GRAB SUMMER WITH THESE FIVE UNFORGETTABLE UNIQUE ALBERTA STAYS
Summer is here, but it won’t last long. So plan a weekend getaway with friends or family to discover some truly unique places to stay in Alberta and make some memories that will last a lifetime.
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Back to Nature Retreat
Bed-and-breakfast retreats don’t come more cozy or welcoming than this. A majestic post-and-beam log home built by TV’s Timber Kings is the backdrop for a memorably relaxing trip into the quiet forests north of Cochrane. But it’s not all silent and slow. After exploring nearby Winchell Lake and walking the on-site perennial garden, head to the nearby town of Water Valley, a small town with a liveliness that defies its quaint look: WV Days on Aug. 13 will remind you what’s great about small towns. Make sure to keep enough time for a trip to nearby Fallentimber Meadery and a glass of locally made honey-wine and, if you plan your trip right, indulge in Rootstock, the meadery’s field-to-table festival of food and drink, also taking place on Aug. 13.
Peace River Cabins
Most folks wouldn’t put the words “mighty” and “peace” together but they fit perfectly when describing this beautiful region of northern Alberta. And in the midst of Mighty Peace Country lies the hidden gem of Peace River Cabins & Outdoors. With so many things to do, this is more than a weekend getaway so plan accordingly. Book a cottage or a cabin or bring the RV. Tent and trailer works too. Rent a canoe or go on a guided paddle on the Peace. Go fishing. Hike the riverbanks and surrounding hills. Or just kick back with a good book and enjoy the mighty peace.
Bar Diamond Guest Ranch
Need room to roam? How about 34,000 acres in the Canadian Badlands? Ninety minutes north of Medicine Hat, close to the Saskatchewan border, sprawls the Bar Diamond Guest Ranch. Stay in the original Bar Diamond Lodge, built in 1903 from logs that escaped a huge boom up river and were hauled one at a time by horse and buckboard. Or, if modern is your thing, book a room in the Uplands Lodge. After a day exploring the badlands on horseback or gliding the Red Deer River on a jet boat, settle in for some down-home western cooking and then share your day’s adventures around a crackling fire.
Looking for the perfect blend of rustic indulgence? A short drive southeast of Calgary, just west of Mossleigh on Hwy 24 is a delightful train-themed campground and recreation area. Staying in a beautifully appointed cabin is one thing, but when it happens to be a fully refurbished caboose car, you’re in for a truly unique stay. There are three caboose cabins to choose from, each with its own private deck, gas barbecue and fire pit. Inside is total luxury. Stroll over to the restored Pullman dining car for dinner. Pick up a souvenir at the gift shop and try not to spend all your money in the glorious garden centre.
About 45 km west of Nordegg is one of the province’s best known ecotourism destinations. Aurum Lodge overlooks the pristine waters of Abraham Lake and provides a spectacular wilderness experience. The property is perfectly situated to explore Bighorn Country and Banff and Jasper national parks. Make it a long weekend – there’s a two-night minimum. Come back in winter and take a photography workshop to learn how to capture the suspended methane bubbles just beneath the surface of the frozen lake.
Mount Engadine Lodge
In the heart of Kananaskis Country is local favourite, Mount Engadine Lodge – an inviting, intimate retreat an hour west of Calgary that accommodates no more than 19 guests at a time. If there’s no room at the inn, see if you can book the yurt, high style comfort camping – where pets are welcome. Or just come for high tea between 2 and 5 p.m. Not your run-of-the-mill high tea, either: charcuterie of local meats and cheeses, as well as freshly baked treats, seasonal fruits and excellent coffee from a local Canmore roastery. Put your feet up on the porch and watch for wildlife wandering through the aptly-named Moose Meadows.