getaway British Columbia

We’re back from a little holiday with friends in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Lake Country/wine region and

View from the lake house on Lake Okanagan, B.C.  Photo: d. king

Castlegar…

Castlegar, B.C. Photo: d. king

…which is a city situated at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers in the southwestern corner of the Kootenay Rockies. Along with a day jaunt to Nelson to have breakfast and walk around, this trip reminded me of all the beauty that super, natural British Columbia has to offer and how lucky we are to make this province our home.  The road trip/staycation with friends was quality time well spent.

With my longtime bestie Margeaux in Castlegar.    Photo: Paul LeMay

Lake Okanagan, British Columbia:

If you spot Ogopogo, the legendary lake monster said to inhabit these waters, you’ll make headline news, but other than that, this 82-mile lake has many recreational activities to offer: swimming, boating, parasailing and all types of water sports.  It’s within a short driving distance from several amazing wineries.
Paul in Lake Okanagan, B.C.          Photo: d. king

Layla lounging on a watermelon slice. Lake Okanagan, B.C.    Photo: d. king

After Layla’s very first swim. She preferred staying afloat.  This photo was taken on someone’s cellphone.

On Lake Okanagan we stayed at the home of our wonderful hosts Stephen Cipes and his wife Rie.  Stephen is the owner of award winning Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the most visited winery in Canada.  The winery offers tours & tastings of organic/biodynamic wines, plus a bistro & an aboriginal gallery. The food is excellent and I brought back a few cases of outstanding wine. I got to drink and sample ones I hadn’t tried before. I’ll blog about this on a separate post next week.

I hitched a ride back to the house with Stephen.  Photo: d. king
In Castlegar. One of the bottles we opened with Margeaux, Mike (her boyfriend), Lorene (her friend & next door neighbour) and my boyfriend Paul.  Photo: d. king

Castlegar, British Columbia:

View of the Columbia River from the house. Photo: d. king

Incorporated in 1966, this relatively new mill town sits in a valley that has a rich and diverse history, steeped in the heritage and culture of the Doukhobors, who migrated here in the early 20th century.

People flock to Castlegar for many reasons – its diverse art scene, its world-class recreational activities, its rich culture, and its ideal location in the mountainous Kootenay Region of beautiful British Columbia.

One of Castlegar’s many sculptures. Photo: d. king

We stayed with my amazing friend Margeaux in her resort home overlooking the spectacular *Columbia River and swam in her saltwater pool. While in the pool we saw three eagles fly directly above our heads.  I was not quick enough to capture all three but was able to get one as it flew away.

Castlegar. Photo: Paul LeMay

Photo: d. king

Margeaux owns Kootenay Valley Water Company, providing premium bottled water and water dispensers for home and business owners throughout the West Kootenays. The company have added Arctic Spas® to their family, quickly becoming the authorized dealer in Castlegar and for the West Kootenay region. They provide full service for hot tubs and pools and some fun extras like luxurious egyptian cotton bathrobes and outdoor glassware.

*The Columbia River offers excellent fishing for multiple numbers of species from Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Bass and Whitefish.

Pool overlooks the magnificent Columbia River. Photo: d. king

Nelson, British Columbia is located in the Selkirk mountains and along the shores of Kootenay Lake. Only a half hour drive from Castlegar, it’s known as “The Queen City“, and acknowledged for its impressive collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days in a regional silver rush. Nelson is a treat.  It’s an inspirational mecca for foodies, art-goers, music lovers, history buffs and adventure seekers.  Little local shops offer a multitude of goodies you might otherwise not find elsewhere.  It’s an old hippee hangout.

Nelson, B.C. Photo: d. king
Kootenay Valley Water & Spas:
Header Photo: Beach in Nelson, B.C.  d. king

Anywhere?

It’s that time again…

*Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town it’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost anywhere except in the U.S.A.

Kelowna to Osoyoos

Whether it be the road less traveled, the road more traveled or the road not taken…just hit the road!  It will always be a journey of discovery.

You never know how it’s gonna go…

I SEE MY PATH, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT LEADS. NOT KNOWING WHERE I’M GOING IS WHAT INSPIRES ME TO TRAVEL IT.” – ROSALIA DE CASTRO

A few cinematic favorites:

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – a super funny disastrous family vacation amongst breathtaking scenery.

“SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS A GREAT FRIEND AND A TANK OF GAS.” – UNKNOWN

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Yes please!*Road trippin’ a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Self Care Sunday: the Getaway

We all need to recharge.  Sometimes all it takes is just a change of scenery.  A couple days spent away is good for the soul.

nelson2
On Route

And you don’t have to travel very far to do so.  It could be an adventurous road trip within a day’s drive. Here in British Columbia we’re very lucky to have an abundance of places to visit; all unique and super natural.

Destination: Prestige Lakeside Resort, Nelson, B.C.

For this little vacay we chose Nelson Kootenay Lake and spent a few nights at the super relaxing Prestige Lakeside Resort with a room on the boardwalk overlooking the lake.  With two restaurants; West Coast Grill, sushi, a great little coffee shop called Junipers & an in-house spa, we didn’t have to leave the property at all.  Even a long off-leash dog walking area closeby.

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Our location

Although Nelson is a quaint town known for friendly people, good eats, cute little shops, hiking trails and a story.  It’s a calming part of British Columbia famous for its mix of culture, adventure, history and spectacular scenery.  A rare metropolitan mixed with mountain lifestyle. It has been dubbed the number one small arts community in Canada.nelson6

A brief history about Nelson: Kootenay is a  native word meaning “water people“.  Carbon dating provides evidence of a race of men and women who lived, hunted and fished along the shores of Kooteney Lake as long back as when the pyramids of Egypt were being built. These earliest inhabitants, drawn here for the abundance of fish, wildlife, berries and fruits, were later called the Kootenay Indians.

The town of Nelson is renowned for its impressive scenery, lively events, vibrant and inviting downtown, big city dining, and collection of restored heritage buildings and has been voted best ski destination with award winning powder snow and top lake.  It boasts a tiny city with a big personality.

nelson1
Happiness can be a change of scenery

Where will you plan your next getaway?nelson4Photos: d. king

Feel-good Friday: Road Trip

Have Van, Will

This had to be one of the more pleasurable road trips I can remember ever having taken from Palm Springs to Vancouver.   

Normally once the decision is made to drive back, we’re anxious to get going and get home as quickly as possible.  Even though you can make the trip in two days we never have.  The norm is a three night hotel stay.  But this time we took a few extra days to take it easy (vacation from vacation?) and explore uncharted territory (read wineries & hotels).

The Dancing Fox in Lodi
Delicato Winery in Lodi with Cher & Jack.  He didn’t like the wine.  And here we look like lumberjacks.

After the first night in Fresno we drove to the cute little town of Lodi for wine tasting and lunch with friends who were also making the trek back to Vancouver in their own truck with their own dog. We stayed close and on their excellent recommendation we stayed at the Gaia Hotel & Spa just outside Redding Ca. by the Sacramento River.  It was very relaxing with great service, a good restaurant and waterfalls. 

The next day we went to the picture perfect artistic little city of Ashland, Oregon for lunch.

Lunch at Louie’s sitting outside by the Ashland Creek.

After spending the evening at a hotel in Salem, Oregon we decided to part ways with our friends because we wanted to check out a rescue dog in the area – a 7 yr. old female sheltie.  Though we never ended up meeting the dog as the lady who had her decided to keep her. I thought it would be a nice idea to get a female to mix with the males but since it never happened – maybe it’s better for both parties.  In the end I only want what’s best for the dog.

So we ended up having lunch at the Willamette Valley Vineyard instead which was amazing. Our charming server Robert looked after us very well.

Willamette Valley  on an overcast day
I had a few good flights to make the road trip easier (happier?)

Lastly, when we were only a few hours away from our destination we decided to spend two nights in a downtown hotel in Seattle and visit with old friends who used to live next door to us in Toronto.  There we used to have dinner parties, always kept in touch and luckily they moved closer to us, to Seattle, Wa. Yay! We have stayed in a guest bedroom before but they have two cats and we have two dogs.

With Miranda who cooked us a delicious dinner while her husband Dave went to get a 2003 Tuscan red from his wine cellar
King Arthur or Merlyn (I can never tell which is which)

They love their hotel sleeps
Why even bother making the bed??

You know the road trip back will ultimately lead you home, but you never know where the road in between will take you.  Writer Henry Miller once said “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

 

 

Somewhere under the Rainbow, way below…there are cows.

And it’s always an adventure to see new things as well as check in with old friends and find out that everything and nothing has changed since you last saw them.

Le Panier at Pike Place Market is a must for pastries, or bread, or sandwiches, or…pretty much anything

Sweet!

Photos: d. king

Travel: On the Road  – The Glamping Life in Style

There is a certain style to GLAMPING and it means No Tent Required.

Photo: Mikael Jansson, Vogue
Photo: Mikael Jansson, Vogue    (OF COURSE, YOU MUST DRESS THE PART)

Nothing wrong with those adventurous, real outdoorsy, down to earth types who lug around a backpack and set up their tent and make a fire to cook their food.  It’s just not for me at this stage (and it never was).  But I love the outdoors, breathing in fresh air and sleeping partially outside.

I forgot my gown for this trip but at least I brought my heels - taken 3 years ago.
I forgot my gown for this trip but at least I brought my heels!

The next step up from tent camping is owning a VW Eurovan Camper that comes equipped with a fridge, a 2 burner stovetop, a furnace, 2 fold down beds (you can call it a two-bedroom but it’s a bit of a stretch), storage space, surround sound for music and a pop top so you can actually stand up and move around a bit.  And a shower…out the back (you have to open up the back so it’s better in warm temperatures and it’s not always the best idea to use it completely naked). Just ask me how I know this!

The best thing about a smaller camper is that you get to park it almost anywhere rather than having to stay in an RV park.  Almost…because many places don’t let you camp overnight just anywhere but there are countless beautiful state parks which means you can drive into a spot either right on, or much closer to lakes, rivers and the ocean.  It feels like camping…just much more comfortable.  That, and wearing my cashmere pajamas. Having a dog or two wagging along is a big bonus.  In fact, I wouldn’t want to do it without them.

The added advantage of a smaller camper is we’ve ended up in places and spaces that could not accommodate a large RV, like the middle of the Redwoods, Ca, the Badlands in S. Dakota and on top of Dead Horse Canyon, Utah (where Thelma & Louise drove off that same cliff, we decided to take the slow road down).  It’s an adventure in itself.

glamping with Debbie & a flask helps!
glamping with Debbie… a flask comes in handy!

Having a luxury RV like a Country Coach or Prevost is a way of life for many people and I can relate to the charm of life on the road and stopping here and there for a length of time.  But you should see some of these RV’s…I’m talking luxury homes away from homes.  Million dollar+ homes on wheels that are nicer than many people’s condos.  I have a few friends who live like that.  They have a home base but drive their luxe coaches from place to place and set up anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The true beauty of travelling this way is that you get to see so much more than if you were to hop on a flight to go straight from A to B.  You must also have the luxury of time.

Owning a vehicle/home like a large RV means that you must reside in RV parks that are setup for that size of home away from home.  There are only a few RV parks that I’ve encountered (one is “Outdoor Resorts” in Las Vegas where our friends stayed – it was beautiful with a  huge outdoor living space complete with tiki hut, living area and kitchen) that I can imagine myself staying in, except no VW’s allowed.  Anyway, it’s whatever works for you.  These people end up paying each night to park, more than some hotels charge.

So even though I love the roominess  of some RV’s I’ve come across, what I really want is…. drumroll…..an AIRSTREAM. Only people who really know me will understand this. Yes, since the first time I saw one I’ve wanted one.  There’s just something about the Airstream. It has a caché of its own.

Owning one for camping purposes is the equivalent to owning a Vespa for scooting purposes.

Allright allright allright… it’s the stylishness I confess.  I’ve been eyeing them for a while now.  One guy even caught me taking pictures of a vintage model in Palm Springs a perfect place for one wouldn’t you say?.. and there I was snapping away and it turned out to be his Vintage Airstream.  Then we had a whole conversation on them becoming more mainstream now (aw, I hate when that happens), more pricey and more exclusive and definitely a collectible.  He owns two but has homes elsewhere….blah, blah, blah…(airstream talk). His name was Matthew.

If you don’t believe me just refer to the paragraph below from a recent article in Vogue Magazine.  I mean….it’s Vogue, so let’s talk about style. 

The first Airstream was built in 1929, and almost 90 years later, the iconic aluminum trailer still has quite a following: Matthew McConaughey and Lenny Kravitz are proud owners, and many restaurants, shops, and hotels have invested in Airstreams as new forms of food trucks, showrooms, or guest room options. And let’s not forget the Airstream’s supporting role in Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift’s BFF road trip for Vogue back in February.

See? I told you so!

I bought this one in the meantime but it's a bit tight
Mini “V” and  Airstream in Los Olivos, Ca. Adorable, and let’s just say – more affordable!
me driving away in my red pickup truck
driving away in my red pickup truck

Stay tuned for Part Two