Singletree Winery offers respite amongst the vines. Photo courtesy Tourism Abbotsford.
The Fraser Valley doubles as farm-to-table dining destination and outdoor lovers’ paradise
The Fraser Valley is an hour north of Bellingham and east of Vancouver – directly accessible through 2 US border crossings. Blessed by geography, it is a place where imposing mountains, clean flowing water and fertile soil convene to create the largest agricultural region in British Columbia. Crops such as blueberries, apples, corn, kiwi, hops, the northernmost commercial rice paddy and much more flourish in the valley. It’s where most things “locally-sourced” on a Vancouver restaurant menu comes from. And the artisans that call the valley home are putting that bounty to similarly good use, but without crowds and an elevated price tag.
In Abbotsford, Restaurant 62 is the standard-bearer for fresh, local, seasonal cuisine—as evidenced by their current streak of winning a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence ten years in a row. Bacchus Bistro, located on the grounds of Chaberton Estate Winery in Langley, specializes in authentic French bistro fare, produced with local ingredients and a West Coast flair. And in Chilliwack, Bravo Restaurant provides elevated Pacific Northwest cuisine in a casually elegant setting. These establishments are among the best, but still just the tip of the iceberg.
Expect the freshest ingredients on the plate at Restaurant 62. Photo courtesy Tourism Abbotsford.
To be able to claim a truly great culinary culture, a region must also produce its own liquid assets, something the Fraser Valley does with aplomb. With 15-plus wineries producing varietals ranging from Pinot Gris, Siegerrebe and Grüner Veltliner, to Petit Milo and Chardonnay, the valley wines coming primarily from Abbotsford and Langley are quietly some of the best in the province.
Don’t miss Chaberton Estate Winery, quietly producing some of the best wines in B.C. Photo courtesy Tourism Abbotsford.
And what would any Pacific Northwest destination worth its salt be without top-tier craft beer? In keeping, Field House Brewing Company sources a number of food menu items from their own farm and grow the barley used for beer production. Everything they make is made with 100% Fraser Valley ingredients—it doesn’t get more local than that. Field House is just the first potential stop on the Fraser Valley Ale Trail, which has plotted all of the Valley’s best breweries. Other can’t-miss hotspots along the Ale Trail include Mission Springs, Trading Post and Old Yale Brewing. To go beyond bevies and get a firsthand and tangible understanding of how and where these artisans are getting all this bounty, the self-guided Circle Farm Tour offers a choose-your-own-adventure introduction to the various farm experiences, food producers and wineries in the Fraser Valley.
For a representative Northwest experience, nothing ties the room together like outdoor adventure. For many of us, that starts with hiking and in the Chilliwack River Valley, options abound. There are trails for all levels and abilities, but the sweeping views of Cheam Peak and the perfect picnic spot that is Lindeman Lake are standouts.
Mountain trails lure hikers with promising views. Photo courtesy Tourism Harrison Hot Springs.
For more adrenaline-fueled adventure, outstanding single track mountain biking trails can be found throughout the mountains that guard the valley floor. Notable runs can be found on Bear and Red Mountains in Mission, Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford and Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack. The Chilliwack River is also home to thrilling day trip whitewater rafting and kayaking. For milder river pursuits, the legendary Fraser River is a popular spot for guided, world-class sturgeon fishing.
Sturgeon fishing is a major draw for outdoorsy types. Photo by Robyn Bessenger Photography.
Recharge for More
Choosing a good basecamp is of paramount importance. A place to recharge and relax helps to ensure that you’re maximizing your getaway experience. Just like the food, drink and outdoor options of Fraser Valley, the available lodging choices are on point and on just about every level of luxury and preferred amenities. For example, the naturally sourced hot spring pools at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, in the Eastern Fraser Valley resort community of Harrison Hot Springs, are the perfect place to relax in comfort after a day of fishing or in the backcountry. Meanwhile, the Brookside Inn, a boutique Bed & Breakfast in the heart of the Fraser Valley farmland, is close to wineries and exquisite eateries, and is also rated a Top Small Hotel in Canada by Trip Advisor.
For more information visit thefraservalley.ca