Small towns, and mountain towns

Just love them! And if the small town is also a mountain town, so much the better!

We went to visit friends in Canmore last weekend. Oh, wait a moment – before we get to that, what about the newish weekly PlaidCamper weather report/complaint? You really want to read that? OK, I’ll get it out of the way early – yes, there was some mountain snow, but it was all at higher elevations, nothing new lower down, and still no sign of snow here in Calgary. On the afternoon we headed for Canmore, the city afternoon high was 16C. Hmm.

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The road to Canmore!
Not as scorchio! as that in Canmore, but when we went for a short wander, it was still rather warm for the time of year. Luckily, Canmore made up for the lack of winter by being a small mountain town. Almost wherever you are in town, look up and around and you’ll see mountains, a constant reminder you’re nestled in the big outdoors. 

If the weather isn’t cooperating for your hoped for adventures, Canmore has the right ingredients for spending time in a small town. Micro-brewery? Check! Visit The Grizzly Paw, either at the pub on Main Street or at the brewery on the Old Canmore Road. I wasn’t a huge fan a few years ago – many of their beers seemed too sweet and sticky to me – but when they opened their new facility and launched the Rundlestone session ale, I was a convert. (Also, I’m going to have to find a bottle or two of the seasonal Larch Valley porter before it sells out – oh no, another trip to Canmore seems in order!)

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Above Canmore
Coffee shops? Check! Whenever we are passing through, we often (always?) stop at Le Fournil Bakery. Here you will find some of the best flaky pastries outside Quebec – that could be an exaggeration because we haven’t tried all the pastries in or out of Quebec, but the mission is ongoing –  and excellent coffee. A quick stop often turns into a longer stop, and you might as well buy a baguette or a croissant or two for cabin breakfast the next day…

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Main Street
If you’re heading to a cabin, won’t you need something to read when you’re sipping your evening session ale by the wood stove? Independent bookstore? Check! If you’re down to the last chapter or two of your current read and didn’t pack another book, no worries. After your coffee, stroll over to Cafebooks and choose your next great read. It’s comfortable in there, and perhaps you’ll pause for (another!) cup of coffee, or tea. Go on, the cabin isn’t going anywhere, you’ve got time…

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Fifteen minutes from Canmore
Hungry? Maybe more time passed in the bookstore than you realized, and you fancy something to eat before moving on? Great restaurants? Check! I’m biased on this one, because Junior trained and worked at The Crazyweed Restaurant, but even if she hadn’t, I’d recommend lunch or dinner here. Great menu, good beer and wine selections, and an easy walk from where our Canmore buddies live, so no short straw game for choosing the designated driver. There are many great dining options in Canmore, but they didn’t train the next big thing in the culinary arts, so no mention for them…

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Bow Valley
Alright, maybe that’s enough – I’m not being paid or sponsored by the town tourism board – but I really like Canmore! It is a lovely example of a small mountain town, and fun to visit in any season. Biking, hiking, climbing, paddling a canoe, clinging onto a raft in whitewater, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, xc skiing, camping, horse riding, or simply wandering about the town, Canmore is a great base for Rocky Mountain adventures. (I get pleasantly exhausted just reading that list!) You could spend a week or two, make it a weekend visit, or a quick stop on a longer trip, and you’ll always want to return. You might even want to make Canmore your permanent home – this is what our friends did after many years of vacation visits. Good choice!

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Hanging out above Canmore
Thanks for reading, and if you’ve a favourite small town to recommend, mountains or not, feel free to share it in the comments. Have a wonderful weekend!

Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

16 thoughts on “Small towns, and mountain towns”

  1. When I first opened this post and saw snow, I thought, oh good, he finally got snow. lol. Maybe not much snow here, but a fun town and lots of fun things to do. You had me so sold on Canmore, PC, that I googled it. Loved this post, and laughed out loud at the “Scorchio” sketch. It cracks me up that you call your daughter Junior. Fun family you are. I hope this weekend is fun, too, my friend — enjoy.

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    1. Thanks, Jet! Would you believe, we finally had some snow this morning? Almost a centimetre! I was going to go out and make the tiniest snowman ever, but it’s all melting away…
      Junior is spending Christmas in Canmore, lunching at the Crazyweed – she knows where to find a great lunch!
      The forecast is promising real snow for the next few days, so no more scorchio for us. We’re actually heading out to the coast later this week, so mostly beaches and light rain showers (or no rain showers?)
      Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but only a few REALLY good ones. When you find one of these – as you did – it’s a place worth remembering and going back. The going back part is just to see if they’re still as good as you remembered, of course.

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  2. What a beautiful little city, replete with premium beers, coffee, bookshop, restaurants, and superb scenery replete with snow (yes) and… holy cow, no, a mountain goat amenable to a photograph! You’re a lucky dude, PC, to live so close and to enjoy a place like this.

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    1. Thanks, Walt! Yup, we are lucky indeed to have Canmore just down the road. We’ll be passing through, but not lingering, later this week as we head out to the coast. Well, we might stop for a coffee and pastry somewhere in town. It’ll be too early for a craft beer…
      Have a wonderful week!

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  3. Canmore sounds and looks absolutely perfect! The mountains are gorgeous and I would definitely have to drag myself away from Cafebooks and a chocolate croissant at the bakery. Loved the names of the beer at The Grizzly Paw and the Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat might suit your weather mood. One of my favorite small towns in Michigan is South Haven and covers many of the essentials in life – coffee shop and bakery, good restaurants, movie theater, Lake Michigan, bookstore, local hard ciders and not to far from Notre Dame University and Chicago for a great football or hockey game. Wonderful post and I thoroughly enjoyed Canmore and the scorchio video!

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    1. Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed this one! You’d really like Canmore – it hits all the right notes you mentioned South Haven has too. Pretty sure there is a store selling sweaters in Gabby’s size – essential mountain gear for the well dressed dog…
      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Miriam! Yeah, you can come along! I know you like to hike, so you’d love Canmore and all around – great mountain hiking and then plenty of places to relax and reminisce afterwards over a coffee, or a beer. Or a glass of red!
      Hope your week is going well!

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