Merritt British Columbia Canada tourism and travel adventures in and around the Nicola Valley.

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Merritt BC Canada Hotel – Best Western Plus

Merritt BC Canada Hotel

Best Western Plus in Merritt British Columbia Canada

“The Best Western Plus, Merritt BC is the newest and largest hotel throughout the Nicola Valley. “

From the minute I stepped into the foyer to the minute I checked out, my stay at the Best Western Plus, Merritt BC Canada hotel was a 5 star experience. The vibrant and stylish decor made for a welcoming front entrance and lounge area.  Danica, who greeted me at the front desk with a warm smile and conversation, performed a seamless check in. It was off to my room in no time and ready to enjoy my stay!

Best Western Nicola Valley

The foyer welcomes all guests

Meet This Nicola Valley Hotel

The Best Western Plus, Merritt BC is the newest and largest hotel throughout the Nicola Valley. Enjoy your stay in your choice of a one or two bedroom suite, single/double room or pet room. All rooms have high-speed wireless internet, 43 inch LED televisions with On Demand movies and single serve coffee and tea makers. 

General Manager Anoop Sekhon shared with me his thoughts as well, 

“The Sekhon family takes  pride in giving first class service and offering high end accommodations to all our valued customers.” 

In my experience, this definitely holds true!

Last Minute Hotel Goodies

If you forget something, don’t worry. Do what I did. Drop by the Snack Bar located next to the reception desk and pick up what you need. I noticed it was open 24 hours a day and sold a variety of items including juices, soft drinks, yogurt, chips, candy, and assorted personal care items. I loaded up and headed back to my room.

Comfy Quarters 

My room had all the comforts of home –  comfortable bed, fluffy pillows, warm comforter, and plush towels. Even the hand cream was worth writing home about! The best feature is how quiet the room was – something I can honestly say is not a feature in most hotels.

Pet Friendly Hotel Merritt B.C.

Comfy beds!

Complimentary Full Breakfast 

There is nothing like a good breakfast to start your day and the Best Western Plus, Merritt BC serves up a meal fit for a King! The hot entree’s were impressive indeed. There was bacon, sausage, eggs, waffles, toast, muffins, bagels and pastries!  Also there were continental breakfast items such as yogurt, fresh fruit, juices, coffee and tea. And many more items to suit most dietary needs.

Merritt, B.C., Canada Hotels

Dining and lounge area

The breakfast/lounge area is a great gathering room any time of day. Pockets of varied seating are great for visiting, reading or just watching TV. It is by far the largest breakfast/lounge area I have ever seen in a Merritt BC Canada Hotel.

Best Western Plus, Merritt BC Amenities

All guests get to enjoy these features:

  • Large, complimentary parking areas
  • Pets welcome
  • Meeting/banquet facilities
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Fitness centre
  • Terrace
  • Non-smoking property
  • Business centre
  • Laundry
  • Dry cleaning
  • Facilities for disabled guests
  • Family rooms
  • Elevators
  • Indoor pool & hot tub
  • Soundproof rooms
  • Fax/photocopying
  • Non-smoking throughout
  • Air conditioning
  • Designated smoking area
  • Special diet menus (on request)
  • Vending machine (drinks)
  • Vending machine (snacks)
  • Shared lounge/TV area
  • Mini-market on site
  • Daily maid service
  • Electric vehicle charging  Tesla stations
  • Accessible parking
Best Western Merritt BC

Time for a swim

Nearby Places To Eat 

With a wide variety of restaurants and lounges located nearby, guests never have to go far for a good meal.

Pet Friendly Hotel In Merritt

Pets are not just accepted at this hotel, they are welcomed! Of all the Merritt BC Canada Hotels the Best Western Plus is a winner at planning well thought out rooms for pet stays! Pet rooms have two entrances – one leading to the lobby and the second to the outdoors. Indeed this is the best hotel I have stayed at with my dog Bailey!!  

Pet Friendly Hotel Merritt B.C.

Bailey guarding his doggy treats!

Hotel Conference Rooms For Large Groups

This Merritt BC Canada hotel accommodation is ideal for business professionals and for hosting large group functions by way of their professional meeting and conference facilities.  The Sagebrush Room can accommodate up to 65 people.  It is ideal for meetings, social functions or events.  

 

Pet Friendly Hotel Merritt B.C.

3969 Crawford Ave.

Merritt, B.C.

Local # 250-378-0700

Book Today: Best Western Website

Best Western Plus, Merritt B.C.

 

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Winter Campfires in the Nicola Valley, B.C.

Campfire Fun in Wintery Merritt

Bonfires and campfires throughout the Nicola Valley

“Not long after the snowball fight started and the laughter and happy shrieks of the girls had us laughing right along.”

There’s something magical about winter campfires in the Nicola Valley, B.C. in the falling snow. Warming up with it’s glowing heat, while enjoying time with friends and family. Roasting marshmallows and having hot chocolate or an adult bevvy. Watching the kids faces light up as they make their marshmallow just right for them. I lucked out this last boxing day, with a light snow falling, great friends, and cold beers.

Campfire in Winter

Fire in the snow

I had an urge for a fire and invited a good friend and his daughters out to enjoy with me. I got the fire started and had it roaring and hot for when they got here. It kept us toasty warm as we gabbed about Christmas and the girls told me about their presents. They were enjoying so much that they even left their phones alone. Inspired by the winter campfires fun in the Nicola Valley, I got out the roasting sticks and marshmallows and they were soon competing to have the best marshmallow. Not long after the snowball fight started and the laughter and happy shrieks of the girls had us laughing right along.

 

Family and friends

 

One of the best things about living in a small community is how quickly you get to know people, neighbours soon become friends. We were soon joined by other residents wanting to join in on the fun and warmth. Winter campfires in the Nicola Valley helped smiles and laughter come easily, when surrounded by good people and nature’s beauty. http://www.moonshadows.ca

 

Mental illness to mental wellness

 

I myself live with anxiety, but regularly find myself turning to a relaxing evening with a fire. The elements have always had a calming effect on my mind and I love getting lost in the dancing flames. The trees, earth, sound of the river, combined with the fire, bring my mind to a place of ease and contentment. Mix all that in with amazing people, and I am one real happy camper ( pun intended ). campmyway.com

Firetime fun

Happy fires

I feel very fortunate to live and be able to share in these beautiful surroundings and moments here in the Nicola Valley hosting my winter campfires.

 

Life truly is good around a winter campfire

 

Neighbours and friends have helped to make our communal fire pit safe and welcoming for all. Everyone knows that if you see my fire lit, to feel more than free to come down and join in. For my friends in town I send out a few texts and let the fun begin. We have stumps out and a couple picnic tables to accommodate all that want to join me. For me there’s nothing better than good company to truly enjoy an evening. When it gets damp, I get the stumps around the edge so they dry out and get warm for tushies. I try to make sure everyone that joins my fires are as comfortable as possible. I want everyone to feel at home with me, and enjoy as much as I do.

“Always warm and inviting. “ Stewart Nutbrown

 

Gathering wood

Firewood to be

I’m not normally a big fan of winter, but with campfires available I’m enjoying this one to the utmost.

With the help of other campers, we’ve got ourselves a great load of firewood that I’ve begun to split. Hard work, but so worth it. Gathering and splitting wood keeps me warm, and in great shape. Going out to different spots in the Nicola Valley with the guys was a ton of fun. The catcalls and teamwork were at their best. Hanging with the guys brings out the rude, yet fun comments and jibes. Thankfully I’ve always hung out and enjoyed male friends, so I’m able to join right in with the banter.

 

Gathering campfire wood with Lance Brown in the Nicola Valley

Depending on the type of wood I’m using, ie; split or branches, is how I build my fire. With twigs and branches I tend to do a teepee style, split wood I go with log cabin. How do you start your fires?

I like to start my fires before the sun sets, so that I have good light. The awe inspiring sunsets definitely have me out there early too, so I can enjoy the view full of purples, pinks, reds, and oranges with a hot fire at my back. My 16 year old son loves pointing them out to me for us both to enjoy. With views that inspire the soul, I can’t imagine anywhere more beautiful than the Nicola Valley. White snow covered hills in winter or layers of gold in summer.

Muse for fires

Sunset sky

 

 

 

My friends daughters got to enjoy making some Christmas memories on a perfect snowy night. I know I’ll never forget it right here in the Nicola Valley with winter campfires.

 

 

 

Wildfire campfires in the Nicola Valley and Merritt, BC

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Best Places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

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Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

I like today’s weather forecast- snow; and tomorrow’s- more snow!

The choice

As one of our Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture, I decided to cook up some chicken and dumplings and use the next couple of snow days to work on one of my furniture projects. I keep trying to make time to renew a small, decorative shelf.  Want to follow along with your own project?

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

The original piece

Step1- wash the shelf

The first thing I did was wash the shelf. If there is any grease or dirt left on your project, you are only giving yourself potential problems by skipping this step. T.S.P. will clean dirt and grease off most things quickly and easily. Rinse well and allow the piece to dry. Do not soak wood items!

Although water raises wood grain, this is not a problem because we will sand the piece before priming it.

Step 2- fill cracks and holes

The next step is to fill any cracks, holes or imperfections. I chose a quick- drying wood filler and applied it with a metal spatula. Both are available at most home improvement stores around town.  Since I live close to Home Hardware, it was easy for me to get all my project supplies there.

I spoke to Clara Moyes at Home Hardware after getting really good help (as always) from some of the other staff. I asked her what makes Home Hardware different from their competition. Her reply? 

“It’s the customer service!”

She is so right! Great service all the time, every time.

If there are any deep holes, and this project had several, I partially fill them and allow the fill to dry. Then, I fill them the rest of the way. Trying to do this in one step only leaves the fill inside the hole still moist and subject to cracking. If you are a Merritt, B.C. senior repurposing furniture, you know it is worth the extra time it takes to do it right!

Step 3- sand it smooth

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

Filled and sanded

Now comes the messy bit. Please, everyone, use a dust mask for this step! I have a little electric sander that has a dust catching bag attached. Although I love it, it doesn’t get into all the tiny places. I still need to use a sanding block (and a dust mask).

As a Merritt, B.C. senior refinishing furniture, I have a nice collection of sanding blocks, both home made and store bought. I have used them for years. Whichever sander you choose, use sandpaper made for your project. Choose a 100 to 150- grit paper. Sand your project well. Dust it off with a dry rag if you are using a water- based primer, or with a tack rag if your primer is oil based.

Step 4- prime the project

So far, so good! Now, my fellow Merritt, B.C.  seniors repurposing furniture, it is time to prime the piece. In my case, there were quite a few knots in the wood. When you have this situation to deal with it is a good idea to prime the knots first and let them dry before then priming the whole piece. Use a stain killing primer such as “Kilz”. If there is any sap left in those knots, the extra layer of primer will prevent it from “bleeding” through the paint and spoiling your project.

Merritt, B.B., seniors repurposing furniture

Primed and ready to paint

 Step 5- paint

This is the rewarding part. By now you have chosen your colour.  I decided on paint (a soft mauve colour). Because the holes and knots in the wood required a lot of filling, trying to stain so much spotty fill would likely leave me with a hot mess! Later I will hand- paint some leaves and flowers on them (maybe).

The easiest way to paint a small project is to just spray it.  On a small project like mine, one can is all you will need. Spray paint gives a nice, smooth finish, covers well and dries quickly. In warm weather you can take your project outside to spray it. In winter, see if you can score an appliance-sized box and use it as a spray booth for small projects. Be sure to wear a mask and ventilate the room. Two or three light coats of spray paint and the job is done!

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

All done!

Step 6- protective coat

If you want your project to have extra protection, it is very easy to spay it with a clear varithane. Today’s varithanes come in several sheens so ask the paint experts to help you choose one that suits your project. Be sure to let everything dry well and give it a week, or better yet two, before subjecting it to heavy use.

Now enjoy being one of our Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture!

Conclusion

I am the proud owner of a refinished (and repurposed) shelf. It sure is great to be a Merritt, B.C. senior repurposing furniture! Also, this is an inexpensive way to get “new” stuff for yourself.

How did your project turn out? Send some photos and share it with us. Show off what you can do!

                            Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture!

Your senior blogger,

Diane

 

    

 

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PFN Coaching, Mark Nendicks Story

Mark Nendicks Story

Mark running a race in 2018

 

Local Merritt resident Mark Nendick is the owner/operator of PFN Coaching (Priority Fitness Nutrition). A successful Merritt based company that focus’s on helping people reach their greatest potential through diet and exercise.  

       While working a full time job at Highland Valley Copper and raising 3 kids, Mark has still managed to find the time to start and maintain his business. Showing that hard work, dedication and passion really do bring results. 

        Today he is in the best shape of his life but most importantly he is enjoying life on his terms, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark at a local coffee shop and ask him a few questions.  Below is Marks story:

The Transition

In 2007 Mark found himself weighing 260 pounds. Standing at the starting line of a 5 km run, his daughter strapped in her stroller, with a Venti Java Chip Frapuccino in his hand. He thought this race was an easy feat. However, unable to finish the race, and with no energy or self esteem he was fed up with how he felt both physically and mentally. So it was at this moment he realized he needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

        In 2010, he embarked on a health and wellness journey. Overweight and riddled with anxiety he knew there had to be a better way to live and feel.  Therefore he committed himself to learning as much as he could about making healthy choices and personal well being. Realizing he was not alone with these struggles, he created PFN Coaching to support others in achieving their lifestyle goals as well.

PFN coaching founder Mark Nendick

 

COACHING

 Mark began eating a healthier diet to lose some weight and started running to help his cardio, he also incorporated strength training to offset muscle loss. In 2016 he became a Certified Personal Trainer and took on his first client who had an amazing results. Converting his basement into a gym he holds 4-6 classes per week and now has over 100 clients.

Mark is 55 pounds lighter today and feels amazing. However, he had to constantly reach out of his comfort zone so he could achieve the goals he did. The end result was definitely worth it. PFN Coaching is growing stronger as are the people who are apart of it. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, this is a great example of how hard work truly pays off. 

 

Corporate Health

In 2018, Mark joined with a friend of his from Austria and became a senior partner in a Corporate Health Business. The goal of the program is to teach employers and their employees how to create a healthy atmosphere. While boosting morale and improving productivity, the employees felt more valued and the companies also noticed a reduction in sick time. It only makes sense to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home and at our workplace.

 

       Mark is currently training for this year’s 2019 Los Angeles Marathon. When he meets the qualifying time in L.A he will then be eligible to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon. Which has been a dream of his for years. Knowing Marks focus and dedication I have no doubt he will make the qualifying time in LA, setting a target time for him to beat in Boston I’m sure. PFN Coaching is more than a local business. It is a lifestyle transition for those wanting to improve their physical health and well being. 

 

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Nicola Valley Community Garden

Nicola Valley Community Garden Society

Gardening in the Nicola Valley

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

Since 2012 when the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society came about by a group of friends who had a passion for gardening. They have wanted to continue to share that passion with their community.

Nicola Valley Community Garden has since become a place for members to share their expertise year after year with new gardeners and the community. Besides putting on different events and talks throughout the year, members also help each other with day-to-day tending when needed. 

 

gardening community garden bees growing food

Photo Credit – Nicola Valley Community Garden

 

Most importantly its a place where you can grow a garden with help from other members.  Whether you are new to gardening or an expert, young or old there is something for you. A few things they offer;

Plot Support

  • Compost sharing
  • Seed sharing
  • Joint Watering
  • Garden Mentoring
  • New to Gardening? They can help you get started.

Although its in a community setting the benefits can be astounding. Being in a community plot allows you to learn as you grow and it also allows you to help others along the way. It really is a win win situation.

First of all a garden is a place where you can slow down and take in the tranquility of your surroundings. Be sure to take a look at the little things while you’re gardening. Enjoy teaching your children how to grow their own nutritious food. Harvesting what you grow is so rewarding. Besides, I think there is nothing quite as soothing as digging in the dirt and nothing quite as rewarding as watching those little seeds come through the earth. As well as growing to become food on our plates.

growing food, community garden, garden plot, vegitables

Photo Credit – Nicola Valley Community Gardens

Few of the Past Functions

Every year the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society hosts a few exciting functions. Below are a few of the past functions held at the gardens.

Past Events

  • Salsa Fest. Although no longer run, this event was meant to be a community celebration. To share the wonderful produce available in the area or grown by the gardeners. It was a great opportunity to do a bit of fundraising. Fundraising helped ensure the organization and garden was sustainable into the future. The salsa competition was held on Aug 15, 2015. It was an exciting event that hosted 8 competitors and 3 judges. The attendees were also treated to a salsa dance lesson as well as delightful taste experiences. Wouldn’t be fun to have this event again?
  • Harvest Potluck. Again an older event, this was held on one day in the fall. Gardeners would all share their harvest with fellow members. What a great idea as not every one may want to grow the same things. Being able to share your bounty with others was a great benefit.
  • Yoga in the Garden. This event was held in the garden over the summer. Becoming a popular peaceful way to spend an hour. The Community Garden is looking at possibly reintroducing this. In order to do this they would need volunteers to help set it up and run it. If your interested contact the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society. 

And a couple more past talks

  • Compost and sq ft garden. There isn’t a lot known about this at the moment. They were talks they held once a month. Different subjects  discussed around composting and sq ft. gardening.
  • Earth ships by Sarah Molnar. Seems like a very interesting talk about combining your living space with your growing space and all the benefits you can rep by doing this.
  • Adventures in Permaculture with Julia Ghog and Mike Ebenal. While this talk featured three examples of experimental gardening using permaculture principles. The hugelkultur, the herb mound and the no-weed raised garden beds. It would also be interesting to learn other permaculture gardening ideas, for instance forest gardening.

Nicola Valley Community Garden  has a number of great events coming up in 2019. Be sure to check out NVCGS on Facebook or follow me at Experience Nicola Valley to read about whats going on past and present.

vegetables, good food, growing food

Photo credit – Nicola Valley Community Garden

Nicola Valley Community Garden’s Mission Statement

  • Facilitate and cooperate in the development of a sustainable food system for residents of the Nicola Valley.
  • Support the development of a network of community.
  • Encourage education in gardening; nutritional well-being and food security.
  • Engage seniors in the community mentoring of others.

Wondering how can you become involved? Check out a few options below. 

Support

Besides becoming an associate member of the NVCGS, which will help show that what they strive to do is important. And as a result this helps them generate funds to keep going. Whether you are gardening or interested in giving talks, there is always a way you can help support them.

Finally it promotes a sense of pride in our Community. As we work towards healthier lifestyles and food sustainability for all.

Upcoming events

In Conclusion here are some upcoming events for March

  • March 8th – 12-6 pm – NVIT
    Table at Food Connection Event
  • March 19th 6:30-7:30 Earthwalker Spiritual Shop
    Caring for House Plants and tropicals guest speaker
  • March 23rd – 10-4 – Civic Center
    Table at Nonprofit fair
  • March 30th 10-4 Civic Center
    1 o’clock talk about benefits of gardening @ Woman’s Fair

Contact

Nicola valley Community Gardens can be found on;

  • FaceBook
  • Instagram
  • email: nicolavalleycommunitygardens@gamil.com
  • Telephone: Alycia at – 604-833-8761

Nicola Valley Community Garden Society

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Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Canadian Country Music

Country Music Hall of Fame is a Merritt Tradition

“Canadian Country music continues to grow in Canada and a number of US artists have recorded and made hits of songs written by Canadian Song writers.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects,  preserves and displays the history and tradition of Country music.  The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian country music artists, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a national attraction and a must see Nicola Valley Experience in Merritt, BC Canada’s downtown.
 
Merritt and the Nicola Valley country atmosphere, outdoor adventures, traditional ranches, heritage and the unique
desolate landscape has been the inspiration for the biggest Country Music Festivals in Canada.  In addition it has earned Merritt the title, Country Music Capital of Canada. It has also set the stage for the Country Music Hall of Fame to showcase our national artist inductees, song writers and  their contributions  to country music.

Canadian Country Music Roots

Canadian Country Music

Photo Source CCMA: Hank Snow

The Maritimes, parts of Ontario and BC shared a strong folk tradition similar to that of the Appalachian region of the US. Because of this country music has found ready acceptance in Canada. It was first popularized by fiddlers such as Don Messer and George Wade. They started their careers on radio in the late 1920s. The Canadian Victor Record Co signed Wilf Carter in 1932, and his success prompted Victor to sign Wade (1933). Hank Snow (1936) and Hank LaRivière (1941) were signed as well. Carter, Snow, and later Earl Heywood introduced a unique style of country music to the scene using a lower, less nasal-sounding voice with clearer enunciation and fewer of the blues like slurs and high whining sounds that dominate much American country music.

Canadian Singers

However, Canadian singers depend more on the traditional ballad and story songs than on the “cheatin'” and barroom songs often preferred in the US. The Great Depression, WWII,  a more mobile population, the success of the “singing cowboy” movies, the number of US radio stations with access to Canada, the increasing number of pop adaptations in country music, national radio shows and tours all increased the popularity of country  music throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.

Movement to the United States

Canadian artists have struggled with low population of the country. Until the mid-1950s country artists relied on live radio shows,  regional touring in clubs, barn dances and local television appearances to earn a living. With a shortage of places to perform and the lack of good recording studios, numerous artists, including Ray Griff, Stu Phillips, Lucille Starr and Ronnie Prophet, followed the lead of Hank Snow and moved to the US.  In the 1960s country records became more pop-oriented. Artists such as Anne Murray, R. Harlan Smith and Shirley Eikhardt received airplay on commercial radio.

Country Music and Rock

Rock-oriented music, of the Good Brothers, Prairie Oyster and Colleen Peterson, gained a wider audience. The urban folk boom of the 1960s consisted of artists such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and Bob Ruzicka. These musicians have both a strong urban and country appeal. The folk-music boom  introduced bluegrass, the jazz of country music, and traditional Canadian fiddle music to a much larger audience. In the 1990s there continued to be a strong crossover feeling to Canadian country music. The addition of new music artists Rita MacNeil, Quartette, Colleen Peterson, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins and The Barra MacNeils appeal to Canadian music audiences in general.

Growth of Western and Canadian Country Music

Canadian-content regulations for commercial radio in 1970 gave valuable airplay to artists such as Dick Damron,
“Stompin’ Tom” Connors, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck and the Family Brown. More radio stations were licensed and
more began to program for specialized markets. In 1960 there was one radio station, CFCW in Alberta, featuring
country music entirely. By 1987 there were 85 originating stations programming some country music during their
broadcast day, and by 1998 there were 110 full-time country stations and 36 part-time stations broadcasting country music in Canada. Because of this the 1980s saw a revival of interest in the older styles of country music of Ian Tyson, k.d. lang and groups such as Blue Rodeo and Spirit of the West. The more mainstream music of Eddie Eastman, Terry Sumsion and Terry Carisee, etc, remained popular.

Nashville Calling

Up until the 1990s primary television exposure for country artists came through such network shows as the Tommy
Hunter Show and syndicated broadcasts such as Sun Country and the Family Brown Show. More importantly, with the advent of country music specialty television channels, such as the Nashville Network and Canada’s Country Music Television (established in 1994 as New Country Network), new exposure possibilities for country music artists became possible. A new genre of country music, often referred to as new country, arose to take advantage of these opportunities. Borrowing promotional and production techniques along with a dose of attitude from rock music, this new music challenged accepted ideas of country music. This resulted in giving country musicians a much wider and more urban audience.

Making It Big

Country Music in Merritt

Photo Source CCMA: Michelle Wright-Patricia Conroy

Canadian artists who emerged in the 1990s include Michelle Wright, k.d. lang, George Fox, Charlie Major, Blue Shadows, Prescott/Brown, Paul Brandt, Cassandra Vassik, Patricia Conroy, Lori Yates, Terry Clark, the Wilkinsons and multi-award winner Shania Twain. There is still the notion that to make it big you must move to Nashville. However, television now offers Canadian artists a chance for much wider exposure. A 3-hour 1992 CBC-TV special brought new country and old country together in a program devoted to the history of Canadian country music called Country Gold. This program featured interviews and performances by Canadian artists from Hank Snow to k.d. Lang.

Birth of Canadian Country Music Association

The Canadian Country Music Association, formed in 1975 as the Academy of Country Music Entertainment, has sponsored an annual country music week in different cities across Canada. Country Music Week, as well as, Big Country Awards have brought artists and industry people together and have become major events in the promotion and development of country music. Therefore, the annual broadcast of the Country Music Awards has for many years been the top-rated Canadian music show on television. The Country Music Association is also responsible for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour, with a permanent home in Edmonton. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame however, is situated in Merritt, British Columbia.

Then and Now

Country Music hall of Fame

Photo Source: CCMH of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame has released a Then and Now Album Volume 1.  On September 7th, 2018 the first-ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was released. During the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton, Ontario the ‘Then and Now – Volume 1’ compilation album was released. The album features Hall of Fame inductees Ian Tyson, Murray McLauchlan and Michelle Wright. They performed their biggest hits, in duets with some of today’s top names in Canadian country music. Some of the top artists performing are Brett Kissel, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke. They were proud to participate.

Country Music Hall of Fame

There is an artifact collection of plaques, vintage turn table with 100’s of records (collection growing), national artist memorabilia, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. Secondly, the country Music Hall of Fame includes extensive biographical information on the inductees. It is located in downtown Merritt, British Columbia at 2025 Quilchena Avenue. The facility is open year-round for custom tours, and is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours. The initiative is governed by a not-for-profit society (the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society).

For more information contact:

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC Canada
Phone: 1-250-315-5508
Email: info@ccmhalloffame.com

Canadian Country Music in Merritt BC Canada

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Confessions Of A Baker – Merritt BC Bakery

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

When I was a little girl, living in Merritt, BC. I was always in the kitchen helping my Grandma, my mom, and even my Foster mom cook or bake. Whether it be adding ingredients for them or mixing it up for them.

Even-though I was always in the Kitchen helping didn’t mean that baking was my passion, I just enjoyed helping and learning at all costs. I felt if I was not helping then I was not accomplishing anything, or contributing my part in the house hold.

Back in those days though; we were not asked to come in the kitchen, we were told not to get in the way, or not to play around the stove! I guess those rules are still in play with families today!

If we wanted to learn or even to be apart of the crowd so to speak, we would have to ask! Even show a little interest to learn what or how they made everything taste so good.

Confessions of a Baker# 1: I was more interested in playing and exploring the outdoors getting into trouble so to speak! The street lights were our window to curfew! Dinner Time!

First Attempt To Cook!

I was 7 years old, when I first used a stove on my own! Paying attention, or being observant paid for a great cause!

Both parents were working and the babysitter didn’t show up! We, (my sister, and I), were home alone. It was  late, and my sister was on a schedule, due to her medications she had to take. 

Anyway, my mom had made extra meat pot pies! First time I ever had to used a stove or oven, I was scared shitless! But someone had to feed us right?

 Can you imagine what was going through my mind at that time? That was a lot of pressure for a 7 year old, but I was determined to succeed!

My main concern was to feed my sister because she had to take her medicine. She has epilepsy! Guaranteed, her having a seizure was more scary to me than burning a house down, trust me!

Although, the countless things going through my head at the time was overwhelming, I did get it done. My sister was fed, she got her medications, and I was quite proud of myself in the end!

Confessions of a Baker# 2: I did get into a lot of trouble when my mother found out! I got grounded! But on the other hand, she was proud of me. Knowing that no matter what, I did what I had to do!

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

At the time, I was 10 years old. I was living with my Foster Mom, Joan Lawrence. This was the time I first learned how to bake! Joan was baking some bread and buns that day, and I has asked if I could help.

“Not with the bread!” she said, ” But how would you like to learn to make some cookies?”

Joan saw the interest in my eyes, at the time I was not sure how she did it, but she knew. However, she opened a cook book and gave it to me. She told me that all I had to do was follow the instructions.

 All we had to do now was place the cookies on to the baking sheet and bake. I was pretty excited that I actually followed the recipe step by step, well… at least I thought I had. 

Confessions of a Baker# 3: She told me they were very good! But they were hard as a rock! She didn’t know that I knew, Baking disaster….. What a Kind Soul She Had Though! I had forgot the baking soda!

Baking Was History!

A little bit of History of the first time I started to bake! There you have it, I lost interest after the last Confession. I took for granted how much work baking would be, thinking it was easy.Who was I kidding!

From then on, I enjoyed every moment of eating the baking everyone else did.

 

Confessions of a Baker# 4: I never started to bake again until… Until I became a mother myself. Of course it was not on a regular basis either!

When My Passion Came To Light!

The first time, I ever decided to try and be creative, when it came to baking, was is 2009! I was living in Kelowna, BC.  That was when I created a recipe, no cook book, no instructions, just the idea that flowed through my head. The idea came to light, and I even searched it, online, in every dessert cookbook out there! Could not find not one recipe that even came close to this idea.

My very first Creation! That was when everything changed for me. From then on, I dedicated, all my spare time I had baking and creating.

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

That is also when The realization came to me as well. Every time I felt alone, sad, angry, and disappointed; my go to thing was baking! Yes Baking! I felt so much better after losing myself in creating new recipes,and baking up a storm. So much so that at the end of the day I started to give it away because I had too much, haha! Go figure!

Confessions of a Baker# 5: At first I was convinced I was going crazy, or thinking I had some kind of Compulsive disorder, or even a never ending baking frenzy! HAHA! Baking more than needed or necessary!

Therefore, this is how it was going for a few more years!

My First Business Was Created!

So after years of baking and creating, I thought what if…. Well that what if if, lead to getting a business setup! Such as a Business name, a business number (through Revenue Canada). Then finding the clientele, because first step, clients! Who else right? It takes a lot of work to get a business set up, it takes time and a lot of time. Learning all the rules and regulations, the laws, the city bylaws, and well you get the picture I am sure!

The most important though…. is you have to be completely committed…..you have to believe in yourself as well as your faithful clients! It all takes time, effort, and passion to be completely successful.

Learn as much as you can, put your heart and soul into your work, because if you don’t then you really are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Confessions of a Baker# 6: I have made this very Mistake. I had to Learn the hard way! My First Business failed because I did not put a lot into my business. I actually lost Faith in myself, NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!

Therefore I learned that before you get yourself into a loaded ship, and before you sail, make sure you put 110% into it all! Lesson Learned!

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

Today! Not only Have I succeeded, I have more experience, more Faith, and more clients! As the years go on, it only gets better! Although it is a lot easier now than it has been, the pride I have now is worth every moment this path has taken me thus far!

 Today I get more request, more happy clients, and it feels so good to see that thinks can only get better with each passing day! As along as I keep working on not just what I love, but constantly working on improvements and feed back from my customers.

Confessions of a Baker# 7: Never be afraid to ask for help! I learned this lesson along the way, and believe me the help and support from other bakers whom are more experienced is the best way to help you succeed!

Marie’s Sweet Shoppe did several Cakes in the past few Months!

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC

Where friends meet to eat.

You have to try a piece of the homemade pies.

Tucked around the corner from the Adelphi Hotel is this quaint little Cafe called Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC. Because it’s so busy you know it’s got to be good. Some of the locals seem to be there all the time. And don’t let the location fool you, this is a very popular little cafe. Which I found out upon my arrival. 

I honestly never expected this little cafe to be as busy as it was. I have been here a couple times and it’s always full. That has to tell you something. When you find a good cafe, you keep coming back. Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC won’t disappoint.

Feeling Privileged

Being a blogger for Experience Nicola Valley makes me feel very privileged. I enjoy being able to share this cafe with you all. Please go, enjoy sharing a meal and having a few laughs along the way. Then share with your friends and family.

The Owner

Taking time to chat is very limited for Lynda as people are always coming and going. The whole time I was there the tables were full and at one point I thought that people were going to have to wait for a table. But, the customers are great and a couple that were finished promptly got up and allowed the new customers to have their seats. The food and service were wonderful.

Walking in.

As you walk into Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC you will find the atmosphere warm and welcoming.  Lynda will always be behind the counter or serving and joking with the regulars and other customers. It was such a great feeling, I was half expecting someone to yell “Norm” lol. The cafe has a real home town feeling where all the locals hangout and you make some great new friends. Which will eventually be thought of as family by coming back more often.

Merritt, BC, Lynda's Cafe

Lynda getting supplies ready for tables.

There are a lot of great choices on the menu and one of my favorite menu items is served all day, bacon and eggs. There is something about being able to have breakfast any time of the day or night. And after spying a meal from one of the other customers having burgers and fries, I will defiantly be having that on my next visit. It looked so good, almost made me wish I had ordered it this time. But, that just makes it better for my returning visit.

burger fries, lynda's cafe

Burger from Lynda’s Cafe

Bacon and eggs are not always easy to have made exactly how you like them. The cook did and amazing job. Eggs over easy and bacon cooked a little on the crispy side is how I like it done. It was perfect, I couldn’t have been happier with my meal. I also had a glass of ice tea which was not to tart, nor to sweet. Something anyone can enjoy over and over.

Lynda's Cafe in Merritt BC

Bacon and Eggs for breakfast.

Pies

When you have a look at the homemade pies it’s hard not to want to dig right in. Pies made at Lynda’s Cafe are all made from scratch, including the pastry. Just take a look at that strawberry custard pie, yummy.  Although you may be full from your meal, I would suggest taking a piece or two home to try late. Although I had to take my piece of pie home it didn’t last too long. Let me know what you think of the pie on your next visit, I would love to hear.

pie, home made, strawberry custard

Completely home made strawberry custard pie.

One of the first thing you will notice is on the walls are some gorgeous wildlife paintings. There is a beautiful wagon wheel hanging from the ceiling that has been turned into a light fixture. And the window sills are full of the signature bobble heads. Take a look as you walk up. 

What’s the story behind the bobble heads? You’ll have to head into the cafe to find out by asking Lynda.

bobble head, cafe, merritt, bc

Bobble heads line the window sills.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC opened in Oct of 2013. Lynda has never looked back since opening. She thoroughly enjoys serving people, seeing them leave with full bellies and a smile on their faces. Joking around is another great thing about this cafe. There are always people smiling and laughing. This cafe has that home town, down to earth, family feeling while your here.

Lynda's Cafe, Lynda, Michelle, Merritt, BC

Lynda and I enjoying a laugh.

Room service

Lynda’s Cafe also offers room service for the attached Adelphi Hotel. Lynda delivered a number of meals to the hotel while I was there. Lynda’s Cafe serves meals at regular intervals throughout the day to the Adelphi Hotel.

Catering

Another service offered here at Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC is catering. To find out more about what Lynda offers with her catering service please contact her at the restaurant.

Lynda's Cafe, merritt BC

Outside Lynda’s Cafe

Hours of operation

Linda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC is open 7 days a week. Monday-Tues 7 am to 3 pm, Wed-Friday 7 pm to 7 pm, Saturday 7 pm to 2 pm and Sunday 9 am to 2 pm

Location

Lynda’s Cafe is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

For bigger groups call 1-250-378-0331 to make a reservation with Lynda’s Cafe. 

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC made me feel very welcome and Lynda was so easy to talk to as well. I would recommend this little cafe any day of the week. The food and atmosphere are top notch in my opinion. And I will be back many times in the future.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt B.C.

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Miss Georgia’s Style- A Nicola Valley Treasure

Miss Georgia’s style 

“The laws of attraction are very strong with this old house.”

Her story

Laurie Turmel’s story is an inspiration on never giving up on your dreams. ‘ Miss Georgia’s style’ story starts when she was  a young girl growing up in the Nicola Valley. At a young age,  she had fallen in love with a home in Lower Nicola. She knew that one day she would own it. She did not know the man that lived there, all she knew was that he had no electricity or water.  The house is  roughly 75 years old.

When Laurie and her husband bought some acreage, she wanted to buy that home and move it on her property. The man who had been living in the home had died, and he had left it to family.

The family told Laurie that she could not buy it. However, she could go visit. Laurie would visit the home and sweep the floor, dreaming of owning it. At the same time, she had started her own paint line called ‘PIY Paints’.  After the man who had inherited the house had died, Laurie contacted his wife asking if she could buy it, and finally she said yes.

After decades, she finally got the home that she dreamed of. I was given the opportunity to interview Laurie and ask her some questions about the phenomenal home in the Nicola Valley. 

My interview with Laurie Turmel

Miss Georgia's style

A beautiful photo of Laurie in Miss Georgia’s Style

 What inspired you to start ‘Miss Georgia’s style?”

Laurie: . My dad built me a little playhouse, I started painting it and making it comfy with things from the dump that I would find with my grandma.Which later, gave me  passion for decorating.  By my late 20s, I was collecting things for the old house. 

 Where does the old fashioned appliances and furniture come from? are they donated, passed down , or do you buy them?

Laurie: It was a dream of mine owning ‘Miss Georgia’s style’ for over 50 years. In the last 20 years I have started collecting items for her. Every item has a story. The fridge was from the home my Grandmother was born in. The outhouse is over 100 years old which was given to me for Christmas a few years ago. My son found it on an old logging road, asked the owner of the resort if he could buy it. Which Afterward, He rolled it down a mountain with my grandkids and brought it to me.

 What is it about the “Old fashioned home” that intrigues you? Do you prefer the older home style compared to modern day?

Laurie:  I don’t really have a style per say, I love all styles. It is the feeling you get when you walk into a home that matters to me. Warm and cozy, a small voice that whispers, sit down relax, and stay awhile. A house is a house, It is a home that I love. 

 Where does the name ‘Miss Georgia’s style’ come from? does the name have a special story to it? 

Laurie:it sounded like a strong Southern woman. It’s iced tea on the porch. I told this to the woman I got the house from. She looked at me kind of funny. She said, ‘Do you know what the man’s name was who built the house? It was George.’

If you could go back to to any era in history, which would it be and why?

Laurie: I would love to go back to the times when families ate at the dinner table. An extra potato was always close at hand to add to the pot. Home baked goodies were always offered when a visitor came over. 

If Miss Georgia was a person, what would  her personality  be like?

Laurie: Miss Georgia’s style would be a strong women. A women who could go outside in the snow and milk a cow, Or help a mother farm animal deliver a baby. Yet still put on her Sunday best and love to look pretty. She would be comfortable in gumboots and heels sort of women. 

This story is truly magical. The aesthetic of Miss Georgia’s style is awe-worthy. It is interesting how a couple years later I am writing about this story. I too grew up in the Nicola Valley, I would drive by that house

The beautiful aesthetics of Miss Georgia’s Style.

 everyday going into Merritt. Suddenly the home was gone! I had always been curious of where it ended up. Laurie, you have done an excellent job on preserving that home and showing it’s true beauty.