Summertime is Driving Time

May 15th, 2018

Summertime is the season for driving vacations.  A great way to decide where to go and what to see and do on your road trip is to check out some suggested driving routes.

The Hot Springs Circle Route takes you through the Kootenay Rockies region and features numerous hot springs, outdoor adventure and railway history.  If you’re a railway buff check out Cranbrook’s Canadian Museum of Rail Travel or the Revelstoke Railway Museum.  You will find hot springs at Fairmont Hot Springs, and the natural Lussier hot springs nearby, Radium Hot Springs, with one of the largest pools, and Ainsworth Hot Springs, where you can explore a cave that’s part of the hot springs.  The town of Golden is situated on the Columbia River, North America’s largest wet land, and features white water rafting on the Kicking Horse River, plus Canada’s highest restaurant, the Eagle’s Eye.  Check out the 3 Valley Gap ghost town near Revelstoke, or the SS Moyie, the oldest surviving sternwheeler in the world in Kaslo.  Hopefully you brought your bikes to explore some of the trails in the area such as the Galena Trail near New Denver.  Take a free ferry across Kootenay Lake from Balfour to the artists’ community of Crawford Bay, and end your circle route by visiting the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, a refuge for more than 250 species of birds.

Soak away your troubles in one of the Kootenay region’s many mineral hot springs

The Lakes & Trails Circle Route takes you through Cariboo country with its ranches, lakes, rivers and the history of the gold rush.  Start your travels in Kamloops, a bustling city where the North and South Thompson Rivers meet, home to the annual Kamloops Pro Rodeo.  Near Cache Creek you’ll find the historical Hat Creek Ranch, while near Williams Lake you can learn about the Shuswap nation at the Xat’sull Heritage Village.  Visit the historic town of Barkerville, a gold rush town where life in the 1800’s is recreated.  With so many lakes in this region, there are big opportunities for canoeing and fishing, like the 12-lake canoe chain at Moose Valley Provincial Park, and some of the best fly fishing in North America at Little Fort.  The city of Prince George is the major center in this part of BC.  Visit the artists’ community of McBride, where you can not only go heli-skiing in winter, but heli-hiking in summer.  Two major provincial parks in the area are Mount Robson and Wells Gray.  Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Rockies and the park is largely an undisturbed wilderness.  It is also the headwaters of the Fraser River and features the Berg Glacier.  Wells Gray Provincial Park is known in particular for Helmcken Falls, one of Canada’s highest water falls which you can enjoy from the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail.  On your way back to Kamloops turn off to check out the all-season resort at Sun Peaks.

Chemainus murals on Vancouver Island

Explore the southern BC Coast by taking the Coastal Circle Route.  The first of four ferry rides on this route takes you from Vancouver to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  Make sure you buy the Circle Route ticket at your first ferry.  On the way to Victoria stop in Sidney by the Sea, “book town BC”, and then plan to enjoy the famous Butchart Gardens.  Victoria highlights include the Royal BC Museum, the inner harbor, and whale watching trips for orcas and humpback whales.  Driving up the east coast of the Island you’ll come to one of BC’s newest wine regions in the Cowichan Valley,  the “City of Totems” in Duncan, and the world’s largest outdoor murals gallery in Chemainus.  Explore Nanaimo’s waterfront and grab some lunch at the Dinghy Dock pub, a floating pub in the harbor.  Your second ferry ride will take you back to mainland BC, to Powell River on the Sunshine Coast, where you’ll want to catch a movie at the Patricia Theatre, the oldest, continuously operating movie theatre in the country.  A side trip to Lund brings you to Desolation Sound, considered some of the world’s best cruising waters, and yes, you can take a cruise here.  Your third and fourth ferry rides will take you down the Sunshine Coast back to Vancouver.  Along the way plan to check out the Skookumchuk Narrows near Earl’s Cove for spectacular tide changes, and follow the Purple Banner Route for the many artist studios you’ll find here on the Coast.

Wherever you chose to go on your summer driving vacation, find our BC Bed & Breakfasts as your preferred accommodations.  Your hosts will be able to give you even more information about what’s special in their area.  And wherever you go, enjoy beautiful British Columbia!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

January 15th, 2018

After the busy holiday season, where food usually plays a major role, the new year starts off with some more food and drink festivals to tempt your palate.

Victoria hosts its 13th Victoria Whisky Festival at the Hotel Grand Pacific, from January 18th through the 21st.  Unfortunately for those who do not yet have tickets, the event is sold out.  If you are interested you must think ahead to the 2019 event, with tickets on sale on very specific days in November 2018.  If you’re a whisky aficionado, you may want to check out specific tastings next year such as “Glenfiddich Distillery “Unlearn Whisky” Grand Tasting, the Glenrothes Distillery Grand Tasting, the Tomatin Distillery Masterclass, the Bruichladdich Distillery Masterclass, and the Whisky and Chocolate Masterclass, and many more.  Packages are available which bundle several Masterclasses of your choice together, in addition to the Consumer Tasting event.  A special rate for attendees is available at the Hotel Grand Pacific, or book a great Victoria Bed & Breakfast.  The TLC Fund for Kids and the Victoria Crime Stoppers are benefiting charities of this year’s event.

With Victoria sold out, why not make your way up to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island where tickets are still available for their Whisky Festival, happening Feb. 2 + 3, 2018.  Whisky paring dinners featuring Jameson and Glenlivet, as well as masterclasses and a Grand Tasting still have a few tickets available, but they too are going fast.  While you’re there, spend a day on the slopes at Mount Washington!

BC Distilled Festival hits Vancouver in April

Looking ahead to February, the big event in Vancouver will be the Vancouver International Wine Festival, now in its 39th year.  The festival started in 1979 with one vintner and about 1000 attendees, and is now considered Canada’s premier food and wine event with over 25,000 attendees.  Its charitable partner is the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Winery dinners, brunches, tastings, seminars, minglers and wine and food grazings are all part of this spectacular event.  The wines of Spain and Portugal are heavily featured this year.  While some events are sold out, others still have tickets available.

After whisky and wines, its the turn of artisan distilleries at the BC Distilled Festival which takes place on Saturday April 14th at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.  This is the fifth annual celebration and tastings of British Columbia’s premier artisan distilleries, and it is the largest spirits event in Canada exclusively for local distilleries.  BC Distilled supports the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society as their charitable partner.

Dining in Prince Rupert


Along with all the liquid libations festivals, Dine Around events are happening all over BC during January and February.  In Victoria, Dine Around and Stay in Town Victoria, runs from January 19th to February 4th.  Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival also runs from January 19 to February 4.  The Kelowna campus of Okanagan College hosts the kick off to Dine Around Thompson Okanagan on January 16th.  The Cowichan region on Vancouver Island, between Victoria and Nanaimo, hosts Dine Cowichan from February 24 to March 12.  All festivals offer specially crafted 3-course meals at different price points and unique culinary events to tempt your taste buds and explore foods from around the world and very close to home.

Savour the flavors in your back yard, sip the wines and whiskys from around the world, and enjoy getting out and about in British Columbia these winter months.

Christmas in Victoria

December 9th, 2017

With its mix of old and new, oceanfront and green spaces, Victoria is a very popular destination any time of year.  But there’s something extra special about Victoria at Christmas time.

While not located in downtown Victoria, Butchart Gardens is a magical place at Christmas.  The Gardens welcome you with the lights of the Twelve Days of Christmas while carolers stroll the gardens.  Or bring your skates to take a turn around the outdoor skating ring.  If you’re twelve or under, make a paper snowflake and exchange it for a cup of hot chocolate in the Coffee Shop.

Some of the trees at the Festival of Lights at Victoria’s Bay Centre

Downtown Victoria has a magic of its own, presided over by the Christmas lights at the BC Legislature.  The Festival of Trees lights up The Bay Centre with its 25th annual display, with more trees featured at the famous Empress Hotel.  Vote for your favorite tree and make a donation to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.  Another great display of lights can be found at the docks and on the boats along Wharf Street and at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Kids young and old will enjoy Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase at the Parkside Hotel on Humboldt Street.  Both amateur and professional bakers take part and in honor of Canada 150 the theme this year is “Celebrating Canada”.  The charity benefiting from all this baking is Habitat for Humanity.  If bigger is better, check out the Candy Wonderland at the Fairmont Empress where they have a life-size gingerbread house, and you can decorate your own!

Centennial Square will once again have its ferris wheel, along with entertainment, food vendors and the big guy himself.  What a great way to see all the lights around downtown Victoria!  Every Tuesday and Wednesday during December you can enjoy classic Christmas movies under the stars at the Christmas Starlight Cinema at the Delta Victoria Oceanpoint Resort.  While admission is free, donations to Santa’s Anonymous are encouraged.  A life performance of A Christmas Carol is showcased at historic Craigdarroch Castle starting on December 15th, but tickets go fast for this one.  You can also take the kids to Craigdarroch Castle for a Kid’s Christmas at the Castle on December 16th.

The seasonal lights at the BC Legislature in Victoria

And of course Christmas is not Christmas without music.  There are many life concert and performance events around the capital city, starting with the Victoria Symphony’s Christmas Pops concert(Dec. 8, 9, and 10) and their performance of Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 15 and 17), and ending with a Viennese New Year’s.  Another very popular Christmas concert and toy drive is put on by the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy at the Royal Theatre on December 11-13.  In the courtyard of the Greater Victoria Public Library you can drop in to hear Choirs in the Courtyard on multiple days during the month of December.

A great way to take in the festivities around downtown is to join the walking tour of “Christmas in Old Victoria” on weekends during December. Tours start in front of 26 Bastion Square and run from 10:30 – 12:00.  Another way to see all the lights and decorations and hear the music around town is to take the free horse-drawn trolley rides on the weekends.  These rides are free, compliments of the Dowtown Victoria Business Association.  Two trolleys will circulate on a pre-set route between 12 – 2:30 pm.  It’s a great way to rest your weary feet and enjoy all the Christmas magic in Victoria.  Happy Holidays to all!

Bed & Breakfasts Are Not The Same As Airbnb

November 9th, 2017

What is a Bed & Breakfast and what is an Airbnb?  Many people are confused and think that an Airbnb is the same as a Bed & Breakfast.  Recently while planning to attend a concert, my travel companion was talking about staying at a B&B, but what she was actually talking about was an Airbnb, not a true Bed & Breakfast.

A beautiful guest room at Okanagan Oasis Bed & Breakfast

Airbnb is of course only one type of Short Term Rental (STR) accommodation, there are other companies offering the same, but Airbnb has that name recognition pretty much around the world.  Airbnb accommodations have exploded in the last several years and are changing the accommodation landscape dramatically, especially in urban centers.  In fact, the growth in Airbnb properties and other STRs are causing so many issues related to rental availability in communities and competition for hotels, motels, lodges and Bed & Breakfasts, that communities are starting to having to deal with this and are creating bylaws and regulations.  In British Columbia this is only happening at local levels, as provincially the government has not dealt with this issue.

The BC B&B Innkeepers Guild is an association of true Bed & Breakfasts.  Members must meet certain criteria to be able to join, including a business license, insurance showing the operation of a B&B and a recommended 2 million liability coverage, a Foodsafe certificate, and safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, emergency exit plans, first aid kits, fire inspections in some cases, sufficient lights for night time safety, etc.  Our members offer a high standard of service, safety, comfort and especially hospitality, as well as breakfast included in the rate.  In the Bed & Breakfast world “Airbnb” stands for “bed no breakfast”.

A Delicious Breakfast at Abbeymoore Manor Bed & Breakfast – always included

At the recent public hearings in Vancouver our President Sue Willis and Board member Clair Oates were both on the speakers list to address STRs from the perspective of true Bed & Breakfasts.  Of the 134 speakers over the 2-day public hearings many speakers were from Airbnb properties, speaking about the costs of living in Vancouver and how they could not afford to live there if they did not have the opportunity to rent out accommodation in their home.  What is happening though in many communities is that many owners are renting out suites or apartments in rental buildings without living on the premises, or having landlord/strata approval for such.  Many rental buildings have multiple Airbnb units which in some cases are causing all sorts of problems for the permanent residents in those buildings.  In some cases, whole apartment buildings are being rented as Airbnb units.  In resort communities, so many units are rented as STRs, that resort companies are having great difficulties in finding staff for the season, because there is no staff accommodation available.

Relax at Quarrystone Bed & Breakfast on Salt Spring Island

Both our President and Board member who spoke at the Vancouver public hearing emphasized the need for regulations to govern short term rental accommodations, regulations that would level the playing field for previously existing accommodations such as Bed & Breakfasts and hotels.  Short term rentals should be licensed, should be paying taxes, and should have proper insurance.  Our B&B innkeepers take great pride in meeting our industry standards but that all comes at a cost of course, a cost that Airbnb type rentals do not have.  These STRs should be licensed so that they are visible and can be regulated and taxed.  They are benefiting from the visitors to our communities, so they should contribute to the funding that markets our communities and brings those visitors, and not have a free ride.  Our members are almost all feeling the impact of Airbnbs in their neighborhoods and the reputation of the true Bed & Breakfast is also being impacted by these short term rentals.  Airbnb is not a Bed & Breakfast and they should not be allowed to advertise as such unless they actually offer an included breakfast and the owner lives on the premises, offering personalized hospitality.

BC Innkeepers will continue to speak on behalf of all true Bed & Breakfasts in BC to preserve and protect this unique type of guest accommodation, by working with the Tourism Industry Association of BC, the Fairbnb Coalition and others .  So no, Bed & Breakfasts are not the same as Airbnb.

A Day In The Life Of A B&B Innkeeper

October 12th, 2017

innkeeper Sue at A View to Remember B&B preparing breakfast

6:00 am

The alarm clock goes off for the innkeeper at our Bed & Breakfast.  Guests are having breakfast at 8 o’clock so time to get up, get dressed, put your face on and head to the kitchen.  Fabulous breakfasts are always included at a real B&B.  While we do as much preparation as possible the night before, this morning’s menu is a green fruit salad of honeydew, kiwi and green grapes, and our frittata with turkey, so there’s fruit to be sliced, ground turkey to cook and mix with the eggs, cheese and previously prepared vegetable mix.  Squeeze in some time for your own breakfast and a first look at your e-mail.  Coffee and tea needs to be ready to go for 8 o’clock, followed by a trip to the garden to gather some garnish and flowers to decorate the fruit serving and main course, for that finishing touch that brings that “wow” moment when you bring it out.

8:00 am

breakfast garnish

The guests are arriving for breakfast, all at the same time, although that can vary as we serve breakfast anytime between 7 and 9 am.  So we make one large frittata for them to share, instead of individual ones if people come for breakfast at different times.  Coffee and tea are poured, fruit is served following by a choice of four juices.  When we serve the main course we also put out the basket with croissants we baked the night before.  As an innkeeper you hope to hear lots of conversation and laughter around the dining table while you’re in the kitchen preparing the meal and cleaning up after.  Often you join in the conversation or provide suggestions for the day.  We are ambassadors for our communities and our regions, and we want our guests to have a wonderful stay in our area.

10:15 am

Cleaned off the table and loaded the dishwasher, probably for the first of two loads.  Hopefully there’s time for a short coffee break before the real work starts.  If guests are staying over, you’ll have a relatively easy day of cleaning rooms, but if guests are checking out obviously there are beds to be changed and a complete cleaning of the room to be done.  The start time will depend on when they leave and you can get into the rooms.  Laundry is involved too, and later ironing!  Don’t forget to check your e-mail in between and maybe there are phone calls to answer or sometimes people show up at your door asking about your B&B, or even directions to somewhere in the neighborhood!  It’s all part of the job!

2:00 pm

Breakfast frittata at Cobble House B&B

If there’s time for lunch, you’re having a good day, as with 3 rooms at our B&B, and primarily a one-person operation, and that person not being a fast cleaner, a large part of your day is dealing with the cleaning of rooms and kitchen and obviously at times other parts of your home that are open to your guests.  Carry on with laundry if needed and hopefully grab a quick shower to be ready to welcome new guests starting at 3:00 pm check-in time.  You show them to their room, do a tour of all the public areas, talk about breakfast times and any food allergies they may have, give them a key and find out a little about them and what they may want to do while they’re staying with you.  Some guests have specific events they’re attending, we see lots of wedding guests as we have a popular wedding venue around the corner, others ask for lots of information.  Often European travelers don’t realize our distances in Canada are so much longer than what they are used to in Europe and maybe plan to see and do more than they can realistically do in the few days they are staying with you.

6:00 pm

B&B guests relaxing on the deck

Hopefully new guests have checked in by now, although sometimes they arrive much later.  As long as you’ve had some communications with them so that you know they’ll be late it’s ok, and you don’t have to worry that something has happened to them or they’re not going to show up.  You’ve cleaned up all your dishes from breakfast and have done the first of your prep for the next morning.  It’s your dinner time, and someone arrives just as you sit down for it!   That too is all part of the business.  Time for more kitchen clean-up after dinner, more prep for the next morning’s breakfast, set the table.  Now it’s time for ironing of napkins, pillow cases and top sheets.  In between you may be chatting with your guests, booking a whale watching trip for them or checking if the restaurant down the road has a table for them.

10:00 pm

If things went well, you’ve done most of your work for today, other than dealing with the guest registration system to check in your new guests and check out any guests that left that day.  Have you remembered to book off the rooms for any new reservations, entered them into your system and marked them on the calendar as well?  We have our reservations marked in three different places, just in case we forget something!  Maybe there are some thank you notes to send to guests who left a few days ago (as long as they’ve given you permission to contact them).  Then it’s finally time for a little me-time, to unwind and see what’s happened in the world outside of your B&B bubble, or read a chapter in your book, before heading off to bed at around 11:00.  Only to do it all over again the next day!

This is the life of an innkeeper, except that every day is different and a time schedule like this often doesn’t work.  During busy season, you go, go, go, all day long.  If you’re a larger property or are in an extremely busy location, you can hire help to take over some of these chores and give you more of a breather in between crazy times.  It’s a unique lifestyle; it’s rewarding, it’s exhausting, it’s exciting and it can be difficult, but it’s a choice you make if you want to be an innkeeper.  All we hope is that guests savor their stay while with us!


#Explore Vancouver Island

September 16th, 2017

Relax and take your time when exploring Vancouver Island!  This westernmost part of Canada and the largest island on the west coast of North America, is all about its laid back life style, small communities, artisans, vineyards, wildlife and outdoor pursuits.

Great ocean view of the Sansum Narrows while hiking on Vancouver Island

Southern Vancouver Island south of the town of Ladysmith is located below the 49th parallel, has a temperate to warm climate and is home to one of BC’s newer wine regions.  Not only is the south island home to wineries, but distilleries and many craft breweries have flourished here as well.  The main wine region in the Cowichan Valley, between Victoria and Nanaimo, as well as the Saanich Peninsula and expanding up Island to the Comox Valley have all seen a growth in the wine industry, with small family owned wineries producing award-winning wines.  Specialty food producers and organic farms have embellished the Island’s “foodie” reputation, showcased by festivals such as the Savour Cowichan Festival running from September 29 – October 8, 2017.

As surrounded by the ocean as it is, Vancouver Island is of course a water sports paradise.  Both Campbell River and Port Alberni call themselves “the salmon capital of the world”, attracting avid fishing enthusiasts.  Boating and kayaking opportunities are everywhere and the island’s west coast, especially between Ucluelet and Tofino offers fantastic surfing, while the Cowichan region’s Nitinaht Lake is a unique spot for great wind surfing.

Old growth tree in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island

Also taking to the waters around the island are numerous whale watching boats.  In spring and fall the grey whale migration from Mexico to Alaska, and back, passes along the west coast, offering wonderful opportunities to see these giant creatures.  During summer and early fall, orcas, both resident pods and transient pods are frequent visitors to Island waters.  In recent years, humpback whales have been increasingly visiting these waters as well.  Aside from whales, you can find seals, sea lions, otters, porpoises, bald eagles and a wide variety of birds on your whale watching trip as well.  Wildlife on land that you may run into include deer, elk, black bear, wolf and cougar.  In fact, the cougar population on Vancouver Island is the highest per capita population in the world.

The island offers fantastic hiking trails at all difficulty levels.  The most famous of these trails is the West Coast Trail, a multi-day wilderness trail on the west coast that is a challenge for even experienced hikers.  Generally taking from 5-7 days, reservations must be made to hike this trail.  Recently a third entrance to the West Coast Trail at Nitinath Lake has opened, allowing for a 2-3 day hike.  On the northern tip of the Island Cape Scott Provincial Park also offers a challenging hike, not to forget Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest provincial park, located mid-Island. Many, many more great trails surrounded by forests and some of the largest trees in the world, or offering spectacular ocean views are found all over the island.  Visit the Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew on the Island’s south west coast to see the largest fir tree in the world and Canada’s “gnarliest tree” and don’t miss Cathedral Grove on the way to Port Alberni for a pocket of old growth forest.

Along the Nanaimo Harbor Walk on Vancouver Island

No visit to the Island is complete without at least a day in Victoria, BC’s capital city on the southern tip of the Island.  Famous Butchart Gardens and the Royal BC Museum are must sees, but wander around the inner harbor and the waterfront to experience the “flavor” that makes Victoria such a great destination.  The Island’s second largest city Nanaimo also offers a wonderful harbor walk with never ending views and funky little eateries on the docks.

Wherever you go, your Vancouver Island B&B hosts are a great resource to point out all the interesting places in their area, so you can fully enjoy a little Island time!

The Shuswap – Your Summer Playground

August 17th, 2017

Summer time in the Shuswap – a great place to relax and play and enjoy all the things you love about summertime.

Shuswap Lake

The location of the Shuswap region, midway between Vancouver, BC and Calgary, Alberta makes it a favored destination for a lot of folks.  Of course one of the main attractions of the region is Shuswap Lake, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the province with 400 km of shoreline, provincial parks and endless opportunities for all kinds of water recreation.  There are four arms to Shuswap Lake: Salmon Arm (southwest), Shuswap Arm (west), Anstey Arm (northeast) and Seymour Arm (north).  North of Shuswap Lake is considered the North Shuswap, home to many artists and craftspeople. You’ll find extensive hiking and riding trails here and come the fall, the world famous Adams River Salmon Run.

The South Shuswap runs along Hwy. 1 and the southern shores of Shuswap Lake. Everywhere you have awe inspiring views of the surrounding mountains as backdrop to this water playground.  Try boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, water skiing, swimming, fishing, or rent a houseboat to explore all areas of the lake. The town of Sicamous calls itself the “Houseboat Capital of Canada” with its location on both Shuswap Lake and Mara Lake.  You’ll find organic farms here as well as award winning wineries with cool climate wines.  Of course there are golf courses in the region as well for your pleasure.

From the Sicamous lookout looking down at Sicamous and Shuswap and Mara Lake

The centre of the Shuswap region is the town of Salmon Arm.  With many hiking and biking trails around town, and Canada’s longest wooden inland curved wharf, there is no problem being active even when you’re in town.  Check out the Farmers Markets, any one of numerous galleries and unique boutiques, or find a  spot at a cozy little bistro to enjoy locally grown and organic fresh foods.  If you’re in town around the third weekend of August, you must check out the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, but be prepared for it to be very busy as this festival attracts up to 25,000 visitors each year.

And while summer in the Shuswap is all about lakes and sunshine, do come back in the winter to enjoy great cross country skiing, snowmobiling and sleigh rides.

There are great Shuswap area B&Bs to make your home away from home while you take your time to explore all the corners and small communities of this northern Okanagan region.  It’s a place to relax and rejuvenate and let your cares float away on the waters of the lake!

Prince George: The Hub of Northern BC

July 15th, 2017

Prince George is considered the hub of Northern BC, yet if you look at the BC map, it’s not even half way up the province if you’re counting from the US border. This “northern capital” city, with a population of around 74,000, is not only the center for culture and shopping, but has a huge wilderness area right in its backyard, with endless opportunities for exploring and outdoor activities.

The Prince George Civic Centre

The name Prince George comes from the original Fort George trading post founded by Simon Fraser, whose name was later attached the the river that links Prince George to the rest of the province.  The city is home to a multicultural population, as well as the University of Northern British Columbia.  Museums such as The Exploration Place and the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum allow you to delve into Prince George’s history.  Don’t miss Mr. PG, at the junction of Hwys. 97 and 16.  Now a fibreglass and steel figure, he was originally a wooden figure to celebrate Prince George’s forestry background as part of a float in the 1963 Grey Cup parade.

Use Prince George as your home base for day trips in the region.  North of the city you’ll find the Huble Homestead Historic Site at the Giscome Portage.  Closed after World War I, in 1983 plans and fundraising got underway to restore the former cabins and store, and it has become a very popular attraction.  Visit the Ancient Forest Recreation site, a unique inland wet temperate rainforest in the watershed of the upper Fraser River.  This easy-moderate hike includes a waterfall and a beautiful section of boardwalk.  A local hiking group called the Caledonia Ramblers has published a “Hiking North Central BC Guide” covering other favorite hikes in the region, including everything from moderate to more challenging hikes such as Fang Mountain, and also organizes weekly hikes, and snowshoeing trips in the winter.  The Otway Nordic Ski Centre just west of Prince George has its network of 55 km of trails open in summer for hikers and bikers, while during winter it offers groomed trails, night skiing, snowshoeing trails and a world class biathlon facility.

Expect to see the unexpected in Prince George – at the Aberdeen Glen

Hiking in the Ancient Forest near Prince George

There are 120 parks in the Prince George area alone to explore, or you can take guided tours to visit known wildlife viewing sites, or go fishing, or hunting.  Combine your outdoor exploration with some great art galleries in the city, great eateries, some shopping and return to your hosts at the Prince George B&B you checked into the day before.  Not only do they offer great hospitality but they can help you plan your next day’s activities to fully enjoy your time in this “northern” city!



Enjoy Summer in the Kootenays

June 12th, 2017

Beautiful Kootenay mountains and wildflower

British Columbia is, among other things, known for being an outdoor paradise, and the Kootenays Rockies region certainly fits that bill.  Small towns are scattered among the many lakes and rivers, waterfalls, mineral hot springs, wildflower meadows and snowy mountains.  Your outdoor adventure is waiting here for you!

Four of Canada’s national parks are located in this part of British Columbia: Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, Yoho National Park, and Kootenay National Park. Glacier National Park near Golden is Canada’s second oldest national park and is considered the birthplace of mountaineering in North America, as in 1888 two Brits completed the first recreational technical climb in the Selkirk Mountains.  A number of years later Swiss guides that were provided to the guests of the Glacier House Hotel in Roger’s Pass established a network of trails that are used by climbers to this date.  Great Bed & Breakfast accommodation can be found in Golden and Revelstoke as your starting point to explore this park and others.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park

Hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, white water rafting on the Kicking Horse River and horseback riding, bird and wildlife watching, all provide many outdoor adventures in the summer. Kootenay National Park is particularly known for its wide variety of ecology and climate, from arid to mountain peaks.  You’ll find a cold mineral spring at Paint Pots, to mineral hot spring pools at Radium Hot Springs.  Enjoy two great interpretative trails at Mount Revelstoke National Park, the Giant Cedars Board Walk and the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, and alpine meadows covered in wildflowers.  Yoho National Park features 28 peaks that are over 3000 meters high as well as Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s highest water falls.  Explore the more than 500 million year old Burgess Shale fossil deposit and beautiful Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge.  Of course all national parks are free to explore this year in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday!

Discover Revelstoke in the beautiful Kootenays

The Kootenay region not only has spectacular natural surroundings, but lively communities, great eateries, breweries, coffee roasters, unique shopping, arts & crafts and farmers’ markets.  For history buffs, you can visit the SS Moyie, the oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world, at Kootenay Lake in Kaslo, or take in the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre. Revelstoke is also home to British Columbia’s premier railway museum, while in Castlegar you can learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Doukhobors at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre.  Nelson is a great historic little city with hundreds of heritage buildings, great restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and the most active cultural scene in the Kootenays.

There is so much to enjoy and discover in BC’s Kootenay region this summer.  Book your accommodation at a Kootenay B&B as Bed & Breakfast hosts are always a great resource when staying in an area, as they’ll know all the fine details of what to see and do and how to get there.  Have a great summer in the Kootenays!

Green Tourism and B&Bs

May 14th, 2017

Recently our member A View to Remember in West Kelowna received Gold Level certification from Green Tourism Canada, showing a great commitment to not only outstanding hospitality, but also to outstanding environmental practices.  A View to Remember Bed & Breakfast was the very first B&B to receive Green Tourism Certification and they achieved a silver level previously.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at A View to Remember in West Kelowna

What is Green Tourism certification?  Green Tourism first started in the UK in 1997 as one of the first sustainable tourism rating programs in the world, and has grown to be one of the most sought-after eco-labels and certification programs.  Applying for a Green Tourism certification shows a real commitment to best environmental practices and reducing your environmental impact, as it includes a one-on-one very detailed assessment and comes at considerable cost.  The program offers continued support and information and has certified hotels, whale watching companies, tourism attractions and others.  Members are assessed on a list of minimum standards plus management and marketing, social and communications, energy, water and effluent, sustainable purchasing, reducing waste, travel, nature and cultural heritage, innovation and tourism experiences.

Green Tourism certification logo

With Bed & Breakfasts being in the innkeepers’ homes, this adds another whole level to the process to get a green tourism rating, as the assessment also includes best practices in the home environment.

While not all BC Bed & Breakfasts have gone to the extent of getting a Green Tourism rating, many do operate with policies to reduce their carbon footprint.  Many innkeepers buy locally sourced and organic products for that delicious breakfast you enjoy in the morning.  Many use environmentally friendly cleaning products, lower energy appliances and bathroom fixtures to name a few, and extensively recycle. People who run B&Bs are ambassadors for their regions or cities and want to preserve that environment to continue to be able to share it.  If you book a B&B and the environment is of concern to you, please feel free to ask your innkeepers what they are doing to reduce their environmental footprint.