Ohh, this place is so special! I’m excited to share it with you.
My Mum and I were recently hosted at Rowena’s Inn on the River, which is located in Harrison Mills, BC (just 5 minutes from Kilby). Knowing this was a B&B located on a golf course in Harrison Mills, we knew this would be a beautiful place to visit but we had no idea just how special, fascinating and delicious our visit was going to be!
Owner Betty-Anne Faulkner greeted us as we arrived to check into the property, a 160 acre estate situated along the Harrison River. It was so comfortable, just like visiting someone at home. Well, that’s because it is her home! Betty-Anne’s parents purchased this property in 1924 and raised their children here for a good part of their formative years.
Rowena’s Inn, named after Betty-Anne’s mother, opened to the public in 1995. Betty-Anne and her husband live on the property and are very much involved in the day-to-day operations and guest services. Family photos can be seen all over the inn and the cabins, making guests feel very connected to all of the family history held in the walls of these historic buildings.
We had the absolute pleasure of joining Betty-Anne for a scrumptious high tea in the inn’s elegant drawing room. Her stories were endless, and truly fascinating. The youngest of four children, Betty-Anne told us fabulous tales of her hardworking parents and their hobby of collecting antiques. Every piece, from chandeliers to tables to fine rugs, has a fascinating story. Betty-Anne’s parents and grandparents imported and collected pieces from all over the world, most of which is now on display and in use at Rowena’s Inn. The dining table at the inn, which is available as part of the space to be rented for small weddings and other gatherings, has hosted hundreds of interesting people including celebrities and British royals!
The brass banister in the drawing room is from the original Vancouver Hotel and one of the beds upstairs, which Betty-Anne was born in, was a custom-designed piece for Dame Nellie Melba! The rich history of the pieces inside Rowena’s Inn was fascinating and I could have listened to the stories all day long.
After tea we toured the five guest rooms of the manor house-styled inn. The rooms are cozy and elegant.
To have the proprietor touring us around her family’s home was really a memorable experience. Each of the rooms belonged to she, her parents or her siblings and a plaque on each door indicates such. It’s neat to hear how closets were transformed to bathrooms and the history of how Rowena’s Inn turned from a family’s home to a charming B&B.
The grounds of Rowena’s Inn are stunning. The early-century inn, chalet-style cabins and the spectacular Sandpiper Golf Course (designed by Betty-Anne’s brother) are situated on the river, with mountains, eagles and B.C.’s incomparable scenic nature for as far as the eye can see. The backdrop to this special Fraser Valley resort is a feast for the eyes. The owners have thought of every last detail, including a private air strip for those who prefer to fly in.
All of the cabins at Rowena’s are named after Betty-Anne’s parent’s grandchildren. There are presently four cabins on the property, with plans to double this amount. We were treated to a stay in Nelson’s cabin, the closest cabin to the river which is situated on the signature 15th hole of the Sandpiper Golf Course. Upon arrival we enjoyed a bottle of white wine and a fresh fruit and cheese plate. The cabin was fantastic, with vaulted ceilings, a kitchenette, a stone wood fire place, comfy king size bed, huge jacuzzi soaker tub, heated floors, deck overlooking the river… it was so very relaxing.
Dinner at the onsite River’s Edge Restaurant was incredible. Fine home-style dining is how we decided the fare would be described. I enjoyed the biggest yorkshire pudding I’ve ever seen, stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth prime rib and served with fresh steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Mum thoroughly enjoyed two succulent rock lobster tails that she says were “cooked to absolute, mouth-watering perfection”.
We could barely manage to even look at the dessert menu, but once we did we couldn’t resist a sweet evening treat. Our vanilla creme brulee and tiramisu in a martini glass were decadent.
When we visited Rowena’s, it was a tad too chilly for a swim, but the large outdoor pool and hot tub overlooking the river looked very inviting!
After dinner we took advantage of the Scrabble board and other games provided in the cabins. We also searched the cabin high and low for a riddle left to visitors by a past guest. The guest book includes lovely sentiments from people all over the world and if you stay in Nelson’s cabin, you will be treated to this riddle as well. It took us quite some time to find it, but when we did, we knocked three times and howled at the moon!
As we drifted off to sleep, we could hear… nothing. It was silent, but for the small wisps of wind sailing through the trees. We were woken by the shining sun and the chatter of birds outside. As we sat on the deck with our morning coffee, we watched a (very quiet) lawn groomer preparing the course for the day. A dozen or so swallows happily danced around him, catching the bugs that his machine had woken from the ground.
We were already feeling thankful and spoiled for such a relaxing night away… and then breakfast arrived in a neat wicker basket. The basket was full to the brim: fresh fruit salad, yogurt, granola, muffins, orange juice, coffee, pancakes, toast, sausages, bacon, hashbrowns… it was a feast for four, but the two of us somehow managed.
Guests that stay in the manor house gather each morning at 9:30 in the downstairs solarium, where they enjoy the same full, hot English breakfast.
Betty-Anne was one of the most interesting and elegant women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in quite some time and Rowena’s Inn on the River is a very magical place. I highly recommend it for a romantic night away, a quiet place to reflect on your own or as my Mum and I found, a special place to visit, chat and reconnect with someone special.
Rowena’s Inn on the River
14282 Morris Valley Road, Harrison Mills