a walk in the park

When most people think of romance they think of things like quiet candlelight dinners and love letters. But for my husband and I some of our most romantic moments have been simply together taking a walk in a park. There is something so wonderful about just walking together. With no distractions from technology, conversations flow easily and freely and it gives us an opportunity to reconnect and recharge as a couple in nature. Since moving to Manitoba we have walked in countless parks scattered all over the province, and we are always on the search for a new place to walk, talk and fall in love all over again.

Recently we found ourselves in Winnipeg with a few hours to spare. We had plans to meet up with a friend that evening for supper but we were looking to check out a new to us park to take a stroll for a couple hours in the afternoon. A few days prior I had picked up the Manitoba Parks 2014 Visitor’s Guide and stumbled upon the blurb about the Trappist Monastery Provincial Park in St Norbert. It sounded pretty interesting and a great way to spend a couple hours with my husband, so we decided to make our way to St Norbert to check it out.

What a gem of a place. Basically some Trappist Monks lived at this location for many years, but in the late 1970s as the City of Winnipeg expanded it started to encroach on their quiet peaceful land and they relocated their monastery to Holland, Manitoba. Then in the 1980s a fire damaged the abandoned monastery. Eventually the monastery was turned into a provincial park and you can now enjoy some time walking the monastery grounds and investigating the old monastery ruins. We were the only people there on this beautiful afternoon and it felt like the park belonged to us. After checking out the building we headed down to the edge of the property along the La Salle River. Absolutely gorgeous. Seriously gorgeous spot. I turned to my husband and exclaimed “What an amazing place. This would be a perfect location for a wedding!”. We have been married for five years this fall and were married at a gorgeous blueberry farm and restaurant in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, but I made a mental note that if we ever renew our vows this would make a fantastic spot.

As we walked around the property we noticed a path and a sign that read St Norbert Arts Centre. We decided to stroll on over and once again we were blown away with the beauty. A beautiful garden, cute sheds, an area with a sweat lodge and tipi, and a grand old building. We ran into one of the gardeners and she explained to us that the building used to be the guest house for the Trappist Monastery but nowadays it is home to artists, and spiritual practices such as meditation and sweat lodges. She motioned to an area down by the river and told us they were busy setting up for a wedding to be held on the property the next day. I looked at my husband and winked, sending him a little look that stated “I told you it would be a great place to say I do!”.

As we strolled back towards our vehicle in the parking lot I grabbed my husband’s hand and grinned. I was happy to have discovered this unique park with a very interesting history, and grateful for the opportunity to share another walk in the park with him here in Manitoba. It was the perfect mid-day pick-me-up. We will definitely return to the Trappist Monastery Provincial Park and the St Norbert Arts Centre in the future for another romantic stroll.

Do you have a favourite Manitoba spot for a walk in the park? I would love to hear your suggestions and experiences!

For more information on the Trappist Monastery Provincial Park visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/trappist.html.

For more information on the St Norbert Arts Centre visit http://www.snac.mb.ca/.