Living the Dream - Adventure Starts Here
by Kim Cameron“The sign outside says ‘Clearwater, adventure starts here,’ and for our family that’s certainly true,” grins Tania Govaert, who, along with her husband Kurt Raes recently purchased Clearwater Springs Ranch, a luxurious Bed and Breakfast secluded near the doorstep of Wells Gray Provincial Park, a vast wilderness in British Columbia’s North Thompson Valley.
Sitting on a plateau overlooking expansive meadows and the Battle Range, where “Big Game” (bears, wolves, moose and more) can be seen roaming free throughout the year, Clearwater Springs Ranch’s remote location offers serenity, seclusion and plenty of wilderness for visitors to explore when they’re not lounging by a roaring fire in the cozy great room, or gathered around harvest table sharing stories of their day over a hearty meal.
The Allure of Wells GrayOnce guests, and now hosts of Clearwater Springs Ranch, the couple understand better than most allure of Canada’s great wilderness and the sorts of adventures visitors to Clearwater and Wells Gray Provincial Park may experience.
“We stayed here years before, when we went to the Yukon and Northwest Territories,” remembers Govaert. “We hiked , we went on a boat tour on Azure and Clearwater Lakes, we swam at Dutch Lake, we visited the waterfalls.”
The stillness and quiet of Wells Gray stayed with them, long after they returned to their home in Belgium.
“For us, Wells Gray is all about the space. When you’re here, the only sounds you hear are the ones you make,” smiles Raes, remembering his busy life in Belgium, running a business that consumed their lives, and eventually inspired this new beginning in Canada.
Wells Gray is also about community and connecting with others, says Govaert, “I think living here is like going back in time. People are nice to each other; they have time for each other. There’s no stress here,” she grins.
Award-Winning HospitalityThe first rule of hospitality is to provide a warm and welcoming experience for your guests, and while Raes and Govaert have no previous inn-keeping expertise, they are gracious hosts who want their guests to appreciate Wells Gray and Clearwater Springs as much as they do.
“You can see on TripAdvisor that people love this lodge,” says Raes, noting that Clearwater Springs Ranch is ranked the #1 B&B in Clearwater, #7 in British Columbia, and #17 in Canada. Earning TripAdvisor’s coveted Travellers Choice Award for 2014, he points out, “is a privilege fewer than 1% of all B&Bs listed on the website receive.”
Home Sweet Home Away From HomeWorld travellers, the couple knows what separates one B&B from the next isn’t just about the inn’s amenities, it’s about the people and the way your guests feel when they stay with you.
“We’ve done a lot of travelling and have stayed in a lot of B&Bs because we like the contact with the locals,” explains Govaert. “The B&Bs I still remember aren’t the very expensive ones, but the ones where you were really ‘with’ the people – sitting around a table, or on their sofa, where we felt at home. We want (the ranch) to be the next best thing to home sweet home.”
With that intention at the heart of their business, there’s no doubt they’ll continue to garner more even more fans of Clearwater Springs Ranch as the next chapter in the story of their lives unfold.
Kurt Raes and Tania Govaert acquired Clearwater Springs Ranch in late 2013. More information about Clearwater Springs Ranch can be found on their website