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A January Getaway to Recover From Holiday Madness

holidaymadness-2My wife and I had two-weeks off over Christmas and the New Year – it was fun and very busy. We were out every night the five days leading up to the big event, then had family staying with us for a few days, then went to friends for a few days leading up to the second big event; New Year’s Eve. Phew! Come January 2nd we were exhausted and had just one day to recover before heading back to work. I know we’re not alone; for many people the holiday season is crazy busy and leaves them feeling like they need a real break.

That’s when I came up with the idea of planning a January getaway. For the most part, we on the west coast often panic about bad weather, road conditions and a host of other weather-related scary thoughts. The reality of course is that for 99% of the time, the weather is mild; a little wet of course, but the roads are kept open and travel is not difficult. In fact, as long as a snowstorm doesn’t hit, the roads are far quieter throughout the province during the winter months.

In recent years I’ve started putting winter tires on my car, so even when there’s heavy rain or snow the car handles just fine. True I avoid the Coquihalla if Environment Canada is predicting bad weather, but having said that I have driven it in a blizzard and survived to tell the tale. It’s January and BC is suffering some pretty harsh weather, but I just checked the BC Highways traffic cam on DriveBC and the Coquihalla is open and passable even with the snow.

So, you don’t necessarily need to be an intrepid traveller to brave a winter getaway and it will be a whole lot less expensive, and usually less hassle, than travelling during the summer. I’m looking at a bunch of options that will allow me to take advantage of Accent Inns’ winter rates in Victoria, Burnaby, Richmond, Kamloops and Kelowna. Here’s my short list.

  1. Visit friends in Burnaby – yes we could stay with them in their condo but you know, it’s nice to be a little less tied and not also put them out. Plus, if we stay at the Accent Inns hotel on Henning Drive, it’s a short a walk to their place for a visit and we can also plan a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery and go shopping on Robson Street by ourselves.
  2. Play tourist in our own town (Victoria) – I love the Royal BC Museum and my wife can’t resist wandering through the Victoria Public Market located in the historic Hudson building in downtown Victoria. We particularly like the kitchen gadget store and the fresh seafood, locally-produced cheeses and meats, farm-fresh groceries, handmade pies, French bread, specialty oils and vinegars and often lunch there on gourmet food from several vendors. We’re coffee lovers and Victoria seems to have more coffee shops than anywhere I’ve been – there are many independently owned treasures to stumble on all over town. If you’re a Starbucks fan there are over 30 locations across Greater Victoria.accent-inn-kamloops-exterior-night-winter-looking-over-kamloops
  3. One thing high on my list is visiting Okanagan’s more than 100 wineries. Many are open for tastings during the winter and obviously they are much quieter allowing you more time to spend chatting to the winemakers. Plus, all 100 are within easy driving distance of either the Kamloops or Kelowna Accent Inns locations – bonus!
  4. Snowshoeing – I’ve never done this and I’m not sure my old knees will hold up, but I’d love to give it a try.
  5. Ice fishing – this is high up on my bucket list. The whole idea of cutting a hole in the ice on Wood Lake, Idabel Lake, or Duck Lake in Kelowna and pulling out a pristine, healthy Rainbow Trout, Perch and Brook Trout (the cold conditions mean the fish have less bacteria) excites me. There are several companies that will take you out on the ice safely – cutting a hole in the middle of a frozen lake is not something you should take lightly! I see Rodney’s Reel Outdoors ( does ice fishing charters – they’ll even cook your catch over an open fire; now that’s a real BC outdoor experience!

There’s so much else we could do over a weekend, especially if we can tack on an extra day; I saw they have a flotation tank for couples in Kelowna (Float Space: – now’s there’s something else I’d like to try. And a sleigh ride seems romantic. So much to do in this wonderful province and I do love staying at an Accent Inns hotel – or perhaps I’ll try the new Hotel Zed in Kelowna, there’s a thought.

Mike Wicks