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valley girl

As much as I love Manitoba and sharing my prairie experiences with the world, sometimes you've just got to mix things up. When I am craving adventure elsewhere, my heart always turns to my first home, my valley, my roots.

I grew up nestled amongst the north and south mountains close to the Bay of Fundy, in a small community in the heart of the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Fishermen, fruit and vegetable farmers, air force personnel and their families from 14 Wing Greenwood, and a variety of small towns filled with lovely longtime and devoted residents all intertwined to form the backbone that helped shape my childhood experiences. It is in the Annapolis Valley where I feel the most at peace, the most accepted in life, and it is where I return to my innocence.

John Mellencamp's song Small Town with the lyrics "No I cannot forget where it is that I come from, I cannot forget the people who love me. I can be myself here in this small town, and people let me be just want I want to be" always rings out in my head as I drive down Highway 101 and see those beautiful cliffs of Blomidon, which act as a sign from above that I can now relax, I have returned to my beloved valley, I am home.

The Annapolis Valley will always be my most treasured corner of the world. It is with this spirit and pride that I share with you a few photos from my recent trip to my valley, my special place, and my heart. You can take the girl out of the valley, but you can't take the valley out of the girl.

The view from Delhaven Wharf, Nova ScotiaDelhaven Wharf, Nova ScotiaBlueberry shortcake at The Port Pub, Port Wiliams, Nova ScotiaSnowbirds at Armed Forces Day at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova ScotiaLet It Ride, Harbourville, Nova ScotiaThe Look-Off, Nova ScotiaGrand Pre Historic Site, Grand Pre, Nova ScotiaEvangeline, Grand Pre Historic Site, Grand Pre, Nova ScotiaHiking at Blomidon Provincial Park, Nova ScotiaCaution! Sea Monsters Ahead! Black Rock, Nova ScotiaBlomidon Estate Winery, Canning, Nova ScotiaBlue Beach, near Hantsport, Nova ScotiaLobster traps, Halls Harbour, Nova ScotiaEvangeline Beach, Grand Pre, Nova ScotiaSkipping rocks on the edge of the Bay of Fundy, Nova ScotiaDyke view, Grand Pre Historic Site, Grand Pre, Nova ScotiaFish Cakes and Reisling, Domaine de Grand Pre, Grand Pre, Nova ScotiaHigh Tide, Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia

The Annapolis Valley is a perfect destination for families, honeymooners, and anyone who wants to experience picturesque communities living harmoniously with the land. With an abundance of locally grown foods from a variety of farms, markets, wineries, and artisan vendors, it is the perfect choice for foodies. Combine that with quaint villages where you can experience the highest tides in the world, and small towns boasting history and oozing charm, it is a fantastic choice for relaxation, beauty, and reconnection. For more information on the Annapolis Valley, please visit http://www.valleytourism.ca/ and http://www.novascotia.com/.

Thanks to all my family and friends for helping to make my most recent Nova Scotia vacation so wonderful. I miss you all, and I miss Nova Scotia. You are always close to my heart.


solid as a rock

I love attending concerts and festivals. Particularly ones involving rock music. Manitoba is home to some great music festivals, and one that piqued my interest over the seven years I have been in Manitoba is Rockin’ The Fields of Minnedosa. This festival is organized and run completely by volunteers and takes place every August long weekend in the lovely community of Minnedosa, which is known as Manitoba’s valley paradise.

When Travel Manitoba invited me to be part of their #ExploreMB Like A Local campaign and asked if I would like to visit Minnedosa and attend Rockin’ The Fields it was a no-brainer. Of course I wanted to attend, in fact I was ecstatic and absolutely thrilled! When the August long weekend rolled around one of my best friends and I road tripped to Minnedosa. We spent the day exploring local attractions (see my recent blog post for some great Minnedosa getaway ideas), and that evening we headed out to the Minnedosa Rodeo (lots of fun!) and then on to the Rockin' The Fields of Minnedosa festival.

What an awesome set up for a festival! First off, you are surrounded by rolling hills and stunning views, which makes it such a beautiful creative space for musicians and concert attendees. Add to that easy access to Minnedosa Beach and a variety of amenities and attractions in the Town of Minnedosa and you've got the perfect spot for the August long weekend.

Rockin' The Fields combines rock music with camping, with many attendees choosing to camp adjacent to the stage grounds, but the Town of Minnedosa also boasts some hotels and B&Bs if camping is not your thing. There are two stages for music - the main stage and the second stage - and each stage hosts a variety of rock bands on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons there is also a jam under the big tent. Overall the weekend boasts around 20 different bands, and this year the headliners were The Sheepdogs, Honeymoon Suite, Bret Michaels from Poison, and Three Days Grace. Perfect for people who love to rock and roll.

There are also a variety of other options if you don't want to spend the entire weekend listening to music. This year Rockin' The Fields also hosted a car show, volleyball tournament, poker tournament, scavenger hunt, and you can also visit Minnedosa Beach, walking trails, golf course, and local businesses. The Minnedosa Rodeo is held the same August long weekend as Rockin' The Fields so you can spend the day at the rodeo and then rock out at night. There are food and merchandise vendors onsite at Rockin’ The Fields too, making everything within easy access. Lots of options to keep busy and to make your August long weekend one to remember in the Town of Minnedosa.

What can I say about the music? To sum it up with one simple word, awesome! There is lots of room to spread out and seating is available on the hill if that is your preference to view the bands, but many choose to sit in the grass picnic style or rock out next to the stage. We managed to catch Honeymoon Suite who totally killed it, showing they still definitely know how to rock. Up next was Bret Michaels from the band Poison. He was the highlight of the evening belting out his big hits such as Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Something To Believe In, Unskinny Bop, and Talk Dirty To Me. The crowds were pumped, the music was rockin', and I had a fantastic time. Thank you the Town of Minnedosa, Rockin' The Fields volunteers, and all others who made my first ever Rockin' The Fields of Minnedosa experience memorable.

For more information on Rockin' The Fields of Minnedosa please visit http://www.rockinthefields.ca/.

For more information on the Town of Minnedosa please visit http://www.discoverminnedosa.com/.

For more ideas on a Minnedosa getaway please see my recent blog post highlighting a variety of Minnedosa activities and events by clicking here.

Thank you to Travel Manitoba and the Town of Minnedosa for inviting me to discover Manitoba’s valley paradise and for sponsoring this blog post. The opinions expressed are my own.


easy like sunday morning

Tucked away on a dead end street in the wonderful community of Minnedosa, Manitoba sits a newly opened bed and breakfast with an interesting local history. Recently I had the pleasure of being one of the very first guests at Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast. I was in Minnedosa for the August long weekend and was being hosted by the Town of Minnedosa as part of the Travel Manitoba #ExploreMB Like A Local Campaign. As I was attending Rockin’ The Fields of Minnedosa late into the evening, plans were made to stay in town overnight. I had no idea I would be treated to such a beautiful and luxurious bed and breakfast with a strong connection to local Minnedosa history.

Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast is part of the Stones of Memory self-guided tour of Minnedosa’s historic stone buildings. Scattered throughout Minnedosa are ten stone homes all constructed of granite field stones and built by local stone masons in the late 1800s. They are easy to spot as you drive around the town as their beautiful stones immediately catch your eye and pique curiosity. Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast was originally the personal project of Thomas Taylor, a popular stone mason in Minnedosa in the late 1800s who built the home for his family, and later he served as Mayor of Minnedosa in 1909. The home has undergone many changes over the years but still maintains lots of original charm. When Wendy and Kevin Wheelans purchased the home they decided to pursue the dream of owning their own bed and breakfast and Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast officially opened its doors to guests.

I am relatively new to B&Bs, but in my experience this one is a great choice! It seems as though no details have gone unnoticed. From plush bathrobes, Yves Rocher bath products, rain shower head, Egyptian sheets, pillow top mattress, lavish duvets, and fresh flowers in every room, Stone View Bed and Breakfast offers luxury and tranquility at a very affordable price. The decor is crisp, clean, and classic elegance which creates a very restful environment. Window views offer horses in pastures, the Minnedosa Golf Course, and cute gardens with its own swing perfect for a lazy morning.

Breakfast is served in an inviting and delightful dining room with hints of antique decor resting gracefully on the deep window sills. With beautiful blue china and silver tea set I felt very posh and spoiled. Wendy is a fantastic chef and our Sunday morning breakfast showcased her talents perfectly. Fresh fruit, homemade granola, cinnamon roll cakes, steaming hot coffee and a choice of a healthy smoothie, chocolate pancakes or a breakfast bacon and egg sandwich on homemade bread meant we certainly did not leave hungry.

After a great night's sleep and a delicious breakfast, our Sunday morning felt pretty darn perfect thanks to Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast. I have no doubt that this B&B will have many successful years and offer a wonderful experience for future guests.

For more information on the Stones of Memory Historic Stone Buildings Tour in Minnedosa please click here.

For more information on Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast located in Minnedosa, Manitoba please click here.

For more information on the Town of Minnedosa please click here.

For ideas on a Minnedosa getaway please see my recent blog post highlighting a variety of Minnedosa activities and events by clicking here.

Thank you to Travel Manitoba and the Town of Minnedosa for inviting me to discover Manitoba's valley paradise and for sponsoring this blog post. The opinions expressed are my own.