July 12 2012 by Bryson Forbes
After another wonderful pancake breakfast at the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Freeport Inn and Suites we packed up, checked out and hit the road north-west for "The Rockies" and a couple days in Banff.
Banff is about an hour from Calgary and consistently voted Canada's number one travel destination. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains you definitely cannot beat the breathtaking views and mountain air. We arrived just before lunch and checked into the BEST WESTERN PLUS Siding 29 Lodge. Just to answer your first question right away, the name Siding 29 dates back to the early days of Banff in 1883 when the Canadian Pacific Railway made it's way west and the work camp, which later become the town of Banff was known as "Siding 29".
My Aunt Heather and Uncle Bill who live in Calgary took charge of our day in Banff and planned a family hike and picnic. After checking into the hotel we all met at Lake Minnewanka, which is about five minutes outside Banff, just off Highway #1. Lake Minnewanka is absolutely breathtaking; the water reminded me of Lake Louise where the water looks more like a lime margarita than water. We hiked for about 30 minutes and then stopped for lunch. We created a great memory that will stay with me for a while - After lunch I taught my kids how to skip stones in the lake. Sadly, I have to admit my Mom set the record with a stone that skipped seven times! I couldn't beat five! We hiked for another hour and then agreed that a rendez-vous back at the BEST WESTERN PLUS for a swim and hot tub before dinner was just what the doctor ordered!
Dinner was at "The Bison" - a great local hotspot that prides itself for being environmentally friendly from the design and architecture of the restaurant to the organic and local food! I highly recommend a bison dish but there are many to choose from including carpaccio, tenderloin steak, or an enormous burger!
After dinner, we took full advantage of our huge balcony at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Siding 29 Lodge and shared a bottle wine or two as we looked out onto on of the most magnificent setting you can imagine. The sun doesn't set out here until about eleven and we watched it set on what was a memorable family day!
Tomorrow's agenda: we hit Lake Louise and head to beautiful Jasper!
If there is a more stunning destination than Banff, where is it?