I called the number last minute and even though it was Margaret’s day off, she called me back and arranged for me to get into the house that afternoon, leaving a copy of my receipt in the house for me! This was probably the easiest Check-In I have ever experienced!
For quite a reasonable price, you get the whole place to yourself. The Ward House is a small house built in 1880 with an addition in 1887 to add the kitchen area as you see it now. Before then, the meals were prepared in the main living area and cooked on a cook stove.
To the side of the old stove is an old wooden cabinet, with a Microwave on top and tucked inside a cupboard door is a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and pop, Free of Charge! What a wonderful surprise to find on a hot day!
The lean-to, now home to the modern kitchen, was added on in the early-mid part of the 1900’s and had a window from the kitchen that opened to a shelf for milk and butter. In the current kitchen there is a framed area that shows the wood siding from the original house, as well as many modern day conveniences including stove, dishwasher, toaster oven and Keurig Coffee maker!
The tongue and groove walls and flooring in the living room and two bedrooms is original to the home.
There are samples of early oilcloth sheet flooring in the children’s bedroom.
In the main bedroom, a section of the vinyl sheet flooring from the 1960’s has been preserved and shows its vibrant colours.
The Ward House was built by William Henry Ward (also known as “Johnny”), who was born in 1823 and moved to Yale from Digby, Nova Scotia during the gold rush.
The current Ward house is not the original house that Johnny built. He initially built a house at the same location in 1863, but on July 27, 1880 it burned down in a devastating fire that took half the town.
With the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Yale, he went into the hotel business. He had a hotel near the corner of Douglas and Albert Streets, across from St. John the Divine Church, which is still a part of the Yale Historic Site today.
Walking through the front door was like literally stepping back in time. The antique living room furniture was absolutely stunning.
There are antiques decorating the whole house, including old lanterns, a washboard and wash tub, an old cook stove with cast iron frying pan and much more.
There are photos on the walls in both bedrooms, as well as nightclothes hanging on the wall in each room. In the main bedroom there is even a fancy gown hanging as well, which according to the Guest Book, several guests have enjoyed dressing up in!
Due to Covid-19 the Historic Site has restricted hours and while Margaret apologized profusely for not being able to give us Free Admission to the site during our stay, my friend and I both wanted the time to write and relax in nature, so we were quite okay with the site being closed and the grounds being peaceful and quiet.
We walked around the accessible areas and took photos of some of the buildings and signs. I will be posting a separate blog about the Historic Site shortly!
The property is quite lovely, and I would love to come back with my kids and get the whole tour experience when it is actually open. There is even Gold Panning!
The Ward Tea House has great reviews but sadly was closed during our visit.
The railroad tracks are very close and you can feel the vibrations of the trains as they pass by. We did not find the noise bothersome but rather enjoyed watching and listening to the trains passing by.
There is a Guest Book with signatures from around the world, including Paranormal Investigators! It is said that the Ward House does have some ghost activity at night, but is friendly from all of the reports in the Guest Book!
Now once we read that people have had some ghost experiences in this house, we did some research and could not find anything specific. A couple of people stated that it was a very cute and cozy house during the day, but quite creepy at night.
Some comforting updates to the house include an alarm system with motion detectors, as well as a digital thermostat for heating and air conditioning. The house was a nice cool temperature when we arrived, and we quickly unloaded our things and started exploring the antiques in the house.
We spent most of our time on the front patio, enjoying the cool breeze and watching the trains pass by until late into the night.
In the morning, I had to have a bath in this gorgeous clawfoot tub! The handheld sprayer is such a nice feature and is shaped like an old telephone handle! There was also homemade Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner and Bubble Bath stocked in the bathroom, with lots of extra towels in the cupboard.
Afterwards, I made a coffee from the Keurig and sat on the front patio enjoying the cool breeze and beautiful garden until it was time to pack up our things. We left the key where we were instructed to for the easiest check out ever!
The Ward House is the perfect mix of Antique and Modern, allowing visitors the modern day conveniences we have grown accustomed to – air conditioning, dish washer, microwave – all while being surrounded by the history of the 1800s.
This was such a last minute, random trip, but it was amazing and just what I needed to recharge! So many people were confused at first when I said we were staying at the Yale Historic Site, but then they were quite amazed to learn that it is even an option. What a unique way to explore the history of Yale, the construction of the railroad and the gold rush era!
I highly recommend if you are passing through Yale, BC you stop by the Historic Site for a tour and maybe even some gold panning! If you need a place to stay for the night, check out the Ward House for the same price as a hotel, and have the whole house to yourself!
As always, thank you for reading! This was definitely different from my usual road trips, especially being kidless! It was also a good reminder that sometimes we need to get away, unplug, and have a change of scenery to recharge, and that is absolutely okay too.