Exploring Close to Home: Fort Langley

We’ve been trying to get out and explore a bit closer to home these last few weeks, and one of our recent mini excursions was to Fort Langley, a lovely and unique small town a short drive from home. This town was one of the first European settlements in British Columbia and is home to a National Historic site as well as some lovely shops and restaurants.  One thing that makes this community unique is that it has limited the incursion of chain stores and restaurants, making it home to many small, one of a kind places to visit. There is an independent bookstore with a nice cafe, several shops selling unique candies and chocolates, boutique clothing stores and the largest hat store I’ve ever seen outside of a major city.

When we visit Fort Langley we usually spend some time checking out the shops, making sure to leave a lot of time for Wendel’s, the book store and then try to check out a different restaurant each time. This time we tried the 50’s style diner, which had lots of fun decor and mini jukeboxes at some of the tables. My husband and I each splurged on a fun new hat and then we bought ice creams and did some geocaching nearby. There was also a small farmer’s market to explore.

Fort Langley was once a major transportation hub with a rail line going through town and a ferry crossing the Fraser River nearby. The old train station now houses a display showing the history of the railway in the area with a telegraph station and several old rail cars with displays inside. We didn’t go to the Fort Langley Historic site this time, but I took the kids to the fort back in June and they had a great time. The site is set up to portray the fur trading days with workers’ quarters, a blacksmith shop, a cooperage (barrel maker’s) and a fur trading post filled with furs and trade goods. The docents are excellent and really take the time to explain things to young children and there are lots of opportunities for hands on learning such as panning for gold, rolling barrels and even feeding chickens.

Fort Langley is one of those places that we love taking out of town guests, but it’s also just far enough off our regular beaten track to feel like we’re doing a bit of exploring. If you’re ever in the Fraser Valley, I would highly recommend it. And if you are from around here and haven’t been lately, don’t wait for out of town guests!  Every time we visit, we always tell ourselves that we need to come more often.

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