My 2016 Christmas List

Blogland is full of lists- Best gifts for travelers! Best gifts for boys aged 7-12!  Best gifts for dad!

This is the list titled– Best Gifts for Leah Yoder — fully egocentric and very specific.  Friends, since I can’t have a 10-day Pacific Islands cruise with my family (and a nanny), I’ve resorted to a traditional list.

I wrote this for 2 reasons.

  1.  So I don’t receive a turkey baster wrapped in a Target bag (We made it through that one, Mr. YT) 😉
  2. Because I want to know what you want.  So that’s your job in the comments.

So here’s my list.  Some of affiliate links (no cost to you, but the 20 cent commission may help Mr YT afford my taste in boots)!

my-2016-christmas-list-with-numbers

#1- I love these boots.  We’re moving to the snowbelt and my Uggs are not going to handle the wet snow.  I just wish I’d had these in Canada.

#2- I’ve been wanting a functional world map- good for school and décor.  This one I found on Amazon takes the cake, and it comes with push-pins to mark where you have been!

#3- I’m a homeschool mom, and I’ve gotten this book from the public library more than once.  I think it’s probably time I buy it for our home library.

#4- I was born in 1983, right around the time Return of the Jedi hit the big screen.  So our names aren’t quite the same, but I still adore this mug!

#5- These beatitude bracelets by Mercy House Global are perfect.  I love the message- and I love that they support impoverished women.  I subscribe the Earring of the Month club- check it out.

#6- Have you seen prints by Lindsay Letters?  I’m thinking this one would be perfect for a gallery wall in the new homeschool room.

#7 & #8 We’ve started the Little House series for our read-aloud time of homeschool.  Through that, I realized that it would be helpful if our family had a set of our own (instead of having to renew it multiple times)!  I saw the Little House coloring book at T.J. Maxx and it is GORGEOUS, but I was too cheap to buy it ($10 for coloring?)  However, this could be 3 pm therapy for me and the littles! Lol.

So what’s on your 2016 Christmas list?  Boots?  Jewelry?  A nanny?  A turkey baster?

 

Share

‘Hygge’ and the Allure of Scandinavia – 6 cities you’ll want to visit

Today I have my dear friend Richelle Z. sharing about her love and knowledge of Scandinavia.  Richelle is from the Midwest (she was my R.A. in college!), but is now living and working in the UK.  She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia.  Thanks so much, Richelle!____________________________________________________________

The idea of ‘hygge’ has been everywhere these days (Google it- the results will surprise you!). You can read books about this Danish art of living, raise your children in accordance with this philosophy, cook meals that represent this way of life, and even transform yourself into a happier person by following these principles. While I can’t profess to being an expert in the art of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’), I must admit that there is something alluring about Denmark, and, Scandinavia as a whole, and this new-found interest in ‘hygge’ has made me think more and more about the unique aspects of Scandinavia that truly set it apart.

After six trips to the region (and an awful lot of time spent in Scandi cafes in London!), this is what ‘hygge’ means to me and why I believe the entire region of Scandinavia has something to offer all ages.

Reykjavik: Other-worldly landscapes and awe-inspiring natural beauty

Reykjavik was my first brush with Scandinavia. My sister and I had ten hours in between a flight to London to explore the city. Of course, it wasn’t nearly enough time, but it did give us a small sense of what Iceland has to offer.

rek-views

Oslo: Austere architecture amidst tranquil natural surroundings (photos 4757, 4391)

Oslo is one of my favorite cities. There was a formality about it that really resonated with me, but it was also very quirky and hip at the same time. I loved the bright buildings and the connection that one felt with the sea and nature. Norway also has a proud history of discovery and exploration, and this was surely felt in Oslo with the many statues of Roald Amundsen, the famous Arctic explorer.

cemetary

I like this photo that was taken in a cemetery near our Airbnb flat because it represented such a tranquil space (it was also a garden park in the city center). The gravestones had a very spartan quality that was in stark contrast to the many gravestones I’ve seen in London in Highgate Cemetery or Brompton Cemetery.  The day after I took this photo, it snowed and the entire place was lightly dusted with soft white powder.

4757

This photo was taken at Vigeland Park, the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. The park was brimming with sculptures of people in strange poses, as you can see by the photo of me with Vigeland’s art. I’ve chosen a tamer sculpture here so as not to frighten Leah’s young readers, as there were some rather strange ones.

Bergen: Charming seaside fronts and UNESCO World Heritage sites

Bergen is one of the most charming places I’ve ever been and may even give Salzburg a run for its money in terms of being the most charming city on earth. In addition to strolling along the historic Bryggen, the city’s historic wharf and UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was most interesting to wander through the little neighborhoods behind the water. Not surprisingly, the seafood was outstanding, but, visitors beware, everything in Bergen is terrifyingly expensive. A simple pint will set you back £8, for instance, and most starters are around £10-16, which I consider a bit high for an appetizer.

scandi-1

This is the beautiful wharf, Bryggen, which is also a little labyrinth of shops and cafes, albeit slightly touristy ones these days. The site is extremely well preserved and belies the fact that it dates back to the 1350s.

scandi-2

To get the best view of Bergen, climb to the top of Fløibanen mountain, one of the city’s Seven Mountains that surround it. You can hike to the peak of the mountain or you can take a cable car. We actually chose to hike, which friends of mine would find quite surprising. My advice to other would-be climbers is to wear proper hiking shoes, not pointed toe flats. The reward for your hard work, however, will be this stunning view along with a glimpse of the trolls who dot the top of the mountain (yes, there are trolls!).

Copenhagen: One of the world’s most liveable cities as well as a haven for cyclists

Copenhagen stands out to me as one of the most liveable cities I’ve ever visited. This may also be due to the fact that I absolutely loved our Airbnb flat, but I think there is more substance to back up that claim. The trains in Denmark are efficient to a tee, it’s easy to cycle everywhere (in fact, most people get around entirely by bicycle in Copenhagen), and the overall quality of living seemed very high.

img_1966
The Little Mermaid Statue
scandi-3
Overlooking the Danish rooftops in Copenhagen

Stockholm: Beautiful churches combined with an innovative food and art scene

We only had a short three-day weekend to spend in Stockholm, but it was certainly long enough to get a taste of the city and confirm that we absolutely need to return. Stockholm had all of the hallmarks of a great Scandinavian city to me- extremely clean and efficient travel infrastructure, close proximity to water and natural beauty, eclectic churches, and an overall austere feel to the streets and neighborhoods. Two of my favorite churches are pictured here:

church church-2

Helsinki: World-renowned design district and the Moomins

Helsinki is a strange city in that I’m not sure it fully identifies as being Scandinavian. Technically, yes, Finland geographically finds itself within Scandinavia, but it also shares characteristics with Russia and the Baltics, given its proximity to and history with that region. Yet, after exploring Helsinki for a few days, I did come to the conclusion that it was a true Scandi city, deeply possessing all of the things I’ve come to love about that part of the world. The food was off-beat and interesting, the coffee was amazing, the architecture had that clean austerity about it, and one could be close to nature.

Helsinki stands apart from its more glamorous cousins of Oslo and Stockholm with a strong identity rooted in design. The Design District comprises street after street of shops filled with contemporary designs and, in true Scandi tradition, they were extremely expensive.

helsinki-2

helsinki

Have you been to Scandinavian?  Favorite city?  Maybe you follow hygge?  I’d love to hear!

scandi-header

Share

The Wallhouse Hotel in Walnut Creek, Ohio

Not your typical Amish Country accommodation!

Walnut Creek, Ohio is known for rolling hills, idyllic farmland, craft shops, and family-style foods.  It’s a hospitable place, one oozing with country-styled B & Bs and hotels.  That’s absolutely awesome- if that is your style.  But if you’re looking for something a little more edgy, shiny, and modern- I recommend taking a closer look at The Wallhouse Hotel.

Room

We stayed as guests of The Wallhouse in a premium corner suite.  The two-room suite was extra large. I don’t know about you, but this mama can get a little crabby when we’re all packed in like sardines, don’t worry, you will have plenty of space here.  wallhouse-1

wallhouse-2

The fridge is also a helpful size for storing leftovers (oh, those hearty Amish meals) and there was a microwave as well.

The sofa was a pull-out bed.  Our kids are used to sleeping on these when we stay in smaller suites so they volunteered to sleep in the living room.  This was probably so they could get their own TV.  Nonetheless, there are two TVs in the suite, which means the kiddos can be watching Disney Jr, while you and the hubs relax with a little Chip & Joanna Gaines.

wallhouse-4

The bedroom was large enough to sleep 4.  I loved the little office nook.  The window there offered a great view of the valley:

dsc_0753

My only complaint about the room was the bathroom.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the bathroom is roomy and high-end.  I love the title work throughout and the huge, walk-in shower.  Here’s the deal, though- the bathroom ONLY has a shower.  It isn’t a deal breaker for us because our youngest is old enough to stand in the shower, but if I was traveling with a baby or toddler, I’d want to know ahead of time.  So, now you know!

wallhouse-3

Common areas

The Wallhouse Hotel builds “fresh” into their hotel by using solid surfaces that can be wiped clean.  You can see that the above bathroom is immaculate, but even common seating areas and the lobby screamed “clean.”  No moldy looking fake flowers in these spaces!  As a mom, knowing that everything can be easily disinfected (did you see the dura-leather sofa in the suite?) is a HUGE perk.

wallhouse-6

My kids were also totally smitten by the pool.  If you follow me on Facebook, I posted that when my kids were headed for the pool, an employee saw them and offered up a giant basket of pool noodles and floaties.  Be still my mama heart!  They would have stayed all day if we had let them!

wallhouse-5

Breakfast

I love food almost as much as I love my family #jokingnotjoking.   Breakfast is included at the hotel and it’s not just some cereal and a donut, it’s a full, hearty meal.  I always look for hotels that offer a full breakfast because it saves us money in the long run.  If all of our bellies are full we avoid extra snacking and an early lunch, which also helps with the extra calories after those maple-glazed cinnamon rolls!  Haha!

I think The Wallhouse Hotel would be a great stop for your family on your next Amish Country adventure.  If you live nearby, it would also make the perfect staycation.  Give me my own TV and some cinnamon rolls and I am SOLD!

Have you been to Amish Country before?  Have you ever done a staycation?  Maybe you’re mad for cinnamon maple rolls like me?

wallhouse-header

**We were provided accommodation at The Wallhouse Hotel, however, all opinions are my own**

Share

Six vacation rentals for post-holiday relaxation

Everyone is blogging their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and I’m here to say, “Just take me away!”  We’ve been in a particularly busy season here at the Yoder casa (more on that later) and I’m realizing just how much I desire less STUFF and more TIME.

Family memories and experiences are always TOPS on my list, so I compiled a list of six vacation rentals ya’ll can book that offer post-holiday relaxation.  Maybe we should all stop the gift-giving and just go on vacation?  I vote YES.

My criteria for picking these rentals was:

  1.  They had to fit my family of 5
  2.  The price had to be reasonable.  I think the most expensive one is $215/night- not bad considering all have at least 2 bedrooms.

(Some of these would not be ideal to visit January-March, but that’s ok, just having something to look forward to will get me through the dark days of Ohio winters.)

header-pinterest-vacay-rentals1. Have you heard of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario?  No?  I hadn’t either, but now I’m planning a long weekend there!  Check out this rustic, Canadian-themed beach house from airbnb.

2. Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies really proved to be magical.  I’d love to go back with the entire family during summer so we could enjoy more of the hiking trails when it isn’t FREEZING.  Grey Owl Lodge would be perfect.

airbnb-2-grey-owl-lake-louise
photo from Airbnb listing

3. We visited Sanibel Island for a day while in Florida last year, but I’d love to go back and have more time!  This condo has a great view AND a great pool- the perfect combo for the post-holiday letdown.

4. Southern Arizona offers up some serious scenery, sunsets, and stargazing!  Our friends just stayed at this home near Tuscon and I’m smitten by the desert at dusk.

tuscon-house
Photo courtesy of S. Tornero

5. Kauai has been on my Bucket List for ages.  The mountain views from this “Garden Isle” condo are just what I want for Christmas (hint, hint, Santa!).

vrbo-view-kauai
photo from VRBO listing

6.  This home has been on my Airbnb Wish List for awhile.  Located in the mountains of Virginia, the home looks out across the Shenandoah Valley.  I’ll be in that rocker if you need me.

Any stand out to you?  Maybe you’ve booked a vacation instead of giving traditional gifts?  Maybe you’re ready to escape, too?  I’d love to know!

If you’d love to travel with Airbnb- Here is MY LINK to get started!

 

**This is not a sponsored post, but may contain affiliate links**

Share

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

An honest review

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a dreamy, castle-like structure tucked into the Canadian Rockies on the shores of some of the bluest glacier water you have ever seen.  It’s a place I’ve dreamed of since I was 16, when dear friends of mine traveled there and returned home bearing photographic evidence (before blogs and Facebook existed- oye!).

Lake Louise lies within Banff National Park and is a little over 2 hours from Calgary International Airport.  We rented a car at the airport and first visited Emerald Lake Lodge, then traveled south to Lake Louise.

While Brian parked the car, I headed into the lobby to get our room keys and take a few photos.  Because I’m very mature and refined, the stairway reminded me of the movie Titanic.  Haha. #jackandroseforlife.  No, really, it is a grand staircase.  Stately royal blue carpet says, “this place is fancy” while mounted elk and moose heads say, “but we’re in the mountains, eh.”

lobby
sorry a little blurry- selfie stick woes

The Chateau felt stuffy, but down-to-earth (oxymoron, I know!).  Even though we consider ourselves “travelers on a budget” we didn’t feel as though we didn’t fit in. The staff is overly friendly and accommodating AND there are people visiting from all over the world, so lots of different styles and tastes.  The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is also an outdoor playground in the sense of all the hiking trails, ski trails, and the like, so even though the decor in the resort is very upscale, most people are just dressed for the weather!

Room

The room was adequate. Even though we *ahem* stayed for free, I thought the room was a little small for the nightly rate of $669 Canadian.  When we ordered room service (twice!  also free!), they could hardly even get the table around our bed, and one of us had to sit on the bed to eat it.  Only one chair would fit.  #firstworldproblems

fcll-1

fcll-2
Teeny tiny bathroom. Shower was to your left.

The bed was super comfy though, and the complimentary robes and slippers were a plus.  There was also a small fridge in the room- just down the road in Lake Louise Village there are a few shops so if you wanted to save money on snacks and drink this could be helpful.

Location

The hotel‘s location right on the shore of Lake Louise can not be beat!  You’re less than a 5 minute walk from your room to kayak and canoe rentals, hiking trails, and more.  Unfortunately we hit Lake Louise right as winter hit Alberta, so we did not partake in any of the guided hikes or activities (mostly because we weren’t packed for snowshoeing, dangit)!

fcll-6

fcll-8

fcll-4

Dining:

We enjoyed dinner at the Lakeview Lounge on our first evening.  This business casual dining option is great for the scenery AND the people watching (Hey you, people on their phones when you’re at one of the most beautiful places on earth, I’m talking about YOU.  GRRrrr).  The prices are mid-range.

As I mentioned before, we enjoyed the in-room dining for breakfast and appetizers and ate two rounds of poutine.  Have you had poutine?  Your taste buds will thank you, but your gall bladder will not.  I digress.

fcll-11

fcll-10

Overall

As much as I dreamed of this place, I wasn’t as awestruck by the resort as I was by Emerald Lake Lodge.  While the views and the service are excellent, it felt like really any major worldwide resort.  However, we did find a big perk in those extra amenities like room service, that allowed us just to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet away from the hustle of family life.  We didn’t expect the weather to leave us wanting just to unwind, but sometimes those big resort treasures are worth the extra cost.

What do you think?  Have you been to Lake Louise?  Stayed at a Fairmont Resort?  Eaten poutine?

pinterest-header-fairmont

*This is not a sponsored post*

Share

Travel Hacking the Canadian Rockies

A four-night, four-star trip for next-to-nothing.

I’ve been so eager to tell you how we took second-honeymoon style trip to the Canadian Rockies for pennies on the dollar.  We started travel hacking about 2 years ago and using points and miles has definitely helped with our travel game.

After booking our trip to Australia last year, I had a bunch of American Airlines miles left.   Reading Bryce’s blog about how to use the Fairmont VISA gave me an idea- I’d been dreaming of staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise since I was a teenager- travel hacking the hotel was the ticket!

fcll1

lake-louise-cover

First, I booked our flight from CMH -> Calgary using 75,000 AA miles.  Here’s what I would have paid using the same flights but paying cash.

american-airlines-what-i-would-have-paid

Instead, here’s what I paid:  75k miles + $123.60 in taxes and fees

Savings on flights:  $1,232.40

You can accrue AA Advantage miles by signing up for 2 Platinum Select Citi AAdvantage cards- if you got the business card and the personal card, you’d immediately have enough miles.  More info HERE.

Our first night of the trip was at Emerald Lake Lodge (review).  Not only was the place exquisite, it’s very pricey.  One night was $329 CAD + taxes.  Our bill at check out for one night + dinner in the lounge and breakfast in the dining room was a whopping $497.89 CAD!

20161107_081550

Before we left home, the Barclaycard Arrival + was offering a sign-up bonus for 50,000 miles after spending $3k in the first 3 months.  We used the card for all of our expenses on the trip, plus  all of our personal expenses and my husband’s business expenses.  After less than 2 months, we hit the minimum spend on this card- giving us 50k points/ $500 in travel credit.

The charge at Emerald Lake Lodge converted to $375.82.  See how I erased the purchase below:

barclay-point-post
Showing we hit the minimum spend and all the points we accrued.
barclay-redeem
You can only erase purchases that cost over $100 each. These are the options Barclay gave me.

barclay-emerald-lake-lodge

So for 2 nights and 2 great meals: FREE

A savings of $375.82

Next we spent 2 nights at the aforementioned Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.  This travel hack involved signing up for the Fairmont Visa Signature Card.  We applied for this card over a year ago in order to have time to earn the miles and have open availability for the resort.  This card also requires spending $3000 in the first 3 months, but with that comes a bonus of 2 FREE nights!

After achieving the minimum spend I called Fairmont and booked the two nights at the Chateau Lake Louise (you must book directly with Fairmont resorts to use your free nights).  The resort quoted me a resort fee of $13/night, but I wasn’t charged it at checkout.

Here’s what our nights would have cost without credits:

fairmont-hack

$669 CAD is currently $501 USD per night!!  Just having this credit card saved us $1002!

Earning Premier Status also gives you breakfast and dining credits at the resorts.  We were able to use 2 of these at check-out. The parking was $30/night.  Here’s our first bill from the resort and then a second one showing what we paid after the credits were applied:

fairmont-hack

We had horrible weather while at Lake Louise (our mountain view room became a fog-view room), so we really just enjoyed the resort and the room service (YES!).  Our bill at check-out (after Fairmont dining credits) was $163.12 CAD.  This came to $123.13 USD and we were able to erase the entire stay using the Barclay points.

barclay-fairmont

Total cost of 2 nights at the Fairmont + Dining if paid for out of pocket and without credits:  $1002 + $216 USD ($288.12 CAD) = $1218

Total spent for 2 nights at Fairmont + gluttony and room service after HACKS = ZERO

The last night of our trip was in Banff.  I had prepaid for the hotel through AAA.  In hindsight, I could have also booked the hotel with the option to pay at check-out and used the Barclay points to cover it.  However, it was the least expensive option by quite a bit- we stayed at the Banff Aspen Lodge for $133 USD.  The room and amenities were just fine, but I would recommend this more for budget travelers or families.

Total for air and 4 nights before Travel Hacking: $3082.82

Total for air and 4 nights after Travel Hacking: $256.60

Savings: $2,826.22

Bam!!  The Canadian Rockies was one of the most magical places we’ve ever visited.  I think I’ve covered everything, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I’m not the final authority on all things travel hacking- I recommend reading 10xtravel.com for more info!  I love them so much, I wrote a blog for them!

Have you done any travel hacking?  Maybe you’ve been the Canadian Rockies?  Maybe you cry, too, when you see a dream come true?

travel-hacking-header

** I’m undeniably one of the world’s biggest haters of debt.  We only use these credit cards with the premise that the uses are already budgeted for and the cards are paid off EVERY month.  I don’t recommend using a credit card if you lack self-control.  My husband is also self-employed so we can easily hit the minimum spends just by charging his gas and other work expenses along with our household expenses.  More HERE.  End sermon. **

 


Booking.com

Share

A visit to the Newark Earthworks with kids

Some of the best travel happens right outside your door.

We’ve lived nearly on top of the Newark Earthworks for the past 7 years, yet never really fully explored them.  When some nice November weather hit us this past week, I realized that NOW was the time to visit.

earthworks-header

The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures IN THE WORLD.  The earthworks were built by the Hopewell culture between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D.   Over the years, the growth of Newark destroyed many of the earthworks (very sad), but three major pieces still survive.  We visited 2 of the 3 sites managed by the Ohio History Connection.

The Octagon Earthworks are on the grounds of the Moundbuilders Country Club.  While this is a private golf course, visitors to the earthworks can access this overlook any time of the year (just watch for flying golf balls).  The entire grounds is only open to the public four times per year (see the above link for details).

The earthworks are not considered burial mounds, researchers have concluded that they have some significance in aligning with the rising and setting of the moon.  Covering over 50 acres, the earthworks are mostly 5-6 feet high.

20161101_114038

The Great Circle Earthwork is nearly 12,000 feet in diameter.  The space is vast – it’s hard to see one side of the circle from the other!  Not only are the mounds about 8 feet high, there is an interior moat that’s over 5 feet deep.  It’s believed that this large circle was used for ceremonial purposes.

A small, on-site museum shows the timeline 0f the Newark Earthworks to other great milestones in history.  There are also some Native American artifacts like arrowheads and ceremonial pieces.

In more recent times, the Great Circle mounds were used as a fairgrounds until 1932.  This use of the land is what saved the earthworks from destruction.

20161102_115659

20161102_121853

20161102_121827

I would set aside 2 hours for visiting the earthworks with your children.  The Newark Earthworks are located 2.5 miles away from each other.  This is a fantastic outdoor attraction because the kids are able to run off energy while still learning about Ohio‘s Native American history.

20161102_115852_picmonkeyed

Where: Newark, OH – 45 minutes east of downtown Columbus

When:  Best times to visit are May- October mostly for programming.  Check the Ohio History Connection for dates of historian-led tours.

Stay:  The Doubletree by Hilton in Newark has fresh cookies on arrival, an indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant.  Plus, enjoy walking to Newark’s new Canal Market District.  It’s a great hotel for a small city.

While you’re in town:  Check out Dawes Arboretum and Blackhand Gorge.

Have you visited the Newark Earthworks?  Maybe there’s another attraction that is in your backyard which you forget to visit? I’d love to hear!

Share

The Icefields Parkway drive within an hour of Lake Louise

In researching our trip to the Canadian Rockies, I knew that the Icefields Parkway was something we had to cross off of our list.  The Icefields Parkway is an iconic drive, maybe lesser-known to Americans than California’s Highway 1 or the Blue Ridge Parkway, but lacking nothing in jaw-dropping views.

Icefields Parkway is also known as highway 93 and it begins just north of Lake Louise.  The parkway itself is free, but you do need to have your National Parks Pass for admission.  We paid $80 CAD for a 4-day pass to the parks.  You can take the Icefields Parkway all the way to Jasper, AB but our short getaway just didn’t allow us the time we needed to do this.

ifp-7

ifp-1

The road is well-maintained and has numerous pull-over spots.

Icefield Parkway Stop
They were obviously out of neutral colors at the rental counter.

The first place I knew I wanted to see was Bow Lake.

For the best view, don’t pull over at the lookout- but look for the signs for the Num Ti-Jah Lodge.  The Lodge was not open while we were there (it appeared to be under renovation), but you can still park there and walk right up to the lake.

ifp-3

ifp-4

If it would have been a little warmer, I’d been happy to sit on this bridge with a good book.  The reflections in the lake are gorgeous, if you can get past the tour bus crowds arriving every so often! 🙂

Just a little more north of Bow Lake is Peyto Lake.  This is the stop I’d been waiting for, as the photographic image I’d placed in my mind begged me to see it in person.  The electric blue water against the snow-draped mountains is a highlight for travelers from all over the world (trust me, you’ll see all the tourists even on a snowy day)!

Those not arriving by bus have to park about 1/4 mile from the viewing platform and walk up the hill (err, mountain).  The walk is well-paved but it is very hilly.  This is where Mr YT and I determined that we were either dealing with some altitude-related struggles OR we really needed to hit the treadmill when we got home — the answer is probably both!

ifp-5
Thinking this view alone was worth the hike- not realizing what I was about to see.

ifp-6

ifp-snow
Snnoowww

From Peyto Lake, we returned south towards Lake Louise.  We really wanted to get settled in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise before dark so we could have a look around the property.  I’m so glad we did because we had about zero visibility the next two days!

So friends, you don’t have to have an entire day to enjoy some spectacular Canadian Rockies views.  I’d easily do this drive again with the entire family!

Have you been to the Canadian Rockies?  Maybe the US Rockies?  Where can I find blue water as bright as this?!

ifp-2

icefields-parkway-header

Share

Emerald Lake Lodge – A romantic getaway in the Canadian Rockies

I asked my dear, well-traveled friend where SHE would stay in the Canadian Rockies, “Oh, you must stay at Emerald Lake Lodge!”  Her suggestion was golden- I’m SO thankful for her advice.

Emerald Lake Lodge is nestled in between the stately mountains of Yoho National Park, just outside of Field, British Columbia.  The drive from Calgary airport took about 2 hours. There is no parking at the lodge, overnight guests have to take a shuttle that is over 1/2 mile from the lodges.

The resort is a cluster of cabins, along with the main lodge and other outbuildings.  I haven’t felt so far away from civility since visiting the Australian Outback in my teens.  This is just the place to get away from the cares and affairs of day-to-day life.

ell-8
This bridge allows you to enter the peninsula where the lodge and cabins are. The cabin pictured is Cilantro, the upscale dining option.

Room

Our room was a king bed lake view.  I was a little nervous after reading some of the reviews online, but overall I was quite happy with the room.  The king bed was comfortable and the bedding was luxe.  The in-room wood-burning fireplace was romantic.  The lake view balcony would have been much better served in warmer weather, but added to the value.  We talked about how if we were here in summer we’d probably just sit on the deck all day.  There are no TVs or wifi in the room.  (The room also had ear plugs in it’s amenity kit so YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT YOU WILL). 😉

ell-6-5

ell-1

ell-2

 

Yes, the outside of the cottages and some of the landscaping and decking could have been improved (which is what you’ll find lots of on TripAdvisor).  Absolutely.  However, I’d say your paying for the seclusion and service- not perfection.  The weather here is harsh (we experienced some of that),  so I can see why the cabins don’t look perfect.

Dining-

The main lodge houses Kicking Horse Lounge and the Mount Burgess dining room.  After arrival, we had dinner in the Kicking Horse lounge.  The serving sizes were large and the food was tasty.  My husband had the bison burger and really enjoyed it.  There is a full bar service.ell-7

ell-9

A breakfast buffet takes place in the Mount Burgess dining room. It is not included in the cost.  We decided to just order our items off of the menu.

I did think things were a little pricey, BUT understanding the views and the serenity, you see why they can charge top dollar (think $4 for a cup of coffee!  We’re not in Ohio anymore, Toto).

There’s also Cilantro on the Lake, which was not open during our stay.   This is the building pictured above that was right on the lake.

 

Out and about-

There’s numerous hiking possibilities throughout the resort and Yoho National Park.  The Natural Bridge area is just a short drive away.  The grounds also have a fitness center and outdoor hot tub.  The view from the hot tub isn’t too shabby:

ell-6

In reality, if I could do my honeymoon over again (i.e. if I could have afforded this at age 20, lol), then this is where I would come.  Secluded.  Romantic.  Inspiring.  The fog made it a a little swoon-worthy.  Men, bring your lady here, she will LOVE YOU FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN.

Book it HERE.

xo

ell-header

**This was not a sponsored post, but does contain affiliate links**

 

Share