When the mercury drops, a little steamy romantic getaway is sure to crank up the heat.
For those wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life without venturing far from home, Rowena’s Inn on The River is one of the Fraser Valley’s best kept secrets.
Overlooking the Harrison River and Coast Mountains, this little slice of picturesque paradise is the only destination property in Harrison Mills.
Jason and I recently stayed here to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary for two glorious child-free days. Even though we were less than an hour away from home, it felt like we were in another world — one steeped with romance and history.
Secluded on a 160- acre waterfront estate, this hidden gem, located just minutes away from Harrison Hot Springs, is a grand, English-style manor that has been converted into a resort.
The Hotel whispers the historical tale of the Pretty Family, showcased through it’s timelessly stylish furniture and decor. Conversation pieces, such as the bed of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, banister from the original Hotel Vancouver and a dining table used by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, are just a few of the stories we had the chance to experience during a tour when we first arrived.
The first day was spent lounging around the property in our thick white spa robes, drinking delicious champagne, nibbling on local cheeses and playing the enormous wooden Scrabble board that was left for us in our room to enjoy.
For those wanting to explore everything the region has to offer, including outdoor adventure, entertainment, food, wine and culture, Harrison Hot Springs is just a 15-minute drive away.
While we were visiting Harrison Hot Springs, we decided to head over to Jamie’s Quadracycle Rentals to rent our very first quadracycle. We had so many laughs as we navigated our big bike through town. If you haven’t experienced Harrison by bike, I definitely recommend giving it a whirl.
Since we had indulged in SO MUCH cheese the night before, we decided to continue being active and rented a kayak at the waterfront too from Killer’s Cove Boat Rentals. Again, this was also a first for us, but remarkable enough, we didn’t tip the boat or the bike. Not gonna lie, I was a wee bit hungover. However, the fresh air really helped!!!
The Kilby Historic Site is also nearby, which provides a fascinating look at BC rural life and history, plus a refreshing step back in time!
Located near the junction of the Harrison and Fraser Rivers, the Kilby Historic Site stands as the only reminder of the once thriving community of Harrison Mills, British Columbia, Canada. Jason and I enjoyed a leisurely tour of the Kilby Historic Site with its magnificent 1906 General Store Museum. Our amazing tour guide showed us a fascinating gallery of product packaging dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. We also explored the artifacts in the heritage Post Office and Manchester House Hotel; both were an integral part of the Harrison Mills community at the turn of the twentieth century. This place is definitely worth visiting again with our girls.
However, if you’re prefer to stay put at the inn, there’s plenty to see and do, including an outdoor pool and hot tub overlooking the river (only open during summer months), golf at the award-winning Sandpiper Golf Course and afternoon tea. You could also surrender to a rejuvenating spa treatment in your room, or in the warmer months, outside in a private cabana at the river’s edge.
Guests also have the option of dining at Rowena’s in-house restaurant — River’s Edge. The menu features a variety of B.C.’s West Coast fare, boasts the largest Yorkshire Puddings around and a breathtaking view of the Harrison River.
It may be more on the casual side, but River’s Edge was the perfect spot to dine for our anniversary dinner. We were seated at a secluded little bistro table overlooking the water and beautiful foliage.
Candles were flickering, the music played softly in the background and our martinis paired perfectly with our appetizer, which was a wedge of local farmhouse brie, house made preserves and sour dough crackers. The chef even popped by the table to hand us our very own jar of preserves to take home, also explaining that the plums used were handpicked from the property.
For our main course, Jason ordered the Tender Shaved Beef, Traditional Yorkshire Pudding with Beef Gravy and I dined on the Duck L’ Orange (shown above), which was roasted in the most decadent brandy orange sauce and served with a croquette potato shaped into a pair. It was a work of art, but also the most delicious duck I’ve ever had.
Of course, we just had to order dessert and the Cinnamon Nacho Bowl with whip cream, ice cream and a caramel drizzle certainly did not disappoint.
While the summer is a great time to book your stay at Rowena’s, I’m looking forward to returning in the winter months. I can only imagine how relaxing it would be to hide away for a night or two in one of the cabins. That king-size bed, fireplace, Scrabble board and a hearty bottle of red is calling my name.
For more information about Rowena’s Inn and their latest packages for winter and fall, visit www.prettyestatesresort.com
Disclaimer: While our visit to Rowena’s Inn was complimentary, all opinions expressed are my own.