The peace of the Granaries

B&B’s of B.C.

Each week throughout the summer the Vancouver Sun will visit one of the province’s unique lodgings. Today we visit Dawson Creek in the Peace River.
by Jeff Lukovich, special to the Sun

Bed and breakfasts have come a long way in the last few years. Many boast amenities that rival the most luxurious hotels. Others offer a wide range of value-added features including bodywork and spa treatments, romance packages or kayaking and cycling adventures.

Despite the upscale trend, unlike hotel chains, no two bed and breakfasts are alike. Each has it’s own personality, and that personality is usually a reflection of the owner’s interests, passions and sensibilities.

Each Saturday over the summer, we will take you inside a different B&B in B.C. that reflects some of this diversity. Hope you enjoy your stay.

The Granaries on Bear MountainWhat: The Granaries on Bear Mountain

Where: The Granaries are on Bear Mountain, just outside of Dawson Creek and 1200 km northeast of Vancouver. This is the Peace region – rolling prairie landscape east of the Rockies. Hawkair has daily flights to Dawson Creek from Vancouver.

What’s the Attraction – Inside:

The Granaries bills itself as the Peace Country’s most unusual B&B. I think it’s one of the most unusual anywhere.

The owners have taken three nearly derelict wooden outbuildings from a nearby farm and transformed them into luxury accommodations and a very private retreat. Each building has a function and the three together form a single B&B unit. The circular granary is the dining-lounging pavilion. One of the flanking rectangular granaries is for bathing and the other for sleeping. A circular deck connects all three. They share viewed over a small lake in the one-hectare park-like grounds, as well as an enclosed courtyard. Multiple French doors, skylights and windows brighten each building. Antique furnishings, knickknacks, interesting fabric treatments and artwork provide visual interest.

The sleeping room contains a deluxe queen-size bed with custom linens and down duvet, robes and slippers as wells a TV-VCR and video collection.

The large skit bathroom has a double jacuzzi tub, bath salts, vintage fixtures, CD player and CD collection. The room is an invitation to relax and soak away stress.

The pavilion is skylit and decorated with a Tuscan themed mural by a well known local artist. A mini-kitchen is cleverly hidden in an antique buffet. A foldout queen bed provides a second sleeping area.

The grounds feature a small lake, rock gardens, walking paths, bridges, and native trees and shrubs that support a variety of birds and other wildlife.

The weather was perfect for our visit.It poured rain. We lounged in the jacuzzi tub, read and relaxed in the pavilion, listened to the sounds of rain on the roof and deck, and watched the mist floating above the water while birds flitted from tree to tree. In short, we did nothing – yet everything for which we usually have no time.

Breakfast was delivered to our door at 8:30 and was one of the best we’ve had. The menu included cinnamon oat pancakes with maple creme faiche, triple berry crush, bratwurst sausage and Starbucks Sumatra coffee.

What’s the Attraction – Outside:

If you’re wondering what might inspire someone to turn old granaries into a retreat, an exploration of Dawson Creek might provide a clue. The town has a long history of heritage preservation.The art gallery is in a former grain elevator. The museum and Tourist Info Centre is in the old train station.

Dawson Creek is perhaps best known for being at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. It’s a good home base for exploring other attractions of the Peace region such as W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Tumbler Ridge as well as the abundance of lakes, provincial parks and hiking trails.

What’s the cost:

Rates are $160/night weekdays and $180 on weekends and holidays. Extra guests are $20. Packages available at extra cost such as “Honeymoon Night”, “Romantic Evening” and “Weekend Getaway”  provide extras that may include fresh flowers, champagne, dinner and late checkout.

Contact Info: Heather & Bob Newman, tel: 1-888-782-6304/250-782-6304, email:info@thegranaries.com, web: www.thegranaries.com

Jeff Lukovich is a Delta freelance writer    jlukovich@ultranet.ca

College instructor’s “fine” work highlighted at unveiling

The picturesque, well composed new addition at The Granaries Bed and Breakfast encompasses the entire circumference of the day room and is close to the crown of the ceiling, where a sunroof illuminates the piece.
By Susan Michau, The Mirror

A small gathering of friends and family was privileged to see the unveiling of a work by Laine Dahlen, (Northern Lights College Visual and Graphic Arts Instructor) at the Granaries on Bear Mountain bed and breakfast location last week. Many of Laine’s students showed up and marveled at the piece as Laine so graciously explained the processes of the piece, and shared his thoughts on it with them.

In talking to Heather Newman, (owner of The Granaries on Bear Mountain), Laine discovered the Tuscany theme may have been his idea, but the vision came from a simultaneous decision after communicating their thoughts and ideas together.

The project started in October and is an oil project applied directly to the wall. The paint was applied with a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine, and applied as a step-by-step imprimatura and then wiped out, which resulted in the piece becoming more of a drawing than a painting at that stage. The decision to use the raw sienna was made at the preliminary stages of the conceptual drawing, with the intention of adding very pale pastel colours at the end, which he did. This is reminiscent of the manner of a Venetian ceiling painting of the eighteenth century. A stepladder was used to apply the medium and a unique brush system was designed to facilitate this rather lofty process. Laine fashioned extensions of the brushes from curtain rods, which were then attached to the brush handles to elongate the reach of the instruments.These came in handy for the initial drawing of major forms and blocking in large areas of tone. With the use of rags on the end of his fingers, he lifted off areas of paint to expose the highlights.

The result was a delightful piece that Granaries owners Heather and Robert Newman are extremely pleased with. The unveiling of the piece took place on the evening of June 7th, at The Granaries on Bear Mountain location, and marks the start of this artists intent to embark in a studio endeavor to enable him to focus more specifically on his own works. The piece will require a final coat of varnish in October, just to protect it further from the damages time can bestow on works of this nature.

After working on a piece for this length of time, artists tend to always look for “What the devil did while you were not awake,” as Laine so aptly puts it, but he is satisfied with the piece and grateful to be so well received. The piece adds a warm feeling of elegance and peacefulness to the room that guests will admire for some time to come.

For more information on the bed and breakfast and the special honeymoon, romance, wedding and spa packages available visit www. thegranaries.com or contact Heather Newman toll-free at (888) 782-6304 or locally at (250) 782-6304

Peace Country B&B to be featured in decorating magazine

All the folk who viewed The Granaries on Bear Mountain B&B during last summer’s DC Horticulture Tea and Tour and suggested it should be in a magazine will be pleased to learn that professional stylist Heather Cameron and photographer Janis Nicolay recently trekked to Dawson Creek to shoot The Granaries for a feature article in Canadian Home and Country, an up and coming Canadian decorating publication.

The duo arrived with a van packed with photography equipment, some styling props and fresh flowers to complement the wildflowers and blooms currently on display in the Peace. Because the forecast was not encouraging, they were anxious to start shooting early in the morning before the weather deteriorated. There was some frustration trying to capture the elusive prairie light as it’s no small feat to drive 14 hrs to take pictures. Luckily, the Peace Country axiom” if you don’t like the weather, wait awhile” proved true enough and just as they decided to take a break and head into town for lunch, the clouds magically melted away and the sun beamed down.

Ten rolls of film later, by about 4 o’clock, all of the exterior and interior shots and vignettes had been taken. “ It’s quite an art”, explained Heather Newman of The Granaries. “While the décor might look perfect to your eye when you take in the whole room, the narrow focus of a photograph has to be carefully crafted for the magazine.” Heather C. and Janis spent much time popping back and forth between the viewfinder and the setting to get just the perfect arrangement of objects and furnishings to tell the story and spark the readers’ imagination. “I’m not sure I’ll recognize my own place when the issue hits the newsstands next May or June,” lamented Heather Newman. “I’m sure it will look beautiful though. They really seemed to know what they were doing. It was interesting to watch them play with all the little details when I wasn’t kept busy fetching new articles to include in the scenes”

Once the editors and producers have poured over the photos, a 2 hr interview is arranged, likely by phone in this case. This is the chance to tell the tale of the transformation of the granaries into a B&B and get all the details and credits sorted. The whole process often takes over a year from the time homeowners are contacted for a story till actual publication. “ Heather Cameron contacted me in March after hearing about The Granaries from a friend in White Rock” said Ms Newman who created the unique cabin from the ubiquitous prairie icons. “ It’s not too often that northern rural spreads grace the decorating magazine pages but they were obviously intrigued by the concept and the pictures I copied to help Heather Cameron pitch the idea. Hopefully, it will help to promote the region as an interesting destination.”

Canadian Home & Country article
Canadian Home & Country article

Honour is enough for the Granaries

Peace River Block News , Friday, November 26, 2004

Bed and breakfast owner Heather Newman (The Granaries on Bear Mountain) was thrilled and a little mystified last week when she was notified of her third place win in Canadian House and Homes 2005 Design Contest.The entry outlining the transformation of three old granaries into a unique and luxurious guest house was actually submitted for last years contest but somehow ended up in the pile with this year’s entries. Design editor Sabrina Linn said she was impressed by the project’s use of recycled materials and the fact that everyone got into the DIY act including “the crew” of teen-aged daughters.

Third prize for the 2005 Design contest is a sink valued at $200 and a one or two page spread in the April 2005 issue of the magazine. But, when CHH discovered that “The Granaries” has already been photographed for an upcoming   feature by Canadian Home and Country, the prize had to be withdrawn and the article and pictures cancelled.

” It wouldn’t be nice to scoop a story that was due to be published in a competitors magazine after they have invested time and money in an idea”, explained Hilary Smyth, deputy editor at Canadian House and Home when she broke the news to Newman. “We wouldn’t appreciate it the situation was reversed”.

“Of course I was disappointed” confessed Newman. “It would have been great exposure for the bed and breakfast and Dawson Creek if it hadn’t missed the line-up last year and had won. There would have been no conflict then.Newman said she submitted the entry online but was not sure if it had ever got there.

“It’s still pretty exciting to be recognized by CHH as well as having a lengthier feature in Canadian Home and Country due out in May or June to kick off next year’s season and, it’s been interesting to reflect on the politics and ethics   of publishing. I do understand where they’re coming from”, Newman said.

Smyth said she would forward the file to their sister publication ” Gardening Life” for a possible story with a different angle.