Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Fraser Valley without a stop in the Harrison area. After flying into Abbotsford courtesy of Swoop (see my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide) we took the scenic ride to Harrison Mills and then Harrison Hot Springs. Our drive was peppered with some thrift stops and a lot of gorgeous scenery thanks to the Harrison River. Food was eaten, nature was enjoyed, and sights were seen. With that said, keep scrolling for my Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide.

EAT

Between Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs, there’s no shortage of food options. From sushi, to pubs, to a full on fine dining with a live band and dance floor experience… the fare was most agreeable. Here are a few of the places I had the pleasure dining at.

Breakfast

The Clubhouse (Harrison Mills)

While staying at Rowena’s Inn on the River (more on that later) in Harrison Mills, we dined at The Clubhouse on the golf course. It overlooks the course as well as the Harrison River, a view that cannot be beat. And the breakfast was delightful – any type of Mexican option is always a yes for me. 

Muddy Waters Cafe (Harrison Hot Springs)

Breakfast burritos!!!! Need I say more? Well yes, yes I do. Here’s another breakfast option that’s right on the water. The Muddy Waters Cafe is located across the street from the lake in Harrison Hot springs. It’s a cozy cafe that has ample seating and a delightful London Fog. A drink that I enjoyed so much that I drank it all before realizing I should have photographed it. Whoops. Their nachos are pretty dope too.

Treats

Rocky Mountain Chocolate (Harrison Hot Springs)

I am not one to say no to chocolate. Ever. And in Harrison Hot Springs, you can get chocolate Sasquatch feet at Rocky Mountain Chocolate. So obviously I did and it was epic. 10/10 would recommend. 

Dinner

Morgan’s Bistro (Harrison Hot Springs)

First of all, the view of the lake is epic. It also didn’t hurt that we stayed in the hotel directly above this fine establishment so the commute was more than manageable. There were several vegetarian options (fried eggplant / tomato bisque soup / a fresh salad) so we were well covered on that front.

The Copper Room (Harrison Hot Springs)

In all honesty, the vegetarian options were very sparse at the old Copper Room. And what was available was absurdly dairy heavy (hello 5 cheese ravioli in a cheese sauce?) But what it lacked in veggie fare, it made up for in entertainment. This should probably be in the to-do section… but I make the rules around here! I would recommend this evening for anyone who enjoys people watching and cover bands. And that my friends, is me. 

SLEEP

Rowena’s Inn on the River (Harrison Mills)

Driving up to Rowena’s encapsulates the image I have whenever I longingly think about visiting the PNW. It was a misty day with the smell of wet cedar hanging in the air. The tall trees dwarfed our car by comparison but the drive down the long elegant road to the inn was verdant and inviting. It was both a place of enchanting beauty of a romantic comedy but also maybe the start of an episode of the X Files. Both of which I adore deeply. We slept in a log cabin with a wood burning fireplace and woke up to the birds singing in a blossoming tree right outside our window. IT WAS TOO PERFECT! Not to mention a Hallmark movie was being filmed on location while we were there!

Harrison Beach Hotel (Harrison Hot Springs)

First things first…. THE VIEW! There is nothing quite like watching a sunset over a body of water. The Harrison Beach Hotel has a front row seat to one of the most spectacular views in Harrison Hot Springs. In addition to the spectacular view, the location could not be any better. The hotel was right smack dab in the middle of all the local hot spots (hiking trails, restaurants, the actual hot springs!) We parked our car and didn’t use it again until we had to drive back to the airport. 

DO

While we were only there for a few short days, we managed to pack in quite a few excursions. My favourite of them were quite simple and most likely obvious for the area….. but here they are!

Sasquatch Museum + Statues (Harrison Hot Springs)

The visitor centre in Harrison Hot Springs has a sasquatch museum in the back and it is totally worth popping by. First of all, the price is right – it’s free. There’s the classic film of the female sasquatch wandering through the bushes and if that’s not enough to pique interest, there’s also some great information on the history of the sasquatch and how it relates to the area. Who doesn’t want to find out about the place they’re visiting? 

The Harrison Hot Springs Pool

It’s in the name of the town so naturally it’s an attraction that one should visit while in town. The public pool is a chill indoor space with a massive picture window overlooking the lake. It was quaint and dreamy – a location you would see on Accidentally Wes Anderson for sure. I love hanging out at any type of hot spring, they’re just so dang relaxing. 

Sandy Cove Whippoorwill Point Hike (Harrison Hot Springs)

The Sandy Cove Whippoorwill Trail is a 4km hike is a nice loop trail that goes along the Harrison River that leads to the lake. I say easy but the beginning of the trail is somewhat intimidating as it’s quite uphill for a little bit. I am by no means a serious hiker and I was able to do it with improper footwear so there’s that. At the point where the river meets the lake, there’s a nice little bench to take a rest on so pack a snack and savour it there. 

The Hot Springs Source (Harrison Hot Springs)

If a hike is a little too intimidating, take a leisurely walk to the Harrison Hot Springs source. It’s an easy walking path that’s more like a gravel/dirt road. Watch the steam rise out behind the breeze blocks and breath in the sulphury goodness! (Check out the embedded Google Map for directions)

Just Go Walking

No matter where I visit, I always make a point of walking. It’s a great way to check out the area and find things that aren’t necessarily on tour guides. Even the time of day can change what you notice…. like the lighting from this motel really called me while we walked home from our dinner. And Harrison is a very enjoyable town to walk whether it be following the river in town or strolling along the beach. Just go walking!

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

That concludes my Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide! If you enjoyed the accompanying vlog, feel free to check out my YouTube channel. For more city guides, check out the Travel Section of my blog. 🙂 

Photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Karpetz

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Many thanks to Swoop Airlines & Harrison Tourism for arranging this amazing trip!

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford has been a town I have known about for ages but always treated as a pit stop on the way to Vancouver Island. Not anymore! Had I know what magic was waiting for me just off the side of the highway, I wouldn’t have waited this long to explore. For this visit, we were kindly flown out by Swoop airlines. (It was one of the easiest check-ins I’ve ever experienced to date.) For those planning a trip to the Fraser Valley region here’s my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide.

EAT

There was no shortage of amazing places to eat. In fact, there were such a plethora of choices, some of these recommendations are of places I wish we could have gone had we stayed longer. Did I know there would be such diverse food options available in Abbotsford? No, I did not. Was I pleasantly surprised there were vegetarian AND plant-based options? Yes, words cannot describe my joy when we began sussing out the area.

Cafes & Bakeries

The Polly Fox

The Polly Fox is a delightful cafe that has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly fare. Located on the main street of the historic downtown strip in a dreamy heritage building space. We had the Vegan BLT and a London Fog with soy milk – both were something to write home about!

Oldhand

Another delightful cafe in historic downtown Abbotsford is Oldhand. Their decor is like a breath of nostalgic air with old wooden chairs one would find themselves sitting in during a gym assembly back in the day. And I love it. Their London Fogs are also a true delight along with the vast array of delightful pastries. 

The Habit Project

There is nothing I love more than a juicery that has both amazing juice and minimal design decor. The Habit Project is a breath of fresh from their incredible in house made juices to the bright white surroundings.  We had the Jade and Ruby cold pressed juices as well as their chickpea caesar salad. SO GOOD. Just wow. 

Ivana Teahouse

Though we didn’t actually go inside to enjoy the Ivana Teahouse, it looks like a place I would love. It’s inclusion on this list is to remind me to check it out next time. And hopefully this time we’ll be there not on a holiday weekend when its closed! 

Sit Down Dining

Little Brother

Little Brother was another place that looked delightful but was closed due to the long weekend. It’s a cute brunch spot right on the corner for optimum people watching. What else can I say? The menu looks dope.

Brodeur’s Bistro

DUUUUUUUUDEEEEEE. I don’t know if this is just a phase but the call of the buffalo cauliflower has been strong. I can’t seem to get enough of it. And Brodeur’s Bistro delivered the vegetarian goods! Their mac and cheese deserves a chef’s kiss too. The menu is heavily populated with meaty dishes; there are a handful of veggie options to choose from. Did I mention they have buffalo cauliflower? 😎 

SLEEP

Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel

Located amidst rolling hills and few vineyards for good measure, the Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel is a relaxing getaway spot. Run by Chris & Sandi Buis, the most lovely hosts of all time, this quiet inn has everything including film themed rooms. We stayed in the Midnight in Paris suite which overlooked the Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates. While dining on a delicious breakfast made by Sandi, we spotted multiple American Goldfinches flitting from tree to tree. Their impeccably kept garden was the perfect spot to channel my inner Disney princess surrounded by cute critters. Also it’s 5 minutes from the Abbotsford airport so that’s rad too.

SHOP

Historic Downtown Abbotsford

Hemingway’s Books

It was steady drizzling the day we spent in downtown Abbotsford so naturally we dipped into a used bookstore in between feeding times. Hemingway’s Books is a treasure trove of antique and contemporary books all priced reasonably. We took our sweet time wandering up and down every single aisle. A used bookstore on a rainy day is basically a scene in an indie movie I would watch. 

Montrose + George General Store // Yes Chef

Both of these shops were closed – Easter weekend is a tough one for non-essential services! But I pressed my nose up against Montrose + George General Store and Yes Chef. Can confirm they looked rad. I must stop by again and hopefully cross the threshold of each purveyor. 

Freewheelin’ Records // Confetti Floral Design 

Here are two more businesses that looked intriguing as I gazed through their inviting windows. Both Freewheelin’ Records and Confetti Floral Design were admired from the sidewalk but are two shops I would make the time to pop into. 

DO

The Tulip Festival

Did you even go to Abbotsford if you didn’t go to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival? Well, technically, yes… but why would anyone want to miss this?! It’s like going to the Netherlands but without the hassle of expensive flights etc. Beyond being complete eye candy, the tulip festival is a great way to kickstart spring and get in the mood for more blooms to come! And if you lived in the prairies, a great way to escape the dusty aftermath of winter. The dates vary season to season but you can usually count on it happening in April. 

Maan Farms & Winery

Petting cute animals and drinking a flight of wine created from berries are two experiences I never knew I wanted to combine, until now. The Maan Farms and Winery is a must when in the Abbotsford area. They champion a completely in house production of their wines from ‘ground to glass’. Assuming that their wine must be ultra sweet because it’s made with fruit is a miscalculation. Their selection of wine is a wonderful spectrum of sweet, dry, crisp and everything in between.

Castle Fun Park

Alas I have no photo of the Castle Fun Park because I still haven’t had the pleasure of going there – but this summer!!! Mark my words I will mini golf there. It HAS to happen. I cannot drive by that castle one more time without having experienced it from only the highway!

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

The fun doesn’t just stop in Abbotsford, I’m also putting together my Fraser Valley travel guide too! If you’re in the Abbotsford area, the drive to Harrison Hot Springs is a definite must. With that said, I’m looking forward to my annual west coast road trip this summer. This time, I can stop by again and fill up on juice from The Habit Project and enjoy a quick round of mini golf at the Castle Fun Park! As always, I will continue to update my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Karpetz

Many thanks to Swoop Airlines & Abbotsford Tourism for arranging this amazing trip!

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Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Arizona is one of those states that you can visit several times and still not see everything. This is probably why I continue to return year after year. That and my parents are snowbirds so it’s one of the only ways to spend time with them. I digress. Mesa is a rad town nestled between Phoenix and the Usery Mountain Regional Park. It’s the largest populated suburb in all of the US and it’s the third largest city in Arizona. All those fun facts aside, I present the Mesa Arizona City Guide! This is one of those posts that will continue to be updated as I discover more. 

EAT

The Fresh Foodie Trail

Agritourism is easily the best way to experience cuisine within a region and Mesa has this sector on lockdown. The freshest food right from the source is exactly what the Fresh Foodie Trail is all about. 

Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Queen Creek Olive Mill was where I found out how magical olive oil can truly be. Who knew olive trees could even grow in Arizona!? I’m embarrassed to say I’ve visited the area several times and just found out. I digress. The tour opened my eyes to the meticulous and delicate process of creating award winning olive oil. This was one gift shop I was truly excited to exit through. Did I mention they also serve food and prickly pear lemonade? 

Schnepf Farm

We were fully immersed in the trail when we stayed at the Schnepf Farm at the Cozy Peach (more on that later). We dined adjacent to a field, just down the road from where their peach trees were just beginning to bloom. 

Agritopia

Agritopia is the utopia of agriculture communities. It seamlessly mixes residential with farming right in the heart of Mesa! It also happens to be the home of the original stand-up mixer!? They also house a plethora of dining establishments. Pick from the Joe’s Farm GrillThe Coffee Shop, The Uprooted Kitchen (all plant-based and seasonal!) Garage-East wine bar, and 12 West Brewing. There is surely something to please every person in your party.

The Orange Patch

Our final stop on the Fresh Foodie Trail was The Orange Patch – a citrus dream in the form of a classic wooden roadside fruit shop. First of all: ⚠️!CUTE PHOTO ALERT! ⚠️This place is adorable. I could have spent the afternoon relaxing beneath the citrus trees. It smelled delightful. In addition to its cuteness, the orange juice made my eyes roll to the back of my head it was so good. 

SLEEP

The Cozy Peach at the Schenpf Farm

Whenever I think of “glamping” it will forever be synonymous with sixties camping trailers. What a treat it is to roll up to such a picture perfect scene: the sun setting on glistening Airstream trailers. And if that wasn’t dreamy enough, the warm cookie waiting instead our aluminum suite was enough to send me straight into a coma.

SHOP

Mesa Farmers Market & Flea

This is one stop you won’t want to miss. The Mesa Farmers Market & Flea happens every Saturday from 8am-1pm in Pioneer Park on the Main Street. It’s a perfect mix of food and fashion. My personal favourite was Cote and Co, a shop within a gutted school bus cutely named Birdy. IT WAS SO COOL. 

Barnone

Another lovely corner of Agritopia is Barnone, a retail space for local makers. My personal favourites were the Prickly Pear Paper shop – little pleases me more than cute stationery, and the vintage photobooth. I did not hesitate to jump in that booth and capture some shots to remember the day. In addition to that, in Johnston Machine Co. there was a machinist working away on metal while we looked on behind the safety of a glass wall. It was mesmerizing. 

DO

The Dolly Steamboat 

Step back in time and take a cruise around Canyon Lake on the most adorable tug there ever was, The Dolly Steamboat! It’s a great opportunity to sit back and watch the stunning rock formations of the Tonto National Forest. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some critters along the way. 

Goldfield Ghost Town / Superstition Mountains 

What’s a trip to Arizona without a high noon shootout? Did you even visit Arizona if you didn’t see a Ghost Town? The answer is no. Goldfield Ghost Town is one of the first stops on the Apache Trail and it boasts one of the most magnificent views of the Superstition Mountains. Not to mention, the various curios one finds in an old-timey western town – a mystery shack, gold panning, a reptile exhibit, mine tours, and so much more (including the off-themed zipline). 

The Apache Trail

While you’re cruising to the Goldfield Ghost Town and Dolly Steamboat, you’re already on your way up The Apache Trail. Might as well go all the way to Tortilla Flats and put a dollar on the wall of the restaurant by the same name. In fact, best to check out the washrooms in this joint too, there’s a photo opportunity not to be missed so bring a friend. 

Goat Yoga

Now hear me out, Goat Yoga something that everyone should do at least once. There’s something enjoyable and hilarious about having goats jumping around while trying to do yoga poses. Plus they are cute as heck. They even had a couple of stoic alpaca friends hanging out at the center of the yoga circle. My only advice is to wear a t shirt vs a tank and leave the shoes on. These are live animals and they do go to the washroom whenever nature calls. 

Neon Signs of Gilbert

My love of neon will never die. Thank goodness for places like Arizona who appreciate it as much as I do! Be sure to head down to Gilbert Road to check out there dining district and spectacular specimens of neon. It’s a feast for your eyes….and well, mouth too. There are several dining options to choose from.

Mesa Arizona City Guide

I will continue to update my Mesa Arizona City Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

xo SJ

Photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to Flair Air & Visit Mesa for arranging this amazing trip!

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One Weekend in Iceland

One Weekend in Iceland

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One Weekend in Iceland

After spending two weeks between a very sunny Morocco and a cozy springtime London, it was quite a change to land in Iceland. It was exactly the type of weather I’m accustomed to in March – cold and windy. With that said, the coldness is part of the beauty of spring in Iceland. It makes the process of going from the door and straight into the Blue Lagoon hot springs that much more satisfying. Layering clothes is just a part of the one weekend in Iceland experience I had. So keep scrolling for the things I enjoyed doing in Iceland.

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Dessert First!

My first stop will always be for sweets. I have an insatiable appetite that I try to keep under control until I’m on vacation. Then, I will let the sugar rush take me. Iceland was no exception. Upon my arrival I made the short walk from Reykjavik Residence Suites to 17 Sortir. I enjoyed a cupcake and a quick snap of my shoes on their amazing tile work. I can confirm that a pair of vans and white cotton socks are NOT enough warmth for the month of March in Iceland. Pack according to anyone but me because I would rather freeze than carry too much excess clothing, apparently.

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Hotdog Heaven

When I went to Iceland, I still ate meat. I do not anymore. With that said, I did have a few hotdogs while I was there. I went to Pylsuhúsið which I recall being very good. Iceland is, after all, know for their hotdogs! However, I feel slightly strange talking about eating meat when I no longer do. This paragraph will have to suffice until I return to Iceland and can update on what vegetarian options are available there. Trust me, I will! So this section is to be continued. 🙂

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More Sweets But Also: Bread

What did else did I eat in Iceland? Aside from the amazing breakfast basket I had waiting for me every day in my hotel, I made sure to enjoy candy and bread. Lots of bread. The Sandholt Bakery was nearby and quite frankly, some of the best bread I’ve ever had. That’s unsurprising as it’s the oldest bakery in Iceland so it’s had a few years to perfect its product. Their use of the word “artisan” is not flippant, its an earned accolade. They have a little restaurant attached to the bakery that is definitely worth popping into.

Vínberið is the ultimate stop for the sweet lover. They stock every fathomable chocolate or sugar delight one might want. They are novelty hamburger gummies and chocolate from omNom, an Icelandic brand I still dream about nearly two years later. If the amazing packaging design isn’t enough to get excited about, the quality of chocolate should be!

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Blue Lagoon (of course)

One weekend in Iceland wouldn’t be complete without making the trek to the Blue Lagoon. While it’s a very touristy destination, it’s easy to get to during a quick stay. It’s located outside of town but easily accessible by bus via FlyBus / Reykjavik Excursions. Had I more time, I would’ve rented a vehicle to experience natural hot springs in the surrounding areas. However, that wasn’t the case this time. Booking ahead is recommended as the more popular times fill up fast. I went with the Premium ticket as I wanted access to a robe. It was, after all, March in Iceland and rather cold to be walking around in a bikini. With that package, I also had the pleasure of trying two different mud masks (how fancy!) It was quite busy but I enjoyed wandering around in the iconic blue water feeling the mud squish between my toes.

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I would like to note that I was wandering around the lagoon alone with my cellphone in a ziploc bag streaming one of my favourite CJSR shows Big A little a. The things you do when you travel alone. 😉

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One Weekend In Iceland

Thanks so much for scrolling along on my short adventure to Iceland! I spent the majority of my trip walking around without a plan and it served me well. I love stumbling across little shops and restaurants. Taking chances on the unknown is just one of the ways I open up to new places. As an anxious person, it’s a great exercise in letting go.

If you like to see more travel content, check out my On The Road section. To watch travel videos, head on over to the Sandy Joe Karpetz YouTube channel (and subscribe if you fancy it). It’s a new project for me so I’m learning as I go along and would love to hear any feedback or suggestions on things you’re interested in seeing!

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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ON THE ROAD | A Weekend in Prince George

ON THE ROAD | A Weekend in Prince George

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Just north of the 54th parallel sits a bustling town with a lot of history. Founded in 1915, Prince George was originally settled by the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and has now grown to a population of 76,000 people all nestled in this densely forested area along the Fraser River. It was a town I had heard many things about but hadn’t considered as a travel destination. Now that Central Mountain Air are offering a direct flight (which, by the way, is only an hour!) it makes it incredibly accessible to those interested in exploring off the beaten path. Keep scrolling for highlights from my two days in PG.

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DAY ONE

We landed in the quaint airport that, unsurprisingly, had a lot of log detailing. It was misty out and everything smelled fresh, the way Northern BC tends to be. We were greeted by two mascots, Amelia Bearheart and Fraser the Moose, as well as our lovely hosts from Tourism PG, Annie and Anna. Off we went in a Pathfinder straight to the downtown core for breakfast at Ohh Chocolat Cafe. If there’s one place I love going, it’s a restaurant based around my favourite sweet – chocolate, and this one did not disappoint. Between the exceptional London Fog down to the candied bacon included in my breakfast, everything was a real sweet treat.

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Our second stop was the Two Rivers Art Gallery. I was taken by the photographs of Adad Hannah and the rooftop installation Standing Split: My place, out of my place by David Jacob Harder. While we were walking around the second floor, we were watched by some curious eyes of children who were busy making duct tape wallets. The art gallery is definitely a hub of activity between its classes and evenings for the public to freely use equipment such as 3-D printers.

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From the art gallery, we were able to hop on a free walking tour of Prince George where we quickly learned of its very fiery history. It seems as though each building downtown has caught fire or burnt down completely on numerous occasions. With that said, many historical sites have managed survive perishing to flames over the years and we were able to appreciate them in real life instead of old photographs. I was impressed by the number of public art pieces we can across whether it was larger installations, a mural on a private building, or simply the sidewalk painted rainbow in honour of their Pride parade (which started in 1997 and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year!)

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Then it was time to eat again. Lunch was at Betulla Burning, a gorgeous pizzeria located on the main street. With a fire burning pizza often as the focal point of the restaurant, it was quite a sight to see. This restaurant also fell prey to flames right before opening and had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. I think they did a fantastic job.

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Everything on the menu looked so delectable but this is the point in which this trip became all about charcuterie. We went for the full antipasto which included the most amazing smoked olives, pickled carrots, and such thinly sliced prosciutto, it just melted in my mouth. I followed that up with the Salmon Crudo, a lighter dish of sockeye salmon, tomato & cucumber gazpacho, spruce tip granite, shiso & rye gremolata, Betulla garden herbs. It was dreamy.

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We finished lunch with dessert, of course. The nutella calzone and London Fog panna cotta almost made me cry. The calzone was so good, Karlie from Miss Wanderlust ended up taking it with us on our travels for the day. Cally the calzone became the 7th influencer on this trip in addition to Diana from 204 Park, Andrea Hanki of Andrea Hanki Land, Kelsy Neilson of Twirls & Travels, and Phil of the Baconhound.

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After eating our weight in cured meats and cheese, we headed to the Exploration Place. There, we enjoyed a whip around the riverside park on a mini steam train. There’s nothing quite like catching a good breeze next to a body of water while chugging along some steel tracks on a tiny train. I highly recommend it. The Science Center is conveniently located next to the train so we popped by there for some taxidermy of local wildlife and a wonderful Lheidli T’enneh exhibit.

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For a brief moment, we checked into our accommodations, the Treasure Cove Hotel, where I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to see the handsome Mr PG statue in the distance. What a dreamboat. There wasn’t any time to swoon over him, we had places to go. It didn’t matter anyway because I knew we had a date with him arranged for the following day. I could wait. So off we went to the Northern Lights Estate Vineyard to see how they make fruit based wines at BC’s northern most winery.

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I did not get the memo re: wear floral to the vineyard so I just admired the floral on floral on floral from afar. We toured the winery grounds adjacent to the Nechako River as the sun began to creep behind the hill. They mentioned that they host movie nights overlooking the vineyard on their natural amphitheater. No winery tour is complete without a tasting and a charcuterie board, both of which I can confirm were so good that I was too busy enjoying them to photograph them. Try to imagine…… a glass of wine…… and a board full of meat and cheese. You get the picture.

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If wine wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t of course because this was a trip of sheer gluttony, we had to stop at a brewery as well. Pacific Western Brewery is home to Cariboo brewing. Turns out I’m not a huge beer enthusiast but I sure enjoyed their Wild Rootbeer. That is one tasty drink! Deliciously deceptive if you will, I could not even taste the alcohol in it.

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Our final stop for the day was at a restaurant downtown called North 54. The energy level was pretty low at this point but we weren’t about to stop this food frenzy over a little fatigue. I started with the Wild Maine Scallops seared & served with a creamy miso glaze and pea shoots. I can honestly say, these were the best scallops I have ever eaten. They were seared to perfection and the sauce was otherworldly. 10/10 would eat again. I followed that with Lobster Ravioli, handmade and served with fresh basil, caramelized onions in a rich roasted garlic tomato sauce. Duuuuuuude. There are no words. I basically went comatose after this meal.

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DAY TWO

I went to sleep at 10 pm because I could not keep my eyes open. I slept like the dead and awoke at 6 am famished and ready to begin eating once more. Are you sensing a trend on this trip? Fortunately, we had made plans to meet early at Hummus Brothers, a restaurant next door to the hotel. Perfect. Diana and I decided to split the cinnamon bun which we didn’t realize would be the size of our heads… in addition to a Eggs Benedict. No regrets.

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Post breakfast, we hit the road to go check out the Ancient Forest / Chun T’oh Whudujut Park, the only inland rainforest in North America! It was awe-inspiring. Not only is it universally accessible with its recently installed boardwalk stretching deep within the forest, it is also incredibly humbling being surrounded by such enormous old growth trees. The tall cedars are up to 2000 years old. That is mind blowing! Especially when you come across one that has fallen and you’re able to see the extensive root system. It is magnificent. This was easily my favourite part of the trip.

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After that journey, it was feeding time again! Our last meal in Prince George was in another establishment that had caught fire at one point but survived! The Copper Pig BBQ House is exactly what you would imagine with a name like that. Lots of tasty bbq meats and giant mason jars full of fresh fruit flavoured lemonade. I particularly liked their mashed potatoes that had a hint of grainy mustard in them.

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Before heading back to Edmonton, we had to pay a visit to Mr PG, that handsome wood man at the side of the road. A product of a visionary in the 1960s, Mr PG has had a prominent role in the civic pride of this city. Before he was a permanent structure at this location, he had the pleasure of riding on a float for their May Day Parade. He’s been added to my list of favourite kitschy landmarks which includes the Happy Rock in Gladstone. That 27 foot tall log man is a tall drink of water for sure.

What a jam packed trip of food, fun, and friends that was! Many thanks to Central Mountain Air and Tourism Prince George for having me out to Take on PG and see what the interior of BC is all about!

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ON THE ROAD | A Weekend in Fernie

ON THE ROAD | A Weekend in Fernie

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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:

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ACCOMMODATIONS
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.

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FOOD

BREAKFASTBIG 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.

COFFEELOAF

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.

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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.

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TO DO

EVOKE SPA – FERNIE STANFORD RESORT

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.

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FRANK SLIDE

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

WHITEFISH, MONTANA

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!)

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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

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