Change can be difficult. After almost 25 years of living in the same house on a hobby farm in NW Abbotsford, I thought they would have to carry me out horizontally rather than me moving voluntarily.

That all changed last January when my wife and I viewed the big vacant building on the North end of Chardonnay Lane. It was perfect, albeit unfinished. We had started a small B&B a year earlier but found that we were a little too far off the beaten track for the business to be a success. After all the tedious legal/financial details were finalized in early April we began finishing our dream home.

Brookside Inn before:

Brookside Inn in Construction

Brookside Inn after:

Brookside Inn Hotel

One of the best surprises of our move is the daily encounters with the residents of Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates. Everyone has been very welcoming, warm, generous and supportive. I am shocked at how friendly everyone is in this sea of luxury homes. Aren’t successful people supposed to be selfish snobs? Not here. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t at least say hello and how glad they are we’re here, or that our landscaping looks good, or other words of encouragement as they stroll by on their walk around the neighbourhood.

Now, as if this wasn’t paradise already, get this, we live next to a huge Vineyard and the plan is for the Vineyard owners to build a Winery right next door to us. Maybe they’ll even bottle a “Pepin Brook” wine? I’ve always loved wine and now we’re living in the heart of the Fraser Valley Wine Industry! I’ve spoken to the owners of several of the closest Wineries regarding centering Wine Tours, or Wine/Agritourism Tours, around picking up overnight guests at our Boutique Hotel, and other local Accommodations. Everyone likes the plan.

View of Brookside Innn from Pepin Brook Vineyard next door:

Brookside Inn Winery

Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel has a meeting room that can accommodate up to about 15 adults. The meeting area is equipped with a Big Screen TV/DVD player and an electric fireplace. We also have the good fortune of having several original sculptures by artist, Helmut Becker, displayed on the office walls.

Corporate Meeting Room:

Brookside Inn Meeting Room

We believe that hosting small weddings would also go over well here, with the wedding party staying overnight, the meeting room acting as chapel, lots of photo opportunities, and the paving stone area tented in front of the house as the outdoor dining/reception area.

As a serious birder I thought I’d be giving up a lot by moving from the farm and the 147 species of bird that had passed through. I was more than a little surprised at the similar diversity here at the Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates. A bird species I’d only seen a handful of times at the farm was living, and presumably breeding, in our back yard. There was at least one pair of Lazuli buntings here all Summer!

Male Lazuli bunting

birdwatching in abbotsford

More on Birds, and Wine, next time.