|Canada has become a perfect option for those
of you who have second thoughts about flying. It’s closer than Europe
and much more economical. I recently took $750.00 US and exchanged it for
Canadian dollars. I received $1200. Add to that the fact that things are
often less expensive in Canada. Come here. You are in for a bargain
holiday in a safe, and beautiful country.
Tourism is a major industry here and so the options are
broad. There are packages available through most hotel chains, ski
developments or provincial travel offices. There are special deals on the
train and discounted prices for in-Canada travel with Air Canada. Where to
go. What to do. How to get around. These are questions you should ask. One
option is a pristine lake where the scenery is not to be believed, where
there are fireplaces, billiard tables, a great library and reading room,
breakfasts fit for royalty in a specially built lodge owned by two of the
most interesting people I have met. Look no farther if this interests you.
Just make your way to Little House On The Lake, a bed & Breakfast
Lodge on Harrison Lake, in British Columbia.
While I suggest you forget
that time worn image of Canada being a country of only forests, ice and
snow, I will say that there ARE massive primeval forests and winter can be
harsh at times. But that is not Canada. The country boasts four
distinctive seasons and most of the year the area of southern British
Columbia is ideal for a quiet and romantic get away. Little House
can be the ultimate Canadian experience. You can relax on the lake, ski
nearby, swim, wind surf, canoe, sail, kayak, hike, go mountain biking,
golfing, paint the lake vistas right on the property or write those poems
you’ve had bouncing in your head, attend music and arts festivals, or
I was lucky enough to find
Little House the summer it first opened. I was so taken by the setting,
the services and the owners that I kept in touch with them and watched
their unique establishment grow. There were a number of things that first
drew me there. The location on Harrison Lake is near the famous spa and
has a view you will never forget. I noticed in their brochure that they
didn’t allow children as they had enough of their own and it is a
non-smoking retreat to within 10 meters of the building.
It was advertised as a log
lodge. I wasn’t prepared for what I found. Built on a hill right in the
evergreens and facing one of the largest lakes in the area, the lodge was
specially built for Wayne and Arla Swift. Fugitives from the hustle bustle
of big city living, Wayne and Arla sold their home and moved away from
suburbia of south Vancouver to their special place, about 100 miles
inland. Arla is a published poet and would-be philosopher. Her far
off dream is to return to the University for her PhD. She puts it so well
when she says,
“We didn’t suddenly wake
up one day and say: Oh Great Golly Gucci, Leaping Ralph Lauren, we’re
falling into a vortex of Versace here –we are becoming –New Yorker
Cartoon People!” (Arla is not your every day writer. She sees the world
through special intuitive glasses.)
Wayne sold his company to a
large corporation and, the Swifts, still in their 40s, were able to retire
They sold their home and
moved to Harrison Lake. They built an addition to their lodge and created
a new lifestyle. The transition took nine months. A construction crew
created a cacophony of sound and Arla thought of “writing a concerto for
three chainsaws and an air gun.” (I told you the lady could turn a
“Build it and they will
come”, said a friend. So they did.
The Lodge was opened in
1995. “Build it and they will come’ was the attitude. They were not
disappointed. How could they be in a B&B where the wake-up call is hot
muffins and a carafe of coffee, delivered at the door of your room at 8:30
AM before you came down to a breakfast consisting of Country salmon Pie,
maple Pecan and apple Crepes, Spring Brunch Frittatas, Eggs Benedict or
Blintz Casserole served at a large table next to the fireplace in the
Common Room. The view of the gardens and forest, as well as the sound of
water trickling in the fountain outside, add to the ambiance. Breakfast is
served up with intelligent warm conversation in the lakeside dining
room, surrounded by books of the best authors. These books, I discovered
were not just for show. You are free to browse through them or select a
video from the wide selection. The videos can be played right in your own
room. There is no cablevision and while there are some CDs available,
you’ll have to bring along your personal discs, there are CD/Cassette
players provided. The owners are ready to discuss modern art, literature
or any of a hundred topics including their interesting and interested
children. Nathan is working on his commercial pilot’s license.
Adrienne has her eyes on Broadway.
At 4:30 p.m. tea, coffee or
lemonade is available in the foyer, together with what Arla calls,”
assorted squares and our (inn) famously yummy chocolate chip cookies.
There is a bottled water cooler, and complimentary juice or pop in the
guest refrigerator. In the evening, guests can expect to find a cheese and
crackers plate in there as well. In addition to the coffee service center,
the foyer also contains an entertainment center, housing a large selection
of videos and CDs. Every room is equipped with a VCR. By choice, there is
no cablevision. Every room is also equipped with a CD/Cassette player, and
guests often bring along their personal favorites.
Little House itself is made
up of a 3,000 square foot ‘annex’ that houses the bed and breakfast
component. It is attached to the family’s living quarters, therefore
insuring maximum comfort and privacy for all. It can be used as an ideal
small corporation retreat.
The guests can enjoy the
large Common Room where they can lounge, read, play the piano, or
billiards or perhaps a quiet game of chess. There is always bottled water
and free juice or soda pop.
Guests can share a large hot
tub, decks, patios, dock and a private beach. Terry robes are provided and
there is a red canoe available, free of charge. When I visited in July,
Wayne offered to take us on a boat ride in his sleek powerboat.
There are four large rooms
meticulously appointed with private bathrooms, down comforters and top
quality linens. Each room is distinctively decorated with original art.
The ALGONQUIN room features a private balcony overlooking the lake, and a
hand-carved mahogany four-poster bed. No details have been overlooked. All
rooms are equipped with wine glasses, corkscrews, bubble baths and rubber
ducks. The GRAFTON is especially for log lovers with fireplace and sitting
area directly under a skylight. I particularly enjoyed the stained glass
windows and double soaker tub. The shared balcony looked out on majestic
mountains. The COOKHAM is large and sunny with a massive mahogany
four-poster with canopy top, fireplace & stained glass. It has a
double-soaker tub tucked in the corner in addition to the tub/shower
combination in the bath. The METCHOSIN is perfect for young lovers with
garden & forest view, fireplace and a jet air massage tub for two in
the bath and is furnished with antique and folk art.
Recently they completed a
multi room Captain’s Cottage. Which is nestled in a little hollow just
south of the main building. The cottage has all the ambiance of the rooms
in the lodge, and more.
Designed for those who wish
maximum privacy, it has tea and coffee making facility, a mini-fridge and
dining area. Meals and snacks are delivered to the door.
RATES ARE AS FOLLOWS: All in
Per room (2 people)
Single Saturday night (limited availability) $185…single night (except
Two more nights $165
two more nights $155
Saturday Night $275
Other single nights $265
Two more nights $250 per night
Note: mid week specials are
offered as follows:
Jan 7-mar 7 2002: Monday to Thursday
. Single night $165
.Two or more nights $155
. Captain’s cottage $225
LITTLE HOUSE is easy to get
to. From Vancouver you go east on the Trans-Canada Highway. Get off at the
Bridal Falls/Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs exit (135) and head for Harrison
Springs. Turn right at the four-way stop in the Village. Turn right and
follow Lilloett Avenue, which changes to Rockwell Drive (at the bend in
the road.) Over a few small hills to a steeper one and a pedestrian
crossing. LITTLE HOUSE is 100 meters on the left after the school bus
sign. The address is #6305
If you get lost you can call
There are many nice
restaurants for dinner in Harrison Hot Springs or the town of Agassiz to
the south. I prefer La Cote d’Azur for their French country cuisine but
then again, I’m from French Canada.
The large hotel on the lake
brings to mind the hay day when Harrison Springs was a Mecca for
vacationers. It is still open.
It caters to a wide range of
clientele, however its’ major attractions remain the same – the
Healing Spring Health Spa and the Copper Room. The Swifts can make
reservations for both.
The Copper room is one of
the few places left where one can enjoy an evening of fine dining and
dancing to the music of a live quartet. The Jones Boys have been
entertaining guests at the Copper Room for about 20 years.
Ask Arla or Wayne to make
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE LAKE can
be reached at:
Fax: 604-796 3251
Toll Free: 800-939-1116
The mailing address is:
Little House on the Lake
Bed & Breakfast Lodge
P.O. Box 492
6305 Rockwell Drive
Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.
Canada, VOM 1KO
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED.
BOOK EARLY. 8,000 PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY MADE THIS DISCOVERY.
This is truly a bargain. The
people are special, the location superb and the lodge itself is the kind
of resting place where you’ll always feel at home. I certainly did.
To the Swifts of Little
House the important things are;
“…to dream, to create,
to build, to make bread, to break bread, to share a laugh, share a life,
to love and be loved, to sing, to dance, to tell stories, and every once
in a while, listen to the murmurings of nature, and the music of the
Arla & Wayne put it
“We have learned much
about the subtle changes which signal the changing seasons and cycle of
life. The salmon spawn outside our front door in November, and the
resulting fry provide food for the Trout that return in the spring. The
berry bushes are the first to bud and blossom, so there will be food for
the birds. When there is a sufficient supply of insects, cliff swallows
come to nest. We are thankful for it all. And continuously amazed by
It may sound too good to be
true. It’s not. It’s perfect — certainly the best B&B I’ve
ever stayed in.
Little House on the Lake has
a well designed web site where you can see the actual rooms and the views.
Once you’ve seen it you’ll be sold.
See their web site: http://www.littlehouseonthelake.com.
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)