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Little House on the Lake: A Romantic Retreat

Arnie Greenberg

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 country fairs.

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 shortly afterwards.

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 phrase).

“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 Canadian dollars

Per room (2 people)  Single Saturday night (limited availability) $185…single night (except Sunday) $175

Two more nights $165  two more nights $155

Captain’s Cottage…Single 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 ahead.

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 suggestions.

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE LAKE can be reached at:

Phone: 604-796-2186
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


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 spheres.”

Arla & Wayne put it well.

“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.”

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: 

#   #   #

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.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2015 06:38:58 AM
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