Penner: Quintessential nation city makes for excellent weekend getaway

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Because the solar slipped beneath the mountains, the western sky began blazing. Purple-rimmed clouds scuttled over the foothills and, as we rolled round a bend within the street, presto, there they had been: two stunning horses grazing on the hill. The fiery sky was the proper background for a picture. I ended the automobile beside the street, opened my window, and framed the shot. Not surprisingly, given the basic Alberta scenes in and across the picturesque city of Sundre, my set off finger obtained an excellent little exercise on our whirlwind weekend on this peaceable a part of the world.   

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There are plenty of locations that scream “Alberta.” Banff and Jasper come to thoughts when one of the best – and, definitely, most well-known – mountain cities in our province are the subject on the desk. And in relation to stunning rural cities and areas ripe for exploration and journey, there isn’t a scarcity. Drumheller, Diamond Valley, Longview, the Crowsnest Go, Nanton, Three Hills …the listing simply retains going.

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Situated simply an hour northwest of Calgary within the coronary heart of Mountain View County, the city of Sundre is, for me, a private favorite. It appears to encapsulate all the things nice about Alberta: photogenic rural scenes, mighty rivers, stunning farmland, spectacular summer season storms, close by mountains, and limitless alternatives for out of doors recreation. After which, in fact, there may be the pleasant, unpretentious vibe and the quaint townsite that’s dwelling to stunning riverside trails, boardwalks, campgrounds, museums, artwork centres, and loads of cool shops and eating places.  

Additionally, when you’re trying to keep in a single day in a Sundre lodge, the Mountain View Inn & Suites is a clear and modern lodge that may exceed your expectations. It’s owned and operated by the Totem Group, an area firm that owns the Sundre Golf Membership in addition to the excellent Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama, B.C. In addition to all the tenting alternatives, one other great place to remain is the Schott’s Lake Convention & Resort simply west of Sundre. The restaurant there, The Kitchen, is excellent (get the elk burger!). 

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Sundre Museum
Sundre & District Museum has fascinating displays and artifacts. Photograph, Andrew Penner jpg

After spending our first night cruising across the backroads east and west of city, my spouse, Daybreak, and I explored some native points of interest the next day. The tidy Sundre & District Museum, an area treasure, was a spotlight. It’s full of pioneer buildings and artifacts that seize what life was like for early settlers within the area. It’s additionally dwelling to the eye-popping World of Wildlife Exhibition, which options 170 taxidermy animals from around the globe. (They had been all donated by an area outdoorsman, the late Chester Mjolsness.)  

One other fascinating and slightly eclectic place to discover within the space is the Bergen Rocks Worldwide Sculpture Park. This distinctive three-acre park, owned by native artist Morton Burke, incorporates a dozen, or so, spectacular marble sculptures created by numerous artists from around the globe. 

The connection between “artwork” and “Sundre” appears to be rising and strengthening on a regular basis. For instance, because of the Sundre Arts Centre, which is totally volunteer-driven, Sundre has additionally turn into a hub for performing arts, together with dance, theatre, and music. It’s a formidable little centre that almost all rural communities of this measurement can’t boast. (Sundre’s inhabitants is roughly 2,500.) 

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As luck would have it, the weekend we visited, the long-running Shady Grove Bluegrass Pageant was additionally occurring. Situated on the Sundre rodeo grounds, this beloved annual competition was one other spotlight of our weekend. True, a number of thunderstorms (Sundre is understood to get the odd “boomer”) despatched individuals scurrying for canopy on a few events. Opposite to standard perception, when you hear a banjo there’s no have to run in the other way.   

Sundre Golf Course
The Sundre Golf Course is very rated. Photograph, Andrew Penner jpg

After all, embracing some “Western methods” is par for the course on a go to to Sundre. (Talking of “pars,” I’d additionally suggest attempting to make some on the spectacular Sundre Golf Membership, which is definitely one of many prettiest rural programs in Alberta.) 

Probably the greatest methods to expertise the wonder and tradition within the space is by visiting the Wild Horses of Alberta Society, which is situated roughly quarter-hour west of Sundre. This distinctive facility, a nonprofit that’s totally funded by donations, rescues and rehabilitates wild horses which can be injured, deserted or inflicting issues with home animals. By appointment, friends can tour the barns, buildings, and corrals and in addition go to the wild herd that roams the close by vary. Though I don’t have plenty of “cowboy” in me, I discovered it a tremendous expertise to be shut to those wild animals, most of which had by no means been touched by a human earlier than being rescued.  

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Take an enriching Medicine Walk with Mahikan Trails
Take an enriching Medication Stroll with Mahikan Trails at Sundre. Photograph, Andrew Penner jpg

Our ultimate “Western” expertise was additionally very enlightening however another way. On our guided Medication Stroll with Mahikan Trails, which was a simple two-hour stroll by means of the forest on the brand new riverside boardwalk in Sundre, we realized how most of the native crops have sustained Indigenous individuals for hundreds of years. The advantages of spruce sap, tobacco, wolf willow, and quite a few different crops and animals had been mentioned.  

Not surprisingly, on our approach out of city, the attractive rolling landscapes unfolded once more. Extra photographs of ripening wheat, pumpjacks in opposition to mountains, and delightful pink barns had been made. That is, in spite of everything, quintessential Alberta nation. 

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