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

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Megan Gaddy was busy sorting bottles donated by residents throughout the Shuswap to support the cost of emergency surgery required for her dog Lucy. (Contributed)
North Okanagan-Shuswap residents step up for pet owner facing emergency vet bill

Megan Gaddy busy sorting donated bottles to bring her black lab Lucy home

Mayor Terry Rysz receives the ceremonial first poppy from Legion president Bill Moore and vice president Marty Goble. (Sicamous Legion/Facebook)
Sicamous Legion adjusts Remembrance Day to pandemic

Live-streamed ceremony and changes to poppy campaign in the works

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Russ Hodgkins, left, Mayor Terry Rysz, Deb Heap, Legion Vice President Marty Goble and Sicamous councillor Jeff Mallmes meet to celebrate a Communities in Bloom award Sicamous received for work done at the Legion hall on Main Street. (Submitted)
Sicamous projects get Communities in Bloom awards

Work at the legion hall and the Red Barn Arts Centre recognized

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

Most Read