Our new lot is site 6 the Benchlands, aka 1350 Greenwood Street, Pemberton BC, V0N 2L1, Canada. You can Google maps us and zoom in to get streetview (ours is the lot with a trampoline on it in these photos; the sign says '9' because it has flipped upside down).
Where in the world, you might be wondering, is Pemberton? And how did we pick this specific patch of gravel to literally build our dreams upon? Well...
Pemberton is a tiny community of about 2,500 people about 25 minutes north of Whistler (you know, the place that hosted the Olympics), and about 2 hours north of Vancouver. If you're ever in the area you should drive up - the trip is very pretty, and skirts along Howe Sound, which goes all blue in summer and all chrome-coloured and water-coloury in winter. Our nicknames include 'Pemby', for obvious reasons, and 'Spud Valley', because Pemberton is, seriously, in a potato protection area (there are some unique local species, so you can't just bring in your own potatos and grow them willy nilly, for fear of spreading blight). We even have a local vodka factory making moola from leftover spuds. Up and down the valley there are plenty of farms and u-pick berry places. The whole area is dominated by Mount Currie - the steep and gorgeous edifice at the top of my blog page and one day out our living room window. Just up the road, the Mount Currie Reservation is, I have heard, the largest first nations community in BC.
Downtown Pemby consists of 2 grocery stores, a home hardware, post office, huntin'n'fishin' store, general store that sells banjos, half a dozen restaurants, including sushi (this ain't no backwater), and a disproportionate number of hair dressers (5 at last count). We have a tiny lake (One Mile Lake), which is just big enough for the kiddies to swim in (though very weedy and worryingly warm), and freezes deep enough, apparently, to drive on in winter (I had a friend's husky pull me around on skates, in a weird kind of dog sledding). And there's a nicer lake (called Mosquito lake, I think to drive away tourists) tucked into the mountain.
Our local amenities include world-class backcountry skiing (the kind where you put skins on the bottom of your skis and hike up a mountain for 3 hours, then ski down untouched powder for 30 minutes), sno-mobiling (we don't do that, though, since it's noisy and tends to trigger avalanches), horse-back archery (check it out), hiking, rock-climbing (Green River Bastion etc), scary mountain biking, a bevy of natural hot springs (north to south that'd be Meager Creek, Keyhole Falls, St Agnes Wells and Sloquet), kayaking (river and lake), and, lest I forget, Paragliding (Stef's true love). Most of the people who live here, regardless of age, do at least 2 of these things on a regular basis.
People originally came to Pemby for the farming (them potatoes!) as part of the whole gold rush thing (my history is abysmal... you'd best read it elsewhere). But today it's full of people who love the mountains and don't love the city. Quite a lot of people are young'uns who moved to Whistler to be ski bums, fell in love, got married, and had to move out a bit to afford a house (or even a condo, or anything with a roof). There are a lot of hardy and healthy 30-somethings pushing prams with skis on their feet. It's that sort of place.
We're here mainly so Stef can jump off a mountain with a wing on his back with 20 minutes notice at any time of day... he is obsessed with paragliding, and this place is one of the best in the world (a bit like Chamonix... a bit). Also it's the kind of young, fast-growing community that is taking care to stay a community... no box stores here, just mom-and-pop places and a lot of trails instead of roads. The community centre and the library simply rock. And did I mention that it's gorgeous?
The bit of land we bought is walkable to all those downtown amenities, so we don't have to be tied to a car. It's high on a hill where we won't get hit by the floods (good farming land = floodable land more often than not). There's a green belt off the back, a waterfall out the front, and a stunning view.
Come visit us! There's a Pacific Coach Lines bus that goes straight to Whistler from Vancouver airport... see you soon.