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Things to Do for Seniors in Merritt

“I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.”

What an adventure! Starting a blog will be easy and fun, I thought. Right? Well, it’s not just about writing. It’s about things to do for seniors in Merritt!

Things To Do For Seniors In Merritt:

-the Seniors Spring dance

-the “new”  path along Voght Street

-a visit to the Community Garden behind the hospital

The Seniors Centre was not somewhere I had been before.  Honestly, I thought it would be a place where really old people sat around, played cards and gossiped.  Not so!!!  When I walked in, there were a number of women around tables decorating hats.  When I asked why they were decorating them they told me it was for the spring hat dance contest on Saturday night.  Now, I have to admit that I haven’t been to a Saturday night dance for umpteen years, so I decided I needed to go.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

 

The Spring Hat Dance was a lot of fun

May 12/18     Two smiling, beautifully hatted ladies greeted me at the door and took my ticket.  Punch, both alcoholic and non, sat on a sideboard where we could help ourselves along with coffee and water. I enjoyed the three- piece band (music by Randy Chillihitzi) that played good old country dance music, a bit of rock n roll and tossed in a few modern tunes to boot. Since I grew up with these songs it was a trip down memory lane for me.  One thing for sure, we seniors really know how to dance and wow can some of us rock!

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

The food was tasty pot- luck appetizers.  Yumm.

Would you believe admission was only $10.00?

Will I go again?  You betcha!

For more information about what real seniors do and to find out what other fun is planned including:

  • swimming
  • shuffleboard
  • exercise
  • cribbage
  • carpet bowling
  • bridge
  • floor curling
  • horseshoes
  • pot luck suppers

Phone:  250-378-3763

Email:  msca2@telus.net

Have yourselves as much fun as I did.

 

Enjoy A Simple Walk – The Path

On the way up to the community garden I remembered reading an article in the Merritt Herald  about the new path that ran along the edge of Voght Street.  I was thinking it might be fun to walk there, particularly on a hot day.  It looked shady, cool and interesting- especially from the inside of the car as we flew by, always a quick way to check out new stuff.Seniors on the Go in Merritt

So here I am on the wide, paved, smooth path with greenery, trees and some recognizable plants at the edges of the pavement.  The sun is smiling down on me, a few fluffy white clouds are floating by and a cool breeze is blowing away the heat.  Life is good.  Some wild pea plants that grow back a little from the edge looked tempting so I confess to pulling a few shoots for a nibble.  They taste exactly like fresh peas if you get them very young and their little purple flowers are good too.  Just be absolutely sure you know what you’re eatin

If you make a mistake, the path starts across the street from the hospital.

Well!  The path went only about ½ a k and ends too near Mickey D’s for my own good.  Still, it is pretty and the peas were tasty.  Enjoy!

 

Fellow Seniors – Dig This! The Community Garden

Come with me today to visit Merritt’s community garden. It sits quietly behind the hospital in an alfalfa field, with parking on Reid to avoid crowding the hospital parking lot.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

We are in the process of starting some new projects.  By the end of summer we will have:

  • a gazebo
  • a pollinator garden
  • a possible beehive
  • planters for the food bank and soup kitchen
  • a public area under the sign for people to pick a few samples

Most of the above are started already, the food bank and soup kitchen gardens are planted and our personal gardens are growing well.   I feel happy to see the tiny plants popping up out of the ground despite the cold, hot, rainy, dry weather we are getting.  Very unpredictable this year.

Visitors are always welcome

Anyone who happens to be working that day will be glad to show you around and tell you how we got started.  The part of the garden outside the fence is for public use so pick a few strawberries, snip some chamomile for tea or try the swiss chard.

The gazebo is a cool place to have lunch on a hot day, not only for the shade it provides but because there is usually a cool breeze too.  Please bring your own chairs and enjoy some peaceful down time.

By July, the height of the blooming season, the pollinator garden will be gorgeous.  Right now we are discussing which plants would give the best results and make the bees and other pollinators happy.

To protect our little plots we do request that visitors leave their pets outside the garden and thank you for  not smoking in the area.

If you would like more information or would like to join the community garden contact us at:

nicolavalleycommunitygardens@gmail.com

I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.  And with lots of things for seniors to do in Merritt, what would you like to do?

Merritt, Canada

Photo Courtesy of Tourism Merritt

Moving to Merritt, Canada

“Merritt to me means the place I first experienced the snow, camping, fishing, skating, and swimming.”

For the past eight years that I have lived in Merritt, Canada, I have experienced all four seasons most years.

I grew up in a small town close to Mexico City….

Heck, only 21.2 million people living in the metropolitan area! It’s hard to believe that this number represents 20% of Mexico’s entire population. I guess we never know what is out there until we decide to leave our comfort zone. I had been abroad only once and the idea of coming to Canada was an opportunity to start all over again.

It’s never easy to leave family and friends, but life brings unexpected opportunities that you just cannot pass up. I had no idea how far Merritt was from the Vancouver International Airport. All I knew about Canada was their famous hockey and its friendly Canadians, eh! Soon I learned that hockey is more than a game to Canadians.

Canadians always seemed to have fun finding a way to communicate with me.

While working in the tourism industry back in Mexico for over 10 years, I had the opportunity to interact with people from different places and walks of life. I have to say that Canadian people always did their best to establish communication using their body language, hand gestures or sounds. When other people showed some kind of frustration due to my broken English, Canadians always seemed to have fun finding a way to communicate with me.

I have so many experiences I can tell…

But let’s go back to my first time arriving at the Vancouver Airport back in 2008. Not having great experiences from other big airports, I must say I was a little bit predisposed to think it would happen again. When the customs officer asked me the reason for travelling to Canada, it seemed that my answer caught him unguarded.

“I want to be here in Canada when my son is born.”

“I want to be here when my son is born” I said. Then he asked, “When is your son due?” “My son is due today!” I replied. At this moment his face showed some kind of skepticism. I guess my story was hard to believe, so he asked to speak to my wife. Once he saw her in a wheel chair due to the pregnancy, he stopped asking questions and sped up the process.

The rest of the process was uneventful until I stepped outside the airport. It was past midnight when we headed to the parking lot, and I could still smell the cold air. The anticipation of knowing that snow might fall soon was pleasant enough to stop for a moment. It was a cold night, but the excitement diminished the coldness. Somebody mentioned that snow was coming. I guess that was the smell I perceived.

“Welcome to Merritt, Manuel!”

Not sure how long we drove until we stopped at Tim Hortons. “What is Tim Hortons?” I asked. When we are in a new place, many times we are not 100% there, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee and fresh baked donuts brought me back to reality. I am not sure where we stopped; it seemed we had traveled for quite a while since we left the airport. The trip continued for a few hours until I was able to see some lights far in the distance. Then I heard, “Welcome to Merritt Manuel!”

My first morning in Merritt, all I saw was snow.

Merritt, Canada

The following morning, looking through the window, all I saw was snow. This time I was not seeing the snow through a television; this time the only thing between the snow and myself was the window. Like a big, bright, white blanket the snow covered everything, even the big pine trees.

As a person from Mexico City, there is nothing close to describe the snow until you experience playing with it. I have been asked many times for its texture, weight or scent, but this is something you need to experience on your own. That’s my answer to my friends back in Mexico. For the past eight years that I have lived in Merritt, I have experienced all four seasons most years. Yes, sometimes one season is longer than the other, but at the end of the day, there is always something to do as a family.

Merritt, Canada

Photo Courtesy of Bass Coast

Merritt, Canada

Merritt is at the heart of BC’s Interior, a welcoming stop for any traveler. It’s located in the Nicola Valley about 271 kilometres from Vancouver, BC.  For some people, Merritt may be a small town, but it has a big reputation for its numerous country murals, fishing spots, lakes,  and music festivals.

Talking about its music festivals, these days Merritt has something to offer to different audiences such as the Bass Coast and the Rockin’ River Festivals.

 

Merritt to me means a great place where I started growing roots and now call HOME.

Whatever the reason that brings you here, I am sure you will make fond memories in this town called Merritt. Merritt means something different for each person; you can see that in the two recent videos produced by the City of Merritt. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to check this video out and this one too

Merritt to me means the place I first experienced snow, camping, fishing, skating, and swimming. Volunteering on a community project and most importantly meeting my Polish wife were two of my best experiences.

In summary, Merritt to me means a great place where I started growing roots and now call HOME.

As I stumble through my future, I am looking forward to sharing with you more of my experiences in Merritt, Canada!

Hair Straight Back

“I am going on a Blogging Journey”

“Our community is embarking on a ground breaking exercise”

Who would have thought that at this stage in my life I would be embarking on a “Blogging Journey”!

Just threw the old proverb “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” out the proverbial window!

The last time I was going through a life changing experience I co-wrote a country song! Wanna hear it?

This was a friend effort indeed – Composed and produced by Karen Fowlie and joining her in vocals  Tammy Weymouth and Christie McFee.- also known as” Fowl Mouth McPhee.”

Scary stuff right now. We just went through three days of intense blogging training with our instructor, EH Canada Guru, Greg Girard.

Our community is embarking on ground breaking exercise. Saturating the universe with Merritt and Nicola Valley info!

How it started!

Merritt and the Nicola Valley has an abundance of tourism inventory that many communities would kill for – so why didn’t we have an abundance of tourists? Tourism Nicola Valley invited tourism adviser Greg Girard of EH Canada to speak to community stakeholders to show us how to fix this problem.

He said, “I was shocked that Merritt is not a top adventure destination – you have all the inventory”. That resonated with me and for the record I thought the same thing over 10 years ago when I first came to Merritt!!!

During his presentation Greg told stories of other community successes. Then the light went on and the birthed the community blogging idea and project. It did not take long to roundup 9 enthusiastic bloggers and one dog!!!

 

About EH Canada!

ehCanadaTravel.com is the most in-tuned website about current technology trends, and traveler habits. It is the first tourism website in Canada where tourism businesses, travelers and ehCanadaTravel.com can add content to the website. These content creators are referred to as “Canadian Travel Influencers”. On social media look it up #CanadianTravelInfluencers”.

How ehCanadaTravel.com rolls …

ehCanadaTravel.com is a “boots-on-the-ground” tourism website. The co founding brothers, and fellow ambassadors, self research the entire country. 99% of the text information and photos provided on the website comes from their cross country road trips researching communities, adventures, parks, trails and places. The brothers are people persons. They enjoy being on the road living in tents, campers, hotels and/or vacation homes. Meeting people in the tourism industry, learning more about Canada and sharing tourism knowledge is how they roll. When they are not rolling, you can find them hunkering down in a rental home somewhere in Canada researching a region and working on the website. Where is their home base? Their office is in Parksville, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island. The best way to reach them? Call the toll free number, email or yell really loud.

With a little push from Greg, we are on our way!

Nine community bloggers have committed to producing at least two blogs a month with topics embracing, adventure, trails, mountain  biking, food and local cuisine, First Nations history, attractions, business, things to do, seniors, newcomers info and some pet friendly info by our local pet blogger Bailey!

Check them out they are amazing!

  • Travis – Mountain biking / Trails Blogger
  • Etelka – Attractions Blogger
  • Diane – Seniors / Newcomers Blogger
  • Jackie – Food & local cuisine Blogger
  • Jano – Arts & Culture Blogger
  • Gerome – First Nations / History Blogger
  • Meagan – Business Blogger
  • Manuel – Business Blogger
  • Julie – Outdoors Adventure Blogger
  • Bailey – Pet Blogger

I am truly honoured to be connected to this dynamic crew. We may be different but we share the same ideals for the end game – to promote our community in a good and positive light. Yes we get to spread the word with good stuff!!! This light force will override the negativity that rears its ugly head occasionally on Facebook. Don’t get me started on that, I may have to exercise my big girl voice!

My role in this blogging journey!

My mission is to inform the world about the attractions in Merritt and the Nicola Valley – we have some cool stuff!! Our community has an authentic feel and a great small town vibe easy for me to write about and share with others. My commitment is two-fold, one as a blogger and the other to assist with coordinating our newly formed group! They are all truly amazing with tons of passion. It is indeed my pleasure to embrace all my co-bloggers as we embark on this ground breaking blogging journey.

Coming soon my sidekick – Pet Blogger – Bailey!

Community Blogging Journey

There is still a bit of work to do with our newest addition – Bailey. Many hands will have to make this one work. Touring pet friendly places in our community, travelling pet tips right from a dogs mouth and of course meeting fellow pets. This little guy already has a following in our community and will soon be ready to expand his reach!! We should be starting to pound the pavement in the next couple of weeks. Watch out world Bailey’s coming!!!

There is always room for more talent – so if you have an interest and would like to contribute either as a guest blogger or wanting to join the team, connect, and let me know.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a member of this team?

Show your stuff!!!!!!

 

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Our tribute to Legends of Yesterday

“Merritt is where the stars come to play.”

Inside one of the oldest heritage buildings in the heart of downtown Merritt is the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. This national museum showcases

Ian Tyson’s plaque.

plaques for over 100 Canadian Country Music inductees.

Some of the inductees featured at the hall are:

  • Ian Tyson
  • Hank Snow
  • Ronnie Prophet
  • Gary Buck
  • Anne Murray
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Wilf Carter …………and many more!

 

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame – Downtown Merritt BC, Canada

What’s inside – Sites and Sounds

Tour a building over 100 years old .  Vinyl records play on a vintage turntable and echo through the hall.  Hundreds of records in a growing collection are available for viewing and listening..

Plaques of Inductees

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame hosts a display of plaques honouring inductees of the Canadian Country Music Association.  They are recognized for their involvement and contribution to country music: singers, songwriters, actors/actresses, managers, sponsors, funders, talent scouts, promoters, musicians, radio and television personnel, yodelers and more.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Memorabilia on display from the National Music Centre.

National Music Centre Memorabilia!

View a rotating collection of Canadian Country Music memorabilia that is currently displayed at the hall.

  • Ian Tyson’s hat and cowboy boots
  • Gary Buck’s suit  
  • Wilf Carter’s white performance suit.

These displays are courtesy of the National Music Centre.

The Walk of Stars begins!

Dozens of  “Walk of Stars” handprints are displayed in the centre of the Hall.   Photo albums and framed pictures  capture the visits of past Country Stars who graced our community. 

Going Digital! – More things to see!

Paul Brandt, the Hall’s newest inductee, will be on display digitally with new inductees. Touch the screen and view a plaque, song and bio of some of our greatest country stars! he Canadian Country Music Association recognize all the inductees.

About our Community!

As the Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada, the City of Merritt is a great fit for the Canadian country Music Hall of Fame.  Located in British Columbia’s southern interior. Merritt celebrates country music with a number of events and activities like our week-long Country Christmas and famous light-up parade, Music in the Park & Square and the Rockin’ River Country Music Festival.  Merritt and the Nicola Valley are the perfect showcase for the gritty western heritage and traditional ranching culture which was shaped by our unique landscape.  

Things to do – Walk among the stars!

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Handprints on display throughout Merritt.

 The stars come to play in Merritt. Hunt down the handprints of over 60 country music stars  throughout the city – from old time, best loved singers like Johnny Cash and Tanya Tucker to modern icons like Tim McGraw, Aaron Pritchett and Terri Clark. Find them all!  Place your hand where your favourite country performers have left their mark. Try them and find your match.

Things to see – Murals!

Walk of Stars Mural Project

This project transformed Merritt into the largest country music art gallery you will ever visit. See over 30 country artists murals painted on our downtown buildings including:

  • CMT mural
  • Men of Canadian Country Mural with Paul Brandt, George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett
  • Alan Jackson
  • Women of Canadian Country with Michelle Wright, Caroline Dawn Johnson and Lisa Brokop… and many more.

Have fun posing with your favourite performers. World renowned muralist, Michelle Loughery has brought our community and country music stars to life.

Things to look forward to – 10 Hall of Famers team up with 10 up and coming Canadian artists.

The first ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was recently recorded. Some of the artists that recorded are:

  • Ian Tyson
  • Michelle Wright,
  • The Good Brothers
  • Washboard Union and many more ……..

Canadian Country Music Heritage Society director Ron Sanders says the collaborative album, produced in partnership with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, sees 10 hall of famers team up team with 10 up and coming Canadian artists.

“We’re trying to get some more recognition for the Hall of Fame and the people that are inducted into it. We are planning to release the “Then and Now” album at the  CCMA’s event in September.”

Recording sessions were videoed at Arc House Studio in Kelowna and will be released as part of a behind-the-scenes series.

The Hall of Fame celebrates the best of Canadian country music!  Learn who the inductees are, their contributions to the genre, and how the roots of country music continue to influence musical styles and move our souls.   

Canada’s rich fabric of country music songwriters and performers influence far beyond our national borders.

Music is a universal language and yes Canadian country music in particular is a story worth telling and hearing. Join us in the discovery and check out Merritt BC!

Who would you nominate as the Country Music Hall of Fame’s next inductee?

http://www.ccmhalloffame.com/

 

 

 

Inspiring Nicola Valley Mountain Biker

Mountain biking may be perceived as a young man’s game. Before I came to Merritt and rode with Darch, I was beginning to consider myself an over-the-hill, once rode the “gnar” kind of guy.

Darch Oborne is an avid Nicola Valley mountain biker, bike-packer, racer, trail builder, ride clinic teacher, and tireless supporter and promoter of all things mountain bike. All this inspiration is 73 years young!

“I rode my 3 speed Raleigh as a kid in Calgary. Then had an old Peugeot 10 speed at the U of Oregon, but it wasn’t until 1999 that I considered mountain biking.”

“…muddy, and bleeding, and laughing!”

At 48 there are times when I remember my twenty-something stamina with sad remorse. Still, I get out there and ride, enjoy it when I do, and look forward to next time. All that pales in comparison to Darch. He rides daily, at virtually all levels of mountain biking, he is comfortable and eager to take on the challenge. His first experience on a mountain bike was a result of friendly encouragement.

“My son James would go ridin’ with my doctor Andries Smit, and my pal Robert Hack and they’d come back muddy, and bleeding, and laughing! I thought only the worst of the sport at that point. Then, as a result of persistence from them all, I said ‘sure, saddle me up a good one and let’s go’. They took me to JP Cool. I walked down 90% of it, but the 10% I rode was enough to bite me! And I’ve been ridin’ and trail building ever since.”

Darch inspires enthusiasm in everyone he rides with.

Nicola Valley Mountain Biker

On our ride today, a two-year-old in his dad’s ride-along high fived and smiled from ear to ear when Darch asked: “Did you have fun?”. He was the first rider to take me out on the trails of Merritt when I moved here to open Breathe Bikes in 2013. My mountain bike experience was pretty out of date at that time, having aged from the days of riding Banff in the 90’s. I was out of shape and lacking in confidence–the result of years of pavement riding (at least that’s my excuse!).

“I’ve ridden some great trails in Sedona, Moab, Whistler, Phoenix etc, and got into bike-packing (just back-packing on a bike really) 2 years ago when I rode the Maah da Hey trail in the badlands of North Dakota for 4 days, self-supported.”

1000 km of Offroad Trail

Darch coaxed, educated, and (gently) prodded me back into riding trails with confidence again. That inspiration elevated my riding skills, and they have never been better. Still, Darch is the leader up the steep climbs and his endurance is far beyond mine. He often rides two or more, two or three-hour rides in a day. He keeps it up year round, enjoying (and working on) the trails in Apache Junction, AZ in the winter months, and Merritt’s in the spring and summer. This year, Darch is tackling the challenge of the BC Epic 1000, a 1000+km trail on 80% offroad trail, starting in Merritt, ending in Fernie.

Nicola Valley Mountain Biker and Trail Builder…

No one would judge Darch if he chose to simply ride the trails, but his inspiration includes trail building, too.

“Trail building is a great way for me to do some payback to the builders who have put in some great hiking and biking trails before me. I’ve been accredited by the US Forest Service as a Trail Builder and have built ‘legal’ trails in Tonto Nat. Forest and the Lost Dutchman State Park in AZ.–as well as lots of ‘informal’ trails in AZ and BC.

As a member of MMBA (Merritt’s mountain biking club), I have built some sanctioned trails like SUPRA SCENIC from scratch, and have also built some ‘informal’ trails like Dangle that have not yet been adopted. I have ‘adopted’ the trails on Swaakum, and all the trails above the Bench, like Scenic, Upper Scenic etc, to maintain them in good hiking/riding condition.

But I sure like to have folks call me when they see a tree down or a big rock that they can’t move from the trail. Currently, a few of us local enthusiasts are trying to make a Rails to Trail project along the old KVR from Merritt to Spences Bridge. That will provide wonderful recreation and a beneficial economic stimulus to the whole corridor. I hope you’ll support it.”

“If you want to go out and ride any trail, any time just let me know.”

Darch envisioned and brought to life an epic trail that connects the four riding areas surrounding the city of Merritt. A day’s ride in one of these areas is enough for an average Nicola Valley mountain biker, so combining all four into a single ride is accessible to only a small portion of the riding population. So why do it? Because it can be done! This route covers a dizzying array of singletrack, terrain, landscape, and astonishing natural beauty. It appeals to a small segment of the population because only the truly epic rider can tackle this epic trail. 

“My Canada 150 project was to link our four main riding/hiking areas so that they could be an ‘Epic’ trail for those who want to go big. It’s a 120 km, 4000 m course that will be an extreme effort to ride in one day. And maybe we’ll make it into an Epic Race to bring riders of top caliber from all over to race it, one day. The City and the NV Tourism Association were very helpful in supporting me do it. The first ‘race’ to see if it can be done in 14 hours is on June 16, so we’ll soon know. James Oborne and Dr. Lennard Pretorius, of Kamloops, are going to try it.

If you want to go out and ride any trail, any time just let me know. I try to ride every day, and welcome others to join me.”

“Mountain-biking is a lifelong sport for me”

bikepacking

Darch begins the Epic 1000

Mountain biking may be perceived as a young man’s game. Before I came to Merritt and rode with Darch, I was beginning to consider myself an over-the-hill, once rode the “gnar” kind of guy.

“Mountain-biking is a lifelong sport for me. It dovetails nicely with my distance running to keep me in pretty good physical shape. It is easy on the joints and allows one to travel trails that hiking can’t easily reach. And, with trails for beginners to expert, our Nicola Valley is a prime riding area in BC.”

Darch’s inspiration made me realize that age is just a number, and I can’t thank him enough for that! I hope one day I can provide inspiration for a middle-aged used to ride.

I’d better start riding more!

My Merritt Experience

“…I AM a “Merrittonian” now. When I leave to go back to the Coast I can’t wait to come home…”

Writing a blog about my “Merritt Experience” with business …….something I had never really thought about until Etelka Gillespie approached me a few months ago. That was when I was all sparkly and new to my job as the Executive Director for the Merritt & District Chamber of Commerce. What would I write about? Would people really want the perspective of a “Coastie” on Merritt?

For those of you who don’t know what a “Coastie” is, it is an endearing term used by “Merrittonians” to describe those of us born and raised on the BC West Coast that migrate to live in Merritt later in life. Ok, I have to admit, I don’t really look like I am from here. Still sporting a “Coastie” hair do, short and platinum, and even after almost 5 years (this July actually). I still get asked “you’re not from here are you”. It is pretty obvious! LOL. People know me by my hair, or my kid, and not necessarily by me personally. That’s all a part of my Merritt Experience.

I wanted to be close to family…

I am looking forward to telling you about my experiences with the businesses of Merritt. But for me, that really isn’t what brought me to Merritt. Not a job, or anything related to business. I moved here because my Mom, Dad, and Aunt live here (and my sister and her family now). But honestly, I moved because husband was dying of cancer after a long 7 year battle, and I needed support.

My family now – Photo credit Julie Pollard ~ Merritt Pro Photo

I wanted to be close to family as I started my journey as a single Mom, living on my own for the first time in my life. Merritt was a whole lot more affordable than living in Sardis BC. Who would have thought I would be a widow at 36 after 18 years with my husband? Nevertheless 15 days before Christmas, here I was. New to Merritt, just 5 months of living here, no friends yet really, and working from home for a company at the Coast.

 

 

Adjusting to Merritt surprisingly wasn’t as hard as I thought!

 People recognized me as Maureen’s daughter (there may be a slight resemblance between me and my Mom) or just a “new” person. They accepted us, no questions asked. My daughter’s schoolmates, teachers, and parents supported us when her Dad passed away, even though they didn’t know us. Christmas gifts and casseroles, food baskets, cards and flowers were dropped off at the front door by people we didn’t even know. No explanations, just a Merry Christmas before we could even ask who they were. My late husband had touched people while volunteering with the Community Policing Office. Even in the short time he had been here, I couldn’t believe just how much.

Slowly I found myself venturing out more and more without having my husband to care for. I became a regular at some businesses. People wanted to know my name, where I was from. They remembered me and my daughter the next time we came in. It was so different from being at the coast, where there were simply too many people to remember just one.

The servers at the Home Restaurant knew my daughter loved the “Little Logger Breakfast” on the children’s menu and a hot chocolate, and they knew I loved the beef dip which I ate religiously unless it was breakfast time. As I became a regular to more and more businesses, I was greeted more often than not with familiar smiles, people who said “hey, we haven’t seen you in a while”. Even Jason at the mobile fruit stand that parks in the parking lot at Century 21 every summer asked how my husband was the following summer when I came back alone with my daughter (who he remembered by name). My “Merritt Experience” list was growing faster than I realized, all because of the people. 

My Merritt Experience – I was a person, not just a customer!

Living in Merritt was becoming more and more about the experiences we were having. It was about being able to buy something from Creative Company that was different than the norm and showing off the great thing I found in Merritt, it was still being able to buy myself a nice designer top or jeans at Spaner and Webb or Work N Play.

And yet it was also about having the option to shop at a franchise store like WalMart, Canadian Tire or Extra Foods, but with one big difference. There were no long line ups and crowded aisles, even at those franchises, they knew us. We weren’t just another customer. It was different here, special, still large enough to have the option of shopping for what we needed but small enough that there was always a level of personal experience wherever we went. That is what started my love of living here, those people that chose to own or work for a business here.

It’s about the people who make the town what it is.

Eventually it got to the point where now, we can’t go somewhere without seeing someone we know, in fact it would be a rare exception to have that happen. But that is what Merritt is. It’s the place where you find friendly businesses, you experience them, you don’t just shop in them. It’s about the people who make the town what it is. They are the ones who welcome tourists with the open front doors in the summer time, and a place to warm up in the win

Me, my daughter, and my “Shiny New Husband” – Photo Credit Julie Pollard ~ Merritt Pro Photo

ter. The people love this town so much and want to see it thrive. They love to show off what Merritt is all about when visitors arrive and are directed to all the great places they can experience when they are here. (I could go on and on but I guess I should leave that part for another blog.)

I guess what I am trying to say is I AM a “Merrittonian” now.

When I leave to go back to the Coast I can’t wait to come home, and in fact I even have a shiny new husband who has come to join me here and opened a new business! He too fell in love with Merritt, the people, the experience, the lifestyle…..but that is another blog for another day.

I hope you will follow my blog and follow my EXPERIENCES with the businesses here, through what was a tourists eyes. Even now, in a lot of ways, it is still through the eyes of someone who “isn’t from here” originally but absolutely LOVES to live here now!

You will begin to understand why you will want to come here and see what the “Merritt Experience” is all about.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Things To Do in Merritt BC

From mountain biking to horseback riding to fishing, are just some of the adventures in Merritt, BC in the Nicola Valley, Canada.

“Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. To enjoy Merritt BC activities one must exit the Highway!”

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada? Planning what adventures you are going to explore? Coming to the Nicola Valley, BC, Canada soon are ya? You have come to the right blogging website. You see… we here are local experts because we have experienced what we preach. I have explored the Nicola Valley on many occasions and I too asked myself, “where do I start?” Such little time and so many things to do in Merritt BC! That is the question, right? What to do when you get here. Well, lets get to it then. 

Highway #1 is not home to things to do in Merritt, BC

The Nicola Valley is guaranteed to inspire and impress when it comes to adventure but, to do so, to truly enjoy your experience, you need to exit Highway #1. Highway #1 is the “express lane” in Canada. It is the best route to get from A to B quickly, but it is by no means a route for exploring communities and Merritt BC Canada is no different. Highway #1, also referred to as the Trans Canada Highway,  is not the road that leads to Merritt  adventures and sightseeing bliss.

Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. And… to truly appreciate the Nicola Valley you need to know where to go and how to get there. That is where “moi” comes into the picture. I am honored to share with you the 3 things to do in Merritt BC which caught my fancy. 

Things to do in Merritt BC including Fishing
1.  Lakes Are A Top Things To Do in Merritt BC Hands Down

“Merritt is a fishing haven with 200+ lakes! Pick a lake, any lake, and stay for awhile.” ehCanadaTravel.com July 30th, 2017

The Nicola Valley is covered in lakes, both easy access and “far-flung” remote. Many are equipped with wilderness campsites so you can stay a while and camp, fish, hike and/or mountain bike. The saying around these parts is “A lake a day for as long as you stay.” Pretty catchy eh.  

Nicola Lake is the “Grand Daddy” of all the lakes in the region. It is easily accessed from Highway 5A just east of Merritt, BC.  When visiting Nicola Lake I have seen people swimming, fishing, water skiing, picnicking, and kayaking. Has to be a pretty decent lake right… and it is easy, easy access. 

Personally, I like the “far-flung” wilderness campsites located at remote lakes. No services? Fine with me. I am happy when I have my tent, camera and  lots of nature, wildlife and adventure. I too am a bit bias towards wilderness lakes. Here are a few lakes to check out which I have had the privilege to camp at –   Lundbom Lake, Lily Lake, Marquart Lake, Gwen Lake and Helmer Lake.

Things to do in Merritt BC includes mountain biking

2. Mountain Biking Is Definitely a Things To Do in Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley has 4 distinct areas designated for mountain biking enthusiasts. They include Iron Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Swakum, and the Coutlee Plateau area. They provide a good assortment of  easy going and challenging biking trails, some short and some are considered long haul. All provide some adrenaline and amazing sightseeing scenery.

Mountain Biking BC sums up the Nicola Valley mountain biking experience the best.

“… you will find fast and flowy singletrack, challenging steep and rocky trails, gentle riding classic grassland routes, and scenic forested pathways. Merritt has something for everyone!” Mountain Biking BC

You can find mountain biking trail information and rentals from the following local bike shop.

Breathe Bikes
1960 Quilchena Ave,
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Website: www.breathebikes.ca
Email: bikegeektrav@gmail.com
Phone: +1 (250) 936-9702

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada includes horseback riding.
3. Horseback Riding is a Nicola Valley Things To Do

Saddle up in the Nicola Valley and you will surely experience the cowboy life! You do not have to be a full-blooded cowboy or cowgirl either to enjoy horseback riding.  In fact, some say (including this blogger) horseback riding is best enjoyed when it is the first time. You will not fully appreciate how fun horseback riding is until you go sightseeing. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

“A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it…” BRL Equine Nutrition

The valley has ranches where you can bring your own horse or you can use one of theirs to explore the backcountry. Give these cowboys and cowgirls a phone call.

A-P Ranch Western Guest Ranch
P.O. Box 1148,
Merritt, BC, Canada
Website: www.apguestranch.com
Phone 250-378-6520

This list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Merritt BC during the summer months. I have not even begun to talk about the things to do in Merritt BC in the winter months. That will be another post down the line by our new team of bloggers.

If I may be so humble to make a request while I have you all hyped up about Nicola Valley adventures? Please follow the new  Experience Nicola Valley social media pages so you do not to miss our next blog post. While you wait with great anticipation you can also enjoy the posts from the other talented Nicola Valley writers who contribute to this blog. I am sure you will like them as much as me, but not more right?

For all of you out there who have been to Merritt, BC before I have a question to ask you,

What would your “3 Things To Do” be if you were writing this blog?” 

Go ahead, you will not hurt my feelings. Let me know in the comment section below. 

 Things To Do in Merritt BC Canada