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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

manitoba's valley paradise

Deep down I have always been and always will be a valley girl. I grew up in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia with fantastic rolling hills and views. There is something special about valleys and communities that are tucked in amongst them. I find comfort in the soft shapes and patterns of the landscape, and warmth in the gentle breezes as they roll over the hills. It was this strong valley girl feeling that made me instinctively know that Minnedosa, Manitoba’s valley paradise, would be a community I would enjoy and want to visit time and time again.

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I have lived in Manitoba for over seven years and have driven past the Town of Minnedosa many times, yet never managed to find the time to explore it. When Travel Manitoba invited me to be part of their #ExploreMB Like A Local Campaign and asked if I was interested in discovering the Town of Minnedosa I knew it was the perfect fit for me. So with my best friend in tow, we road tripped to Minnedosa to explore its many attractions. What we discovered was more than just attractions. We met caring and dedicated volunteers pouring countless hours into their community, enthusiastic business owners, and lovely Minnedosa residents all wanting to discuss and share their love for their beautiful community, history, and home.

The general plan was to spend the day touring around the community and visiting local Minnedosa attractions. That evening we would attend two popular events held in Minnedosa every August long weekend - the Minnedosa Rodeo and Rockin' The Fields. After a night out on the town we would settle in at Stone View Natural Bed and Breakfast, a newly opened B&B located in the heart of the community. For two best friends who love to explore and meet new people this was the perfect plan, add to that absolutely perfect weather and we knew it was going to be a memorable August long weekend.

As we wandered around soaking up the sun and community vibes before we began our official tour we couldn't help but notice an array of flags along a beautiful walking path. "Oh those flags represent all the people that have moved to Minnedosa and made our community their home", gushes a Heritage Village volunteer dressed in authentic period costume. Imagine that! A community so welcoming to new residents that they will fly a flag in honour of their heritage proudly amongst the town's most prized community attractions. I knew immediately that Minnedosa was my kind of valley town, and I couldn't help but feel a bit choked up to see the Nova Scotia flag gently swaying in the summer breeze. Our day of discovering Minnedosa was off to a glorious start.

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As we toured the community it became apparent that Minnedosa has something for everyone. For history buffs there is the historic Minnedosa Museum & Heritage Village with a vast array of local antiques and memorabilia. For nature lovers there are well maintained walking trails surrounded by bison, a charming river and dam, and sweeping views of Minnedosa Lake. For garden lovers there is an authentic Japanese Garden perfectly placed next to the town library offering a serene place to reflect and read. For sports fans there is a picturesque golf course with manicured greens dotting the gentle sloping peaks and valleys. For beach lovers you don't have to go far for a soft sandy beach, a gem of an attraction right in town, perfect for lazy days lakeside. For camping enthusiasts there is Minnedosa Campground, ideally located for families wanting a great weekend getaway. For coffee lovers they can head to Chipperfield Coffee Company where lattes and cappuccinos are made inside a beautiful old building complete with tin ceiling and a working jukebox. For cowboys and cowgirls the award winning Minnedosa Rodeo will be sure to hit the spot, and is filled with many exhibitions and events. For those who like to rock, there is no better festival than Rockin' The Fields Of Minnedosa, which brings a variety of musicians to town to rock out all August long weekend. Perhaps a romantic stay is more your thing, in that case a visit to Stone View Natural Bed & Breakfast with luxury amenities and delicious homemade breakfasts in a heritage stone home is the perfect choice. Overall, every single attraction in Minnedosa was enjoyable and fun and I highly recommend this community for a lovely Manitoba adventure. My bestie and I loved getting to know the community by day, and experiencing two fantastic Manitoba events in the evening - the award winning Minnedosa Rodeo and the solid rock festival Rockin' The Fields of Minnedosa.

As our evening drew to a close, I climbed into bed and began to reflect on my Minnedosa experiences. My heart was happy and my soul was satisfied. From dedicated volunteers at the Heritage Village giving detailed tours, to beautiful views from the lookout tower and walking trails, to chatting with locals in a charming coffee shop, to tranquil moments in an authentic Japanese Garden, to attending a fabulous outdoor music festival, I was happy I took the time to finally discover Manitoba's valley paradise. Thank you to all who made my Minnedosa adventure special. Please continue to be proud of your community, your attractions, your special events, and your spirit, because Minnedosa is truly fabulous. I will see you again soon, your valley town now has a piece of my valley girl heart.

Little Gray Bird's Guide To Discovering Minnedosa

Minnedosa Museum & Heritage Village

Step back in time and visit a very well thought out historic village showcasing many local artifacts in restored buildings such as a home, blacksmith shop, and school. The star attraction is the two storey octagon display building, one of only three such buildings in Manitoba, and the only one featuring an original upper cupola. For more information on the Minnedosa Museum & Heritage Village please click here.

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Oxbow Nature Trail, Heritage Walking Trail & Flag Walk

Stroll through the heart of the Minnedosa community on one of these fine trails. With views of bison, the Little Saskatchewan River, Minnedosa Lake, Minnedosa Beach, fish ladder and dam, and flags from around the world, this is the perfect spot to enjoy nature and admire the community. For more information please click here.

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Ishii Japanese Gardens

Discover a garden oasis in the middle of town by visiting the Japanese Garden which is an outdoor extension of the Minnedosa Library. This garden was created as part of a sister-city partnership between Minnedosa and Ishii, Japan and boasts such beautiful items such as a Chozubacki, a Shishi Odoshi, Zen Garden and a variety of plants all symbolizing love and appreciation for a proud partnership and history with Ishii, Japan. The library has been designed in such a way that the gardens can be viewed perfectly by a reading nook inside the library, or you can stroll amongst the garden by entering through a beautiful gate on the outside of the property. For more information on Minnedosa’s Japanese Garden please click here.

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Minnedosa Golf & Country Club

Minnedosa's golf course offers well maintained greens with stunning valley views that are sure to please any golfer. With a pro shop, restaurant, and private lessons available this is an enjoyable 18-hole course and the perfect way to spend a relaxing day in Minnedosa. For more information on Minnedosa Golf & Country Club please click here.

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Lions Lookout Tower

To experience a bird’s eye view of Minnedosa, a visit to the Lions Lookout Tower on the eastern edge of town is a must. The short climb to the top of the tower gives you a fantastic overview of the local beauty, landscape, and community. The Lions Lookout Tower is located near the Minnedosa Cemetery.

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Minnedosa Beach and Campground

One of Minnedosa's finest attractions, Minnedosa Lake, is home to a soft sandy beach and 150 site campground. This is the perfect place to spend a lazy day with family having a picnic. For more information on Minnedosa Lake and Beach please click here. For more information on Minnedosa Campground please click here.

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Chipperfield Coffee Company

This coffee shop offers a nice mix of antique and heritage with an urban coffee house feel. Sip on your latte, or enjoy a delicious slice of carrot cake while you listen to your favorite musical oldies on the working jukebox. Chipperfield Coffee Company is conveniently located in heart of the Minnedosa business district at 50 Main Street North.

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Minnedosa Rodeo

Named rodeo of the year by the Heartland Rodeo Association in 2009 and 2012, the Minnedosa Rodeo is a cowboy or cowgirl's dream. With events such as barrel racing and muttin' bustin', a petting farm, an evening social and vendors including a mouth-watering ribfest this is one of Minnedosa’s most popular events. For more information on the Minnedosa Rodeo please click here.

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Rockin' The Fields Of Minnedosa

Are you ready to rock?!?! Then you will want to hit up the popular Manitoba rock festival Rockin’ The Fields of Minnedosa. This event showcases many rock bands and also offers onsite camping, and a variety of entertainment including a car show, scavenger hunt, and poker tournament. Rockin’ The Fields of Minnedosa was voted the #1 festival in Manitoba in 2012. Run completely by volunteers, this is a premiere Minnedosa experience for any music lover. For more information on Rockin' The Fields of Minnedosa please click here.

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Stone View Natural Bed & Breakfast

A newly opened B&B offering the perfect mix of old stone home heritage charm paired with crisp clean luxury. From extravagant bathroom products to high quality Egyptian cotton sheets, you will feel like a king or queen. Delicious home made breakfast is served in a beautifully restored dining room with high quality silverware and china. For more information on Stone View Natural Bed & Breakfast please click here.

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For more information on Minnedosa and to plan your own adventure to discover Manitoba’s valley paradise please visit http://www.discoverminnedosa.com/.

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.

sacred space

As I finished my prayer and offering I glanced up and basked in the energy radiating from the boulders, trees and land. There was no doubt in my mind that I was standing on sacred ground and I was deeply grateful for the experience. It was my first time to The Whiteshell Provincial Park in eastern Manitoba. Most people I know when they think of The Whiteshell they have visions of good times at a cottage and frolicking in one of the many lakes, but I was more interested in the spiritual side of the park, and I had focused my first Whiteshell visit on the Bannock Point Petroforms.

Petroforms are boulders that have been arranged into shapes and diagrams, often taking on the shapes of animals such as snakes and turtles, and various patterns. They are usually arranged in remote locations such as forested areas with large rock beds near rivers and lakes. Many believe petrofroms began hundreds of years ago and were created by First Nations. They act as messages from important spirits and to serve as a sacred location for ceremonies. Many years later, petroforms continue to hold this special meaning, and are often used for teachings and spiritual guidance. Manitoba, and The Whiteshell Provincial Park, are home to some of the best petroforms in Canada. The Bannock Point Petroforms are one of the easiest petroforms sites to access, and because it is an easy day trip from Winnipeg, it is one that many people choose to visit.


The air was heavy and humid when we arrived at the Bannock Point Petroforms. The sky was a dark and dreary gray yet the rain magically held off. Perhaps the heavens knew we were there and were seeking a spiritual refuge. We made our way through the dirt path to the petroforms and that is when I first realized how big the Bannock Point Petroforms truly are. The petroforms are scattered on large sections of bedrock in the forest and the great rock ground serves as the floor for this religious sanctuary with various petroforms sprinkled over the landscape. As you make your way through the bedrock clearings you can stop to view and reflect on the various symbols and shapes. Many people choose to make offerings which is evident from the vast amount of prayer cloths, tobacco, coins and incense left near the rocks formations. We felt compelled to also make an offering and reached into our pockets for some coins. As we placed the coins on the rocks, we paused to take a private moment and to say a short prayer. It felt really nice, and calm, and special, and I immediately understood why so many people are drawn to petroforms for tranquility, guidance and ceremonies.


After an hour or so of wandering amongst the rocks and soaking up the energy, we left the Bannock Point Petroforms feeling very pleased with our first Whiteshell Provincial Park experience. As I climbed into our vehicle, I thought to myself this is definitely a Manitoba must see. Every Manitoban needs to experience this sacred space at least once.

For more information on the Bannock Point Petroforms in The Whiteshell Provincial Park please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/eastern/whiteshell_petro.html.

old pinawa dam

Approximately one hour's drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba and located on the edge of the Canadian Shield, lies a unique Manitoba provincial park. Back in the early 1900s Manitobans set out to create the first ever year round hydro electric dam on the Winnipeg River, now referred to as the Old Pinawa Dam. From 1906 until 1951 the power generated at the Old Pinawa Dam was supplied to Winnipeg and it helped Winnipeg grow to become the large city it is today. Even though the Old Pinawa Dam no longer produces power, it still provides enjoyment to many who visit the dam to hike amongst the ruins and to enjoy the stunning views.


When my husband and I arrived at Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park we weren't really sure what to expect. We were greeted by a large parking lot, a picnic area, and a vast field on the edge of a river. My first thoughts were this would make a great spot for a family reunion. To the right we could see some concrete sticking up and a well worn dirt path leading down to a little outdoor museum area. We headed down the trail towards the outdoor museum and were greeted by some gigantic metal parts from the dam that really sent home the message how big and magnificent a hydro electric dam truly is. After viewing the displays we made our way along the path to see the highlight of the park - the gigantic and powerful Pinawa Dam. What a beautiful sight to behold! The combination of old concrete mixed in with greenery and gentle waterfalls flowing through the dam is pretty darn unique, and you can't help but stop and think about how many hours it must have taken to create this dam back in the early 1900s.


The hiking trail makes it's way along the front of the dam and is very well maintained. On one side of you is the dam, and the other a beautiful water view where fishing boats and kayaks seem to conjugate alongside the trickling water stemming from the dam and falls. I can't really blame them for hanging out in their boat right there below the dam, it seems like a perfect spot to cast a line or to float around and enjoy the view and we make a mental note to bring our canoe the next time we visit this park.


The hiking trail is dotted with informative interpretative signs that further explain how and why the Pinawa Dam was created and used and as you hike past the dam and up over the staircase you begin to realize this beautiful trail continues through waterfalls, big rocks and vegetation. It is the perfect spot to stop for photos or for a picnic. We even stumbled upon a small wedding and it certainly is an ideal romantic place to exchange vows and say “I do”.


There are some bridges to guide you over the river and big rocks and around the dam, but one of the best things about this hiking trail is that you can find little detours where you can climb the rocks, almost creating your own little viewing platform to see the dam ruins and the water. Because there are various little trails and rocks to climb, this hiking trail can be as short or as long as you want, and is easily adapted to suit your own specific needs and experience levels. We even saw some very adventurous people in their kayaks surveying the falls and river, plotting out their course of kayaking action. Although that looked like a lot of fun, it is a bit too risky for my taste but I must admit I did enjoy watching them tackle the challenge.


Hiking amongst the dam ruins, climbing the rocks and taking in the picture perfect views around every corner was the perfect way to spend a couple hours with my husband to reconnect with nature. We will defnitely return in the future for some more hiking and exploration. There is no doubt in my mind that Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park is a great way to combine a picnic, hiking and a bit of history into a fun afternoon in rural Manitoba.

For more information on Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/eastern/pinawa.html.

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/.