Archive for the ‘BC Travel’ Category

Fall Colors in British Columbia? You Bet!

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Yes, BC is not generally known for great fall colors like eastern parts of Canada are, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have any colors at all!  If you can’t travel to Quebec’s Eastern Townships, or Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park for example, check out these colorful locations in British Columbia.

If you want to see some great fall colors in BC, start in Vancouver and walk the seawall in Stanley Park; you’ll see some awesome colors all around you.  Other great fall colors around the city can be found at Vancouver’s highest point, Queen Elizabeth Park, the Laburnum Walk at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens for some rich yellows, and both the campus at the University of BC as well as the UBC Botanical Garden.  Our Vancouver area Bed & Breakfast innkeepers will have their own favorite spots for fall color viewing close to home.

Fabulous Fall!

Fabulous Fall!

Fall color in BC's Kootenay region

Fall color in BC’s Kootenay region

A day trip away from Vancouver takes you through Whistler to Pemberton.  The Pemberton valley offers some wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, rivers and the valley, with the gorgeous yellow colors of maples, aspen, cottonwood and birch mixed in with the evergreens.  Just ask Pemberton innkeeper Margit at the Greenwood Country Inn! Continue to BC’s interior and take Highway 97C from Merritt to Ashcroft and stop to enjoy some great views of fall colors along the way.  If you’re taking Highway 3 in southern BC, going from Vancouver to Calgary, stop at the Cascades Lookout in Manning Park to view the beautiful larches. Fernie also offers some great colors and fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, and we’ve heard that the Kootenays around Golden and Cranbrook are pretty impressive as well.  Our innkeepers in Golden can direct you to the best spots in the area!

Victoria on Vancouver Island has some lovely parks where you just know there’ll be some great fall colors to enjoy as well.  And maybe surprisingly, Tofino on Vancouver Island’s we(s)t coast, more known for its rainforest, also showcases some pretty spectacular colors in the fall.  Make it a trip to include Ucluelet and the fabulous Wild Pacific Trail and stay at one of our great Ucluelet B&Bs.

Can’t get away this fall?  Don’t forget to enjoy the colors you’ll find in your own neighborhood or during your daily commute.  They won’t last long and you know winter will be coming!

Fall Get-Aways in Vancouver

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Whatever the weather, Vancouver and surroundings offer so many great attractions and events, it’s a great place to visit for a little fall get-away.  There is definitely a hint of fall in the air on BC’s west coast.  We’ve had some rainy days lately and the temperatures have dropped a bit, but the forecast is looking good again with sunshine and some higher temperatures, so it looks like we’ll have a nice spell of Indian summer.  Schools have started back up so it’s a little quieter out there, so why not treat yourself to a few days away?

Spectacular Vancouver

Spectacular Vancouver

Still on until October 2nd at the Vancouver Art Gallery is “Picasso: The Artist and His Muses”.  This exhibition examines the six women who inspired Picasso’s artistic growth and is the biggest Picasso exhibition ever showcased in Vancouver.  The Vancouver Art Gallery is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and will next host the “Walker Evans: Depth of Field” exhibition, featuring the works of influential American photographer Walker Evans.

Are you a beer connoisseur?  You might want to schedule a Vancouver Craft Brewery Tour!  This 3.5 – 4 hours guided tour will take you to three of Vancouver’s great craft breweries, show you how the beer is made and of course provide you with samples to check out!  Transportation is included, so no need to worry about drinking and driving.  Or if you’re a foodie, how about an “Off the Beaten Track” culinary walking tour taking you to some of the city’s most fun and exciting eateries.

There are lots of free, or almost free, things to do in Vancouver as well of course. Great places to visit are Granville Island, Gastown and Chinatown.  Fall is a great time to check out the Capilano Salmon Hatchery in North Vancouver as the salmon start returning at the end of their life cycle.  When you’re on Vancouver’s North Shore, aka North and West Vancouver, and are looking for some serious exercise, look no further than the Grouse Grind.  As long as the weather and the trail stay good, this 2.9 km hike straight up to the top of Grouse Mountain will give you a serious challenge, but take the Skyride down!  For something a little less challenging, check out Lynn Canyon Park and the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

Kayaking off Vancouver's Stanley Park

Kayaking off Vancouver’s Stanley Park

No visit to Vancouver is complete without strolling the seawall in Stanley Park.  Walk or cycle around the outside edge of the park for wonderful views of Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge, the North Shore and English Bay.  The seawall is only one part of a 28 km long uninterrupted waterfront path called Seaside Green, the longest of its kind in the world, and a fabulous way to experience the city of Vancouver.  You’ll see fall colors along the way, and wonderful views!

For your fall get-away, book your accommodation at a Vancouver Bed & Breakfast. Innkeepers are a great resource for suggestions, directions and other great adventures to be had in the city of Vancouver

Great BC Hiking

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

British Columbia is a nature lover’s paradise so you know you’ll find great hiking everywhere in BC.

On Vancouver Island’s west coast you’ll find the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.  While this trail is 47 km long, it does have several access points so you can hike sections of it. The trailheads are at China Beach (southern point), Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Beach, and Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew (northern point).  This is definitely a wilderness trail at a moderate rating, although day hiking from the southern and northern trailheads tends to be somewhat easier.  Botanical Beach and its tidepools is a definite must stop before or after your hike if the tide is out.  Fabulous views, an isolated shoreline, pounding surf and old growth forest make for inspiring surroundings, but be aware of bears and cougars!

Near Kelowna in BC’s Thompson Okanagan region you’ll find the Blue Grouse Mountain Trail, again with a moderate rating.  The trail is 8 km long with fantastic views of Okanagan Lake.  You can do the full 5 hour hike or just do a 2 hour one by parking at the lower communication tower.  There are some steep sections but they do level out and the intermittent open areas give you better and better views the higher you go, until you have a 360 degree view at the top, all the way to Big White near Vernon.  Things to watch out for are prickly rosehip bushes on some of the steeper sections and little cacti.  For an easier alternative around Kelowna, there is the trial in Knox Mountain Park, along the east side of Lake Okanagan.  This 4 km trail makes for about a 2 hour hike, with a beach and a picnic area at the end of the trail.

Hiking in the Okanagan region

Hiking in the Okanagan region

A favorite trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park is the Elfin Lakes trail.  It is a moderate level trail that is well marked.  The return hike is 6-8 hours for the full 22 km to the third lake.  There is a big shelter but you must make reservations ahead of time, as this is a popular trail, with the park just 70 km north of Vancouver and close to the “outdoor recreation capital of Canada”, Squamish, BC.  There are several other trails in Garibaldi Park, and a total of over 200 km of trails in the Squamish area at different difficulty levels.  The area is also well known for great mountainbiking.

Fabulous views from a Kootenay hiking trail

Fabulous views from a Kootenay hiking trail

In the Selkirk Mountains of the Kootenays region, check out great hiking in Valhalla Provincial Park. This park is located on the west shore of Slocan Lake, north of Slocan and Castlegar.  There is a great network of hiking trails in the park of various difficulty levels, some only with boat access.  A great choice for a day hike would be the Slocan Evans trail along the lake with great views and lots of opportunity for swimming.  Park on the east side of the Slocan River in the village of Slocan to reach the trailhead.

These are only some of hundreds of hiking possibilities in British Columbia.  Our BC Bed & Breakfast innkeepers will know many of the local hikes in their area and will be able to give you detailed information.  Where ever your BC hikes take you, always make sure you’re prepared and let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back.  Enjoy our BC wilderness at your own pace!



Summer Time… Farmers’ Market Time

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Ah summer time!  They say the living is easy, but it’s a busy time for farmers selling at the weekly Farmers’ Markets that abound in BC.  From cherries, apricots, and peaches in the Okanagan region, to berry crops on the coast, summer time, and later fall, are great times to get out to your local Farmers’ Market to pick up the freshest of fresh products, grown or produced locally, and often organic too.

Many communities around the province have Farmers Markets.  You can find out if there’s one in your area by checking out the BC Association of Farmers Markets website or keep an eye on the local papers of course.  Here are a few you might want to check out if you’re in the area:

Duncan's Farmers' Market is one of the largest in BC

Duncan’s Farmers’ Market is one of the largest in BC

Duncan Farmers’ Market – The Duncan market on Vancouver Island is one of the largest in the BC.  Located in the Cowichan Valley, one of the Island’s main agricultural areas, sometimes called Canada’s “Provence”, it features lots of local produce, honey, local cheese, crafts, local wineries and distilleries, locally roasted coffee, hand made soaps, home baked goods and much more.  All accompanied by local entertainment, it’s a great meeting place for the community too, as well as visitors to the region. Open 9 am – 2 pm on Saturdays, year-round except for the Christmas holidays

Skeena Valley Farmers’ Market – This market in Terrace reflects the furthest point north in BC where fruit trees can grow, but the fertile Skeena Valley offers other local produce as well, ranging from fish and fresh veggies, to lots of ethnic products from local residents.  Open 9 am – 1 pm on Saturdays, May until the end of October

Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market – Revelstoke’s market is held at Grizzly Place. Surrounded by heritage buildings and views of spectacular snow covered peaks, local produce and crafts are on display under colorful awnings.  It’s the place to be on Saturday morning in Revelstoke, in BC ‘s Kootenay region.  Open 8:30 am to 1 pm, May through October

Metro Vancouver’s Lonsdale Artisan Farmers’ Market & Granville Island Farmers’ Market are two well-established markets in the Vancouver area.  In fact, Granville Island’s market is the oldest of its kind in Vancouver.  Both markets are located right by the water to give you some great views of Vancouver while you shop for fresh produce and everything from jams to salsas, to pickles and pastas.  The Lonsdale Market is located on the East Plaza at Lonsdale Quay Market & Shops and is open May through October from 10 am – 3 pm.  The Granville Island Farmers Market is across from the Public Market on Granville Island and runs June through September from 10 am – 3 pm.

Farmers' Market fresh veggies on offer!

Farmers’ Market fresh veggies on offer!

Armstrong Farmers’ Market – You can’t talk about BC Farmers’ Markets without mentioning the oldest continuously running market in Armstrong, in BC’s Okanagan region.  This country style market has a full range of products from veggies to eggs, cheese, plants and flowers, garden furniture, fashion accessories and kids clothing, and everything in between.  Open from April 30 through October on Saturdays, from 8 am – 12 pm.

If you’re traveling around British Columbia this summer, and if you’ve chosen to stay at one of our fine BC Bed & Breakfasts, the innkeepers will can tell you all about their local Farmers’ Market.  In fact, you’re likely to find a lot of that fresh local product on your breakfast table!

What’s Happening in Victoria This Summer?

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Are you planning a trip to Victoria this summer?  Aside from all the great year round attractions that have made Victoria a favorite destination for many, there are some great special events and festivals you might like to take in while spending a few days in our capital city.

Victoria plays host to BC’s largest street festival when buskers arrive from around the world for the 6th annual Victoria International Buskers Festival, which starts on July 15th and runs for ten days.  Everything from flame throwers to jugglers to puppets will entertain the crowds at several venues and stages around the downtown area.  Also part of it: the International Food Village on the waterfront. And talking about food, “Taste”, Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine, a long weekend of tastings, events and seminars, takes place July 14th – 17th.  It starts with an evening tasting of more than 100 BC wines and local cuisine prepared by top Vancouver Island Chefs.  This event with “a conscience” works with participants who are all about local, seasonal and sustainable in their business practices.

The very popular TD Art Gallery Paint-In is happening on Saturday July 16th.  Ten blocks on Moss Street in downtown Victoria, from Fort Street to the waterfront on Dallas Road, become one big art gallery where 165 artists will showcase their work to thousands of visitors.  There’s a great atmosphere, and of course there will be music and food to enjoy as well.  Meanwhile at the Royal BC Museum there’s a huge exhibit on: Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age.  Come and see Lyuba, the world’s most complete preserved mammoth discovered in Siberia in 2007.  This baby woolly mammoth is 40,000 years old!

cycling on Victoria's Galloping Goose Trail

cycling on Victoria’s Galloping Goose Trail

On the BC Day long weekend, July 31st – August 2nd, you can take in Canada’s biggest cycling event, the Victoria International Cycling Festival.  With Victoria considered to be Canada’s cycling capital, this only makes sense of course!  Watch the mountain biking pros race at Bear Trax, a family friendly event. And of course don’t forget to bring your bikes, be it a mountain bike or road bike, to explore the Victoria area on your own that weekend (or anytime!)  There are great cycling routes around the capital city, and lots of information online, or join a like-minded group of enthusiasts.

One of the most popular summer events in Victoria is the Symphony Splash, on the Sunday of the BC Day long weekend, which falls on July 31st this year.  For the 27th year, the Victoria Symphony will play on a barge in the inner harbor, with up to 40,000 people filling up all the space on land and in the water to enjoy the performance.  There is a Family Zone open from 1:00 – 4:00 pm and an opening act at 4:00 before the orchestra takes the stage at 7:30.  The show always ends with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with navy guns and fireworks.  One thing to remember, get there early to find a spot!

Victoria is a great place to visit during the summer.  There is so much happening!  If you are coming, plan ahead and book your Victoria Bed & Breakfast accommodation well in advance as rooms fill up fast.  You’ll be well looked after and won’t lack for a wide range of things to see and do while you’re being spoiled with great hospitality!

Springtime in Peachland

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Springtime in Peachland is a fabulous time to visit this small community on Okanagan Lake.  For a small community Peachland packs an amazing punch, there are so many things to do here!

Peachland Show and Shine Antique Car Show

Peachland Show and Shine Antique Car Show

On May 22nd, it’s the 19th annual Peachland World of Wheels Show and Shine.  Each year more than 550 beautiful antique cars and trucks, as well as motorcycles and boats, attract more than 10,000 visitors along Beach Avenue and in Heritage and Cousins Parks. Considering Peachland has about 5000 residents, that’s a whole lot of people in this small town!  Many will be looking to explore more of Peachland while they are there.

Peachland offers some great dining opportunities all in a three block radius, all close to the Show and Shine’s activities.  Our B&B innkeepers recommend the Blind Angler Grill, Gasthaus on the Lake Pub & Restaurant (also check out their medieval feasts in the winter months), and the Beach Avenue Cafe & Tapas Bar, where you’ll find creative international dishes and live music events.

There’s great hiking, ranging from a short gentle walk through the woods to a lovely little waterfall called Hardy Falls, to a serious 2-hour hike on the Pincushion Mountain trail, where you’ll be rewarded at the summit with stunning views.  The hike is moderate to hard, so be prepared.  If you crave a more daring adventure, check out Zipzone Peachland, the #1 zipline in the Okanagan, with six of the highest, longest and fastest ziplines in Canada, that cross the spectacular Deep Creek Gorge at around 380 feet above the ground.  Hold your breath as you tackle the highest “Leap of Faith” freefall jump in the country!

Vineyards Galore near Peachland

Vineyards Galore near Peachland

Summer evening along Okanagan Lake in Peachland

Summer evening along Okanagan Lake in Peachland

For a gentler pace visit the Peachland Farmers and Crafters Market which starts up on the first Sunday after the May long weekend, opening from 10 am – 2 pm. Take home some of that Okanagan goodness to enjoy and to recall your wonderful time here. Late April into early May it’s the “Bud Break” Spring Okanagan Wine Festival.  You’ll find more than 200 great wineries within a 25 mile radius of Peachland, and they’re not just open at Wine Festival time.

Of course Peachland is dominated by beautiful Okanagan Lake, to enjoy for swimming, kayaking, paddle-boarding and picnicking. Across from Peachland is Rattlesnake Island, home of the mysterious Ogopogo lake monster, so who knows what you’ll see on the lake!  And don’t forget Okanagan golfing at any one of numerous golf courses sprinkled throughout the region.  Our Peachland Bed & Breakfast innkeepers at Pineacre On The Lake (yes, you guessed it, they are right on the lake), and Okanagan Oasis, (with pool and fabulous lake views), can recommend more great activities and attractions, while you enjoy their outstanding hospitality and luxurious accommodations.  Peachland in springtime is wonderful!

It’s The End Of The BC Road For Red

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Sadly the Red Chair was nearing the end of his journey in British Columbia.  After his visits to Birds of A Feather Victoria Oceanfront and the Oak Bay Guest House, the Red Chair had one more visit scheduled at a Victoria Bed & Breakfast, Marketa’s. Unfortunately the innkeeper was ill when he arrived, which is always a challenge for a Bed & Breakfast, unless there is a partner or staff involved in the business.  So Red had a chance to rest up a little bit from his almost four months journey through beautiful British Columbia.  But, he did get to go out and about with Marketa to explore another part of Victoria.  The nice thing about Red’s visit to Victoria was that while Victoria has many famous attractions, Red got to explore some of the lesser known places around the city.

Red enjoys the view from Victoria's Beacon Hill Park

Red enjoys the view from Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park


Red meets a seal at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria

Red meets a seal at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria

Off on a whale watching adventure with Eagle Wings!

Off on a whale watching adventure with Eagle Wings!

Beacon Hill Park is a jewel right off Victoria’s oceanfront, where on a clear day you get a fantastic view across the ocean to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. Many varieties of birds visit the park and Red made the acquaintance of a peacock, who wasn’t that impressed with Red’s color!  A wander down to Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf, with its funky shops, restaurants and float homes, led to a meeting with a different kind of critter, a curious seal, who was probably looking for a handout!  Red also had a lovely lunch at Marketa’s favorite trattoria.  His biggest adventure though, was on the water, when they went whale watching with Eagle Wings Tours.  What a thrill!  Red had been really lucky with the weather during his Victoria visit and had really enjoyed this City of Gardens in full spring colors!

Kayaking past Majestic Ocean B&B on the Pacific

Kayaking past Majestic Ocean B&B on the Pacific

Red is ready to hit the Wild Pacific Train in Ucluelet

Red is ready to hit the Wild Pacific Train in Ucluelet

Red the pool shark at Bostrom's B&B!

Red the pool shark at Bostrom’s B&B!

Another bus ride took Red up Island again and across to the west coast, to the little town of Ucluelet. Around Ucluelet and Tofino, its better known neighbouring community, you’ll find the famous Pacific Rim National Park Reserve which is made up of Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail.  The Pacific Rim area is a hugely popular tourist destination almost year round.  Two of Ucluelet’s finest innkeepers shared their hospitality with Red.  Innkeeper Judy at Bostrom’s B&B on Little Beach Bay and innkeepers Tracy and Ted at Majestic Ocean B&B took Red on another whale watching trip!  Wow! Spring and fall on Vancouver Island’s west coast is the time for the grey whale migrations.

Ucluelet also has a wonderful aquarium that features only locally found sea life, and releases these critters back into the wild.  Talking about wild, Red had to take a walk on the Wild Pacific Trail, one of BC’s top trails according to TripAdvisor readers! This 9 km trail wanders along the coast through the rainforest with a different view around each corner. After his hike, Red relaxed on one of the several oceanview decks at Bostrom’s and tried out the sauna AND the hot tub before taking in a game of pool! Over at Majestic Ocean B&B and Kayaking, Red had another opportunity to go kayaking, right on the Pacific Ocean!  The Broken Group Islands are a favorite destination for kayakers and Majestic Ocean offers both lessons and guided trips to explore tiny islands and hidden coves.  Wildlife sightings can include bears, whales, eagles and many other sea creatures.  Here too he was able to relax in the hot tub at the end of another adventurous day, that also included a walk on Long Beach!

Red was reunited with some of his BC innkeeper hosts at the BC B&B Conference!

Red was reunited with some of his BC innkeeper hosts at the BC B&B Conference!

There was one more bus ride to go in Red’s journey in BC!  From Ucluelet Red headed back to Duncan in the Cowichan Valley, where innkeeper Ingrid picked him up so he could catch a ride with her to the BC Innkeepers Conference near Vancouver, where he was reunited with some of his previous BC Bed & Breakfast hosts!  This was going to be the end of Red’s journey through BC and we are so sad to see him go.  It’s been an honor to be Red’s first Canadian hosts, and to showcase the beautiful province we live in.  Many visitors each year share parts of the same journey that Red was able to enjoy, with all its attractions and recreational opportunities.  BC has so much to offer and we hope you too will come and visit.  We’ll be happy to host you and help make your trip an unforgettable journey too!  Safe travels Red!

The Red Chair Visits The Garden City

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

After the Red Chair’s stay in the beautiful Cowichan Valley, he traveled down the Malahat Drive to BC’s capital city of Victoria, also known as “The Garden City”. In fact when Red arrived at his first B&B, Birds of A Feather Victoria Oceanfront B&B, the 38th annual Victoria Flower Count was just getting underway.  This light-hearted campaign to promote Victoria as a shoulder season destination full of blooms when the rest of Canada is still in the grip of winter is sponsored by Tourism Victoria and the most famous of the gardens, Butchart Gardens. (The city of Colwood, part of Victoria, where Birds of A Feather is actually located, just won the 2016 Flower Count!)

The Red Chair visits the historic Fisgard Lighthouse and guess what, there are red chairs there!

The Red Chair visits the historic Fisgard Lighthouse and guess what, there are red chairs there!

Red at Hatley Castle and Gardens

Red at Hatley Castle and Gardens

Red goes kayaking in the lagoon at Birds of A Feather Victoria B&B

Red goes kayaking in the lagoon at Birds of A Feather Victoria B&B

Birds of A Feather Victoria Oceanfront B&B is spectacularly located on a 120 acre lagoon that is connected to, but protected from, the Pacific Ocean, and is designated a migratory bird sanctuary.  This Vancouver Island B&B features an oceanfront hot tub and some yellow Adirondack chairs on the dock where you can take in all the wildlife activity around you. Red wasted no time in getting acquainted while enjoying the fabulous view, with the snow capped Olympic Mountains in Washington State in the background.  There were also complimentary kayaks and yes of course, Red went kayaking!  You know by now that he loves trying everything!

Surrounded by 600 acres of old growth forest with hiking trails and beaches, Birds of A Feather is also just next door to the 1860 Fisgard Lighthouse (where Red met more red chairs!) and Historic Fort Rod Hill.  He also visited Hatley Castle and Gardens. This historic site is home to Royal Roads University and the famous castle has been used in a number of movies.  Red wandered the beaches, explored the nearby Sooke Potholes Regional Park, visited the Colwood Firefighters Historical Museum, went for a Sunday evening bowl, and most thrilling of all, went for a ride on the wild side on a RED motorcycle!  So much excitement!  Red and the innkeepers also took a little trip to the town of Sidney, also known as “Book Town” where numerous interesting book stores can be found on the main street, including the “Haunted Bookshop”.  On his day of departure to his next B&B, the rain arrived, which made it extra sad to say goodbye to this beautiful spot!

Kitty Islet Victoria - Red should have brought his can of paint!

Kitty Islet Victoria – Red should have brought his can of paint!

Red almost gets blown off the mountain at the Mount Doug viewpoint in Victoria!

Red almost gets blown off the mountain at the Mount Doug viewpoint in Victoria!

Red’s next Victoria Bed & Breakfast was in another community within Victoria, at the Oak Bay Guest House.  This 1912 elegant accommodation in Victoria’s toniest neighborhood has been hosting visitors in one format or another since 1922 when it first opened its doors as the Newport Inn.  Very quickly the local paper, the Oak Bay News, came to visit Red.  With innkeeper Lori, Red visited another one of the beautiful gardens in Victoria, the Abkhazi Garden, where lots was blooming! A visit to the Oak Bay Marina had Red feeding the pigeons and enjoying all the boats, while a visit to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel included a stop at the Boat House Spa and Pools.  Now

Red liked this art gallery in Oak Bay!

Red liked this art gallery in Oak Bay!

that was a decadent outing!

Exploring the heart of Oak Bay Village, Red discovered the Red Art Gallery!  It’s amazing how red keeps popping up wherever he’s gone throughout North America!  He also met some more interesting chairs at Kitty Islet, a small waterfront natural area with an endangered maritime meadow ecosystem, and he rode in a red convertible to get there (even though it wasn’t quite convertible weather that day)!  Red went up Mount Doug for a great view of Victoria, but almost got blown off the mountain, so he needed a helping hand to stay put! It was definitely blustery up there!  He even took part in some local politics when he was the honored guest at the local Oak Bay council meeting.  I bet the local politicians don’t get many visitors from Cape Cod!

Victoria is such a big tourist destination with so many attractions like the famous Butchart Gardens, the fabulous Royal BC Museum, the Parlaiment Buildings, whale watching from the inner harbor, the Robert Bateman Centre and other galleries and museums, cycling the Galloping Goose trail.  Red was looking forward to what else he would get to explore once he checked in at his next B&B, Marketa’s Bed & Breakfast.

Red reaches Vancouver Island

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

As the Red Chair continues to visit BC Bed & Breakfasts, he took one more bus ride to reach his next destination, Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. Waiting to welcome Red were innkeepers Bill and Anna Maria at Cornerstones B&B.  Innkeepers of less than a year, they were looking forward to showing Red around their new home on the Island. A surprise was waiting for Red when he arrived on Valentine’s Day and was serenaded by the Qualicum Beach Pipe Band!  He also received an official welcome to Qualicum Beach by the mayor and council; he was a VIC after all, i.e. a Very Important Chair.  Red and the innkeepers then hit the road to do some exploring.  Their first stop was Vancouver Island’s University Deep Bay Marine Station where Red was allowed to go right into the research labs and also studied a grey whale skeleton.  They visited Cathedral Grove where the biggest trees are over 800 years old, 250 ft. (75 m) high and 29 ft. (9 m) in diameter. You can imagine Red was a little intimidated! Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and Mooberry Wines were also definitely worth a visit, before a game of golf.  After all the winter sports the Red Chair had tried, it was a treat to play a relaxing game of golf, followed by a brew and a tasty bite to eat. Red enjoyed a very civilized afternoon tea at the beautiful Milner Gardens and visited the Old School House Arts Centre.  In between all the great outings to explore his first Vancouver Island community, Red relaxed at Cornerstones B&B and spent some quality time with the resident canine Coco! Vancouver Island was already a great place to visit and he’d only just started!

The Red Chair studies the grey whale skeleton at the Deep Bay Marine Station

The Red Chair studies the grey whale skeleton at the Deep Bay Marine Station

Red at Cornerstones sign

Red checks in at Cornerstones B&B in Qualicum Beach

Red checks out the mural town of Chemainus and its popular Chemainus Theatre.

Red checks out the mural town of Chemainus and its popular Chemainus Theatre.

The Red Chair next headed south to Ladysmith Bed & Breakfast Hawley Place, where innkeepers Rhonda and Ed were ready to be his next hosts. Red had now arrived in the Cowichan region which has Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climate zone, which allows for a wide variety of agricultural products, including award winning wineries. Innkeepers Rhonda and Ed took Red and introduced him to all the businesses around the historic First Avenue of downtown Ladysmith. They paid a visit to the Ladysmith Museum and wandered down to Transfer Beach, a great family friendly beach area with a playground, kayaking and summer music concerts. Ladysmith is also known for its Festival of Lights, when the whole town lights up for the holiday season.  Heading south out of town, they stopped for a visit at the Yellowpoint cranberry farm on their way to the “Little Town that Did”, Chemainus.  Known for its many outdoor murals, antiques and artisans, Chemainus is also home to the very popular Chemainus Theatre Festival.  Red was also in the right spot at the right time to witness a log barge unloading a load of logs.  Pretty cool.

Red wanted to get a picture with the World's biggest hockey stick in Duncan

Red wanted to get a picture with the World’s biggest hockey stick in Duncan

The Kinsol Trestle on the Trans Canada Trail is one of the highest trestles in the world.

The Kinsol Trestle on the Trans Canada Trail is one of the highest trestles in the world.

Red hit the ice at the local curling club for another new winter sport

Red hit the ice at the local curling club for another new winter sport

Rhonda and Ed traveled with the Red Chair down to Duncan, the commercial centre of the Cowichan Valley, to meet up with his next host, Ingrid, from Cobble House Bed & Breakfast, in the village of Cobble Hill. Red had heard that Duncan had the biggest hockey stick in the world so he definitely wanted to get a picture!  He also checked out the 1912 railway station and some of the many totems, as Duncan is known as The City of Totems.  He had now arrived in the heart of the Vancouver Island Wine Region, and not only did he visit several wineries like Blue Grouse and Unsworth, but also BC’s first estate cidery, Merridale Ciderworks, as well a Red Arrow brewery (of course he loved that name!) Another unique Cowichan company the Red Chair visited was the Vancouver Island Salt Company, which harvests and produces sea salt right from the waters here off Vancouver Island. Red visited the Teafarm, the only place in Canada that grows tea, and they had a special welcome sign out for him, as well as a tea room full of funky chairs to chat with! Innkeepers Ingrid and Simon also took Red to see the Kinsol Trestle on the Trans Canada Trail, one of the highest trestles in the world. The Trans Canada Trail will be the longest trail in the world once it is completed in 2017.  Of course the Red Chair did spend some time enjoying the peace at Cobble House, which is located on a forested acreage, and then spent his final morning with innkeeper Ingrid at the local curling centre!

Red Goes Adventuring in Kelowna

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

After The Red Chair’s visit to Whistler and Pemberton, he was back on the bus to visit two Kelowna Bed & Breakfasts he’d missed on his earlier visit to the Okanagan Region.

On the edge of historic Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, overlooking the city of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake, you’ll find Myra Canyon Ranch.  Not only is Myra Canyon Ranch a Bed & Breakfast, it also offers an Adventure Park as well as Kelowna Stables at Myra Canyon Ranch.  Red was excited to find out what kind of adventures were awaiting him here!  There was lots of snow at the ranch but his B&B room was cozy and comfortable.  With lots of windows, there were great views everywhere he looked, but the best view was from up on the roof!  The Adventure Park included Ropes and Challenge aerial courses for all ages as well as well as Slack Lines, Climbing and Frisbee Golf.  Sadly, this was winter with lots of snow on the ground so Red wasn’t able to try all of these out, but he certainly looked around!  He did meet the horses at the stables and they were pretty curious to meet Red too!

The Horses at Kelowna Stables at Myra Canyon are pretty curious to meet The Red Chair

The Horses at Kelowna Stables at Myra Canyon are pretty curious to meet The Red Chair

Myra Canyon Meadow Vista Honey Wines

Red makes a wonderful new friend at the Meadow Vista Honey Winery near Myra Canyon Ranch

getting the best view at Myra Canyon

The best view of Okanagan Lake from Myra Canyon Ranch B&B is from up high!

Being back in the Okanagan, his stay at Myra Canyon meant more wine touring of course!  The very unique Summerhill Pyramid Winery was the first stop, followed by Camelot (complete with medieval suits of armor), House of Rose, Tantalus Vineyards and the

The Red Chair checks out the unique Summerhill Pyramid Winery

The Red Chair checks out the unique Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Meadow Vista Honey Winery where Red made a wonderful new friend! All of these wineries were within 10 minutes of Myra Canyon Ranch so after all the sampling, Red was back home quickly at his “home away from home” to relax and savor all that he’d tasted.  If he wasn’t continually traveling he’d be taking home lots of wines from his travels through ALL the wine regions he’d visited!  Red’s final outing with innkeepers Rolf and Kathrin was out to the Kettle Valley Railway Trail which, while snow covered now, is a wonderful walking and cycling trail with numerous trestles in Myra Canyon, a great favorite attraction  especially with cyclists.

His next wonderful B&B hosts were Joy & Jake at the Chesterfield Inn right in the city of Kelowna.  The Chesterfield Inn was built on the historic site of the former Chesterfield Boys School and the Miss Hewitson School and opened in 2012.  Joy and Jake specifically geared their B&B to guests needing to be close to the Kelowna hospital as well as downtown and the lake. One of their guest rooms is completely wheelchair accessible and also accommodates a caregiver, but Red had booked the king room with claw-foot soaker tub!

Out and about along the Kelowna Boardwalk

Out and about along the Kelowna Boardwalk

When you're in Kelowna, you must check out the Ogopogo statue. Red didn't want to miss it!

When you’re in Kelowna, you must check out the Ogopogo statue. Red didn’t want to miss it!

After breakfast they were off to visit the Tourism Kelowna office and to explore the city.  There is a great boardwalk along Okanagan Lake with summertime buskers and entertainment and lots of activities. Red admired the Kelowna bear made out of recycled materials, a tribute to the founding of Kelowna, which means grizzly bear in the Salish language. And of course they had to stop to see the statue of Ogopogo, the sea serpent monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake! A hike up Knox Mountain rewarded Red with a great view over the city. Knox Mountain Park is a great natural park area in Kelowna, one of numerous great parks around the city.  Visits to the Okanagan Heritage Museum and Military Museums rounded out Red’s visit to Kelowna.  He learned a lot about the city, enough to know he’d like to come back and experience Kelowna in the spring or summer time!

As always it was hard to leave and check out of the Chesterfield Inn, but Red had another bus ride ahead of him, leaving the snow behind.  Next stop: Vancouver Island!