By Meghan Baker
While traveling and living abroad, Linda and her husband Pail Bilewicz maintained their connections in Canada with a working farm in the Beaver Valley. “My husband and I became intrigued with B&Bs when we were living in Ascot in the U.K. and Edinburgh, Scotland with our children.” The family would return to Beaver Valley to ski and noticed the Pretty River Valley Country Inn had been for sale. “Although being from the area, we never ventured over to the Pretty River Valley,” Linda explained. “We had met hosts of B&Bs in the U.K. and Europe. Whether Lords opening up their manor houses or humble cottages by the sea it was easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the owners of these establishments.” They were easily sold on the idea.
They made the move across the Atlantic, taking their children and three Icelandic horses by plane to establish an inn with a purpose. “Our concept for the inn was very clear. We wanted an environment that allowed people to relax and take time out from the bustle of urban life, and to respect the environment in the process,” she said. Their green philosophy has led to installing solar heating for their salt-water pool and a possible future project of a Hydro Turbine. They have built up a fund for environmental projects by allocating ten dollars from every room night aside.
The environmentally friendly innkeepers hope to leave the land in better shape than when they got there for future generations. “The apple orchard and gardens are pesticide free. We invite our guests in the fall to make organic apple cider and take it home!” The inn also has horses, chickens and reindeer. “We do not impose environmental sacrifices on our guests but we do provide an opportunity and a forum for our guests to participate if they so choose in helping us make a difference.” They also took the original 8-room inn and added three luxury accommodations after acquiring the original farm home on the property. “The size of the inn is just perfect. We are able to remember our guests names and know what has drawn them to this area.”
Situated on 125 acres along the Niagara Escarpment (UNESCO World Biosphere) and The Bruce Trail, the natural wonders are hard to ignore. “We believe ourselves custodians of the Inn and the land that it sits on and ask all our guests to celebrate this glorious location with us, but also to appreciate the impact that we all make on the environment.”