Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Everyone seems to need a break around mid February. This year hubby and I didn’t take a sunny, warm, winter get-away so we decided to do something more local. We hadn’t been to the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island for a long time so chose to spend three days in Tofino. A great choice as we had a wonderful time.
To get there we took a relaxing two hour ferry ride across the Georgia Strait and then drove three hours to the other side of the island. It had snowed during the night causing the tall Douglas Fir trees to sparkle in the sun with snow laden branches as they emerged out of the mist. We passed through Cathedral Grove, an old growth rain forest with 800 year-old giant firs. It was magical.
The minute we arrived at the Best Western Tin Wis Resort, I knew we had made a good choice. The resort is owned and operated by the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nations and tastefully decorated with First Nations art and artefacts. The incredibly friendly staff made us feel at home immediately.
Our very comfortable room had a great view of Mackenzie Beach. This beach is one of the most protected beaches on the west coast, thus the name Tin Wis which means Calm Waters in the Tla-O-Qui-Aht language.
We went for nice, long, relaxing walks along the beach, discovering tidal pools with all sorts of little creatures.
We spent a wonderful day in the charming town of Tofino, where we shopped, met some interesting artists and many wonderful people. It was so refreshing to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. With the slow, easy pace, it didn’t take us long to wind down.
Tofino is famous for its fantastic storms and many people visit in the winter just to storm watch. We were lucky to get one storm which we watched safely from inside while having a drink.
The following morning we awoke to sunshine. We had the perfect mix of weather. While enjoying one last walk on the beach, we watched a man teach his son to surf.
The restaurant at the resort, aptly called Calm Waters, served delicious meals with the same friendly service. The crab cakes melted in my mouth and I’m still dreaming of the coconut crème brulee.
We came home happy to have spent time at such an amiable place where the spirit of people who have dwelt there for many centuries, still lives.
Sometimes a short holiday is all you need.
I have loved visiting museums for as long as I can remember. As a young person, I would rather go to a museum than play sports or hang out with friends. My aunt and I would often spend entire days at the Medicine Hat Museum which at that time was a log cabin filled with items from the past. We liked to pretend we were living in the pioneer days. The original museum has been moved a couple of times since then and is now housed in the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. Last summer, my grandson and I stopped in to view the displays. I was pleased he shared my excitement of museums. The displays were well put together with some of the original items still showcased as well as many other artefacts. Here are a few samples.
We also visited The Pioneer Village located on the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede grounds. A collection of heritage buildings from the surrounding area which includes a general store, a church, a fire hall. a school and a blacksmith shop.
It was a fun visit exploring the past with a young person. I’m so pleased that communities realize the importance of preserving a way of life that is no longer.
Do you enjoy visiting museums and heritage buildings?
Today I’m the guest blogger over at The Global Bookshelf, a wonderful site for travel related books.
by Gillian on October 29, 2013 in Author Interview
Our Travel Books For Kids series was the most popular monthly feature so far here on The Global Bookshelf. So when Darlene Foster approached me to tell the story of how her Amanda In… children’s book series came to be I was excited to hear about it. Here she tells how she weaves her own travels into the stories told from a 12 year old perspective.
Turning Travel Memories into Books for Kids
Since I was a very young girl, I’ve wanted to do two things, travel and write. My first time on an airplane was 37 years ago when I flew to England to marry my British husband. I was so excited. I didn’t mind that London was fogged in and we had to land in Scotland first. Read the rest….
If you are looking for travel related books for any age reader check out Gillian’s website:
I spent a fabulous day with my daughter this Thanksgiving weekend. I caught a float plane from Vancouver and twenty minutes later landed on Gabriola Island. This is a trip that usually takes me over four hours by car and two ferries. My daughter picked me up and took me to visit some of the artists participating in the annual Gabriola Studio Tour. I was happy with the choices as each artist had something unique to show. Here is a sampling.
We stopped in to chat with Dianna Bonder, an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. Her whimsical paintings and myriad of published books were enjoyable to look at. A couple of little people will be getting her books for Christmas.
A visit to Joy Olsen’s studio was another treat. Joy creates fun, nature inspired sculptural ceramics. Another perfect Christmas gift was purchased before we left.
A visit to Ted Johnson’s Delfin Designs studio brought out the child in us. HIs wonderful woodwork and trees with doors in them are delightful.
We visited many other talented artists as well, although it was impossible to visit all 41 studios on the tour. It was so great to spend time with my potter daughter, Marcelle Glock, and her community of artist friends and acquaintances. I was also treated to a wonderful lunch at Mad Rona’s coffee bar. It was hard to choose but eventually I decided on a Kiwi Panini which consisted of Albacore tuna, feta cheese and a roasted garlic/artichoke spread. So yummy!
It was a perfect day. The sun shone, the trees on the island were dressed in glorious fall colours, I met very interesting people and most of all I got to spend time with my sweetie. As I flew back home later that evening, I felt extremely thankful for the day, my family and my life.
I hope you had a thankful weekend as well.
I have blooged about my potter daughter here before:
Here is some of what was said:
This travel book is full of adventures and mystery that will be easy for any young mind to assess and evaluate. What I love about this book is the specific descriptions of the famous landmarks in England and how these are worked out in the story to help Amanda and Leah solve the mystery of the missing vintage novel.
This travel novel is indeed worth reading because it offers extraordinary descriptions of the famous landmarks in England coming from a young traveller’s point of view. I give this travel book a rating of four beach umbrellas for the innocent way the country was described and all the values that the author has imparted to her readers through Amanda. She really did a great job of bringing out the young traveler in me and, I’m sure, to all her readers as well.
To read the entire review with pictures and excerpts, please visit
Wishing everyone in Canada a Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family, friends, health, and for this awesome review.
I will be spending time with my wonderful daughter this weekend. There will be pictures. What are your plans?
It is hard to miss this towering edifice as you drive through Medicine Hat, Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway. Medicine Hat is my home town and I have driven past this landmark many times. This summer my trusty assistant, (also known as my 12 year-old grandson) and I decided to drive up to the Tepee and have a better look. I have no idea why I had not done this much sooner.
Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. There are ten round story-boards built into the tepee depicting native culture and history. It is the World’s Tallest Teepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes and capable of withstanding 150 mph winds. It was brought to Medicine Hat by local businessman Rick Filanti in 1991.
We were both fascinated by the storyboards inside the Tepee, all hand painted by various First Nations and Metis artists.
This one, The Legend: How Medicine Hat Got Its Name, by Joseph Hind Bull, depicts one of the legends of how Medicine Hat got its name,
This one, called Circle of Unity-Multiculturalism by Nona Foster. portrays the different races by different coloured hands.
This one called, The Plains Indians, by Manybears, shows the relationship between man and nature’s survival.
This storyboard represents Treaty 7, signed at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, painted by Henry Standingalone.
The storyboard on the left, The Blackfoot Confederacy, by Henry Standingalone, and the one of the right, Plains Cree Way of Life, by Nona Foster, depict the two major groups that populated the area and the things that were important to each.
Each storyboard comes with a detailed interpretation by the artist and represents a variety of influences and history of the First Nations heritage.
There was something magical about standing inside the large Tepee on a hot, sunny, prairie day. It made me realize what a rich cultural heritage my country has. I used to think of it as a young country with not much history. I realize how wrong I was.
Another interesting day trip my grandson and I took was to Red Rock Coulee, 56 kilometers (35 miles) south-west of Medicine Hat, Alberta. This little known area is a wonder to behold. Large, perfectly round, red boulders are scattered around a 324 hectar (800 acre) prairie landscape. Some of these boulders are up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) in diameter and are among the largest of these in the world. It is virtually in the middle on nowhere and we had the place to ourselves. It was like being on another planet!
Research tells me these boulders were formed in prehistoric seas that once covered this area. Sand, calcite and iron oxide collected around a nucleus formed by shells, leaves or bones and grew as the circulating waters deposited more layers. The reddish colour comes from iron oxide. And I thought they were the result of a meteor shower!
This is a great place to hike among the stones and, if you like climbing like my grandson does, there’s plenty of opportunities to do that. The only wildlife we saw were the resident mosquitoes. We were glad we brought bug spray. It was a wonderful day trip and a perfect place for those of us with vivid imaginations. The day ended with an ice cream treat when we returned to the real world.
I spent a day with a good friend at the Bar U Ranch outside of Calgary during my recent visit to Alberta. This now National Historic site was one of the first large corporate ranches in Canada and has been well-preserved. Nestled in the foothills with Pekisko Creek running through it and the Rocky Mountains in the background; time stands still here.
The Bar U brand
The Bar U Ranch is home to the famous Percheron draft horse. We were lucky to go for a horse drawn wagon ride with Smudge & Licorice and driver Ross, who shared interesting stories about the ranch.
A visit to the Post Office was well worth it. There we met Post Mistress Sherrine who provided us with much information. Apparently some interesting individuals have visited the ranch over the years including Edward, Prince of Wales and The Sundance Kid!
Next stop was the Cookhouse which doubled as a bunkhouse upstairs. The cook was busy making cookies, which she offered to us as they came fresh out of the oven. Yummy.
The pantry was well stocked including fresh produce from the well kept garden.
The dining room with two large lazy susans to feed the hungry ranch hands
The ranch hand’s sleeping quarters.
The cowboys read books to entertain themselves. No TV at that time.
We stopped at the Roundup Camp chuckwagon where we were served a cup of tea made over the campfire, by Shane, a friendly ranch hand. We enjoyed our tea and had a great chat around the fire just like they did in the old days of the cattle drives.
We were also shown around the barns by Cowgirl Francis who tried to teach us how to rope a calf. I failed miserably.
Everyone we met at the ranch was incredibly friendly. From the moment we entered we were greeted warmly at reception, by the girls at the lunch counter and by the gift store manager. I learned something from everyone we met. It was well worth the time spent and I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. It is a realistic look into ranch life 100 years ago.
The log cabin, built in 1919, housed the foreman and his family
There is always something happening at the ranch. Cook-offs, rodeos, trail rides, and chore horse competitions. You can watch a saddle maker at his craft or a blacksmith at work, sit around the campfire by Pekisko Creek and learn about the people, cattle and horses that occupied the ranch over the years or pretend to be a cowboy or cowgirl for a day.
I do believe Amanda Ross will be visiting this ranch in her next adventure, Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone.
It has been 24 years since I left the Canadian prairies for the west coast of BC. I try to get back once or twice a year to visit my Mom, my son and his family and many old friends. My daughter and I made a visit to our home town of Medicine Hat, Alberta at the beginning of July. It is not often that I get to be with both my kids at the same time. Here are a few highlights of the trip.
Watch for more about this trip and the adventures I had with my twelve year old grandson later.