A three day itinerary in Cranbook B.C.

I am so lucky that I have had the chance lately to explore more of the beautiful province of B.C. My most recent trip took me out to Cranbrook. Cranbrook is located on the west side of the Kootenay River. It is nestled in the open valley between the beautiful Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west. Basically, you are surrounded by towering, beautiful mountain ranges.

The beauty of Cranbrook was evident before I even landed on the ground. I could see the peaks of the mountains through the clouds from the airplane. I landed at the Canadian Rockies International Airport, a short 20 minute drive to downtown Cranbrook and just minutes from Powder Highway. Powder Highway has become famous because of how it makes so many large ski resorts easily accessible.

I had three days exploring the beauty of this small city, learning about the local culture, and tasting some of the delicious food and local brews. I really fell in love with Cranbrook and wanted to share my trip itinerary with you so that hopefully you too will have a chance to fall in love with this beautiful spot.

A weekend itinerary in Cranbrook 

Day 1: Cultural learning experiences and brewery tours

 

Ktunuxa Learning Centre

Once I landed in Cranbrook it was straight to St. Eugene’s Resort and Casino. As we pulled up to the building I was mesmerized by the beautiful red brick contrasting with the deep brown tree vines that hugged it from all angles.

Inside we had a delicious lunch, and then I had a chance to meet with Margoret and Jared, who run the Ktunuxa Learning Centre. I had the chance to learn their Creation Story, look over old artifacts, and even learn how to make moccasins.

What impressed me the most though, was hearing the story of the Residential Schools. Margoret actually attended the school that was once here when she was younger. She told me about some of the terrible stories, but also told me the reason they didn’t want to destroy the building was because they wanted to turn the negative experience of the school into a positive place.

Hideout 

After our time at St. Eugene it was already time for dinner. We made our way to downtown Cranbrook. A very quaint spot with some local bars and restaurants that lined the street. We made our way to the Hideout. The Hideout is the local brewery that is also home to fresh food and ales made right in the Kootenay’s. I love that the brewery doesn’t sell the beer outside of the city, which makes it a true destination spot.

We had a tour of the brewery and found out what makes the beer here so unique. We had a few tasters and even got a flight of some of their season brews (which were so tasty). We then sat down for dinner.

I loved the variety. The restaurant offered everything from bar food to more creative fine dining plates. As someone who loves Indian food, I loved that one of their top chefs, Raj, used his upbringing as inspiration for several dishes. I tried the Masala Poutine and it was to die for.

Day 2: coffees and skiing 

Hotshots 

I started the day at Hotshots. This quaint coffee shop has an amazing selection of coffees and breakfast options. I loved the community feel of the restaurant and their breakfast hash was delicious.

Skiing in Fernie 

After breakfast we drove about an hour outside of town to Fernie Alpine Resort. Fernie is nestled deep in the Canadian Rockies. I have always wanted to visit this spot because of the amazing snow pack it gets year after year. In fact, Fernie regularly tops the list for deepest snow pack in the Canadian Rockies.

The views from the top of the mountain were stunning, the snow was incredible, and there were so many different options for ski runs. It was an amazing experience.

Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap

We then made our way to dinner at Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap for dinner. This is one of the newest downtown spots. It is actually located in a 1929 heritage building that is a former fire hall. I loved the old charm of the building, complete with roll up truck doors and even a fire pole and bell.

Aside from the adorable building look, this family friendly pub had an amazing food options and delicious craft beers. I loved the fact that their flights came in ladders and their fish and chips were incredible.

Day 3: Heritage tours and bike rides 

Fort Steele Historic Site 

We started the day with some delicious warm cinnabons at Fort Steele Heritage Site. Fort Steele is a living history museum. Many of the buildings here are from the 1800s. The museum offers horse drawn wagon rides around town. We got to explore the beautiful and colourful buildings. We had a chance to step inside the newly renovated hotel, where you can actually stay.

We also had a chance to visit some of the farm animals and take in the beautiful views of both the Rocky and Purcell Mountains. I loved learning about the history and seeing all the beauty of this spot.

Fat biking 

After Fort Steele we made our way over the forests to learn more about fat biking in Cranbrook. Last winter the entire town came together for a crowdfunding project to raise money for a trail groomer. Thanks to that funding, the city of Cranbrook was able to create more than 40km of beautiful groomed trails.

I loved learning how to ride a fat bike, and it was such gorgeous terrain. The perfect way to enjoy the beauty of Cranbrook while getting some exercise.

Cranbrook History Centre 

The last stop of the trip was to the Cranbrook History Centre. The museum is a collection 0f 28 railway cars, and you can actually tour 13 of them. We had a chance to see the 1929 Trans Canada Limited train as well as the executive car “Strathcona”, which housed gusts like Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II.

Where to stay?

Cranbrook is a very quaint town, and I liked the fact that there weren’t hotels on every corner, however there are definitely some hidden gems in the city.

During my trip I stayed at the Elizabeth Lake Lodge. This alpine style hotel had a full kitchen and the most comfortable beds.

I also loved that the hotel room backed on to Elizabeth Lake Bird Sanctuary. I was able to go on some hikes and walks with the beautiful Rockies as my backdrop

I fell in love with this adorable town, from the beauty of the mountains to the incredible history, to the amazing outdoor adventures Crambrook is a must visit. It is the perfect escape for a weekend away.

Here are a few more shots from my getaway too Cranbrook.

Happy traveling my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A weekend getaway to Big White Ski Resort

Living in Vancouver, I am so close to the north Vancouver mountains, and just a short 2 hour drive to Whistler. As a ski fanatic, that is a pretty awesome situation if you ask me. While I do love Whistler, Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress I have realized that BC has so much more to offer just a little bit outside of of my neighbourhood. 

I made it a goal of mine this winter to explore more of the beautiful mountains and skiing this province has to offer, and so I decided to make my way over to Big White. 

I fell in love with this quaint little ski town instantly. It has a family friendly vibe, some delicious restaurants, the most ski in/ ski out lodges in all of BC, and of course some beautiful mountains and great skiing. Even if you aren’t a skier like me, this place offers so much that it should definitely be on your winter bucket list. 

About Big White

The snow conditions in the Kelowna area was discovered in the 1960’s and a small ski area opened with a few private chalets. Big White officially came into existence in 1963. The legendary snow ghosts of the mountains was discovered in 1968 and it was also around that time the 1st on mountain accommodation was constructed.  

Since then, the mountain has just continued to grow and attract visitors from around the world. In the 2000’s Happy Valley was constructed adding more than just skiing. The Valley offers everything from a tube park to an Olympic sized skating rink. 

Over the years, Big White has won several awards including best snow in North America and Most Luxurious Ski Resort in the World. 

Where to stay 

With so many ski in/ski out options, it is hard to go wrong. No matter where you stay, the mountain is literally at your doorstep. we stayed at Stonebridge Lodge and it was perfect. It was a very spacious two bedroom suite with a beautiful view overlooking the mountain. We were also spoiled with our own private hot tub for some much needed post ski recovery. 

There was a large kitchen with all the amenities and the comfy living room was complete with a fireplace so you could warm up after a day on the slopes.  

I also really loved that the lodge offered ski lockers and underground parking which is a huge help so you don’t have to lug all of your equipment around. 

What to do

Ski

Obviously this is the biggest draw to come and visit Big White. They have a large variety of runs for all skill levels. My personal favourite was the Black Forest side f the mountain. It has some beautiful paths that took you through the trees and it was truly magical. 

And speaking of snow covered trees, one thing that really makes Big White stand out from other mountains is their famous Snow Ghosts. Basically they are trees that have been coated in ice like snow creating haunting yet beautiful valleys of white ghost trees. 

These beautiful trees are pretty unique to Big White because of the set up of the Okanagan Valley. With the lakes below and the tall mountain peaks, Big White holds in its own moisture and creates its own clouds. When the moisture falls, it falls as icy snow that then coats the trees. Make sure to take the time to snap a photo with the ghosts. 

Ice climbing

Ok, so maybe skiing isn’t your thing. No worries, there are still so many fun activities you have to try when visiting Big White. I had the chance to try ice climbing for the first time, which proved to be a very fun yet challenging sport. 

The Big White Ice Climbing Tower is one of only two ice climbing towers at a ski resort in Canada. It is almost 53 feet tall and is created by attaching four telephone poles and then basically creating a waterfall in-between them. 

It was a little hard to get off the ground since I wasn’t used to ice climbing and unfortunately I didn’t make it all the way to the top, but it was really fun to give it a try. 

Skating

There is something so special about hitting the ice during the winter months. I love feeling the sun in my face as I am swirling around the ice. The ice rink at Big White is pretty special. It is actually the highest elevated skating rink in all of Canada. It is also Olympic sized and has stunning views of the city surrounding it. 

Tubing 

According to the locals, tubing is the most fun activity there is to do in Happy Valley. You really fly down the hills and feel the wind in your face. There are five groomed lanes to race against your friends. 

Fireworks 

One of the things I really loved about my visit to Big White was that every Saturday night (weather dependant) they have a giant firework show in Happy Valley. It was just the perfect way to finish the perfect day. 

Where to eat

I was extremely surprised and impressed with the food options in Big White. For a smaller village, there were so many choices. Everything from fine dining to pub food the selection was endless. 

The Woods 

This was one of my favourite spots. It is located right in the heart of the village. We had the perfect spot right by the fire. The restaurant offers delicious cocktails and a menu filled with locally sourced foods. I loved munching on the smoked gorgonzola and had to try the fisherman’s catch for my main meal. 

Globe Cafe and Tapas Bar 

This was another one of my absolute favourite spots. I loved that this place made me feel right at home. They had healthy meals including homemade soup and gourmet paninis.  I was also able to warm up with a delicious s’mores lattes. 

Clocktower Coffee Co. 

I loved that this coffee shop was located right in the Village Centre Mall and was great for ski in/ski out. I loved the wide selection of hearty breakfast wraps and some delicious, fresh coffee to get you ready for the day on the slopes. 

Gunbarrel Grill 

This restaurant was so unique. I loved the rustic feel as soon as you walked through the door. Our server was so nice and the food was absolutely delicious. Not only did we order some delicious calamari, mac and cheese, and some salmon the meal didn’t break the bank. The best part though had to be dessert. We ended up trying the famous Gunbarrel Coffee. The coffee is quite a show, it is literally made with a double barrel shot gun and flames and it is absolutely delicious. 

I completely fell in love with Big White. From the stunning views on the slopes, to all the fun activities in town, to the delicious food this spot really has it all for an amazing weekend getaway. I cannot wait to get back to Big White. 

Happy traveling my friends, 

 

xo 

Mia 

 

 
 
 

 

 

The unforgettable powder of Mt. Baker

 

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“Adventure is Worthwhile in itself”

-Amelia Earhart

For as long as I can remember, adventure has fuelled my soul. It has ignited my passions. When I moved to British Columbia, I knew that adventure would be knock knock knocking right on my doorstep. Big, and small, I knew it would be mine for the taking. And on a recent trip to Mt. Baker in Washington State, I had one of my more unique adventure experiences. I wanted to share my experience with you, and give you some tips, tricks, and ideas to make a Mt. Baker trip of your own.

Now I should start off by saying I love to ski, but I am no expert skier that is for sure. I grew up in Ontario where I thought Blue “Mountain” was a challenging place. Even now a days, I feel more comfortable in the pizza formation then french fry and you will find me on the blue squares and never on the black diamonds. Yet this year for my birthday I was surprised with a brand new and super cool pair of skis and so I decided it would be my mission to make the most of this ski season.

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About Mt. Baker:

  • Just a short two hour drive from Vancouver but bring your passport because you have to cross the U.S. Boarder
  • It is the third highest mountain in Washington
  • It gets epic snowfalls every year. In fact back in 1999 it set a world record (1140 inches)
  • Mt Baker is home to twelve glaciers

Best time to visit:

Mt. Baker is one of those places that offers activity all year long. The town really revolves around the mountain so expect plenty of skiing in the winter and hikes + mountain biking in the summer. It is really up to you your preference.

Where to Stay:

A small ski town, there are no real hotels in the air. If you are planning a trip to Mt. Baker I would suggest looking into airbnb in the area. We were able to snag a beautiful wood cabin complete with a hot tub for post ski relaxation.

Who is this for?

Do you love adventure? skiing? snowboarding? biking? Then Mt. Baker should be on your check list. The small ski town won’t be as busy as the resorts and so you really get to enjoy the great outdoors without the crowds of people.

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Our  Day at Mt. Baker 

We left for the mountain bright and early. The 20 minute drive to the mountain was filled with twist and turns. Winding through the green forest that slowly turned to snow covered trees.

As we took the first chairlift up, I noticed the powder was even deeper than I had expected. Down below there were ski causalities buried deep below. Snowboarders trying to wiggle their way out of waist deep snow. I knew at that point this was going to be a ski experience like none other.

Once at the top, I was really surprised at how many options and slopes there were. Four different chairlifts and three different ski sides of the mountain. It really was a place for people of all levels.

Skiing down, the snow was even deeper than I imagined. I could feel my skies sinking as I glided past spectacular views. Snow covered trip tops sparkled in the sunning. It was a real life winter wonderland.

After a full day on the slopes it was time to make our way back down, but not before a quick pit stop for lunch.  We stopped into the Raven Hut Lounge where we were welcomed and warmed by not one but two fireplaces, and ordered a delicious burger with fries which we chowed down. Just a little side not, this is the smaller restaurant so if it is overcrowded try the White Salmon Day Lodge.

With full bellies and warmer fingers and toes we made our way all the way down to the bottom of the slopes.

Mt. Baker was a unique and wonderful skiing experience. It is the perfect spot if you are looking for a quieter slope that revolves around skiing. There are no villages, or shopping. This is purely about enjoying the mountain. You should also check out their website for special events that will make your trip even more memorable.

Happy adventuring my friends,

xo

Mia

**some more snaps of Mt. Baker **

There’s No Place Like Home: Whistler

 My most recent trip to Whistler was pretty magical. It was early in the season, probably the second weekend the slopes were open. The night before we went up there was a huge snow fall. About three feet of fresh snow covered the mountains when we arrived bright and early. We were one of the first in line when the lifts opened.
We made our way over to the far end of Blackcomb and were literally the first run of the day. The sun was shining bright in the sky and felt warm on my face. Blue above and white below as my skies sunk into the fresh powder. I sped down the hill taking in the picturesque views along the way. From white covered trees to hidden creeks it was like I had the entire mountain all to myself. I could smell how fresh the snow was below me, and with the sun beating down it was actually the perfect day.

Where to stay

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While it is pricier to stay in the Village I would highly recommend shelling out the extra dollars for the experience. You are closer to all the Apres parties, shopping, restaurants, and of course, mountains.
I also recommend that if you are a skier you will want ski in ski out access because trust me after a day on the slopes, the last thing you want to do is carry those skis while walking in those snow boots for a long time.

 

Budget Friendly 
Pinnacle Hotel: This beautiful boutique hotel is right in the heart of Whistler’s pedestrian village and is seconds away from the mountains as well as fine dining and a bustling nightlife.
Luxury Stay 
Delta Whistler Village and Suites: I felt like an absolute princess when I had a chance to stay at the Delta Whistler Village and Suites. From the beautiful newly renovated bedrooms to the 2 outdoor hot tubs and relaxing sauna this is the place to feel pampered for your entire stay.
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Relax at the spa
The Scandinavia Spa Whistler is the perfect place to rejuvenate and recover after a hard day on the hills. The spa provides an age-old Finnish tradition of soaking in soothing outdoor baths, transitioning from hot water to cold. The unique spa is located in the forest and has breathtaking scenery. It is secluded and tranquil which offers the perfect relaxing environment.
Après Ski like a pro 
You earned it. That cold beer at the end of a hard day on the hills. Reward yourself like the champ you are and find the best après spot in the village. Toast to a successful day.
Whistler Après Guide 
  • The Longhorn: This is the après of après. Located right at the bottom of Whistler Mountain it is the perfect spot to grab a drink after a long day. The heated patio is the perfect spot to sit and take in the scenery. They also serve delicious nachosThe Longhorn is the most noticeable après mountain establishment in Whistler. Located right between Blackcomb and Whistler Gondolas in the Village looking up
  • Dusty’s: This is the original watering hole in Whistler. Located right at the base of Creekside Gondola, Dusty’s has delicious wings and Caesar to satisfy you after a long day.
  • Whistler Brewing Company: Why not try some delicious crafted and local brews and even take a tour of the brewery while you are out.

Eat world class food

Sushi Village 

Hands down my favourite restaurant in Whistler. It is located right in the heart of Whistler and is famous for its casual yet vibrant atmosphere. Eating here is an experience from start to finish. When we arrived we were asked to take off our shoes and sit on billows at a square table. You cannot go wrong with the sushi and I highly recommend trying some of the sake margaritas. My personal favourite is a mix of the strawberry and lime!

The Mexican Corner 

In the mood for tacos and margaritas? This is your spot. It is a fun latin atmosphere that serves up some spicy authentic Mexican cuisine and some of the best margaritas I have ever tasted.  Choose from originally, strawberry, and mango. Trust me you cannot go wrong.

El Furniture Warehouse

I don’t usually like putting chains on here, but I love the Warehouse. Good food and super affordable it is the perfect place for lunch or dinner. I mean Whistler is expensive, so why not enjoy a full meal for $4.95. Plus there are daily drink specials to complete your dining experience and with a live DJ the party never stops.

 

Whistler in Pictures

 

 

Well there you have it. My guide to everything Whistler. This truly is a spectacular place that you have to see to believe. Whether an avid skier or not, this is a must do.

Happy traveling my friends,

xo

Mia