One of the best things about living in the Greater Vancouver area is that it’s not hard to find a beautiful location for a quick day trip or weekend getaway. Setting out on Highway 1’s eastbound lanes you’ll find yourself in the lush Fraser Valley surrounded by meandering rivers and streams, scenic pastures, and wildlife within 90 minutes. In the Harrison Mills, Harrison, and Agassiz area at this time of year you can enjoy the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, golfing at Sandpiper, the Circle Farm Tour, and a steamy soak in the Harrison Hot Springs mineral pools.
Dining in Harrison
I was recently a guest at Rowena’s Inn on the River for two nights in early November and during that time I enjoyed two very delightful dinners.
River’s Edge Restaurant
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Coming in from the rain, my sister and I enjoyed both lunch and dinner next to the fireplace at River’s Edge. Heavy timber, granite-topped tables, and exposed wood give the dining room a very cozy feel that fits right in with its surroundings. At lunch we enjoyed their “famous seafood chowder” and found it worthy of the designation. Fresh and creamy without being too rich, it was served with fresh rolls and we paired it with a BC Pinot Gris.
Returning for dinner, my sister ordered the escargot (as recommended by Cassandra from Good Life Vancouver) and I went with the beet salad that was generously served with Farmhouse Natural Cheese, a wonderful farm and cheese shop I’ve visited a few times before on the Slow Food Cycle Tour and Circle Farm Tour in Agassiz.
For dinner, my halibut was topped with a deliciously crunchy and savoury hazelnut pesto made with the harvest from another one of my previous Circle Farm Tour stops, Canadian Hazelnut. Nine times out of ten, I will order the halibut if I see it on a local menu and I was not disappointed at River’s Edge. It was a very unique preparation and the lemoncello beurre blanc — lemoncello being another one of my favourite things — really set it apart.
The Copper Room at Harrison Hot Springs Resort
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I have been to the Copper Room three times since my first visit n 2010 and this classic just seems to get better every time. Live music from The Jones Boys, impressive dance moves (rumba, cha cha, fox trot) on the illuminated dance floor in the centre of the room, and couples celebrating anniversaries numbered 1 to 65 always make experiences in this legendary dining room memorable. This time around I was impressed by their update menu, which I believe has had a makeover since the last time I was in.
I ordered a wonderfully fragrant salad with tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella, and avocado while my sister had the melt-in-your mouth bison carpaccio. For dinner I honed in on the bison tenderloin, which was served with a heap of seasoned potatoes and roasted vegetables. Cooked beautifully, it was juicy, tender, and lean. When the dessert menu came around we were reluctant but we figured, as the band played and our wine glasses were topped up, we should round out the night in style. We ordered the Baked Alaska to share, with crisp and fluffy meringue on the outside and nostalgic neapolitan ice cream on the inside.
Until recently, there was a strict dress code for The Copper Room and although they have relaxed that rule, it still feels nice to get a little dolled up for dinner and dancing as the band plays Sinatra and Buddy Holly.
Our server Pavel at The Copper Room also served us lunch at River’s Edge the day before. He was very friendly, helpful, and it was nice to see a familiar face at dinner. There a sense of community pride on each of the menus and it resonated with the staff that not only served up local fare, but generous smiles and hospitality. These two restaurants (about 20 minutes away, just across the Harrison River) compliment any trip to the Fraser Valley with warmth, charm, and regional flavours.