Here are five things that I didn’t know about Kamloops, British Columbia:
- It’s in a desert, with very cool hoodoos and other desert rock formations.
- A river runs through it.
- It hosts one of Western Canada’s largest First Nations powwows.
- It has an emerging wine-making industry.
And I also didn’t know about the Riverside B&B – a friendly, four-room bed and breakfast with a beautiful setting on the Thompson River.
Here’s the scoop:
I stopped off in Kamloops — a four-hour drive east of Vancouver — as part of a road trip from the coast to the Canadian Rockies.
From the front, when you pull into the driveway at the Riverside B&B, it looks like an ordinary suburban home.
But go around back, and it’s got a “wow” view – overlooking the river with the desert cliffs beyond.
The backyard is lovely, too, with a fish pond, a hot tub, and a deck above the river.
My room, the “Salmon Swim,” was on the lower level, with a window just above the ground. Though small, it had everything I needed, including a queen bed, air-conditioning (very welcome with outdoor temperatures approaching 35C/95F), wi-fi, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, and lots of electrical outlets conveniently located next to the bed.
Two of the other rooms have king-sized beds and kitchenettes, and in all the units, owners Cynthia and Gordon James provide guests with a complimentary half-bottle of wine.
Wearing matching royal blue chefs jacket’s, Cynthia and Gordon serve breakfast family-style around the dining table in the window-lined dining room, which has more of those great river views.
During my stay, breakfast started with fresh fruit served with yogurt, followed by an ample plate of pancakes with blueberry compote, bacon, sausage, sliced bananas, and a soft-boiled egg. The chocolate-mint candy added a sweet finish.
If you’re not exploring the desert, going wine tasting (nearby wineries include Harper’s Trail and Monte Creek Ranch), or taking in the dancing and drumming at the annual Kamloopa powwow, you can head down to the river behind the B&B. You can swim (and even launch yourself into the river on a rope swing) or hang out on the dock where there’s a table and chairs under a shaded awning.
And while you’re relaxing by the river, you can reflect on the unexpected things you learned about this corner of Canada.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario (now available in a brand new 2nd edition) and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Tourism Kamloops hosted my stay at the Riverside B&B for review purposes.