Falling in love with the local landscape: playing tour guide to international visitors (& making the most out of the Unscripted)
As my mother-in-law prepared to venture from Christchurch, New Zealand for her first ever visit to Canada—she offered my husband and I free reign when it came to creating an appropriate itinerary for her three-week holiday. Combining my personal list of local favorites with the Tourism Kamloops 2017 guidebooks, we had the distinct pleasure of squiring Robin around the region. While doing so, I couldn’t help but reflect on a conversation with Eileen Leier, a local artist. She described a concept that is used in other languages and cultures: “home blind”— means that one takes their own landscape for granted because of its familiarity. There is something about hosting an out of town guest that awakens our enthusiasm for our environments.
Robin, 65, marvelled at the variety that Kamloops and surrounding regions had to offer. Between the mountains, the lakes, the grasslands—not to mention the arts, history, culture, adventures, eateries, wineries—there is something to match your mood, age and energy level. Following Robin’s arrival in Vancouver, we drove home through the Fraser Canyon, which was an amazing introduction to the region.
With wildfires imposing on parts of the BC’s interior and intermittent smoke in the air, we set the intention to make each day an adventure.
Exploring Kamloops, one day at a time
- Strolled along the Rivers Trail. Took our dog Bluebear to Overlander Beach. We basked in the sunlight and soaked our feet in the river
- Drove through Barnhartvale, swum in a friend’s pool, and lounged on deckchairs. Before heading home, we sipped strawberry lemonades at Pond Country Market.
- Took a yin class at Kamloops Hot Yoga (Robin’s first ever class!) After poking around Nature’s Fare for organic goodies, we prepared for an evening at the Kamloopa Pow Wow. Drove around Sun Rivers before stopping by Hoodoos restaurant for appetizers and beverages. At the Kamloopa Pow Wow, we explored craft wares and artwork. Robin tried bannock for the first time—courtesy of the Tourism Kamloops Kamera Krew. Robin noted that she felt emotional during at the goosebump inducing Grand Entry. “The beating of the drums, the majesty of the regalia, the generations coiling together in the center of the arbour, it was truly amazing.” Before heading home for the night, we strolled through Riverside Park for a refreshing visit to the river in the twilight of another beautiful day spent in Kamloops.
"The beating of the drums, the majesty of the regalia, the generations coiling together in the center of the arbour, it was truly amazing.”
- Saturday morning beckoned a visit to the Farmer’s Market. After loading up on baked goods and fresh produce, we wandered downtown—stopping at the Golden Buddha, Art We Are and Castles and Cottages for art, accessories, teas, and giftware. We headed back to the Pond Country Market for lunch—indulged in pulled pork dishes and enjoyed strawberry lemonades and lime margaritas. After lunch, we explored the BC Wildlife Park—Robin caught sights of snakes, bears, moose, wolves, and birds of prey. For a bit of reprieve from summer’s warmth, we finished off the afternoon with a hike around McConnell Lake, with a canoe ride to follow.
- Spent a Sunday at Sun Peaks—caught a chair lift to the mountain top, spotted a deer rustling through the grass below. Wandered along the wildflowers, enjoyed the fresh air and exercise before grabbing slices at Mountain High Pizza and a late lunch at Bottoms. (This is why Kamloops offers so many active adventures, we need to make room for the next meal!) Checked out the Farmer’s Market, and after loading up on more crafts and carbohydrates, we ran into the Tourism Kamloops team, who challenged Robin to try the Mountain Cross Carts, which afterwards she said: “l will remember this always.” - WATCH VIDEO
“I will remember this always.”
- Popped by the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre to check out artistic treasures at The Courthouse Gallery. Stopped at Movie Mart to refresh our movie selections. (With the smoke being as it was, many evenings were spent indoors—enjoying a plethora of classic movies. From “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Shawshank Redemption from “Almost Famous” to “Anchorman” Robin received a cinematic education that ranged from high-brow to low-brow.
- Visited Red Beard Café for lattes, checked out the goat farms at Centennial Park, and sampled wine at Privato Winery.
- Explored historical elements of Kamloops, we reflected at the Chinese Cemetery and visited the Kamloops Museum. Before sneaking a peek of Tranquille Farm Fresh and Kamloops Lake, we stopped at Frenchie’s Poutinerie for lunch (because you just CAN’T have an international visitor and NOT feed them poutine.) We swam in the lake, caught a glimpse of a rattlesnake at Cooney Bay. Drove up to the Lac du Bois Grasslands to capture the entire view of the Tranquille region.
- Feasted on beans, slaw, cornbread and ribs at Ribfest, and checked out the Hot Nite in the City displays along Victoria Street. Grabbed ice lattes from Caffé Motivo, before driving to Lac Le Jeune for yet another swim.
The memory of flavours, the thirst quenching sips, the revitalizing swims in fresh water that wash away the sweet remains of sunny summer days. Relishing in the transformative power of travelling—not only exploring foreign lands, but within your own backyard—sure, there are hot cars, shortened tempers, traffic jams, delayed flights, and of course, the great curveballs that Mother Nature throws at you to change all your best laid plans. Perhaps that is the spiritual homework of every holiday: to laughingly embrace the complications and frustrations and to become absorbed by the rest, remaining mindful on what will soon be but a fond, yet distant memory.