Cut loose or cuddle up

🕔Sep 22, 2005

O, the weather outside is frightful—but it can be so delightful. We’ve handpicked 10 possible romantic winter getaways for you, ranging from almost free to decidedly upscale, featuring activities that are variously serene, cerebral, sensual, a little offbeat, or extreme—all available in our readership area. Enjoy!

Take a Via Rail train to Prince Rupert, and keep an eye out for plentiful moose along this very scenic route. Bunk down at Eagle Bluff B&B (, an oceanfront B&B in the heart of Cow Bay and within walking distance of the best local seafood restaurants, galleries, artesans’ shops and the impressive local museum. Bring your rain gear, warm woolies and an umbrella! Duck out of the coastal weather for coffee and the luscious, aptly named dessert called Sex in a Pan at Cowpuccino’s on the waterfront. Feeling creative? Stay at Studio 1735 Art Retreat and B&B, where you can use the bright, ample studio space of host/artist/art therapist Diana Hoffman (open Jan. 6,

Escape Interior winter for a while by hitting a Haida Gwaii beach. In Tlell (about 40 km from the ferry landing) stay at Cacilia’s B&B (, an artfully decorated beach-front log home situated in rolling sand dunes. For added privacy and rustic elegance, rent Cacilia’s tasteful, wood-heated, electricity-free stackwall cabin. Tasty breakfasts include waffles with huckleberry jam and whipped cream. Order-ahead lunches and dinners are also available—not a bad idea as local dining options are limited. Don raingear to comb Haida Gwaii’s world-renowned beaches for translucent agate stone and other treasures, or hire Cacilia to show you the Islands’ many gems. Hole up with your love and watch storms toss windy Hecate Strait, or—with luck—catch the Northern Lights. Feeling flush? Hire South Moresby Air ( to zip you out to unforgettable Hot Springs Island in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

Treat yourself to old-world comfort near Kitimat, at the luxurious, secluded Minette Bay Lodge ( on the shores of the pristine Douglas Channel. Scrumptious food, antiques, crackling open fires and chintz comfort with French windows with sea views await. For groups, Minette Bay Lodge hosts Ruth and Howard Mills can arrange heli-ski touring or snowshoeing. Great snowmobiling can be had right from the lodge door, or simply go cross-country skiing on 25 km of groomed Kitimat Cross Country Ski Club trails (up-to-date snow condition information at (250) 632-6180, general information at

Can something that feels this good be legal… and healthy? You can buy hours of sensory bliss at Spa Essentials in Terrace—lunch included ( Sign up for one of their couple’s packages. Treatments include a private infrared sauna (they say it will detoxify and burn 600 calories in a half hour!), hot-stone massage, reflexology, and skin-nourishing body wraps—a 75-minute treatment in which herbal lotions and/or mud are applied liberally to your entire body and left there to soften your skin under thermal blankets before being rinsed off. Take your newly glowing bodies over to Don Diego’s Restaurant for the best Mexican food in the North (reservations highly recommended), and tuck into down comforters at Stuart’s Lakeside Comfort B&B ( Tip: go for the honeymoon suite!

Try one of the oldest forms of winter travel: dogsledding. Head off to Hazelton, and let veteran musher Andy Busby (250-842-6229) and his team of Alaskan Huskies initiate you and your partner into the art of driving a dog team. This seasoned musher and racer will take two people out for a four-hour tour, during which you’ll cover rolling, forested and open terrain and enjoy coffee and snacks during a bonfire break. Turn your dogsledding experience into a weekend by combining it with a log-cabin retreat at the lovely Eagle Nest B&B, Lunches of homemade breads and pastries and European fine dining is available at the Trading Post Cafe, which is open Thursday-Saturday during winter and also hosts musical jams on Sundays.

Take your pick of great skiing in Smithers, including Ski Smithers for downhill skiing and extensive groomed trails at the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre. For guided backcountry ski touring trips and instruction, check out Northern Sun Tours ( Enjoy high-end European hospitality—like sumptuous food, feather duvets and stained glass and quality crafts throughout—at the luxurious Logpile Lodge. Their very private, spacious honeymoon suite offers commanding views of the Bulkley Valley. When you’re ready to step out in Smithers, be sure to sample the innovative gourmet food—including mouthwatering breakfasts on weekends—at the the Ironhorse Cafe & Gallery on Railway Avenue (reservations recommended: 250-877-7870).

If your idea of a getaway calls for the finest remote backcountry skiing and snowboarding, consider assembling a group to rent the Burnie Glacier Chalet and the services of a mountain guide from Bear Mountaineering to explore the magnificent Howson Range. Situated about 50 kilometres by helicopter from Smithers, this solar-powered, wood-heated lodge’s accommodations include one private room with two beds, ample space for up to 11 guests, and a cedar sauna. Guests are expected to pitch in on tasks such as carrying water and doing dishes, but the wide variety of breathtaking terrain offers endless ski and boarding possibilities to strong recreationists (

Salute the end of winter with an unforgettable stay March 25-April 1 at the Spatsizi Lodge (, approximately 320 kilometres north of Smithers by ski plane in the Spatzizi wilderness park. You’ll stay in rustic but comfortable wood-heated log cabins, unwind in a sauna, snuggle in warm duvets, and eat four-star cuisine at the lodge. The tour is designed for reasonably fit skiers, capable of carrying a backpack, ranging in ability from beginner cross-country to telemark. You’ll spend your days cross-country skiing in groups no larger than eight, view wildlife such as mountain caribou, moose, wolves, and Stone sheep—and you may well be blessed with views of the Aurora Borealis in the evening. Note: participation in this tour is usually booked months in advance.

Take your heart’s desire out for a high culture evening in Prince George. Enjoy any of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming winter performances, which range from baroque to jazz ( Events include Christmas concerts on Dec. 18 and 19, Frost & Fire Jan 15, All That Jazz on Jan. 30, and A Tale of Three Cities Feb. 12. Or take in one of the productions by Theatre North West (, such as The Kite by W.O. Mitchell (begins Nov. 19) or Jerry Steiner’s Other People’s Money on Feb. 2. Then stay at the Ridgeview B&B (, where your ground-floor, wheelchair-accessible suite includes full breakfast delivered to your room, a private bathroom, and all sorts of extras: an evening snack basket, a gas fireplace, queen-sized bed, cable TV, VCR, Internet access and a kitchenette.

Or simply stay home for this tried-and-true vacation. Send the kids to a babysitter, place “do not disturb” signs on your door.

Turn off the ringer on your phone; ensure that your answering machine or voice mail advises callers that you are unavailable for the weekend.

Spend a little extra on a nice bottle of wine, prepare your favourite meal together or order it to take home from your favourite restaurant. Light some candles, and turn off all lights and the blasted TV unless it’s to watch a movie that you both consider romantic. Enjoy a picnic for two and spend the rest of the evening making it your challenge to find 50 ways to communicate your love to your partner.

©Larissa Ardis