The MacKay Place

Since reading about the MacKay Place Restaurant in Millarville some months back, we have been meaning to give it a try. As we were driving right by it on Sunday evening, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to do just that!

The restaurant is a ranch which is over 100 years old.  Both the ranch home and the homestead shack were built by a Scottish homesteader John Turner.  For 16 years, he raised Clydesdale horses and, with growing success, built a bigger house and acquired more land.

In 1902, Turner sold his homestead to the Wright family, who went on to sell it to the MacKays in 1916.  The MacKay family held on to the land and buildings until 1988. Since then, the property has been a tea house, a pub, a bed and breakfast and now, a restaurant.

The homestead shack was built before 1900 and is left open for you to take a look around.
Dining here is a totally relaxed and comfortable experience. We wandered around, looking into all the different rooms.  The original layout of the ranch has been preserved, giving diners individual and cozy rooms to eat in.
Old Stove
We sat in this sunny room, looking out over the grounds, rolling hills and busy bird feeders.
The place itself is enough to talk about, but what about the food?  Janet wanted the ribs, but they had run out.  From write ups we have seen on the internet, this is not the first time they have run out of ribs.  We can only assume they must be delicious, so we will definitely have to go back again and hope for better luck.

To start, we shared some Crab Cakes, which were lovely and very crispy.  Eamonn had the Tenderloin, with roast potatoes and veg and Janet had the Flat Iron Steak with fat potato wedges and salad.  Both steaks were lovely and tender and very tasty.  Our server tempted us with desert, so we shared a berry crumble (it was a never ending portion) and it was truly delicious.  It was a good hearty meal.

The bill, when it came, was presented in a book, which just invites you to stay a while longer!  It came to just over $100 and $120 with the tip, which we thought was good value, given the quality of the food, service and the setting.

As we were paying, our server was telling us about the resident ghost, who is not unfriendly but apparently, he can be mischievous.  It was only when we got home that we saw this photo (we had to put a border round it, so it is visible). We can’t imagine what we took, is it even possible to take something so white accidentally? Any logical and non-spooky suggestions on how it got there would be gratefully received!

There are a couple more buildings in the Car Park. 

It was an excellent experience and one we look forward to repeating.


Canmore & The Rockies

We have both been working very hard over the last few months, so when a quiet weekend arose, we grabbed it, and took a short trip to the Rockies.  Starting with a leisurely drive, we stopped off at this Historic Church near Morley, west of Cochrane.

The Church was constructed by hand in 1875. At this time the local First Nations people were still hunting bison on the prairies. This church became the heart of a thriving community, Morleyville, which was the largest settlement in Southern Alberta and this church represents an important chapter in Alberta’s settlement history.

It is only used today for special occasions such as weddings, so unfortunately we couldn’t see inside. But it is lovely to stroll around outside in such a pretty and calm setting.

We were surprised to see gophers running around so early in the year.

The church overlooks this now frozen lake.  We bet it is beautiful in the summer.
What started off as a lovely bright and sunny day, turned cloudy rather quickly.  We only just made it back to the car before the snow/hail started to fall.
We moved on.  It was snowing quite hard at this point but the ice on the river was just amazing as it was cracking and falling into the water.

We arrived in Canmore and stayed at the Falcon Crest Lodge, where we had a lovely big apartment style room.  It had a separate bedroom, huge bathroom, and a patio with its own gas barbecue. It was very comfy.

Having not really explored Canmore much before, we decided to check out the Main Street.  Like Banff, it has a backdrop of stunning mountains wherever you look.
After a good look around the shops, we decided to head off to Banff for something to eat. There is no lack of eating places in Canmore and they looked good, but we had a particular restaurant in mind.

We were a little early for dinner so we decided to take a drive up the Bow Valley Parkway in the hope of seeing some wildlife.  We weren’t disappointed.

The antlers on the Elk at this time of year are enormous, and just watching them walk around and navigate through (or plough through really) the trees is quite amazing. This one was right by the car, and they really are huge beasts.  We later read that a male elk can weigh around 1100lbs which is more than a grizzly bear, which weigh about 700lbs!


We apologize for posting more pictures of mountains, but when we are there in the thick of it, no matter how often we have seen it, we just can’t help ourselves!

Vermillion Lakes is another favorite short drive, but all we came across were these two Canada Geese who had managed to find a spot of melted water.

It was also amazing to see such an amount of colour, when, in your mind, you just think things are brown (and white).

We had a quick visit to Lake Louise and came across these very tame birds – a bit bigger than the Chickadees we are used to, with bigger claws and a very big beak!

Icicles on the trees looked fantastic glinting in the sun

All that was left of the Ice Sculpting

Lake Louise

More Icicles

We think we were being followed!…

All in all it was a lovely relaxing weekend away and we can’t wait for the next one.