July 22, 2020 5 min read 3 Comments
Though we usually travel to family in the summer, this year, we are staying close to home. My husband, two teens and I plan to hike as much as we can to see the many hidden gems in the Bow Valley. We also spent some time turning our long-neglected backyard into a little oasis for a small group of friends to enjoy, fully equipped with an outdoor bar, fairy lights, hammock and firepit. We may even host the occasional outdoor concert or movie night with the projector screen on the side of the house. We are determined to create positive memories for the summer of 2020!
One thing my family plans on doing more this year is exploring some of the hidden gem trails in and around Calgary.
I’ve actually been enjoying my backyard! We’re usually always out on the weekends. I have such a beautiful backyard and have enjoyed slowing down, observing the bees and listening to the birds that also visit.
Other than that, we moved to Alberta 7 years ago and haven’t spent a ton of time exploring nearby B.C. We bought a camper in January (how would we have ever known how useful it would be this summer for a nearby adventure!). We are enjoying discovering lots of nearby areas.
My list of hidden gems:
My boyfriend and I have been in isolation and we’ve been trying to make games and activities in our outdoor space in our backyard. We played our own version of the newlywed game, where we asked each other questions and if we both got the answer right - we would play flip cup to determine the winner. We set up board games on our table out back. Any games we play, the loser has to do some chore for the winner (usually dishes are at stake).
We’ve also spent some time decorating our outdoor space so it feels comfortable and cool — string lights, lanterns.
We always make sure to dress up and get ready before we go outside - this helps everything feel special. And we usually have a little photo shoot with our fancy outfits. Even if you take your zoom calls with friends outside — it feels more special
We also like our cocktails (you can also easily do this with mocktails) so we’ve been trying out a new recipe every couple weeks, whenever we go grocery shopping we’ll pick up a special ingredient for our new cocktail recipe.
We have theme meals once a week - themes include appetizer night, we had frat night one night where we played beer pong and had KD for dinner, etc My boyfriend loves music so he always makes playlists curated for our theme nights — it helps makes the ambiance on theme.
We’ve also done a social distance dinner party You and your friends pick the same recipe for each of you to make and then you bring your food to some outdoor common area and you’re all eating the same thing 6 feet apart but it’s the same
BONUS Carina’s Mocktail recipes!
Lemon or lime sparkling water
Splash of orange juice
Pour over ice in a glass with a salted rim with lime garnish
Muddle mint leaves and lime
Add a splash of simple syrup (equal parts sugar dissolved in water) to taste
Add ice, finish with lime sparkling water and a lime wedge & mint leaf to garnish
"Pandemic living has been full of hardships but my husband and I decided to search out the silver linings to improve our mental health; a huge positive of being stuck at home/not travelling abroad is getting to explore more of our beautiful province. Often, Alberta gets overlooked in terms of geographical beauty but it’s a land overflowing with local gems and “staycation” destinations.
First on our list was Lundbreck Falls! Personally, I have wanted to visit these falls for years but just never seemed to find the time to make the drive. With the extra time off my husband and I had during the pandemic, suddenly the idea of committing to a 5.5 hour round trip in one day didn't seem like such a big deal.
Driving south on Highway 22 is such a gorgeous trip in and of itself; with the reward of the majestic, roaring, picturesque Lundbreck Falls at the end of our journey, we could not have enjoyed our day more than we did. We packed our Nomad Hand Sanitizer to ensure we could safely eat our picnic lunch and use the washroom facilities on-site at the falls. The destination is kid-friendly, since a long or difficult hike is not required to get to the falls; they are right beside the parking lot. It’s a really wonderful place to visit, allowing us to feel like we were far away from home when in reality, we were still pretty close to home.
If you want to turn your jaunt to Lundbreck Falls into a longer adventure, it is close to Pincher Creek (to the east) or Bellevue/Frank (to the west) where the remnants of the Frank Slide can be seen. For my hubby and I, we decided to head home and made sure to pass through Black Diamond on our way, so that we could stop at Marv’s Classic Soda Shop for a Cherry Malt and a Peanut Butter Burger -- so delicious, don’t knock it til you try it!"
How have you been making the most of staying close to home?
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