Cute boutiques meet great eats at this gem that’s within easy striking distance of Calgary and Edmonton. I’ve been on the hunt for affordable spots for a weekend getaway for awhile now. Thankfully, I discovered The Village at Pigeon Lake. Now, I knew about Pigeon Lake and the yurts you can rent, but I had no idea the area was also sporting a sweet little community flush with a spa, shopping and a country inn. Here’s a look at what to expect on a weekend escape.
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Pigeon Lake Hotels
Back in university, it was big deal to spend a weekend at a friend’s cabin at Pigeon Lake. If you don’t have a friend with a cabin, the next best thing is bedding down at Village Creek Country Inn. There aren’t many hotels at Pigeon Lake, but it doesn’t matter. The Village Creek Country Inn has all you need. This cute hideaway looks like something you’d see in Cape Cod, not that I’ve ever been to Cape Cod, but you get my drift….Sporting colourful clapboard siding, it backs onto an aspen grove. From my balcony (which many rooms sport), I could spot a footbridge overtop a valley not 50 feet from my room. The bridge led to a forested path you can take you all the way down to the lake.
Guest rooms are totally comfortable with a massive soaker tub, microwave and mini fridge. Rates are crazy decent – suites with full kitchens and two queen beds start at $149. With a private bedroom you’re looking at $199. There’s an outdoor tub, which I ignored because I couldn’t drag myself away from my balcony (and a glass of wine). For me, the best part was being able to fall out of bed and hit the shops or restaurants mere steps away.
Pigeon Lake Spa
Whenever I see a spa carrying the Eminence Organic skin care line, I know it’s going to be good. Expectations were met, and dare I say exceeded at Essentials Spa and Wellness in Pigeon lake. I opted for a pedicure, and over the course of an hour, my feet were pampered into oblivion. Seriously, it was one of the most precise pedicures I’ve had in my life, and I get a lot of spa treatments thrown my way! This Pigeon Lake Spa has cheaper prices than in the city, but the quality and service is just as good.
The co-ed lounge was super cozy and just the spot to enjoy a cup of tea. If I return, I’d definitely order food (from the Village’s restaurants) to be delivered and hang on their patio overlooking the woods.
The Village at Pigeon Lake
Within The Village at Pigeon Lake are restaurants, the inn and several boutique shops. Like many women, I made a beeline for the Village Emporium. It’s the ultimate gift shop, with every nook and cranny brimming with home decor, art, kitschy kitchenware and bath products. They’ve got a good selection of children’s toys, books and crafts, too. I’m regretting not picking up some Poo-pourri. Yes, as in poo. You spritz it in the bowl before you go, so no one will know you’ve done smelly business.
Fence Fashions had an awesome sale on boots when I visited, and carries fun, casual clothing. The Clothing Store is a women’s boutique where you can really hone in on your style. In the city I find I’m too busy to dedicate time to cultivating my look, but out here, you’ve got all the time in the world to create a signature look.
For home decor and design inspiration, I wandered through Village Furniture. It was so refreshing to see cool Canadian brands being displayed, and they’ve got a schwack of rosewood tables, which are apparently super hot right now.
Pigeon Lake Restaurants
Luckily, Pigeon Lake has quite a few good restaurants. I kicked off my weekend with a delicious Red Thai Curry at Eco Cafe. It was chockfull of tender pieces of white meat chicken, and could’ve easily been shared. I shouldn’t have eaten my entire slice of peanut butter cheesecake, but I’m glad I did. It was decadent, but not too sweet. You could tell it was homemade by the rich chocolate imperfectly smoothed on top. But wait! There are more restaurants to dine at in Pigeon Lake.
Breakfast the next morning was at Daisy McBeans. They’re famous for their pies, plus their candy and ice cream counter. I carbed out with a sticky, homemade cinnamon bun and freshly baked roll to accompany my loaded omelette. Get this, they sell Taco in a bag! I’m coming back for that, next time!
After a morning of shopping, I wandered into Village Pizza for lunch. I was oh-so tempted to pull a Liz Lemon and order their meatball sub, but felt was my duty to sample one of their thick and gooey pies. This turned out to be a capital decision, and I was rewarded with a perfect crust.
Then for dinner, I totally splurged at Chef N. And by splurge, I mean in the calorie sense, not cash. It’s reasonably priced upmarket country cuisine – so similar to what your relative on the farm might whip up – if they went to chef school. It was here I really regretted making this a solo trip.
If I had my high school girl friends with me, we’d split a bottle of wine while scooping up melted Boursin from a cast iron pan. Jennifer would order the seared salmon, because she’s good that way. Shauna would go for the Drunken Irish Chicken, with its awesome boozy cream sauce. Elizabeth might order the beer steamed mussels and HB would be the wild card, though I’d put money on her having one of their famous burgers.
Getting supplies at Pigeon Lake
What I found most appealing about the Village at Pigeon Lake is that you don’t need to prep prior to visiting. Normally I stock up on a few bottles of wine, beer and Baileys before mini-breaks, but there’s no need with Western Spirits stocking loads of liquor at normal (read: non-touristy prices). I admired their dedication to Bethany’s Skinny Girl wine and premixed cocktails, and even spotted some fancy some champers. They certainly know their audience. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many varieties of coolers or flavoured vodka. I’m keen to amp up my Caesars with either this garlic or dill pickle vodka.
After stocking up on booze, you’ll want to stroll over to the Village Market, where the smell of freshly baked bread hits you upon entry. This is a legit, full-on grocery store with everything a normal city store has. Actually they one-upped it with lemons 30% cheaper than in Calgary. Plus they carried tons of speciality items you wouldn’t think you’d find in a small town grocery store like: almond milk, kale, Bob’s Red Mill grains, etc… I so wanted to buy a Hutterite chicken – the size of a small turkey, but didn’t bring a cooler. There’s a pharmacy and post office located inside the Market, too!
Have you ever been to Pigeon Lake? Where are your special spots for a quick and affordable getaway?