golden offers outstanding conditions for great hang gliding performances and has become a hot spot for the sport. Gliders from around the world have achieved personal bests flying over the Columbia Valley in BC’s Kootenay region.  Our recommendation for accommodation in Golden is Auberge Kicking Horse B&B.

There is so much to see and do in British Columbia, you’ll need several trips to take in all the great events around the province!

 

Sip and Savour at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival

April 18th, 2015

While the Fall event is still the biggest Okanagan Wine Festival, the Spring Wine Festival keeps on growing. Now in its 21st year, this year’s event is taking place April 30 to May 9, 2015.  After a snowy winter, it’ll be great to get out and enjoy the many special events happening all around the Okanagan Wine Region. If you love wine, Okanagan wines now include many winners at international wine competitions, and interesting varietals available at spectacular wineries and venues.  Don’t miss some of the highlights of this year’s Okanagan Spring Wine Festival.

Okanagan grapes make great Okanagan wine

Okanagan grapes make great Okanagan wine

Sip Into Sunset” takes place every night during the Wine Festival at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.  A 3-course menu featuring local organic ingredients prepared by Summerhill’s Executive Chef is paired with wine selections by winemaker Eric Von Krosigk.  Contact bistro@summerhill.bc.ca for tickets and reservations.

The Spring Westjet Wine Tastings” at the Rotary Centre for the Arts allows you to taste up to 250 wines from 60 wineries all in the same location! Appetizers and specialty cheeses are also in the mix, and best of all, this is a Get Home Safe event. Purchase your tickets at selectyourtickets.com for either one night or an all inclusive weekend pass.

Iron Sommelier BC” is a brand new event at this year’s Spring Wine Festival, pitting three sommeliers who are experts on BC wines against each other in a competition to pair wines with local foods. They then try to convince you that their pairing is the best.  You vote via social media after each round and then the competition moves into the next round, with a total of 16 wines to be paired, hence the “iron” designation of this event!  This is also a Get Home Safe event, and you can purchase your tickets at selectyourtickets.com.

Naramata Bench wine region in the Okanagan

Naramata Bench wine region in the Okanagan

Many wineries have special dinners with wine pairings.  Many events are also free or by donation.  There are cooking classes at Hester Creek, skygazing at Rollingdale Winery, an all day tour of the Naramata Bench visiting artisans and a lavender farm, bocce ball at D’Angelo Estate Winery, or crafting your own Chardonnay at Township 7.

Check out all the information at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival website, and make your plans very soon.  And don’t forget to also book your Okanagan Bed & Breakfast as wine festivals and Bed & Breakfasts make for the perfect combination!

Spring has sprung in Victoria and Vancouver

March 11th, 2015

Spring is officially arriving next week, but it arrived early, as it usually does, in Victoria and Vancouver. Both cities have been showcasing blossom-laden trees, daffodils and tulips, flowering rhododendrons, camellias, forsythias, and magnolias for several weeks now.  Our mild coastal climate is great for gardens, but this year’s last month of winter has had exceptional early spring weather with above seasonal temperatures and lots of sunshine.

In fact, in Victoria, March 11th is the final day of their 39th annual flower count. Butterfly Gardens Feb 2015-039Sponsored by Tourism Victoria and one of the world’s most famous gardens, Butchart Gardens, the flower count is meant to promote Greater Victoria as an inviting tourism destination this early in the season.  Victoria is known as the City of Gardens, with many other great gardens to explore, other than Butchart Gardens.  There is the heritage Abkhazi Gardens, created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, and known for its majestic trees and the actual site it is located on.  Check out the Hatley Park National Historic site at Royal Roads University, with many interesting trees, formal gardens and the castle itself, and located on a seaside lagoon with great opportunities for bird watching.  Government House, in the Rockland neighbourhood where you will find numerous Victoria Bed & Breakfasts, is home to BC’s Lieutenant Governor.  Its grounds are open to the public and feature both formal gardens and the rare Garry Oak ecosystem.

Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park

Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

Vancouver Gardens are no slouch either!  From the highest point in Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Park offers great views over the city, formal gardens,  and the Bloedel Conservatory with its tropical vegetation, flowers and birds.  The sunken garden is a favorite photo spot in the summer time! Not far away is the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, featuring plants and flowers from all over the world, and also especially known for its annual Christmas light display.  At the University of BC you’ll find both the Botanical Garden, Canada’s oldest continuously operating university botanical garden, and the Nitobi Memorial Garden, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America.  And of course you cannot visit Vancouver without visiting its most famous park, Stanley Park. Named the Best Park in the world by TripAdvisor in 2014, Stanley Park is also home to the Vancouver Aquarium, the rhododendron and rose gardens, and the 8.8 km long sea wall that circles the entire park and provides fabulous views of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. Your Vancouver B&B innkeepers can recommend the best times to visit all of these Vancouver Parks and Gardens.

Explore Victoria and Vancouver’s beautiful gardens this spring.  It’s good for the soul!

British Columbia’s other winter sports!

February 9th, 2015

While downhill skiing and snowboarding get most of the attention, British Columbia also has more than 50 cross-country skiing areas, plus opportunities for snowshoeing, dogsledding, and snowmobiling.

The Kimberly Alpine Resort and the Fernie Alpine Resort in the Kootenay Rockies region, Manning Provincial Park in southern BC, the Callahan Valley at Whistler Blackcomb, as well as the Cariboo Chilcotin region, offer networks of groomed cross-country trails. In Northern BC you’ll find great cross-country opportunities at Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers, and in Northern BC’s biggest city Prince George, host of the Canada Winter Games this month, the Otway Nordic Ski Centre has a 45 km network of trails for your enjoyment.

BC cross-country skiing

BC cross-country skiing

Want to try something a little different while enjoying the outdoors?  Snowshoeing is becoming a very popular activity in BC and it’s a great workout!  These are not your grandmother’s snowshoes either, but much lighter and more easily maneuverable. Snowshoeing allows you to really enjoy the winter landscape you’re passing through, as you’re not going at the same speeds as skiing of course. Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain, Manning Park’s Lightning Lake Loop, and Yoho National Park are great choices, while Kimberly’s Alpine Resort offers an evening of snowshoeing and chocolate fondue at their Kootenay Fondue Tour!  Yum, that sounds like an awesome combination!

Is snowmobiling or dogsledding more your speed?  There are more than 70 snowmobiling clubs in British Columbia which maintain networks of trails for their members.  You can take groomed trails or if you’re a more experienced sledder find more powder and steeper areas, always keeping in mind that you’ve got to stay safe! If you’re an animal lover as well as an outdoors enthusiast, you might enjoy dogsledding.  Let a driver run the sled for you, or learn how to do it yourself.  What a great experience to glide through a silent and snow-covered landscape, disturbed only by the yapping of the dogs and your commands!

BC dogsledding through the snow!

BC dogsledding through the snow!

With winter snow around for a good part of the year, why not get out and about and enjoy it? Wherever you go and whatever activity you chose, book your stay at a BC Bed & Breakfast as your local innkeeper will have all the information you need, and will know all the best places to go, so you’ll get maximum enjoyment out of your BC winter vacation!

Great BC Winter Activities…other than skiing!

January 12th, 2015

British Columbia is known for its many great ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb being the most famous of them all.  So what to do if you’re looking for a winter get-away in BC that’s not a wintersports vacation? We’ve got some suggestions for you!

Storm Watching on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

Tofino and Ucluelet on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island are the place to be to view spectacular winds and waves from November through February.  Be daring and brave and bundle up to experience the power of nature outdoors, or enjoy it from the comfort of your Bed & Breakfast or hotel room. Many accommodation providers offer specific storm watching packages, with rainslickers, southwesters and gumboots supplied!  Enjoy both the cozy comfort and the wild at our Ucluelet Bed & Breakfasts or any number of other places in the Pacific Rim area on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.

Brave the wild in Ucluelet!

Brave the wild in Ucluelet!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Staying on Vancouver Island, on your way to the West Coast or on your way back, why not check out the fabulous Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at Victoria’s Royal BC Museum.  This exhibit of award-winning photographs of the natural world is celebrating 50 years of awe inspiring images.   Featuring 100 nature and wildlife photos from around the world (from 42,000 entries), the exhibit is on until April 6, 2015 and is absolutely worth a visit.  And there are many Victoria Bed & Breakfasts to chose from for a relaxing and most comfortable stay!

Dine Out Vancouver

If you’re planning a Vancouver visit during January, there are of course all the attractions that the city has to offer any time of year.  But from January 17 until February 2 there’s a special reason to enjoy a stay in the city as Dine Out Vancouver is celebrated at more than 200 restaurants around the Metro Vancouver area.  Dine Out Vancouver is Canada’s largest food & drink festival and offers such an unlimited variety of foods and drink, you’ll probably want to come back the following year too!  Your Vancouver Bed & Breakfast hosts will be able to give you the inside scoop for the best places to enjoy a wonderful culinary experience!

One of several great Vancouver Bed & Breakfasts!

One of several great Vancouver Bed & Breakfasts!

Whistler Olympic Venue Experience

While Whistler Blackcomb is BC’s best known ski resort, and the #1 ranked ski resort in North America, there are many other things to do other than ski.  The 2010 Olympic Games venue for downhill and cross-country skiing, Whistler also hosted the sliding sports of bobsleigh, skeleton and luge, and if you like some adventure and you like speed, this is the place for you!  At the Whistler Sliding Centre you can ride down the same ice tracks as those world class athletes and feel the rush of speeds up to 125 km an hour in the four-man bobsleigh! The hand-out tells you to “make sure you use the washroom before the start of the run due to gravitational forces on your bladder” so be prepared!  There are also several outdoor skating rinks at the Whistler Plaza, so don’t forget your skates!  Whistler Bed & Breakfast accommodation is of course geared to all the winter sports available in the area.

Enjoy your non-skiing BC winter vacation!

Bed & Breakfast for your BC Ski Vacation

December 12th, 2014

British Columbia has some fantastic ski areas and resorts.  Not only is North America’s #1 ski resort Whistler Blackcomb in BC, there are a total of 13 major ski resorts in the province with a wide variety of terrain. From Mount Washington on Vancouver Island, with breathtaking views and some of the deepest snow on the coast (Ski Canada magazine gave it the “biggest snow” award in 2012), to Panorama, with one of the largest verticals in North America and Canada’s largest on the hill “hot pools”, there is a ski resort to suit your tastes and provide all kinds of thrills.

Deep snow and great views at Mount Washington

Deep snow and great views at Mount Washington

Canada’s newest ski resort is Revelstoke, with the longest lift served vertical in North America. Revelstoke also offers heli-skiing, cat-skiing, lift skiing and backcountry skiing, the only resort to offer all these options in North America.  Great Bed & Breakfast accommodation for your ski vacation can be found in the town at several Revelstoke Bed & Breakfasts.  Auberge Kicking Horse in Golden is the B&B to stay if your ski vacation takes you to Kicking Horse, where you’ll find some of the highest peaks in the Rockies and endless opportunities for heli-skiing.

Thompson Okanagan ski resorts are known for great powder, family friendly resorts and some of the largest ski areas in the province, and in Canada.  Sun Peaks near Kamloops, Big White and Apex, as well as Silver Star, are popular resorts that offer all sorts of activities for the whole family.  Don’t want to stay on the hill?  Many Thompson Okanagan Bed & Breakfasts are not far away at all!

Of course Whistler Blackcomb is one of the world’s great ski resorts with exciting dining and apres-ski once your day on the hill is over.  Nearby Pemberton as well as Whistler Village offer many accommodation choices, including some great Bed & Breakfasts!  Less than an hour and a half from Metro Vancouver, drive the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway up to some fabulous skiing.  And Metro Vancouver itself has three ski hills right on the North Shore, so if you want to combine your ski vacation with a little urban exploration, Vancouver area Bed & Breakfasts will provide a wonderful home away from home, only better!

Why come to BC for your ski vacation?  Because it has everything for a great time, and so much more!

 

Vancouver Innkeeper Receives Annual Hospitality Award

November 21st, 2014

Media Release 2014 Moyra Turner Hospitality Award

At its recent annual conference held in West Kelowna, the BC Innkeepers Guild recognized Vancouver innkeeper Graham Laxton with its highest honor, the Moyra Turner Hospitality Award. The Moyra Turner Hospitality Award has been awarded annually since 2002 (http://www.bcsbestbnbs.com/about.php )  and recognizes the member innkeeper who best exhibits hospitality, and who best promotes the concept of hospitality. Nominations for the Moyra Turner Hospitality Award require affirmation of exemplary hospitality by guests or other Guild members.

Graham Laxton, along with wife and partner Lee, has owned and operated Greystone Bed & Breakfast in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood for 15 years.  Graham’s career path took him from being a London “bobby” to helping at a pawnbroker’s, then to the hotel world and ultimately to managing the Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club for 24 years before opening Greystone Bed & Breakfast.  Wife Lee is a third generation Vancouverite with a background in the school system.  Soccer and wine, as well as traveling, especially cruising, are passions of their non-innkeeper lives.

Graham and Lee Laxton are recipients of the Moyra Turner Hospitality Award 2014

Graham and Lee Laxton are recipients of the Moyra Turner Hospitality Award 2014

Greystone Bed & Breakfast offers 2 guest rooms as well as a 2-bedroom suite.  Their location close to West 4th as well as downtown offers their guests a very convenient location to many Vancouver attractions, restaurants and transportation routes.  Ranked #5 among all Vancouver Bed & Breakfasts on TripAdvisor, their guest reviews only confirm that receiving the Moyra Turner Hospitality Award is long overdue recognition of their outstanding hospitality.  Greystone Bed & Breakfast also received a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.  As their website says “Good Value + Good Times = Greystone Bed & Breakfast”.

Please join BC Innkeepers Guild members throughout the province in congratulating Graham Laxton on his continued excellence in the hospitality industry, and book your next stay in Vancouver at Greystone Bed & Breakfast to enjoy their outstanding hospitality for yourselves!

 

About the BC Innkeepers Guild:

The BC Innkeepers Guild is a province wide professional Association of B&B innkeepers formed for education, marketing and representation purposes.  Our members are independent B&B innkeepers of British Columbia, Canada who must adhere to the standards of our quality assurance program with regards to guests’ comfort and security.  Look for our members and our signs around the province.  For more information, please visit http://www.bcsbestbnbs.com.  To learn more, please contact Communications Coordinator Ingrid Vermegen, ingrid.vermegen@bcinnkeepers.com

Do You Know Your Innkeepers?

November 10th, 2014

As guests at a BC Bed & Breakfast, do you know your innkeepers? Of course they introduce themselves when you arrive, but have you ever wondered how they came to be B&B Innkeepers and operate a Bed & Breakfast?  A Bed & Breakfast or Bed & Breakfast Inn provides accommodation in a private residence, so the accommodation style and hospitality very much reflect the personalities of the innkeepers.

Innkeeping is very often a second career for your hosts, maybe something they have always dreamed about doing, or have arrived at after a major change in career or lifestyle.  Maybe they’ve always wanted to be their own boss, or maybe they’ve wanted to leave the city behind and move to a quieter location.  Often innkeepers have a particular skill set that they want to use in a more meaningful and satisfying way.  Innkeepers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and not all include hospitality as a component of that previous life.  There are innkeepers who were teachers, IT professionals, historians, flight attendants, architects, professors, management professionals, chefs, advertising experts, lawyers, photographers, shopkeepers and the list goes on and on. Yet all seem to discover a passion for sharing their homes and their lives to enhance the lives of those who stay with them as guests.

Innkeepers gather at a regional meeting

Innkeepers gather at a regional meeting

Innkeepers are of course self-employed and work mostly on their own, especially at small two or three room B&Bs, so it’s particularly important to belong to their provincial and/or professional association.  This is where they network with their colleagues, the way most people network at their place of work, exchange ideas, products and practices that work for them and could be helpful to others in the business, or new innkeepers just starting out. Annual conferences or regional meetings provide these networking opportunities as well as a focus on continuing education.  As marketers of their own businesses, innkeepers need to stay current on the continuing changes in the online world of websites and social media for example, and their professional association can provide these opportunities.

So the next time you enjoy the hospitality of the innkeepers at a great B&B, whether you are there on a golfing holiday, a weekend get-away, a culinary or wine-tasting trip, or any other reason you’ve chosen a BC Bed & Breakfast, get to know your innkeeper a little bit!

Fall Travel to British Columbia

September 27th, 2014

After a seemingly endless summer, fall has arrived in British Columbia.  We finally had some rain, and the grass is looking a little greener again, yet at the same time leaves are showing the first hint of fall colour.  Now that schools have started and things are just a little bit quieter on the roads, why not enjoy a little BC get-away?

One of the great things to check out in the fall is wine festivals in British Columbia.  From September 26 through October 5 Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley hosts the “Savour Cowichan” festival, featuring over 40 artisan producers of wines and cider and more than 50 tastings, dinners, cooking classes, bbq’s, charity fundraisers and other special events.  A detailed list of everything that’s happening in the Valley can be found at Savour Cowichan.

Savour Cowichan Festival

Savour Cowichan Festival

 

While BC’s main wine region, the Okanagan, has wine festivals every season of the year, the Fall Wine Festival is still the largest.  For 10 days during harvest time, more than 165 events throughout the entire Okanagan wine region will temp your palate, tickle your taste buds and offer you vineyard tours, dinners, tastings, arts and education.  For the list of events for this year’s Fall Wine Festival, running October 2 to October 12, 2014 check out their website .

While not all wine regions in the province have specific wine festivals, grape harvesting and events will also be taking place in wineries on the Gulf Islands, the Fraser Valley, the Similkameen Valley and emerging wine regions in the Kootenays, Lillooet and the Thompson and Shuswap regions.  Our BC climate is obviously conducive to growing many varieties of grapes, and there are people almost everywhere in the province with expertise and a passion for the business.   

One of the best places to find out about the local wineries in each area is at a BC Bed & Breakfast.  Bed & Breakfast hosts are well informed about many local attractions and events and they love to share the great places in their area.  Nothing gives innkeepers greater pleasure than seeing their guests having a wonderful experience!