Getting to know Mayerthorpe
Familiarization tour showcases hidden gems
When you’re looking for something new and exciting in a community you’ve come to know well, or you’re a tourist in search of a unique experience, sometimes it’s best to take the road less traveled.
Venturing off the beaten trail is often where you need to go to find those hidden gems, and that’s exactly what a small Mayerthorpe group did on a one-day familiarization bus tour of Mayerthorpe and the surrounding area Wednesday, June 27.
Assistant economic development officer Sylvia Krikun, who acted as tour guide, said the idea of the tour was to give people an idea of what Mayerthorpe has to offer besides the obvious options.
“We tried to hit different tourist type attractions in the area besides Mayerthorpe and the Fallen Four Park, which is the biggest tourist attraction here,” she said. “Just so people get an idea, when they come to the area as a visitor, they’ve got these other places they can go. Instead of spending maybe two or three hours, maybe plan to spend two or three days.”
The tour began with a meet and greet at the Fallen Four Memorial Park at 9:15 a.m, where the group was given a reusable bag filled with information about the tour and goodies such as pins, pens, and a water bottle.
As 10 a.m. rolled around, the group boarded the tiny bus to begin their day of adventures. The tour began with a quick drive through Mayerthorpe to show the state-of-the-art seniors facility Pleasant View Lodge, an old pioneer house, the Diamond Centre, and Dundee School Park, to name a few.
Tucked back in the little hamlet of Greencourt was the first official stop of the tour the Calamity Critter Petting Zoo. From the first step off the bus friendly, tail-wagging canines greeted the group.
Any animal lover, young or old, would have no problem spending a day with these fun, friendly critters. From tiny guinea pigs and bunnies, to medium-sized pot bellied pigs and goats, all the way up to alpacas, ponies, and cows, there’s something of every size.
The farm doesn’t only offer entertainment for the pet-lover. Saskatoon, raspberries, and strawberries, as well as a wide range of vegetables are readily available for picking. For those who enjoy a casual stroll through nature, there are beautiful garden paths. For those who enjoy nature but aren’t up to exploring it, there is always the beautiful scenery to take in while sitting and relaxing.
As the tourists tore themselves away from their new fluffy friends and got back on the bus, the group continued their back road journey to a vacation spot hidden away from the outside world.
Tucked back in a wooded haven lay the Bar D6 Country Retreat, a personal cottage-style getaway.
The bed and breakfast can be a personal getaway for a night, a few days, or even a week. The cottage is equipped with a kitchen, and a living room area with a TV. In addition to the main bedroom, there are three other beds available.
Those who fancy some one on one time with nature can stroll through one of the walking trails on the property, where deer, partridge, moose, and the occasional elk reside. If wandering around in the wilderness isn’t appealing, the retreat offers peaceful sitting areas to catch up on your favourite book, or just sit back and relax.
Not only is there a people retreat, but a puppy retreat as well. The family pet doesn’t have to stay home with the K-9 Retreat available. Canine companions can stay in their own spacious kennel, which opens up to a 10 foot run. Each run opens to a play area where dogs can have their own play time for a few hours each day, or are able socialize if they are good around other K-9 guests.
On the road again, the next stop was for lunch at the Mayerthorpe Golf and Country Club. After bellies were filled, the group was given a quick tour. The club offers a 9-hole course that is suitable for all skill levels, a driving range, and practice green. There is also a camp ground available beside the course.
The Paddle River Dam, where many water sports take place in the summer, was next for the group. Clear blue skies shone down on the open water and grassy fields, as well as the campground that’s currently in the making.
The last stop on the trip was the Pioneer Museum, where everyone was able to take a brief step back in time. The museum is home to many antique artifacts, ranging from fashionable dresses and shoes, phonographs, and kitchen supplies, to arrowheads, typewriters, and Alberta’s second largest moose antlers.
Two other buildings beside the main museum also feature an old one-room schoolhouse, as well as an example of what a traditional home might have looked like.
After a long day touring what Mayerthorpe has to offer, the tuckered group ended their trip with a barbeque at the Emergency Response Centre. Hosted by the Mayerthorpe Emergency Services Society, hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad were provided to the hungry tourists.
Krikun said she is really pleased with how the tour went. Although she added it was too bad there weren’t more people who came out, the ones who did really enjoyed themselves.
“All in all I’m really happy with the day. I had fun,” she laughed, as she thought back on the adventures of the day. “I think even some of the local people who lived here for a long time were unaware of some of these things that are available.”
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