Tag: buick

Travel Swellness: Escape to Vernon for a wellness retreat

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The mountains are calling…

The mountains are always calling me, it seems. I’ve said it before: as much as I love the ocean and spending time on a beach, it’s being in the mountains that truly makes me well up inside with all of the warm and fuzzies.

So I jumped at the opportunity to travel to Vernon, B.C., with Buick Enclave to learn about this luxury crossover SUV and to breathe in that fresh mountain air. It was a whirlwind trip, but I was a busy little bunny and have 5 things you must do if you’re looking to do your own wellness retreat in beautiful Vernon.

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1. Stay at Sparkling Hill Resort. The view from the floor to ceiling windows in the suites is reason enough to book a stay at Sparkling Hill. Just taking in that view and I feel more relaxed and calm.  I could just go from that bathtub to the bed and back all day long soaking it up. Add in a very comfortable bed, some incredible food (everything I had from the veggie wrap at lunch to the chicken at dinner was delectable), and stress just melts away. The property is on a granite bluff overlooking Lake Okanagan and is the brainchild of the patriarch of the Swarovski crystal family, so throughout the property you’ll find more than 3.5 million Swarovski crystals making the resort shine bright.

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2. Snowshoe at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre. With tall evergreens weighed down with fluffy white snow, snowshoeing here with a guide is a magical winter wonderland experience. As a city girl jaded by the frigid long waits for public transit and dealing with the grey, slushy mess of downtown Toronto, escaping to a place like Sovereign Lake  where winter is stunning and gives you a reason to celebrate snow is always a good reminder to make time to appreciate this most Canadian of seasons.

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Breathing in that fresh pine scent as you work your way through the trails is a great workout; you can burn about 500 calories an hour (but it really depends on how difficult your terrain is and how intensely you trek).

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3. Go hiking. There are 25 kilometres of marked trails in and around the Sparkling Hill Resort property for hiking. It’s so quiet that it’ll just be the crunch of the snow beneath your feet to accompany you, with views of the lake and some 300 species of birds in the area to spot. The resort also offers daily guided hikes if you’re not keen about venturing out on your own.

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4. Spend a day in Kurspa. Yes, an entire day. Or break up your time at the 40,000 square-foot spa over several days. There are seven different themed steams and saunas to indulge in including Rose Steam, Igloo, Crystal Steam and Aqua Meditation.

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You could (and should) also walk the Kneipp Hydrotherapy, a water-stepping path through warm and cold water (it’s only about knee deep) designed to help with circulation, low blood pressure, insomnia and swollen feet. If hot pools are your jam, the one at Kurspa is  designed so that you should move your way around it counterclockwise so that the specially designed jets help to soothe your body. For those who like to swim laps, you will not want to miss the indoor saltwater pool here as music is  piped in underwater. And I haven’t even gotten to the spa treatments yet: try the signature Mud & Muscle if you’ve gone hard with your workouts, or the Crystal Scrub to get glowing. I didn’t have time to have a treatment since I chose to spend as much time outdoors in the mountains, but I heard the treatments are top notch.

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5. Go for a scenic drive around the Okanagan. Driving the winding roads in the 2018 Buick Enclave was a relaxing and beautiful excursion during which we got to take in the sunset as we made our way to and then back from Sovereign Lake. If you’re traveling with your whole squad, the Enclave is actually a great choice as it seats seven people, and yet it manages to not feel like an enormous car (in fact, I actually didn’t realize the car’s capacity at all when I was driving it, and that is usually something I’m wary of). And check out the super luxe interior (with heated seats, much welcome after snowshoeing in the cold!)

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But my two top reasons a Buick Enclave is the perfect ride for this trip to a mountain escape to Vernon? Firstly, the OnStar 4G LTE wifi, which came in handy given we were in areas where my smartphone had no data connection.  Up to seven devices can connect so every passenger can stream or catch up on social media and emails easily.

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Secondly, the QuietTuning feature. I’ve only just learned about it but it helps create a healthier and more relaxing space in your Buick. What is it? It’s an air ionizer that helps to eliminate odours and improve air quality by creating negatively charged particles that attract all of the things you don’t want in your car (the bad smells and contaminants– think dust, pollen, bacteria) making them heavy and then sweeping them out of the air in the car. Making it that much easier for you to breathe in that fresh Okanagan air.

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I hope I can fit in another mountain escape into my schedule soon because they are calling again. Thank you, Buick, for this little escape to the west coast.

 Photography (Buick Enclave in Ebony Twilight, Buick Enclave in Havana Metallic , snowshoeing, sauna, mountain view): Lucas Scarfone.

 

Leave a Comment December 15, 2017

Travel Swellness: Road tripping in the Rocky Mountain Foothills with Buick Envision

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When I was invited to drive a 2017 Buick Envision over two days in the beautiful Rocky Mountain Foothills in Alberta, you bet I replied as quickly as my fingers could type YES and hit send. My first one-day visit to Banff in 2014, along with my much longer trip exploring the area spring 2015 (when I was out west to run the Calgary Marathon) — these trips remain high, very high on my list of  my most favourite. Ever. Even just typing this I feel breathless just thinking of the gorgeous mountains and lakes.

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This trip with Buick Envision had us based in Priddis, Alberta, which is just outside of Calgary, staying at Azuridge Estate Hotel. This property feels remote (even though it’s not far from the city), and the fresh mountain air, along with the deer we spotted on our drive to the property, well, it was all very idyllic.

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Hitting the road with the Buick Envision was of course the main priority. While city driving often stresses me out, the quiet open roads around Priddis I actually love navigating (well, with the GPS keeping us on track), and the Envision was a smooth drive. And I’ll be honest with you; Buick is not a car brand I’d normally gravitate to, and while I’m not personally in the market for a car right now, I was impressed with how refined the car felt (and I liked how spacious it felt, and yet it wasn’t so overwhelming that I thought “I’ll never be able to park this thing!”). I’ve driven other compact SUVs and I can’t say the same about them. I spent more of my time inside the car than admiring it from the outside, and I think they have achieved making it feel luxe from the inside out.

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Another reason it was a smooth drive (as I learned from Buick)? They’ve developed quiet tuning so that your drives are peaceful. Things like acoustic absorbers for the door system to engine compartments have all been incorporated, as well as acoustic laminated windshield and front side glass. Which made for a very peaceful way to take in the incredible scenery of Alberta.

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On the first day, we set out with a route to check out the views with a few stops along the way. We visited Leighton Art Centre, where there’s the work of local artists (with a focus on landscapes), a lovely greenhouse-type room full of plants in this heritage home and a wide open view of fields with the mountains in the distance. I could’ve stayed all afternoon just taking in that view.

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No visit to the area is complete without a pit stop at Longview Jerky Shop, where the jerky is award-winning. We picked up two varieties, and then popped into the cute gas station across the road (where we couldn’t resist getting an ice cream cone — guess we were ready for dessert after that jerky!).

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The smooth drive as the sun set was peaceful and relaxing, and I got a chance to use the car’s wifi since my partner for the day of adventures was behind the wheel. Although I’ve been in vehicles with wifi before, when I thought about it more thoroughly, I wasn’t clear as to what the advantage is over using one’s data plan. But here’s the thing: you can get a wifi plan for the car as a one-off purchase, and say you’re on a road trip. Everyone in the car can use the wifi (well, up to seven devices); if you have kids, they can stream movies; and if you have teens (or um, if you’re me and always online) you can update social media and check emails using that wifi plan. And I know I’ve been on road trips where my smartphone can’t get a signal. This didn’t happen to me when using the Buick Envision’s wifi. And rates for a one-time data plan starts at $5 for 250MB for 24 hours with OnStar.

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The next morning, I chose to set off for Canmore, and I was paired up with two auto editors so it was refreshing to get a bit of their expert input on the technical side of things when it came to the car (and I impressed them with my knowledge of car brands I didn’t realize were no longer in production…I guess I only remember important things like what’s Justin Bieber’s latest haircut…). I’d chosen to drive to Canmore as I’d been earlier this year, as I mentioned, and I can’t get enough of mountains. Like, I think I need to buy one of those paintings with some inspirational mountain saying, that’s how much I love them. “Take me to the mountains.”

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We drove the Envision and our first stop was Verde Day Spa, where I got a massage; always appreciated but honestly, I was just so happy and stress-free already thanks to being in Canmore. The drive up there seemed effortless — and because I was a passenger this time (I was driving the first time I went to Canmore in the spring), I got to take in the mountain views to my heart’s content. But this is actually  the type of driving I love so I’d have been happy to be the driver for the day; the roads weren’t crowded, there are views that knock your socks off, and we had the spacious and comfortable Envision — but I happily Snapchatted and took photos for the trek. Post-spa, we had a delicious lunch at Crazyweed Kitchen (which I highly recommend if you’re in Canmore). I had a very good fried chicken sandwich, and started with a velvety soup of the day.

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After lunch it was sadly time to head off to the Calgary airport where we handed back the keys to the sleek ride (and now whenever I see the ad of the hot dad driving his baby around to help him fall asleep I am reminded of these sweet couple of days of driving it in the Rocky Mountain Foothills). Psst: there’s also a cute ad for the Envision featuring Schmidt (well, of actor Max Greenfield) from New Girl — oh, he makes me laugh.

Leave a Comment January 3, 2017


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