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!

It’s A Small World After All – at Victoria’s Miniature World!

August 23rd, 2014

Visit Victoria's Miniature WorldIf you were ever fascinated by the story of Gulliver’s travels to the land of Lilliput, then a visit to Victoria’s Miniature World – billed as “The Greatest Little Show On Earth!” – is the perfect afternoon distraction for you!

Victoria’s Miniature World is a wonderful, sprawling collection of worlds and histories, painstakingly recreated in miniature and laid out for your delighted exploration. Part museum, part fantasy land, and all fascinating, the various lands on display in Victoria’s Miniature World will fascinate and astonish you – whether you’re young or old! Read the rest of this entry »

The 5th Annual Lillooet Beer and Wine Festival

August 16th, 2014

2014 Lillooet Beer and Wine FestivalThe 5th annual Lillooet Beer and Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 13th, 2014 – and you do not want to miss it!

Known for its breathtaking scenery, long, balmy summers, and rugged ranching and railroading terrain, Lillooet has been busy making its name in other ways as well, namely by transforming itself into a notable source of local, fine wines and craft beers Read the rest of this entry »

Milner Gardens and Woodland on Vancouver Island

August 9th, 2014

Milner Gardens and Woodland feature a host of Rhododendron hybridsPart of Vancouver Island University and considered one of the 10 Best Public Gardens in Canada, Milner Gardens and Woodland combines 70 seaside acres of old-growth forest trails and rich, flower-dense gardens.

Overlooking the Strait of Georgia from its perch above on an ocean-side bluff, Milner Gardens and Woodland is a paradise Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival

July 26th, 2014

2014 Pender Harbour Chamber Music FestivalThe 10th anniversary of the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival – scheduled for August 14th through the 17th, 2014 at The School of Music, Madeira Park, BC – is your opportunity to see world-class musicians playing a diverse set of chamber music live, on stage.

The first Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival was held in 2005 and, after a decade of return engagements, has only grown in popularity, regularly selling out well in advance of the Festival dates each year.

The 2014 Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival opens with a concert on Thursday, August 14th, followed by a reception. Friday afternoon’s programme includes a free performance entitled “Chamber Music Doesn’t Bite.” Designed to appeal to children and teens but, really, anyone new to chamber music who may think of the form as stodgy and dull. Au contraire!

The Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival continues through the weekend with concerts on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. Expect to to be treated to a wide range of compositions from composers both classic and contemporary, such as Marcello, Boccherini, Paganini, Ranjbaran, Ginastera, Haydn, Doppler, Murphy, Fauré, Dvořák, and Shostakovich, all performed by world class performers including Alexander Tselyakov, the Lafayette String Quartet, Gary Levinson, Suren Bagratuni, Eugenia Zukerman, Julia Nolan, Baya Kakouberi, and more!

The 2014 Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival

August 14th – 17th, 2014
School of Music
Madeira Park, BC
A full schedule, further details, and an opportunity to purchase tickets can be found at the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival website.

Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival Lodging
Whenever and wherever you are in BC – be it the Vancouver Coast, the Thompson Okanagan, Northern BC or the Islands – there is bound to be a member bed and breakfast inn nearby just waiting to be your home away from home. Come explore the BC Sunshine Coast, from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound along the Strait of Georgia, and enjoy the uncommon comfort and amenities of our British Columbia bed and breakfast inns!

Celebrate the 35th Annual Kamloopa Pow Wow

July 19th, 2014

Kamloopa Pow Wow 2014The 2014 Kamloopa Pow Wow, held annually in Kamloops, British Columbia is a wonderful opportunity to witness and celebrate the vibrant culture of the First Nations.

Held August 1st through the 3rd, 2014, the Kamloopa Pow Wow is one of the biggest celebrations of First Nations’ heritage in Western Canada. Held alongside the South Thompson River in Kamloops at the Secwepemc Pow Wow Grounds, the Kamloopa Pow Wow is 3 exciting days of song, dance, and traditional regalia expressing years of stories and events of the First Nations’ people.

Around 20,000 attendees – both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – are expected to attend this exciting three-day event. So … just what exactly is the Kamloopa Pow Wow?

In many ways, the Kamloopa Pow Wow is reminiscent of a fair or rodeo, with all the pageantry, stands of food and craft vendors, participants and their families readying for performances, all the dust, noise, excitement, and, of course, the beautiful First Nations regalia, dancing, and music.

For those thinking of attending their first Pow Wow, here are a few tips to make your experience the fun and pleasant one it should be:

Pow Wow dancers work very hard on their traditional regalia – and that’s what they prefer it to be called. “Costume” may roll off the tongue more easily but it also has a bit of an insulting ring, like they’re just playing around. They’re not.

Always ask before taking pictures outside of where the Pow Wow is occurring. Inside the Pow Wow, you will be told when using your camera is acceptable.

If you’re attending the Pow Wow, you’re also expected to participate – this doesn’t mean you have to dance (but hey, you can during the Inter-Tribal, so don’t be bashful) but when it is time to stand or take off your hat, please be respectful and follow along.

Finally, be sure to drink lots of water. The Kamloopa Pow Wow is happening in August, don’t forget, and toppling over with heat exhaustion would put a decided damper on your experience.

The 35th Annual Kamloopa Pow Wow

August 1st – 3rd, 2014
Special Events Facility
No. 5 Yellowhead Hwy., Kamloops BC
For further details on attending the 2014 Kamloopa Pow Wow, please visit the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc website.

Kamloopa Pow Wow Lodging
If you hope to attend the 2014 Kamloopa Pow Wow, do yourself a favor and stay in one of our member, Central Okanagan bed and breakfast inns – the amenities, delicious breakfasts, and personal service can’t be beat! The Central Okanagan area has over 40 world-renowned wineries, as well as numerous golf courses, ski resorts, galleries, museums, shopping destinations and more – not to mention acres of pristine sand beaches and lush farmland. Come on over and explore!