Dave and Diane Quinn, owners of Miska Haven Bed & Breakfast, located east of Enderby along the Shuswap River. The couple say 60 per cent of their guests have been from B.C. in 2020, compared to about 15 per cent last year. (Contributed)

Dave and Diane Quinn, owners of Miska Haven Bed & Breakfast, located east of Enderby along the Shuswap River. The couple say 60 per cent of their guests have been from B.C. in 2020, compared to about 15 per cent last year. (Contributed)

‘Staycation’ spike keeps North Okanagan bed and breakfasts bustling

Owners say locals have been filling the void left by fewer travellers from afar during the pandemic

Despite having fewer visitors from afar this year, bed and breakfasts in the North Okanagan have been kept busy with guests looking for a peaceful retreat closer to home.

B.C.’s tourism and hospitality sectors have suffered from a dearth of out-of-province vacationers since the pandemic began. But for Dave and Diane Quinn, owners of Miska Haven Bed and Breakfast, a rise in ‘staycations’ has helped make up the difference.

Miska Haven sits on 1,800 feet of waterfront along the Shuswap River, a 10-minute drive east of Enderby. The Quinns started the year-round business in June 2019 on the remote, forested property overlooking the Hunters Range hills.

It’s as good a place as any for a pandemic holiday.

“We are at a dead-end road so there’s not a lot of traffic, not a lot of potential for interaction with other people. We really are secluded and away from other folks,” Dave said.

Last year about 85 per cent of Miska Haven’s guests came from Alberta. While that’s down to about 40 per cent this year, their cabin and yurt have remained full with guests from the Okanagan.

“This year probably 60 per cent are from B.C.,” Quinn said. “We’re seeing people from Armstrong, Vernon, Kelowna — we’ve even had people coming out from Enderby just looking for a bit of a getaway.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

It’s been a hectic year of adapting to health and safety guidelines from the provincial health officer and the B.C. Hotel Association. With additional guidance from the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, the owners have found ways to make their guests feel safe while maintaining the experience.

“It’s been a significant increase in the workload, but it’s been very satisfying in that we’ve been busy, and people, when they’ve come, have actually been able to forget about COVID for the two or three days that they’re here,” Dave said.

Check-in times have been spread out to allow time for thorough cleaning. Everything comes out of the units after guests have left, and items like books and games, if used, are removed and isolated for four days. The two guest areas have been separated to prevent mingling between people in different social bubbles.

Breakfast has been the biggest challenge, with meals having to be pre-packaged in disposable containers. Dave said they’ve switched to offering breakfast by request, lowering their pricing for those who would prefer to provide their own meals.

The experience has been similar for Yvonne Meyer and Joey Minshall, now in their fifth season running J-heart-Y Bed and Breakfast on Twin Lakes Road in Enderby, where they host guests in their cozy, 100-square-foot treehouse.

“The COVID cleaning protocols were something to wrap your head around,” Meyer said, adding they started their season a month late while protocols were being ironed out.

She said far more guests have come from the Okanagan and Interior than in recent years, and the treehouse was booked every weekend throughout the summer.

Though the cost of operation has been higher as they work to adhere to protocols, the semi-retired couple isn’t concerned about profit; they’re happy to offer a service that’s given more locals an escape this year.

“People are in awe of the experience because it’s so quiet and so peaceful,” Meyer said. “I just feel that we’re the right kind of people to offer a service like this.”

Miska Haven is open for the winter, and the Enderby chamber has worked with them to develop a ‘staycation’ package through the Okanagan We Got This chamber network.

READ MORE: Canadians spend more money and time online during COVID pandemic: StatCan


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

CoronavirusTourismtravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Stock photo from Unsplash.com
Study: Embrace national long-term care standards

Call to direct public funding only to public and non-profit long-term care providers

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Historic poem is appropriate for new U.S. president

In 1941, Roosevelt made reference to poem by Longfellow

Most Read