Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

September 26, 2021

© Langdon Hall

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B&Bs, inns and resorts close to home

From Vancouver
Mulvehill Creek Wilderness Inn B&B
tel: 877-837-8649

Ask Cornelia and René Hueppi why they left their native Switzerland to set up a B&B in untouched wilderness near Revelstoke and René says: "The Old Country just got too narrow." Sitting on a peninsula circled by 50 hectares of forest, the Mulvehill Creek Wilderness Inn certainly has solved that problem. Guests (up to 18 at a time) come to get away from it all. In the summer they come to hike to the 30-metre waterfall, fish, canoe, ride horses or raft; in the winter to cross-country ski, snowshoe or simply sit by the fire or soak in a hot tub. Called one of the five best wilderness resorts in Canada, Mulvehill Creek has huge buffet breakfasts and special three-course dinners are available. Double rooms start from $125 year-round.

Millstream Llama Farm
tel: 866-849-3938/250-478-9969

Whether you see them as pets or porters, llamas are magical creatures, especially if you're a kid or just can't resist furry creatures with big brown eyes. At Lavinia and Alan Stevens' Millstream Llama Farm, guests have the best of both worlds — a secluded valley setting that's only 10 kilometres from downtown Victoria. Rooms are charming, breakfasts are gourmet and gargantuan (with newly laid eggs from the chickens) and everyone gets to interact with the farms' 10 llamas and four alpacas. Ask to meet Wallace, a resident llama with the healing touch. Rooms are $115 or $125 ($95 from November 1 to April 30), with a two-night minimum.

River Run Cottages
tel: 604-946-7778

BC spills over with inns and B&Bs that exude romance. One with a twist is River Run Cottages, where you get your own houseboat docked on a river where eagles, swans, ducks and seals are your neighbours. There are four exquisite "cottages" reached by a boardwalk hung with flower baskets, and each of these has a private deck, wood-burning fireplace and small kitchen. A yummy gourmet breakfast, such as caramel-apple French toast with freshly squeezed juice, and the daily paper arrive each morning delivered as if by leprechauns. Double rates start at $120 in low season (from October 1 to March 31) and vary depending on the cottage, the number of nights you stay and the season.

Active Pass Caboose
tel: 250-539-2316

Or how about sleeping in a caboose? Active Pass Caboose is an authentically renovated 1913 CPR caboose with a sleeping loft, bath, shower, kitchen and barbecue. Positioned with great views over Active Pass on Galiano Island, this is a perfect year-round spot thanks to the rain shadow (that is, an area with less cloud cover and rain) that hangs over the Gulf Islands. Rates are $125 in high season; $100 in low, with a two-night minimum.

Hartmann House B&B
tel: 250-642-3761

For lovers young and old, Hartmann House B&B is a picturesque artisan's cottage set amid lush gardens and lily ponds in Sooke, about 30 minutes from Victoria. Both the Honeymoon and Hydrangea suites are straight out of Homes & Gardens with gleaming wood floors, wood-burning fireplaces, comfortable furniture and whirlpool tubs for two. Everything in this adults-only spot is keyed to peace, tranquility and privacy, so perhaps the only human contact you need have is when the multi-course gourmet breakfast is delivered in the morning. The suites are $175 and $195 in low season; $195 and $225 in high season.

tel: 800-663-7373

For romance coupled with a spa getaway, it's hard to beat Tigh-Na-Mara. The resort is set deep in the woods, right on the beach near Parksville. There are oceanview rooms and wonderful log cottages with fireplaces. The resort also has a praiseworthy dining room and, best of all, a huge spa with a grotto pool and a long list of services. Their seaside romance package, which includes two nights' accommodation, a four-course dinner, Champagne, truffles and chocolate strawberries, rose-petal turndown and a candle-lit, in-room Jacuzzi with rose petals, goes for $166 per person in a main resort room or $236 in a Spa Bungalow.

— Helena Zukowski

From Calgary
Overlander Mountain Lodge
tel: 877-866-2330

The lodge is a 30-minute drive outside Jasper, but less than a kilometre from the east gate of Jasper National Park. The log cabin-like accommodations have comfy, country-style furniture, and there are no TVs or phones in the rooms. If you're staying in the main lodge, choose either one of the Mountain View or Miette rooms. The former feature private balconies with spectacular views and the latter have gas fireplaces. But if you're really looking for peace and quiet, reserve one of the kitchenette units or chalets. (The cabin rooms are a great option too, but they're closed during the winter.) Stone Peak restaurant is one of the area's best, with a menu that changes daily and focuses on regional ingredients. Lodge rooms start at $140 per night and include breakfast.

Mountain Splendour Bed & Breakfast
tel: 780-866-2116

This cute little B&B isn't rustic by any means, but it's a scenic 35-minute drive outside the Jasper townsite, making it an excellent option for a quiet getaway. All three spacious guest rooms feature English-style decor and ensuite bathrooms. Owners Denise and Gordon Yates have gained a reputation for going above and beyond and are happy to offer suggestions and help plan excursions or activities. Wonderful breakfasts are served in the second-floor dining room, and although there are televisions in the rooms, guests are also welcome to use the private lounge, where complimentary tea or coffee and snacks are always available. Rates start at $125, double occupancy, including breakfast.

Falcon Crest Lodge
tel: 866-609-3222

No, we're not talking about the set of an Aaron Spelling soap opera. This recent addition to Canmore is an excellent option for families, since the contemporary units are self-catering. The largest suites — two bedrooms with kitchen, laundry facilities and living/dining room — start at $169 per night, and all of the tastefully decorated rooms come with TVs, DVD players and private balconies with barbecues. Best of all, you're within close range of downtown Canmore, several ski areas, golf courses and plenty more. Rates start at $109 per night; weekly rates are also available.

Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets
tel: 800-661-9267

The guest rooms at this Banff resort aren't going to win any style awards, but they're clean, well-maintained and perfect for families with children. The one-bedroom suites can accommodate up to four people, and studio lofts will easily sleep six. Each room has a wood-burning fireplace and fully-equipped kitchen. Two- and three-bedroom chalets are also available. There's a waterpark with swimming pool, waterslides, whirlpool and sauna, but it's also open to the public, so the area can get fairly crowded. The recently built, indoor, interactive playground is for kids 12 years and under. The hotel is just five minutes from town, giving you easy access to restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Rates start at $123 per night, but ask about available packages.

Lady MacDonald Country Inn
tel: 800-567-3919

The name might sound a little pretentious, but this lovely inn is one of Canmore's best-kept secrets. The 12 individually decorated guest rooms are cosy and inviting. The turret suites are two of the most romantic. The Three Sisters room features a gas fireplace, Jacuzzi and wrought-iron feather bed. The Cascade room, under the smaller turret, offers a gorgeous view of Mount Rundle and the Bow Valley. The spacious Vermillion room comes with its own sitting area. Hosts Tammy and Peter are friendly and more than happy to help, whether you're planning a day of hiking or need a restaurant recommendation. Rates start at $90 per night, double occupancy, including breakfast.

The Juniper
tel: 877-762-2281

The exterior of this newly renovated boutique hotel may not be anything to write home about, but it belies modern, airy rooms overlooking the Vermillion range and lakes. If you want a mountain view, make sure you request a deluxe room. Suites come with Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and wet bars. Locals in the know favour the stylish Muk a Muk Bistro & Lounge (it's a Chinook word that means "food" or "feasting") for après-ski drinks and meals like organic bison short ribs and sweet-potato crab cakes. The hotel is only a five-minute drive to downtown Banff, and it is 10 minutes from Mount Norquay. Rates start at $159 per night, but ask about available packages.

— Narissa Tadros

From Winnipeg
Cabin at Ladywood Farm
tel: 807-543-4023

A nature-lover's retreat in Northwestern Ontario near Lake of the Woods, this handcrafted log cabin is nestled within jack pines on a gentle hill overlooking a secluded lake. Sound too good to be true? It's not. The one-room cabin was built in 2003 on a 22-hectare private wildlife preserve ideal for hiking, biking, canoeing, or, our favourite, cat napping in the hammock on the porch. It has a trundle bed — two doubles, one that rolls away under the other — a bathroom and a kitchen with a small fridge, gas stovetop, toaster, pots, pans, dishes and cutlery. There's also a woodstove, complete with logs, so no one has to try and be Paul Bunyan. Kids and pets are welcome. The cabin is two and half hours from Winnipeg (or 20 minutes from Kenora) and is open from mid April to mid November. $100 per night, double to quad occupancy.

Walkinshaw Place
tel: 888-739-2579

This turn-of-the-century Victorian farmhouse in Boissevain (three hours from Winnipeg) sits on a 260-hectare farm, which includes 97 hectares of woodland with private hiking and cross-country ski trails. Not enough of the great outdoors for you? No worries. It's also steps from Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. The B&B has four good-sized guestrooms, each individually decorated with antiques. All have their own bathroom, mini fridge and microwave.

The parlour, complete with fireplace, is warm and welcoming. There's also a lovely two-storey, wrap-around veranda perfect for watching the miniature horses graze nearby. The outdoor hot tub — ideal for soothing aching muscles after a day of hiking or skiing — is open year-round. Rates are $65 single occupancy, $79 double, including buffet breakfast.

Beechmount Bed and Breakfast
tel: 866-797-0905/204-775-1144

A weekend away in your own city? Why not? Especially if you're escaping into the quiet, pampered life of the 1890s — sunny spaces for reading, lace curtains, fireplaces, an intimate veranda and a high-ceilinged bathroom with an ever-so-modern Jacuzzi. Opened in 1999 for a maximum of eight guests, the Beechmount is a Queen Anne-style heritage mansion located in Winnipeg's quiet residential enclave known as the Gates or Armstrong Point. There are three spacious, and romantically adorned, suites with views of the grounds, an amazing outdoor pool and a Victorian conservatory with flowers and plants that can be used year-round. Begin your romantic weekend with a healthy, hot gourmet breakfast and end it sleeping peacefully in a comfy queen or king-size bed. Room rates are $70 to $150 a night.

Falcon Trails Resort
tel: 204-349-8273

Eastern Manitoba's Whiteshell Provincial Park is Canada at its best. The park covers almost 2800 square kilometres of protected wilderness, hiking trails, canoe routes, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails and, of course, gloriously white Canadian Shield rock. Amid all this is the rustic Falcon Trails Resort with nine small lake-front cabins and two larger very secluded, cosy chalets located at High Lake. At night, you can soak in the hot tub gazing up at one of the best Northern Lights shows around, and in the morning you can sip your coffee while listening to the sounds of local chickadees. While all the cabins are fully equipped, the two secluded ones offer the best in environmental harmony: wilderness, amazing views, hiking and cross-country skiing, along with local workmanship and ecologically sensitive amenities. Double occupancy rates are $159 on weekends and $119 on weeknights at the Falcon Cabins. At High Lake, it's $200 a night on weekends and $160 during the week.

— Camille Chin and Annarosa Sabbadini

From Toronto
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
tel: 800-268-1898

A colonial mansion near Cambridge with gardens, forest trails, fine dining and a pampering spa is the setting for a blissful break. Romantic rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, downy soft beds and intriguing antiques. Choose from character rooms in the manor house, the garden-side Cloisters or the rustic country chic of the Stables. Discrete and friendly service are hallmarks of this 53-room property, where guests can enjoy billiards in the library, a fine scotch in Wilkes Bar and afternoon tea in the conservatory. The dining room features seasonal fare and an award-winning wine seller. Pets are welcome. The Autumn Sunday Night Escape starts at $175 per room.

The Baldwins Resort
tel: 800-461-1728

Cottage country beckons on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka with crisp autumn nights and sparkling lakes. Guests at this century-old hotel in Windermere can still get a swim in until the end of October at the indoor pool, hot tub and sauna. Pine-accented cottages have fireplaces, living rooms and two bedrooms for families. On-site activities include a playground, mini-golf and a giant outdoor checkerboard. Golfers can walk to the first tee at the Windermere Golf and Country Club next door and bridge is a popular evening game in the lodge. Two-night stays with breakfast and dinner are $275.

The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
tel: 800-263-7135

The newest attraction in Niagara Falls offers another way to have some wet family fun besides standing on the edge of the mighty cascade. This 8350-square-metre indoor waterpark has 15 slides, a 4500-litre tipping bucket, wave pool, hot tub and a tiny tots splash park, all with a view of the falls. Four adjoining hotels have play-and-stay packages that include admission to the water park (which otherwise is $45 per person). Stay at the Sheraton at the Falls, Brock Plaza Hotel, Skyline Inn or Hampton Inn, where midweek rates range from $159 a night and weekend rates from $239 a night.

The Domain of Killien
tel: 800-390-0769

Getting away from it all comes naturally at this gourmet retreat in the Haliburton Highlands with just 12 guest rooms, but 2000 hectares to explore. Bring your hiking boots for some outdoor adventure on trails that wind through forests and glades to uninhabited lakes and enchanting Group of Seven vistas. French cuisine is served from a five-course menu that changes daily. Stay in lodge rooms or lakeside chalets with fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Autumn rates, including breakfast and dinner, start at $165 per person on weekends.

Suites-on-the-Lake Bed and Breakfast
tel: 613-399-1717

A bed-and-breakfast in Ontario's newest culinary destination in Prince Edward County offers a relaxing stay close to vineyards, wineries and a burgeoning restaurant scene. To work off the cuisine, bikes and kayaks are available for rent and you can walk the dunes of nearby Sandbanks Provincial Park. The three guest rooms have lakefront views, private terraces and well-appointed bathrooms. A full country breakfast is served. Autumn rates are $155 to $195 per night.

— Paul French

From Montreal
Auberge West Brome
tel: 888-902-7663/450-266-7552

Located in the heart of one of Quebec's loveliest rural areas, Auberge West Brome is the right size to offer you both anonymity and all the rustic elements city dwellers crave. There are 80 hectares of land to stroll and cycle in. Although the inn itself is a 19th-century farmhouse, expect all the modern amenities, including a spa and topnotch dining. You can't beat the central location — Sutton, the east's best ski hill, Bromont, a close second and Knowlton, renowned for its general quaintness, are right nearby. There are 25 rooms and suites to choose from, most with magnificent views. Enjoy the heated outdoor pool and hot tub; some suites offer whirlpool baths, fireplaces and private balconies. Country breakfast included. Rates are: $135 to $250 for two.

Ripplecove Inn
tel: 800-668-4296

A much sought-after retreat among connoisseurs, Ripplecove has offered fine food, fabulous views and a pampered setting for many years. Set on a peninsula overlooking one of the Eastern Townships' few major lakes (Massawippi), the inn is breathtaking, even from a distance. Expect lush accommodations and the best of Quebec's sophisticated country dining. Four private hectares feature landscaped terrain, including English gardens and pine stands. Year-round activities abound: skating and skiing in winter; tennis, sailing and swimming are available in summer. All rooms in the deluxe and higher category have fireplaces; many have private lakeview balconies and large whirlpool baths. Off-season rates range from $129 to $196, including dinner and breakfast.

Hovey Manor
tel: 800-661-2421/819-842-2421

Another Quebec classic, Hovey offers the intimacy of a B&B combined with the best amenities of an inn. Fabulous dining and attentive staff will keep you coming back for more. The lakeside manor, originally constructed at the turn of the last century, was a private estate based on George Washington's Mount Vernon domain, but it's been an inn since 1950. All rooms are well appointed, although some are small; still, they're all unique, and both the dining and wine list are worth the drive. Perfect for a romantic getaway — you'll think you're the last people on earth who matter. Prices: $125 to $190 per person.

Fairmont Tremblant
tel: 819-681-7099

All Fairmont hotels are exquisite; many are gems of Canadian history. This one was mired in controversy from the start, largely because it involved what some would say is the overdevelopment of a treasured piece of real estate. The fact remains that the Fairmont Tremblant is a wonderful hotel situated in a majestic spot.

Everything is at your fingertips, including some of the country's best skiing, unbelievable views, every imaginable amenity in a perfect stetting, fine dining and more than enough things to do and see to keep you busy for a week. You can literally jump a ski lift from the front door; other seasons offer mountain hiking, biking and golf. Condé Nast Traveler rated it among the best hotels in the world in 2005 and it's been regularly named one of the world's best ski resorts. Expect to meet celebrities over breakfast. Prices start at $200 a night; but packages can cost less.

Le Creux Du Vent
tel: 888-522-2280/819-322-2280

The Laurentians region is one of the province's most beloved. If you prefer to avoid the hoopla of the big resorts, there are plenty of alternatives, including this particular treasure, a little inn with a big heart. Foodies prepare: this is one of the area's best places to go for outstanding French cuisine. Val-David is a lovely locale, fraught with history and legend. You'll find many higher-priced eateries and inns in this tourist-friendly town, but few will welcome you with better fare and a cosier setting. "Le Creux du Vent" means the eye of the storm — and this is definitely it. There's lots to do for nature-lovers, and the hosts will accommodate your needs whenever possible. Packages range from $95 (bed and breakfast) to $225 (for a full romantic package).

—Madeleine Partous

From Halifax
Manse Country Inn
tel: 902-624-1121

You can be forgiven for thinking Nova Scotia's countryside retreats shut down once the last autumn leaf falls. High-profile operations — such as Cape Breton's Keltic Lodge — close in late October. Luckily, many can still be enjoyed off-season.

Almost everyone who visits Mahone Bay — a postcard-perfect town on the Lighthouse Route, 50 minutes west of Halifax — photographs the three 19th-century churches strung along its shoreline. Yet few know that the former manse of the most easterly one is now a praiseworthy inn. Built in the 1860s for Presbyterian ministers, the aptly-named Manse Country Inn has four ensuite guestrooms. The loft in the adjacent Carriage House — an airy space notable for its white-washed walls and deep wicker chairs — is the pick of the lot. Nevertheless, all are crisp and casual (as opposed to cutesy) and from mid-October to mid-May all are priced at $95 a night, including gourmet breakfast.

White Point Beach Resort
tel: 800-565-5068

Further down the shore, 150 kilometres southwest of Halifax, is White Point Beach Resort: a longtime favourite among Haligonian families. Its 159 rooms are said to have a "charming rustic style": indeed, some might seem a bit too rustic. But for devotees, the location more than compensates. Fronted by a kilometre-long Atlantic beach and backed by a lake, White Point sits on a wedge of land laced with hiking and biking trails. Seasonal activities range from surfing, kayaking and golfing to bunny-watching (the resort has a prolific colony) or cross-country skiing. Beachcombing, however, remains the preferred option year-round. There's also an indoor pool and games room for inclement days. Off-season, lodge rooms and cottages start at $100 and $130 respectively; full meal plans are $49 per adult per day, $17 per child.

Hunts Point Farmhouse
tel: 888-303-5056

Although Hunts Point Farmhouse is only minutes past White Point, it seems centuries removed. Built on a wooded knoll some 200 years ago, this meticulously-restored saltbox can be rented in its entirety for intimate getaways — even in winter when a roaring fire and heated slate floor keep everything cosy. Because it's decorated with the same unerring taste that made owner Liz O'Carroll's Halifax B&B The Pebble so popular, the farmhouse looks ready for a magazine spread: in fact, it appeared in the August 2006 issue of Canadian House & Home. Custom quilts top the beds and the sun-flooded kitchen has everything from fish poachers to vintage crockery. With two bedrooms and a "kids-only" loft, it can accommodate five to six people. Three-night weekend rentals are $600, November through May.

Olde Lantern Inn & Vineyard
tel: 877-965-3845

Hopeless romantics and hopeful oenophiles love Olde Lantern Inn & Vineyard, located an hour northwest of Halifax near Wolfville. While the building is new, the look — from the exposed ceiling beams right down to the handmade nails — is timeless. Guest rooms (two on the main floor, plus two more tucked under the impossibly-high eaves) boast amenities like Egyptian cotton sheets, Jacuzzis, LCD TVs, vineyard views and in-room spa services. It's tempting to just drink in the ambience, but you should make a point of strolling next door to Domaine de Grand Pré, where you can cap a wine-tasting session with dinner at Le Caveau restaurant. November 1 to April 30, couples can take advantage of Olde Lantern's bed-and-breakfast special. Book a weekend night for $129 or any two nights for $189.

Queen Anne Inn
tel: 877-536-0403

Continuing down the Evangeline Trail to Annapolis Royal, about two hours outside of Halifax, you'll find the Queen Anne Inn. Even in a town known for its heritage architecture, this Victorian beauty — a veritable mansion set on two hectares of grounds — stands out. Inside the main house, guests can choose between 10 generously-proportioned rooms. Some come complete with canopy beds and claw-foot tubs: all feature period appointments along with thoughtful extras such as handmade soaps and fluffy bathrobes. Plus, the carriage house has a pair of two-storey, two-bedroom suites that are ideal for families. This fall, inn rooms start at $109, while carriage house accommodations go for $169. Both prices include a memorable three-course breakfast. But you'll have to act fast to snag the deal: the Queen Anne closes November 30.

— Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.