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Fernie, British Columbia: A Laid Back Mountain Town

A small town feel at the foot of the Kootenay Rocky Mountains, Fernie BC boasts the most amazing landscapes I have ever seen.  Being my first time visiting we found many cute shops,  unique restaurants and a handful of activities. We only had a few days to get as much done as possible before the wedding we were attending.

Driving from Calgary, AB we passed a sign at the border of B.C. that read “Welcome to British Columbia – The Most Beautiful Place in the World.” In my head I thought that was a bold statement, but after seeing the Talbot wedding; this statement indeed holds true.  

Downtown Fernie looks and feels like the authentic mountain town you would expect. We had some time to check out what the quaint town had to offer first time travelers.

We had the first tee time at the beautiful Fernie Golf course on Friday morning.  This 18 hole golf course is accessible to golfers of all levels. It is relatively flat, but for a mountain golf course,  fairways are quite open.  The customer service at the club house was amazing and the views would never disappoint.

$45 for 9 holes and $11 for a cart

We stumbled upon this stylish tapas and tequila bar and restaurant in the heart of town. With perfect weather to sit on the vine layered patio; we grabbed a pint, the signature pantacones and the pick 3 taco platter.  This quaint spot was great to share small food options and conversation.   I have to recommend the baja pescado tacos and the patacones;  both a delicious staple of Navados.

This is a must stop local spot when traveling to Fernie.  Prior to our visit I reached out to the team and Michael was gracious enough to meet us when a handful of us stopped by to sample some great local  beers.  We each enjoyed 2 paddles of samples on the outside patio.  While ordering our second flight from the smiling bartenders, Michael explained that they relocated to the new spot in 2007 because they needed more room to grow; not a bad problem to have. The award winning brewery has the tasting room with merchandise to purchase alongside the large operations facility.  He also proceeded to tell me that the brewers, who were tasting at the end of the bar,  develop many sample batches throughout the month to see if anything new sticks.  The only bad mark, we wished there were some food options besides small trailmix snacks, but we were on a liquid diet that afternoon.

My favorite beers:

Hit the Deck: pours a hazy pale golden with scant white head. Was told there were 7 kinds of hops, but very balanced.  A bit floral, slightly herbal, minor hoppy citrus. Taste is faintly citrus, with more of a floral effect and minimal bitterness; hops did not overpower. Smooth and sweet finish. 

Base Camp West Coast Pale Ale:  A light copper with a caramel and tropical smell.  With a medium body and hop character.  Overall, this is a rather engaging and highly enjoyable version of the style, the varied hops were more flavorful than bitter. Easy to drink!

Cheers to Charity: Mike told me that since 2013 the brewery has been donating to local Fernie charities through this program.  Each flight sold in the tasting room, Fernie Brewery donates the proceeds to a local charity that they have chosen for about a months time.  Thousands of dollars have been shared with the Fernie community and it proves this establishment is the heart of this mountain town.

Tucked back in its own little world, Island Lake Lodge is an exquisite retreat set in enchanting wilderness surroundings.  About 7 miles from town up the mountain I felt like I’d stepped into a fairy tale. The log housing and dining areas were truly rustic chic with incredible views of the mountains. 

We checked into our room, and then went for a hike that is frequented by many guests.  The lake area was breathtaking and peaceful.   Navigating the property, we noticed outdoor hot tubs at each of the main lodging areas and hammocks to enjoy. The dining experience was 5 star at each meal we shared with the 60-70 wedding guests whom rented out the entire space. This woodland lodge oasis had the best amenities and hands down the greatest spot to stay in Fernie.  I would recommend these spectacular mountain views at Island Lake Lodge for any weekend of the year; its worth it!

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