Hitting the Trans Canada Highway and heading east from Vancouver you used to pass a sign at Hope that said “Gateway to Holidayland” however for me, Holidayland starts 20 minutes sooner with the turnoff to Highway 9. The Agassiz-Rosedale Highway (Highway 9) bends across the Fraser River and eventually turns into Hot Springs Road, leading you to Sasquatch country and home of the legendary Harrison Hot Springs Resort.
In just under two hours you can watch skyscrapers and strip malls disappear in your rear-view mirror. Turn down a winding country road flanked by farm-gate stores, head into the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, and check into your cottage, suite, or lakeview room at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. After a quick wardrobe change, dip into the indoor or outdoor mineral pools which are sourced from right around Harrison Lake, adjacent to the resort. They have been providing warm, healing, and rejuvenating plunges for decades at the resort.
On a recent trip to the resort with my friend Tanya we made sure to take a dip indoors (in the pool and the hot tub) and outside in one of the many pools which are open until late-night — including an adults-only pool. Even in with a light rain falling, the outdoor pools steamed and provided the perfect relaxation. We would have quiet conversations or simply sit back and look up at the canopy of evergreens that bordered the resort, listening to the sound of the water features that joined the pools.
Once the day’s stresses were thoroughly melted away, we went upstairs to prepare for dinner n’ dancing in The Copper Room. As busy two women who work from home, our regular wardrobe can be summed up in one word: Jeans. While The Copper Room has relaxed their dress code in recent years, we still took this opportunity to dress up a bit. We busted out the ironing board in our lakeview room, donned some skirts and heels, and made our way down to the dining room. After a long day of spa treatments and soaking in mineral pools, a glass of wine was next on the list.
I told Tanya that someone is always celebrating an anniversary at The Copper Room and that night was no exception. Both a 58th wedding anniversary and a newlywed celebration were underway as the dance floor was full on a Tuesday night. Young and old were grooving to jazz, big band, and classic rock from The Jones Boys.
When it came time to order dinner, the halibut (my go-to restaurant meal) wasn’t available, but for good reason as it hadn’t come in from the coast that day. I opted for the duck while Tanya, who is vegetarian and gluten-free, ordered the Vegetarian Tower (polenta, grilled portabella, tomato bean cassoulet on a bed of braised spinach topped with pea shoots finished with a red pepper coulis).
We had two special guests join us for dinner (helping us polish off some Tinhorn Creek Merlot from Oliver, BC) and they ordered Baked Alaska for dessert — the first I’ve seen and tried of this classic treat. Tanya and I split a creme brûlée and when I asked her for her thoughts she replied: “It should not have been shared between the two of us because I wanted the whole thing to myself.”
The Copper Room definitely has a legacy, with live music and dancing (between courses of course), and it seems more about enjoying the supper club experience than anything else. To many, The Copper Room is the site of their high school grad party, their grandparents’ wedding reception, a date night, a honeymoon, an anniversary, and a flood of family memories. For us, it was a nice meal with entertainment, attentive service, and excellent company.
Harrison Hot Springs is hosting Sasquatch Days June 8th and 9th, 2013. This two-day event has taken place since 1938 in the resort community and it is an intercultural celebration with the Sts’ailes First Nation. There will be canoe races, a salmon barbecue, drumming, artisans, games, and many more family-friendly activities.