Winter Travel: The Bed and Breakfast Route
By Kathy Morrell
Photos by Rob Wilson
The economy is dictating that more and more people are looking to
holiday near home. With that thought in mind, we ask you to consider
the many advantages of the bed and breakfast experience in East
“We try to stay in bed and breakfasts as often as possible,” explained Dick Bolt, Yorkton resident. He and his wife Carol have traveled in Canada and abroad staying as often as possible in b and bs.
“We’ve met so many people and heard so many interesting stories,” he said.
While staying at a Victoria bed and breakfast, Dick met a woman, an air controller from Edmonton. Another guest interrupted the flow of conversation around the breakfast table and tentatively mentioned that her mother’s airplane had been lost in the Edmonton area, that she had received a telephone call from an air controller.
“Would you happen to know her?” the guest asked. And yes, as it turned out, the controller had coordinated the search. It was she who had called about the good news of the rescue.
“In the Lakes District of England,” Carol added, “our host was a former member of the SAS, Special Air Services. He had conducted forays into Northern Ireland – dangerous attacks from the tales we heard.”
“In Australia, we met another interesting inhabitant – a cane toad,” she said. “He had consumed the plant on the patio just outside our bedroom window.”
The cane toad, the size of a dinner plate, is a species introduced into Australia to eat the snakes found in fields of sugar cane. It has proliferated attaining the designation of an invasive species.
“The bed and breakfast experience makes for some interesting encounters,” Dick continued, “but there other advantages as well. The hosts tend to be very hospitable and knowledgeable about the area. We’ve received some excellent advice about places to see.”
“And,” Carol continued, “these homes give you the feel of neighbourhood, a real sense of place.”
“Bed and breakfasts are often situated in interesting locations,” Dick mentioned. “We stayed at Creekside Terrace in Regina where we could watch the excavation of a canal from just outside our window.” The canal was part of the Big Dig, the dredging of Wascana Lake during the winter of 2004.
“The bed and breakfast can be a retreat from the busyness of everyday,” added Karen and Gerry Muir, the former owners of Patrick Place, a bed and breakfast located in Yorkton.
“More and more business people are looking at a bed and breakfast, too,” said Bryan Tudor, executive director of the Saskatchewan Bed and Breakfast Association. “Our logo – the black rooster – indicates that the accommodation has been inspected and meets our standards.”
Still other travelers, families in particular, are seeking a welcoming accommodation in ski country or adjacent to skidoo trails. Others are looking for a weekend of shopping and night life in the city.
“We travel in Saskatchewan, too,” the Bolts added. “We’re on the constant lookout for new b and bs.”
Let us suggest, then, four new travel routes in East Central Saskatchewan to explore, four bed and breakfasts to visit. These four are, of course, illustrative of the bed and breakfast experience to be found across the province and indeed across the country.
Christmas at Patrick Place, Yorkton
Patrick House, a heritage property located on Fifth Avenue in Yorkton, is a house meant to be shared. The home was built in 1911 by John Alexander Macdonald Patrick, lawyer and judge. Jack’s wife, Sadie Pearl, was the first woman elected to the Yorkton School Board. She served for five years from 1919-1924.
The guest rooms, each with their own bath, reflect that history. Sadie’s Room, with its country charm, reflects her rural roots near Saltcoats. Next door, William’s room is named for the couple’s son. Upstairs are the Servant’s Room and the study where Jack did some of his legal work. On the third floor is the anniversary suite with its balcony overlooking the gardens below.
The house maintains its historical charm. The wood – the door and window frames, the baseboards - are original. Light streams into the music room and the foyer from the stained glass windows. Antiques and replicas of period furniture are everywhere.
In December Patrick Place reflects the beauty of the season. Hoar frost decorates the spruce trees in the garden. Icicles sparkle off the eaves on the third floor. Evergreen boughs decorate the mantle of the original fireplace while spruce twines its way around the banister leading to the second floor. A small crèche stands on a table at the entrance to the living room.
Christmas is a special time at Patrick Place, but it is worth noting that the house with its heritage charm offers a warm hospitality no matter the season.
Kathy Morrell and Host Annette Dube at Chickadee Hollow
Chickadee Hollow is just plain comfortable. The bed and breakfast is a three bedroom bungalow located across the road from the home of hosts Annette and Francis Dube of Kelvington.
“This was grandpa’s house,” Annette explained. “He was a widower who raised seven kids after his wife died. He and the children, aged five to fifteen, built the house themselves.”
The house has the feel of family. Guests take up residence in a private home with a kitchen equipped with fridge and stove. The big living room contains two sofas, some comfy arm chairs and a television and VCR with a selection of children’s tapes. Annette leaves the fixings for a continental breakfast in the fridge. There’s a fire pit in the back yard and a barbeque on the deck.
Full Kitchen at Chickadee Hollow
“February is busy,” Annette added. “We’re located a short distance from the Lintlaw, Greenwater, Archerwill and Porcupine Forest Trails. Guests park their vehicles in the yard and travel everywhere by snow machine.”
“There’s cross country skiing at Greenwater Provincial Park, too,” she said. “We’re only minutes away from the Park boundary.”
View from Chickadee Hollow
Chickadee Hollow is even busier in the fall. Hunters from the United States and Eastern Canada book the b and b each autumn sometimes paying for their week’s accommodation even if they’re unable to make the trip in a particular year. That way, the week is guaranteed for the following season.
“If you get them once, they return,” Annette smiled.
“Because we speak French,” she continued, “we get hunters from Quebec and New Brunswick.”
Ducks Unlimited has built sixteen islands in nearby Little Nut Lake in order to provide nesting habitat for water fowl that is protected from coyotes, skunks and foxes. There is big game hunting, elk and moose, in the area particularly in the community pasture east of the farm.
The bed and breakfast is ideal for family vacations. The area offers children a place to play and explore outdoors. There is even a big box of Lego in a plastic bin in the corner for rainy days.
“I practice Feng Shui,” Annette added with a grin. Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging objects and numbers to promote health, harmony and prosperity. The furniture is placed at varying angles to allow for the free flow of chi or energy. There is red in the house for prosperity and green for calm.
“And every house should have a rooster,” Annette concluded pointing to the colourful decoration on the kitchen counter. “That’s because it brings good luck.”
Bumble B and B
Bumble Bed and Breakfast
Bumble B&B, owned and operated by Linda and Eric Pye, offers upscale accommodation minutes away from Crystal Lake. Even though it was built only three years ago, this home has a history. The house is built on land Linda’s family farmed in the early 1900s.
Host Eric at Bumble Bed and Breakfast
Max, a chocolate Lab, is the greeter welcoming guests to the Bumble with a wave of his tail. Host Eric arrives to add his smile to the warmth and hospitality. He takes his guests over the concrete deck with its outdoor hot tub to a private entrance and into the luxury of a guest suite. Max stays behind. He is not allowed in the guest quarters.
The living room is beautifully furnished with leather couches and wicker chairs. Against one wall is a natural gas fireplace; against the other a flat screen TV. Opposite the fire place are shelves containing books and magazines. The kitchen area has a microwave and a dinette suite again in wicker. Prints, some of them with an aboriginal theme, decorate the walls.
One bedroom is painted blue, the other yellow – to match the colours of the flag of Ukraine. The beds are queen size with warm fluffy quilts. Each bedroom has its own bathroom.
With morning, the odour of freshly brewed coffee and bacon and eggs wafts from the family quarters upstairs.
Bumble B&B attracts a variety of guests. In the winter, snow mobilers appreciate its close proximity to trails. Families love the opportunity to explore the countryside whether on foot, snow shoe or cross country skis. Birds fly into the feeders in the yard and wildlife tracks along the Assiniboine River that runs near the edge of the property. At night, from the warmth before the fire, guests can hear the howl of the coyote.
Late Winter at the Border Mountain Bed and Breakfast
Marlene Brock Host of Border Mountain Bed and Breakfast
Along the highway from Kamsack to Duck Mountain Provincial Park stands a sign for the Border Mountain Bed and Breakfast – a perfect respite in late winter from the urban world of busy time. In the yard, there are two horses – one white, the other brown. Two cats pad along the fence stopping to sniff the softening air. Two by two being the order of the day, two dogs – gentle family pets – arrive on the scene. Taylor is a whiny little sausage dog with an innate sense of the animal lover. Daisy is a “huskie” with personality. Despite our coaxing, she will not leave the shelter of her dog house to preen before the camera.
Inside the bed and breakfast, the tantalizing aromas from the crock pot saturate the homey kitchen. Through the dining room window, Evening Grosbeaks and Downy Woodpeckers provide movement and colour – an interruption to the outdoor calm of snow and sky and wood. Downstairs visitors enjoy the privacy of a guest suite – two bedrooms and a sitting room. Across the yard is the guest cabin with its evening view of the setting sun.
Just beyond the Mountain Border Bed and Breakfast is all the variety and activity that nature invites – hiking, walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, playing with the dogs and chasing after the cats. And if more action is your game, there is a tobogganing, cross country skiing and downhill skiing fifteen minutes away in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
Late winter has its special appeal. There is strength in the winter sun as it warms its way to spring. There is family time – time to participate in winter sports before the sun robs the countryside of snow. There is time to escape the dreariness of the sofa and television for a day in the warmth of the late winter sun.