Alberta has many small towns with hidden gems. During my parent’s trip out west this summer, we explored a few of these Awesome Alberta Small Towns just south of Calgary. Our focus was mostly food oriented with stops at a honey farm, dessert at an old church, an afternoon at the local farmer’s market, and so much more!
Sweet Countryside Honey from Chinook Honey
Just 5 minutes down the road from the Okotoks rock is this massive honey farm. I am always excited to tour honey places; they are so delicious! This one had a large variety of honey products including soap, candles, jams, spreads, ice cream, and award winning mead. They offer tours of the production area through the day. We arrived too late for a tour but got to partake in some mead tasting. They sell 3 kinds of mead in 12 different flavours. The woman poured us 6 small samples to try. They were all delicious with different levels of sweetness. Inside the shop, they had a clear beehive on display for visitors to watch the bees at work. Just before we left, I had to try a scoop of their locally made ice cream flavoured with their honey. I got Honey Strawchocamel in a waffle cone. It was creamy and smooth with chunks of frozen strawberries in it.
Get saved from hunger at the Heartland Café
This café is set up in an old church. Unfortunately, we did not get to sit inside but I did get to take some photos. We sat outside on their patio because they were setting up for a wedding the next day. The patio was large and surrounded with hedges looking out to the street. We just got some lattes and a small dessert to share.
Yes, that is one Big Rock, Okotoks Erratic
After driving with farmers’ fields on both side of the road, a really big rock sitting in one of them is a very dramatic image to see. This large quartzite (41x18x9 meters in size) sitting on a flat piece of land looks extremely out of place. That is because it is not from around here; its true home was in the Rocky Mountains. During the ice age era a glacier taxied it all the way out to this field in Okotoks where it now stands as a unique tourist attraction. As a historical site, it is protected and not advised to climb on. The area is easily accessible with a small parking lot, outhouses, and the stairs down have a wheelchair accessible ramp. It was a nice short photo and history stop.
Experience the best steak in the west at Longview Steak House & Inn
After visiting this place for the first time earlier this year, I knew I had to take my parents. They make the best steak, have excellent service, and make you feel like family. We booked in for Friday night supper at 6pm. When we checked in, Sam greeted us with a big smile remembering us from before. It was pouring rain so we quickly took our things to our rooms. My Dad was excited to see that they also had Netflix. Just before 6 pm, my parents were on the deck watching a deer in the field below when a helicopter landed in front of the Inn. You know that you are eating at an amazing restaurant when people start arriving by helicopter.
When six o’clock came around, we headed inside just as the rain stopped and the Rocky Mountains were coming into view across the valley. For dinner Mom had scallops, seared to perfection, and Dad got his New York strip loin well done but still juicy. JC and I ordered from the daily special board. I had a rare Rib Steak with jumbo shrimp and hollandaise. JC got bone-in veal rib steak with a truffle marsala demi-glace. Both our steaks melted in our mouths. When dessert time came we all ordered the same thing; Lemon Meringue Cheesecake. One thing I love about this place is once you sit down the focus is on enjoying yourselves; there is no rush to eat and run. Our meal experience that night was just over 3 hours long. During this time, a table became free beside the window with a view of the valley. They kindly offer to move us there so we could eat our dessert and enjoy the view. Just as we were finishing up for the night, Sam ask what we wanted for breakfast and at what time. We decided to eat at 9 am and I asked if they could bring coffee to our room at 8 am.
That morning at 8:15 am I was sitting outside on the deck, coffee in hand, cat on my lap (she was sitting outside with my coffee, how could I resist?) enjoying the view. It does not get any better than that! About an hour later, we were back at the restaurant looking at the mountains, drinking pear and mango juice, and tasting our first bites of breakfast. I really do love this place!
We cannot go to Longview without buying some jerky. My Mom was interested to hear that this place makes many different kinds of jerky. She cannot eat red meat and wanted to try their turkey jerky. We made a short stop to pick up some regular and turkey jerky for both my parents to try.
Marv’s Soda Shop
This soda shop is a slice of life out of the 1950’s. Marv greeted us as we came in and seated us in a nearby booth. Since we already had eaten tons of food, we decided to only order milkshakes and an ice cream sundae for Dad. Mom was excited to see the tabletop jukeboxes and quickly got some quarters. They flipped through the selection of songs and played their favourites. Sitting at the booth and listening to the beach boys “Get Around” while slipping on milkshakes was a perfect break from the heat outside.
Parking: Street parking out front
Want to know more about things to do in Black Diamond, Longview, and nearby Turner Valley? Click the link You Need To Visit These Alberta Small Towns
Stock up on fresh produce at Millarville Farmers Market
We decided to check out this market after being told about it by a local. It runs every Saturday during the summer months from mid-June to early October at the Millarville racetrack. We paid $3 for our car to enter and pulled into one of the many parking spots. This market is huge and it seems to bring a wide variety of vendors from all the surrounding communities. I browsed through locally made clothes, ice cream, jewelry, vegetables, distilleries, pottery, leather goods, perogies, Mexican food, and fresh baked goods. All the vendors have tons of space for their setups, most are outside and a few are inside. They have a restroom building for all your personal needs. They even have on site camping for $25 a night.
Amenities: Tons of Parking. Indoor washrooms
Any other small towns that you love to visit? Comment below or tweet at me here.
*This trip was during my gluten days of summer and I am unfamiliar with the gluten-free options available at the places we visited
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