Friday, May 11, 2012

STAMP #4: Around Harrison Hot Springs

Before I checked out of Harrison Resort, I enjoyed the breakfast buffet in the Lakeside Café with a view up the lake. Not that you can see the northern end - it's 75 kms (43 miles) north! The buffet was sumptuous with a chef preparing fresh farm eggs to order. I had eaten too much the night before to partake in eggs benedict however much I wanted to!

Harrison's 9-hole golf course


The wind was still creating whitecaps and those out walking the beach were bundled up as I loaded the car. My first stop was at the local golf course, owned by the Harrison Resort. It's a full length, nine hole course that was built decades ago. Donna in the pro shop took me on a whirlwind tour in a golf cart. We both nearly froze. The fairways are flat and straight, with many mature trees. It was in good condition, if a bit wet in spots. They have a resident bobcat who kept out of sight. I wished I had time to play here.
On into the countryside just outside HHS that is farm country, mostly dairy, and very photogenic. The Farmhouse Natural Cheeses is a family business producing artisan goat and cow cheeses. All tasted magnificent and I bought $50 worth of French-style goat cheeses and a lovely sharp cheddar. I was allowed into the goat barn which also had a resident family of fearless barn cats, most of whom climbed up my pant legs. Outside in a paddock a donkey grazed and beside the shop were sheep and lambs. Visitors can see the cheese-making process through a window in the shop.

This is the area of the Agassiz-Harrison Mills Circle Farm Tour that takes visitors to ten venues (not all are open all year). Sadly The Back Porch was closed - I would have liked to visit here and bought a cup of coffee. It is a pottery, a coffee roastery, an antique shop, and more. They also grow Red Russian Garlic for sale. Also I was too late by a week or so to take in the Tulip Festival, and the farmers' market was yet to start this year.

Kilby's gift shop and café
However, Kilby Historic Site staff were expecting me and I absorbed the history of the region and how the Kilby family helped maintain the area from the 1920s to 1977 through my guide's excellent commentary. The Kilbys ran a general store, a farm, a gas station, the railway station, a hotel, and the post office here and when they were no longer needed, they donated everything to the province of BC. It is an astonishing living record and museum. The general store is exactly as it was. In season, costumed guides show visitors how life was lived in pioneering days and later. Children are not forgotten and can meet cows, turkeys, chickens, and goats close up. The gift shop is huge and interesting and the cafe serves good, plain fare typical of the 1920s.The site also includes a small provincial park on the shores of the Harrison River that has a sandy beach and a few camp sites. It's nice and quiet!
Fritz, the winemaker

My last stop was just east of Mission at Kermode Wildberry Wines. This was a new experience for me, having never really enjoyed any fruit wines I'd tasted before. I was pleasantly surprised. The winemaker explained the difference between his wine and that made from grapes. He uses mostly wild BC berries from all over the province. I tasted about ten (spitting as I was driving) - some I liked, all were interesting, some were wildly unusual like Sitka Mountain Ash wine. I needed an open mind. The port I tried was so good, I bought a bottle to pair with gorgonzola or chocolate.

Then it was home in the sunshine to process all my adventures.

Images:  © Photos by Pharos (Julie H. Ferguson) 2012