One of the most easily accessible romantic getaways in the lower mainland is at Rowena’s Inn on the River in Harrison Mills.
Located less than two hours from Vancouver, half the fun is getting there. The colours of autumn fuse together like a cozy quilt as you travel along Highway 7. Once you arrive at Rowena’s the warmth, elegance and especially the intimacy of the Inn and its nearby cottages provides the perfect setting to unwind together. Exquisitely decorated with lavish antique furnishings collected for decades by family members, the Inn’s guest rooms and public areas evoke a luxurious standard from a by-gone era, yet remain completely comfortable and relaxing. More recently built, The Cottages offer authentic west coast ambiance with the finest linens, soaker tubs, river rock fireplaces and a cozy seating area from which to take in the soothing views of Harrison River. Sit back, light the fire and savour the complimentary wine and fresh fruit with cheese. Kick back for a few days either exploring the fascinating history of the area – the Pretty family, who own and operate Rowena’s and the adjacent Sandpiper Golf Course and Club – are descendants of one of BC’s founding timber barons, Charles Nelson Pretty.
Great golf, nearby hikes and gentle bike trails are right out the front door affording easy outdoor adventures. Then, as you head back to Vancouver, take the scenic drive back via Highway 7 and be sure to stop at Xa:ytem Long House. This fascinating First Nations cultural attraction provides a most unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Sto:lo, the ‘people of the river’ who have lived in the Fraser Valley for centuries. An advanced society of people who fished, harvested the forests systematically and traveled long distances to trade, the Sto:lo culture is steeped in ceremonial traditions from which all peoples might benefit. Xa:ytem interpreters share their heritage through engaging inter-active displays, Monday through Friday, year round.
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One of the best times of year to visit Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs – only twenty minutes apart by car, is most definitely in the fall. Sturgeon and salmon fishing are popular, as are guided wildlife tours. One of my favourites? Heading out with the Charlie family and their tour company, Sasquatch Tours. From the traditional First Nations welcome dock-side, to touring the lake aboard a certified power boat, the tours provide a unique look into local history.
BC Sportfishing Group, also located in Harrison Hot Springs, offer guides, equipment and incredibly good times for fishing and wildlife tours down the Harrison River.
Mark off November 21 and 22 for the annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. If you’ve never been to watch these majestic creatures return to a familiar nesting ground, this is a fantastic getaway. Pack up the kids and make it a day trip or better still, check out the accommodation packages at Tourism Harrison and go for the entire weekend!
➢ Harrison information at www.tourismharrison.com.
➢ Visit Xa;ytem Lodge at www.xaytem.ca.
➢ The Bald Eagle Festival site is www.fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca.
➢ Book your getaway at www.rowenasinn.com or call toll free to 1.800.661.5108