Banff Romance

Banff Blue BesosWith V-Day hot and heavy on the horizon, Banff is a serene place to cool your jets in the interim. Designated a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1995, Canada’s first national park always offers an incredible experience — whether you live close by in Calgary or on the opposite side of the world. IMG_3787Romantic Activity #1:  take your sweetie to Sulphur Mountain. The gondolas fit four people, but if they’re not too busy you won’t have to share the ride with strangers. Hashtag:  Room For Romance! Taking the gondola is touristy, but fun. You can hike up instead, but when would you cuddle with your significant other? Plus, there’s a Starbucks conveniently located at the bottom, in case you need a toasty beverage while you float up 2,292 feet. I probably should have gotten one to keep my jaw from dropping at the view. Tiffany Burns BanffAt the top, a vista of six mountain ranges awaits. Looks like the golf course down at Fairmont Springs is awaiting a good thaw.IMG_3864I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this is probably the only mountain summit boardwalk you’ll find in the Canadian Rockies. If you’re not up for braving the cold, there’s a restaurant and a cafe in the gondola station. And, of course, a gift shop.Blue Besos BanffBut if you do take the one kilometer-long Summit Walk, not only will you discover signage pointing out which peaks you are peeking at…Cosmic Ray Station Blue Besos… you’ll make it to the Cosmic Ray Station. Back before being a meteorologist was a glamorous TV news gig, Norman Bethune Sanson climbed Sulphur Mountain (named for the hot springs on its lower slopes) on snowshoes in 1896 to record weather observations for the Banff area. Then he was hooked. He hiked up the steep three-mile trail over a thousand times over the next thirty years.IMG_3783After that rocky mountain high, it was time for the hotel. I empathized with the ice sculpture upon check-in, but the Buffalo Mountain Lodge offers one of the best warm-ups in Banff.IMG_3883Thawing options (aka Romantic Activity #2:  apres-Gondie) include a full-size claw-foot tub on a heated slate floor…IMG_3896… and a wood-burning fire. When we arrived, paper and kindling was ready to light in the fireplace. With extra wood just outside the front door if you need it. The Bison Blue BesosFor Romantic Activity #3:  Dinner, I returned to an old flame to get my full-on foodie on ~ the Bison. Copper kitchen Bison Restaurant, Blue BesosSourcing many of their ingredients from local farmers, the restaurant takes its inspiration from the region. After an afternoon sourcing my warmth from the heart instead of the temperature, there was no energy left over for in-depth menu perusal. Ordering the bison at Bison seemed like the right thing to do. And it was. Prepared in the open copper kitchen, the Carmen Creek Bison Ribeye was a massive slab of meat of smoky, saucy deliciousness. The lean bison meat was marbled and flavorful. And necessary to fuel us through Day 2, when we will face the choice of snowboarding in sub -20 temperatures or staying by that wood-burning fire. Stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “Banff Romance

  1. My hubby and I are planning a romantic getaway this year and we wanted to switch it up as every winter we go somewhere warm. After seeing a documentary that featured Canada’s first National Park we knew where to go. Thanks for these tips, we will definitely visit Sulphur Mountain (I hope it will be just the two of us).

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