mountain towns and music

This past weekend a few of my delightful friends and I had a bit of a get-a-way in the most beautiful of places. Canmore is about an hour's drive outside of Calgary, located just before the entrance to Banff National Park off the Trans Canada Highway. It is the loveliest of mountain towns, nestled in the middle of these gorgeous rocks. My drive out of the city was wonderful... but I could not get out fast enough. 
It was the strangest thing while I was driving though. There were foggy patches along the way, and as I got closer the fog thickened and I couldn't see much for awhile. Suddenly I began to notice these oddly shaped clouds in front of me. Then I realized they weren't clouds at all, but mountains. The fog was breaking and there they were, majestic and peaceful and those wonderful things that mountains are.

During our stay, I was able to make it out to Lake Minnewanka, where my son and I visited this past Summer. It is a short 20-30 minute drive (depending on weather) from Canmore, a little ways inside the Park gates near the town of Banff. So beautiful!

And of course we couldn't be so close to Banff and not head in for a little visit. This is another lovely little mountain town that many people visit when they come to the area. Filled with shops and restaurants, it is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon... or a week. And if you can make it to the Banff Springs Hotel just up the road there, you will find that to be a magical experience. It is a National Historical Site of Canada and one of the most beautiful resorts in the world.

One of my favourite shops in Banff  is The Spirit of Christmas store, for obvious reasons. Yes, I know it's a little early but I just have to go in there when I visit. It is packed full of everything Christmas. It looks like Christmas... it smells like Christmas... it even tastes like Christmas (don't ask how I know that).

After walking around Banff for awhile, we headed back to Canmore for the evening. We had a lovely dinner planned at Gaucho Brazilian BBQ in Canmore. A little drink and a lot of food makes for a wonderful evening.  

It was a spectacular weekend. I was able to take a couple of hikes here and there, between relaxing in my room and exploring in town. There is so much beautify in these Rocky Mountains. All stages of life are represented here... and the beauty that each stage holds is so very apparent. 
 Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
John Muir

And of course, the reason for our trip in the first place... to see one of my favourite musicians Hawksley Workman play live in a small tea house. YES... a tea house. He is one of the best live performers I have ever seen. And Mr. Lonely was there with him, to make it even better. Such a perfect way to end a perfect weekend.
Now... back to the real world. :)