Enjoy Winter’s Wonderland

Ski by lantern light at the annual Larch Hills Nordics Lantern Ski happening December 29th, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. It’s a must do magical holiday experience. Learn more here.

Wander the foreshore trail in Salmon Arm and watch in wonder the amazing variety of birds in the bay. Walking maps available here.

Skmana Lake Trails offers 18 kilometres of nordic trails. A great way to spend a quiet day is to snowshoe up, down and around the lake. Be sure to stop in to the picture perfect warming hut along the way. Get the latest conditions here.

Enjoy good old fashioned fun in a horse-drawn open sleigh. Walters Family Sleigh Rides in Tappen is a family favourite during the holiday season. Reach them at 250 835-8384. 

There are outdoor skating rinks in the Shuswap (weather dependent). Check the status of both Farrell’s Fields in Celista and the Sorrento-Blind Bay Community Park here.

Did you know the Shuswap has some of the best alpine sledding in Canada? The crews are eager to get grooming and you can keep up to date on conditions and openings here.

Shop Local in the Shuswap

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn to meaningful and memorable days celebrating the people we care about. This particular holiday season, we are more mindful, maybe more than ever, of the value and importance our local farmers, producers, artisans and craft people contribute to our communities.

In anxious times, we rely on out community connections to find comfort and support. And despite the challenges we face, we can count on each other. We are fortunate to be able to have local markets operating and we encourage you to show your support of our local makers and bakers, knitters and spinners, artists and potters, purveyors and vendors.

We’ve compiled a list of upcoming holiday themed markets. Grab a tuque and some mitts and head out to enjoy some home-made goodies. It’ll do us all some good.  Visit our events calendar for a complete list.

 

Serendipity in Salmon Arm – Winter Wanders and Wonders

As the age old adage goes, wherever we roam, there’s no place like home. Such is clearly the case for Jesse Ziercke. Born and raised in Salmon Arm, at 18, his first job was as a bellman at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort. After some time working in Kamloops, Kelowna and Calgary, in 2019, he returned home with his young family, and now serves in the resort’s top job as General Manager.

Given his serendipitous career path, it’s no surprise to learn that Jesse is an avid hiker and his favourite winter activity is exploring the Shuswap Trail Alliances amazing network of local trails. “There are so many great ones. Take Little Mountain for example, you can do a quick 30 minute walk or spend a few hours doing the more challenging outer loop.” Whether exploring on his own or with his family in tow, he credits a good base layer, quality outerwear, and Keen footwear which explains his fondness for Wearabouts on Alexander Street. “Winter hiking is about comfort and warmth and they’ve got a great selection of clothing and gear.”

As for the “apres-hike”, Ziercke is a big fan of the Barley Station Brew Pub. “The Talking Dog Wit is the best and the appetizer selection means there’s something for everyone.” He adds that the take and bake options at the Shuswap Pie Company are fantastic.

His advice for future guests? “Explore a little longer.” The visitors who do are often surprised and delighted when they expand their horizons a bit. From amazing vineyards and farm markets, a compact and walkable downtown, unique merchants and great food (including Cafe Tasse, Don Cherrys Sports Grill and The Sandbar on site at the Prestige), if you just drive through on the way to somewhere else, you’re really missing out. There’s sure-fire serendipity in Salmon Arm every season of the year.

By Louise Wallace-Richmond

Ski and Snowshoe at Skmana Lake to your heart’s content

Nature lovers will swoon for the breathtaking views on the way to and from Skmana Lake whether you arrive via the North Shuswap’s Squilax Bridge or the bridge off Pine Street in downtown Chase.

Start your family day or valentines staycation with a hot drink and a yummy baked good either at the Inside Out Coffee House in Chase or Steamers Coffee Co in Sorrento. Then, make your way to Loakin-Bear Creek Rd for a 10 km drive up to the parking area of the recreation area maintained by the Skmana Ski and Snowshoe club.

The trails range from moderately easy to more difficult. Allow for a few hours to enjoy the 14 kms of x-c trails or the 3.5 kms of snowshoe trails taking you up, down and around with views of the mountain ranges above and the lake and wetlands below. There’s a rustic feel about it offering temporary seclusion and e

scape from the hurried and worried world not so far away.

Once you’ve explored to your heart’s content, you’ll surely be ready for a hearty bite to eat. If you’re headed back via Chase, consider the family fare at The Railside Restaurant in Chase (dine in and take out available) open Thursday to Monday from noon to 7PM. If you’re headed in the other direction, call ahead to Frankie’s Pizza in Sorrento and pick up a delicious hand tossed pizza

There’s something to be said for fresh air and scratch made meals. It warms the hearts and feeds the soul. If that’s not what family and love is about, what is?

Please follow all health protocols and check for weather conditions. Tell someone where you’re planning to go and when you’ll be back and bring the basic outdoor safety equipment. Trails use fee in effect. Always check for restaurant hours of service.

 

Photos Courtesy of Kirsten McDowell @kirs10mcd

Sweethearts in Sicamous

Are you and your love dreaming of the lazy days of summer, late breakfasts, visits to the beach, and multiple scoop ice cream cones?

Surely, you’re not alone. And, as it happens, you’re in luck.

While Sicamous’ typical summer buzz quiets in the winter months, their warm welcome is year round. Home to world class sledding in the hill tops, closer to shore also has plenty to offer to those seeking a more tranquil, and yes, romantic, change of pace.

Start with a hearty breakfast from the friendly folks at Joe Schmucks Roadhouse or G&G Kitchen and Tap. Afterwards head to Sicamous Public Beach, and stroll along the sandy shore taking in lovely views of Shuswap Lake. At the end of the beach, follow the trail markers and meander through the River Front Nature Park enjoying the giant cottonwood trees, bird life and calming sounds of the Eagle River. Although a modest two kilometre trail, a pair of binoculars and a healthy portion of patience will keep you awe inspired for some time.

And who made the rule you could only enjoy ice cream in summer? D. Dutchmen isn’t just a local dairy, it’s a local institution. While seasonal selection is more limited this time of year, there’s still plenty of goodness to enjoy, waffle cone or take away container, whatever suits you best.

So what could be better than a great meal, the great outdoors and a great big scoop of ice cream, all right here in the Shuswap? You can’t know if you don’t go see for yourself.

Please observe COVID protocols. Thank you for your kindness to front line service workers. If you’re heading out on any trail, be prepared and let someone know your route and destination plan.

Appetite for adventure – winter fun in Enderby and Armstrong

Ashton Creek’s very own Tundra Baird casts an enthusiast lens on the many outdoor winter activities in the Enderby and Armstrong area. The former television news videographer and now Enderby city councillor’s appetite for adventure includes a weekly hike up the Tplaqin Trail (Enderby Cliffs).

Be sure to pack your crampons come winter and grab a picnic lunch from Hungry Jacks on Main Street in Enderby. You’ll have earned yourself one of their hearty chocolate oat bars for your efforts. Right across the street is Tony Os Outfitters and Brad is the hiking boot expert you’ll need. Your feet will thank you.

Wind down at the Small Axe Road House on the banks of the Shuswap River and enjoy a hot toddy and their infamous “What the Cluck?!” burger. .

On quieter days, Baird and her family enjoy the serenity of the Thomas Hayes Ecological Park in Spallumcheen and the shorter hikes. Of course, since you’re just minutes away from Armstrong, an eggnog latte and gluten free bliss ball from The Wild Oak Cafe will hit the spot as you wander over to Monashee Outdoors for a great selection of goods and gear.

For a truly off-grid back to nature staycation, Tundra recommends the Mowat Cabin at Miska Haven Bed and Breakfast in her old stomping grounds of Ashton Creek reminding us that when we explore our own back yard, we better understand the true meaning of home.

 

By Louise Wallace-Richmond

Have a ‘little’ fun! Kid friendly outings in the Shuswap

The Shuswap is chock full of fun for kids of all ages. There’s old fashioned family fun to brand new adventures all within an hour’s drive.

 

On the Town

The Shuswap is so much more than beaches and boats. It will come as no surprise to our regular visitors that the beauty of this land inspires amazing stories and impressive talents. Get off on the lake on on the town with these tours, walks, exhibitions, live music events and theatre performances. Check websites for admission rates and hours of operation.

Secwepemc stories Sign up for a Quaaout Lodge Cultural Tour and experience the welcome of the Skwlax territory.

Listen up Sound Machines at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery features eight installations that explore the intersection of sound, voice, music and noise.

Dance (and shop) the night away The popular Music by the Bay on Thursday evenings on the waterfront at Centennial Field in Blind Bay now features an artisan market.

The art of summertime Enderby Arts Council presents Summer of Art Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons all season long.

Walk the walk Caravan Farm Theatre presents The Land Walks, three audio creations leading the listener on a 20 minute walk around the farm.

Tall tales and good eats Haney Heritage Village & Museum presents its ever popular Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre three night a week all summer.

Old Town Road Get to know another side of Sicamous and walk the heritage trail.

Blast from the past Car and motorbike fans will enjoy the vintage vehicle exhibits at White Post Auto Museum and Dreamcycle Motorcycle Museum

Arts on the go Inclusive Arts in Downtown Salmon Arm has all things arts and crafts. Choose from a wide selection of take-out activity kits for the kids.

Bring the music home Wednesdays on the Wharf concerts in Salmon Arm have been a staple of summer evenings. This year’s sessions were pre-recorded and are now online for all to enjoy at your leisure.

Beat the Heat

We welcome you to Explore Shuswap again.  Book your getaway now and plan to travel safely and responsibly this summer.

The heart of the traditional territories of the Secwepemc, the “meeting of the waters”, the Shuswap is a place of gathering. We celebrate the pairing of meaningful experiences. Cycle to a vineyard or paint at the pub, paddle to the park, or hike to the hot spring. We live to explore. And every day with us means you’ll find a little more.

Our hosts and our guides, our chefs, brewmasters and vintners, our farmers, producers and shop owners look forward to welcoming you back. Immerse yourself in the stories told by our musicians, artists and actors, artisans and crafters. Meander our maps, our rivers and valleys, our mountains and meadows, our beaches, belvederes, parks and trails in a smart, safe and respectful way.

 

BEAT THE HEAT

Summer in the Shuswap is all about sunny days and starry nights and it comes with its fair share of heat. With above average temperatures in these early days of summer, here are ten outings to keep cool and have fun.

Pack up some water and snacks, hats and swim suits, sunscreen and towels, and enjoy everything under the Shuswap sun.

Wander to the waterfalls. Both Margaret Falls at Herald’s Provincial Park  and Syphon Falls  offer a refreshing reward for a short hike. 

Put it on ice. With over a dozen patios in Salmon Arm’s downtown, order your favourite iced coffee and enjoy the small city’s hustle and bustle.

Grab some grub at the Hub. Across from Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, this Scotch Creek institution is known for great food, local beer and live entertainment.

Walk the red wharf. At Memorial Park  a family friendly beach with playground and plenty of shade on beautiful Little Shuswap Lake.

Early birds hit the trails. A morning hike or bike will set the day on the right path.

Get fresh at the market. Many markets are held weekly across the Shuswap. Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies. New this year is the night market in Blind Bay on Thursdays at Centennial Field.

See it on the big (and bigger) screens. The Salmar Grand Theatre in Salmon Arm is a five screen cinema showing the latest block busters and the Starlight Drive-In in Enderby (North America’s biggest screen) has daily shows after dark.

A bridge over cool waters. Cross the 74 metre suspension bridge across Crazy Creek in the Eagle Valley just east of Sicamous.

Paddles up for lobster. You’ll have earned a legendary lobster roll from Top Jimmy’s Canoe Beach Cafe after a paddle up and down the beach.

Reach for new heights. The Gym of Rock at the Westgate Market in Salmon Arm is an all ages all ability indoor climbing facility with boulder inn and top rope areas.

3 Reasons Why The Shuswap Owns Social Distancing

While some places are known for their bustling streets and crazy nightlife, the Shuswap offers a quietly cool alternative that makes social distancing easy. The best part? You’re still guaranteed loads of fun. Surrounded by mountains, trails, lakes and beaches, you’ll find endless adventures and ample space around you to explore. Read on to find out why we’re the original masters of crowd management (since way before it was a thing). 

Shuswap Lake
Shuswap Lake

1. We’re the outdoor type.

Once you see our surroundings, you’ll understand why we prefer life outdoors. Trust us. You’re more likely to brush past a tree than a person when exploring the Shuswap. When visiting next, make sure to put these local outdoor pastimes on your to-list: 

  • Hiking or biking our nature trails. Winding over mountains and along lakes and rivers, we’ve got 700 kilometres of trails to explore. And because we’re all about bonding with friends, we’ve got trails to suit all kinds of abilities. Find out more here

  • Fishing on a quiet lake. We’ve got tons of waterways to explore by boat, if nothing else, you’re guaranteed to catch some classic memories. Try your luck at spots like Gardom Lake and White Lake.

  • Classic beach fun. Everything from good old-fashioned rock skipping to volleyball are enjoyed on our shores. At night, beach fires are a great way to bond with your bubble and stay toasty warm in the fall months. 

  • Movie night under the stars at Starlight Drive-In in Enderby (open May to September). 

  • Picnics in the park at spots like Sicamous Beach Park and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park. 

Gardom Lake
Gardom Lake

 

2. We don’t follow the crowd.

In the Shuswap, we’re not into the latest and greatest thing. The queues and crowds you tend to find at trendy bars, achingly cool boutiques and flashy restaurants don’t really interest us. Here’s how we’ve always had fun in our part of the world:

Larch Hills Winery
Larch Hills Winery

3. We keep it laid-back.  

Our idea of a good time is less about being seen, and more about being unseen. Less fanfare, more conversation and more connection is our motto. Here’s some of the ways we celebrate with our loved ones and make new memories in the Shuswap: 

 

Ready for your getaway away from the crowds? Here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip to the Shuswap.