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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Figure skaters in the old skating rink in the 1940s. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 4034)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Nov. 26

A look a local history as recorded by the newspaper

Cst. Dane Storey was recognized as a member of Alexa’s Team, a provincial recognition paying tribute to police officers who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads. (Submitted/Revelstoke RCMP)
Alexa’s Team awarded to Revelstoke RCMP officer

Cst. Dane Storey removed 59 impaired drivers from B.C. roads in 2019

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens for the season tomorrow, Nov. 27, 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Know before you go: Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens tomorrow

Masks are mandatory, lineup opens at 6:30 a.m.

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

Most Read