Posted on February 2, 2016
Rowena’s Inn on the River in Harrison Mills
Daydreaming about all the places around the globe I’d like to visit one day can be a lot of fun, but in doing so it’s easy to overlook the hidden treasures waiting to be unearthed in my own backyard. Rowena’s Inn on the River is one such treasure, and my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend a weekend exploring the resort in the community of Harrison Mills.
Hugging the banks of the Harrison River, Rowena’s Inn is the crown jewel on a verdant stretch of land that is saturated with history. Sprawling across more than 160 acres, the resort sits on what was once home to the Pretty family. Strolling the grounds is not unlike tip-toeing through a fairy tale with babbling brooks, soaring eagles, and little puffs of smoke from the brick chimneys of the cottages. The hotel is the grand dame of the resort, dating back to the early 1900s.
Betty Anne, the last surviving child of the Pretty family and now sole owner of the resort, was gracious enough to give us a tour of the hotel. She wove for us intriguing tales of her childhood in the home, while showing us candelabras from a castle in England and a table that the Prince of Wales once dined at. The guest rooms are cozy and illuminated in soft light with delicate details that honour the hotel’s past.
My husband and I decided it was important to make this a family trip and bring our dog along. Rowena’s Inn also features four stand-alone cottages on the riverbank, each equipped with a king-sized bed, jacuzzi tub, wood-burning fireplace, and all-important wine glasses. Lucky for us, one of the four cottages is dog-friendly, so Jordy was more than welcome to come along. With such tranquil surroundings, we were each able to get the rest we needed. Spending a weekend in one of the cottages in front of a roaring fire is not unlike kicking off your shoes and unwinding in your own home. The cottages are incredibly romantic and simply feel like home.
Though private, the cottages are a quick stroll from the River’s Edge Restaurant, a welcoming place to enjoy home-cooked food in a warm atmosphere. As expected, we dined like royalty on a menu that was thoughtfully created with as many locally-influenced ingredients as possible. I dove into the most scrumptious omelette on the first morning, and then stuffed myself at the breakfast buffet the next day. For you bacon lovers, there was a trough of it! J and I made a “date night” of Saturday’s dinner as we cozied up by the restaurant’s fireplace, sipped wine, and let Chef Jonathon Gee’s Salmon Wellington melt on our tongues.
There is no end of things to see and explore in the surrounding area of Harrison Mills. In the morning we made the drive up to Hemlock Resort so I could make a snowball, but because Rowena’s Inn is in such a hushed and serene spot, we were equally happy to spend our afternoon playing crib in front of the fire and taking Jordy for a walk along the river. Golfers would be delighted by the par 72 Sandpiper Golf Course on the grounds. By the end of the weekend, staff knew us by name, we both felt thoroughly relaxed, and our only regret was that we didn’t have more time to stay. Any time of year, Rowena’s Inn is a very special place to escape the city and reconnect.
Rowena’s Inn on the River is located in the community of Harrison Mills, just a short 90-minute drive from Vancouver. To learn more about the resort, you can visit them online, follow the resort on Twitter or Instagram, or give them a “like” on Facebook. You can also find Tourism Harrison Mills online, follow them on Twitter or Instagram, and like them on Facebook.
Disclosure: Our stay at Rowena’s Inn on the River was offered at a reduced rate with complimentary meals. I was not paid or asked to write this post. My thoughts, views and opinions are entirely my own.