Nestled in the Elk Valley is Fernie, the mountain town I wish I grew up in. It’s both gorgeous in scenery but it’s also situated in close proximity to a smattering of day trip options. It’s the best of all worlds when it comes to a mountain town in British Columbia.
Both times I’ve been in town, I’ve stayed at the Fernie Stanford Resort – a stones throw away from the Alpine Resort. Not only is their location top notch, the hotel itself is an oasis. Their amenities make you not want to leave the property between their spa, Evoke, a large indoor pool, and the Tandoor Grill Indian restaurant, there’s many reasons to stay and relax.
Keep scrolling for my favourite Fernie haunts:
FERNIE STANFORD RESORT
My sister and I had such a great time last year when we stayed at the Fernie Stanford Resort last year that returning this year was like coming home. (Read about that stay here).
The first time, we were in the main hotel, but what I didn’t realize was that the resort offers a townhouse option for those traveling with many guests for a weekend of skiing, hiking, or all of the above.
I must say, it felt pretty decadent in a 5 bedroom townhouse with only two guests. Best. Game. Of. Hide. And. Seek. EVER. Plus having the option of a full kitchen to make meals in was delightful… not to mention the massive Jacuzzi tub and two (TWO!) gas fireplaces! It was the perfect combination of cozy but spacious.
The view itself deserves it’s own write up. All the townhouses face the river and an awe-inspiring mountainscape. Sitting out on the balcony with a hot chocolate watching the river flow was a relaxing zen moment you can only have in the mountains.
BREAKFAST – BIG BANG BAGELS
What better way to start the day off than with a delicious breakfast sandwich housed in a freshly baked bagel? They make them from scratch and there is a smorgasbord of options to choose from including Pumpkin Seed, Jalapeno + Cheese, Pesto Spinach, and many, many more. See the full menu here.
COFFEE – LOAF
I spend a considerable amount of time seeking out the best London Fog’s in each town I visit – it’s a habit I won’t soon be breaking. Loaf makes a exceptional London Fog… not to mention if you’re looking for a second breakfast, their Eggs Benedict is a real delight. Plus, their storefront overlooks main street for your people watching pleasures. Full menu here.
DINNER – YAMAGOYA SUSHI
Some of the best sushi I’ve had in Canada was from Yamagoya. The place was PACKED on the Friday night and rightfully so. All of the fish was so fresh, the tuna sashimi melts in your mouth, and the cocktails were a delight; I had the sake margarita. Full menu here.
DRINKS & LATE NIGHT BITES – NEVADOS
For all the mescal deliciousness you can handle with a side of tacos and great atmosphere, head to Nevados. Here’s the link to their site but it’s been under construction foreverrrrrr…. it is not a reflection of the quality of this establishment. Trust me it’s fantastic.
Take some time for yourself and book a relaxing treatment at the Evoke Spa conveniently located within the Fernie Stanford Resort. I went for the Sacred Nature Face Treatment which left my skin feeling nurtured and fresh. I am absolutely enamored with the product line they use, Comfort Zone’s Sacred Nature, an Italian skincare company devoted to organic ingredients and is biocertified. The whole spa smelled like their Tranquility Candle (floral, sweet orange, and cedarwood!) Absolute heaven. See full spa menu here.
Don’t let this charming name fool you, Frank Slide is the remmenats of a tragic rockslide on the town of Frank in 1903. According to Wikipedia, 90 million tons of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain in 100 seconds completely covering the east side of Frank. It is quite astounding to drive by from the highway looking up but I suggest walking the trails through the limestone. We were surprised by some very curious deer while strolling.
Drive time from Fernie: 1 hour east
LUSSIER HOT SPRINGS
This is an undeveloped natural hotspring on the side of a river in Whiteswan Provincial Park. There’s a bumpy logging road that takes you right to the springs (there’s decent signage) and a well worn walking path to get down there. It will likely be quite busy, especially in the summertime.
Drive time from Fernie: 2 hours north
This adorable little town with its picturesque houses is home to a ski resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort, as well as the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival. HOW CUTE DOES THAT SOUND? We mostly drove around looking at houses and getting a slice of classic pizza. I will definitely be going back to explore more in the future.
Drive time from Fernie: Whitefish 2 hours south (with boarder crossing!)
From my experience, Fernie is a year round place to visit. In the summer they have hiking and derby days, in the winter there’s skiing of course, but during the in between seasons, it’s a quiet place to relax and enjoy the town at a glacial pace.
Big thanks to the Fernie Stanford Resort for having us on our weekend stay!
photographs – Sandy Karpetz / Jesse Sand