Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fondues at Grizzly's!

I can't let it go unmentioned that when Diane was here a few weeks back, Jonathan and I were lucky enough to sneak away for a night to Banff. With all of our trips back and forth to this village, we had never really had an opportunity to enjoy it ourselves without having to drive people around.We stayed at Brewster's Mountain Lodge. It's the perfect location because it sits right in the middle of everything dowtown. It was cozy with its huge fireplace going in the main lobby. Our room was perfect, with a nice view of the mountain (can't remember which one).

Our weather when we arrived, was a bit blistery with blowing snow, but the following day it was gorgeous out with blue skies. We spent a few hours strolling through town, checking out all the shops and picking up a few last minute Christmas gifts, we even managed to stop at a British pub and Jonathan got them to put on the soccer game (naturally). There's a great energy to this place. It's not just about the sights and the shops that cater to the tourists. Nor is it about the fact that you are surrounded by such beauty - the whole town is encircled by mountains and it's a rare occasion that you go to Banff without seeing an elk or two walking around. It's the fact that it is such an international meeting place. Young adults (or those who don't want to grow up!) from all over the world come to Banff to pick up a casual job so that they can earn enough money to hit the slopes on their time off. You can tell from the interactions between the locals that you won't find too many stressed-out employees in this place.

The best part of the trip was that we had some much needed time to ourselves with lots of quiet! No kids jumping off wall units, or throwing heavy objects down the stairs. Jonathan and I spent a couple of hours just reading and napping in our room and it was probably one of the nicest gifts we've had all year. Thanks Diane!

For dinner, we treated ourselves to a feast at the Grizzly House Restaurant. Oh my gosh. One of the best meals I've had in ages. Steph had been bragging for ages that she once got to eat here, so we finally got to try it out for ourselves. We enjoyed a delicious meal with a cheese fondue, beef & lobster on a hot rock, finished off with a chocolate fondue. Our waitress turned out to be an absolute sweetheart and we ended up telling her a little bit about our life. She made our special night out that much more special because she was so kind and so much fun. If she's reading this now.. we'll see you again soon!

The highlight of the trip (for me) was that Jonathan got me the best Christmas gift. On all of our previous visits into Banff, Jacob and I had been checking out a gallery that caught our eye called Editions Gallery. It is full of paintings of wildlife, the Rockies and our favourite.. a collection of Max Jacquiard's art-on canvas depictions of steam engines in Canadian settings. If you love trains, Jacquiard is regarded as the finest collectible artists in this genre.

Royal York Hotel and Union Station

Water Stop at Red Pass Junction -- this one is our favourite. When the lights are dimmed, it almost looks like the moon is glowing and that there is a tiny light behind the canvas, coming from underneath the front of the train.

Sitting in the window of the gallery, was a beautiful painting called Faery Tales by an artist named James Christensen. Jake and I spent over a half hour in front of it, trying to find all the hidden fairy tales in the scene. It's beautiful. Jonathan bought it as a family gift to hang in our future library room!
All of his work has such a fantastical and spiritual element to it, I'm totally hooked. If I could ever afford it (in my dreams), I would love to add these two to the collection:

Men and Angels

The Responsible Woman
As we drove home the next day, our trip was completed perfectly by the image of 40 to 50 elk that were grazing in an open patch of land along the Trans Canada. It was a great time.

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