CITY GUIDE : Fort Langley

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Heather of Tea with Me! I’m excited to share the first Canadian destination! Enjoy.

Is there good food? Is there fascinating history? It’s these two questions that constantly pop into my mind when choosing a place to visit; it so happens that this city has both, plus one downtown street full of chic boutiques. Fort Langley is an overlooked gem when it comes to the Lower Mainland, especially with Vancouver an hour or two away (maybe if Allie is nice she will let me do that guide for you). It’s a hidden secret with the locals and perfect for a low key Saturday.

Start off by going to Wendel’s Bookstore and Café and don’t get frightened away by the lineup, when it comes to food it’s a good sign and it moves at a decent clip. The problem … trying to actually decide on what to get, everything looked incredibly delicious, not to mention the ooey gooey baked treats that tantalize behind a glass shield with seductive whispering, “Take me home with you!”

Once your belly is full and completely satisfied walk down the road for shopping. This is perfect for a day with the girlfriends, unless your fella is in to shopping. It’s time to catch up on gossip between the clothing boutiques, art galleries, trinket stores and even a spa there is something for everyone. There are two treat stores, one dedicated to candy and another for chocolate if you feel the urge to have a little snack or have the same chocolate sweet tooth I have.

Treasure hunters should not miss the Village Antique Mall, a 10,000 square foot place off the main drag full of wondrous items. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but my guess is an individual can purchase a booth and fill it with their items to sell. It can be a little annoying especially if you know what you want, but I find it intriguing to see the style of each person come out.

The Fort to Fort trail, is a flat all seasons trek that connects the first Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Langley site (1827) to the current fort location (1839) which is a National Historic site in the downtown area. The trail takes you through lush vegetation and wildflowers amidst trees to farmland by the Fraser River and Bedford channel.  It’s a serene trek, especially in the morning, when the grass is still covered in dew and the birds chirp (even better when you stop at Wendel’s afterwards.)

Fort Langley was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America, over a century ago to trade with the First Nations of the area. The fort isn’t of large size, but it’s still fun to take the kids too, especially around Canada day, when they are doing more interactive pieces. Take them there for a little history lesson, gold panning, and visit the farm animals.

For me, a trip to the town cannot be complete without stopping in at Infusion Bouteaque, either a quick hello to the owners or to try a new tea. They have near on a 100 different loose leaf teas for sale and I love how they have placed them in little bottles for you to open and smell. Its fascinating watching people, shake and sniff, then share the bottles with friends with exclamations of, “Try this one!” They are the tea merchant that first got me addicted to loose leaf tea. As of now they have some help, but if you get lucky and find the owners in, you will see how tea is a pure passion of this couple.

Not as popular as the Vancouver core when visiting British Columbia, but it’s still a fabulous place, well worth a taking a few hours of your day with girlfriends to explore away from the hub of city life.

A huge thanks to Heather for rounding up her favorite places in Fort Langley! Be sure to visit her blog and follow her on Twitter! All photos taken by Heather.

Featured image by p medved.

April 26, 2012