Thursday 25 February 2021

February Break 2021: Exploring & Supporting Local

Another February break has come and gone, and although it had it's ups and downs, we ended it on a high.  With restrictions still fully in place, vaccinations not being administered to the public (anytime soon), and COVID numbers still high in our part of the world, we decided to stay close by and  focused on exploring our own city and spending money locally.  

The first part of the break was NASTY cold which kept us indoors with short bouts of outdoor fun.  We escaped the city to the lake and although it wasn't what we had hoped for in terms of being able to socialize and play outdoors, we tried to make the best of the situation by playing family games, watching movies, reading and walking the pups.  Let's look at some of the local places that we think spending your time and money is worthwhile.

1.  Logan and I checked out the Candle Lake Golf Resort for a special Valentines Day supper and it was delicious!!!!   Since they've changed ownership in late fall, we had been hearing great reviews and we were pleasantly surprised and impressed by their four course menu, and even more importantly the taste and presentation of everything.   We enjoyed the following:

  •  Tossed greens with candied pecans, apples, smoked bacon, goat cheese in vinaigrette
  • Creamy spinach & Artichoke soup
  • Beef Tenderloin
  • White Chocolate Brownie and Red Velvet Cheesecake
  • Flight of Wine:  Three choices

We also enjoyed skiing and sledding on their lake front skating rink.  It's the perfect way to spend the afternoon as a family, enjoying winter activities.  They also have cross-country trails groomed right on the golf course, and what better way to warm up then by the complementary fire pits with friends, and a cup of hot chocolate.  

I do know they offer a few different winter getaway and experience packages also, but we found some of them to be pretty pricey. 

2.  Candle Lake Cross Country Trails.  There are four groomed trails that we have explored at Candle Lake this winter.  

  • Bay Lake Trail (2 loops available for skiing; 4km and maybe 8 km; flat).  This trail starts at the tennis courts and goes into the bush.  
  • Old Baldy Trail (4.5 km; more up and down).  This trail is in the MInowukaw provincial park area and it's absolutely stunning to ski through, plus going downhill is LOTS of Fun!
  • West End Ski Trail is almost an 8km loop through the beautiful forest.  The trail has many turn around points along the way, making it possible for any level and ability to enjoy.  We've done this trail a few times this winter and it's quickly become a favorite because of the distance and scenery.  (we enter the trail in the  Telwin subdivision)
  • Golf Course.  This was my least favorite because it's in the open space so if there is wind, you aren't really protected.  But it's great for beginners.

3.  Stoked Center (Wilson's in Saskatoon)
The obstacle course and zipline are soooooo much fun.  We met up with my BFF and her daughter as part of her birthday gift since we couldn't celebrate together.  While the kids burned off energy and had a blast, the two of us grabbed a coffee and took time to reconnect.  Mama's their coffee shop is worth a visit!!!!  We've tried a number of different activities here including their race tracks and when the kids were younger the bouncy castles.  It's a bit pricey for the whole family, but it's also great, great fun!


4.  Prairie Star Stables (Grandora, Saskatchewan)
This is Halie's new riding stable, just outside of the city.  Kat, her trainer and proud owner, moved out here just before Christmas.  Although we enjoyed where she rode before, we decided to follow Kat and Halie is now also leasing once a week!  We ventured out to the stables after not being able to ride most of February due to the frigid cold temperatures.  Although it was still very cold, we did have a great time petting the horses, meeting Copper my new favorite cat, and marveling at the beauty of open space.  If you are looking to try some English, or Western, riding lessons, check Prairie Star Stables out.


5.  Dahlia Salon Spa ( Martensville, Saskatchewan)
I saw an offer for a Dermaplaning Facial and decided to treat myself.  I haven't purchased anything in February and decided to spend my $100 on this instead.  It was a TREAT indeed.  You guys, what came off of my face was disgusting.  They let you look at it  after the treatment.  More importantly my face felt so refreshed, clean, and ultra soft.  I would definitely get this treatment done again and in fact I have already decided to get it done in June before school ends.  I will be skipping the "massage" add-on in the treatment, and sticking to just the facial treatment option that they offer.

6.  Optimist Hill  (Saskatoon)
We saved the BEST for last!!!!  It finally thawed and we could spend more than 45 minutes outdoors, so we decided to check out Optimist Hill.  If you have a child who is beginner skier or snowboarder, this is the best place for them to learn.   Anya took the plunge  and we got her a snowboarding lesson. Private lessons are an hour and $40, which was the best investment. Ryan was great with her, got her started and feeling confident. She is now able to go up the hill and make her way down by leafing from side to side, and sometimes is even beginning to turn to one side.  We will be trying to get her another lesson now that she's practiced the skills they worked on.

Halie is a confident snowboarder but she had a blast,  challenging herself by hitting some small jumps and practicing her cutting.  

Both kids had so much fun, that they have already asked if they can go back on Thursday right after school.  YES!  YES they can.

The passes are completely reasonable at $12 for half-day/ youth.  The biggest issue is  their limited  rental supply due to COVID restrictions, so if you need equipment, I would call ahead.

As a family fun we still want to check out their awesome tubing area!  That's on our winter  bucket list for sure!

That's it!  Although I miss traveling, and I certainly miss warmer weather, we do have some great options right here in our city and our province.  Supporting our local economy has definitely been something I've been trying do  more and hope to keep at the forefront of our future planning.  

What have you discovered in your area in the past year?  
What local activities have you discovered or rediscovered this past year?


  1. It's so fun you were able to get out and about and enjoy the snow despite it being so cold! Looks like there are a lot of fun things to do in winter near you :)

    Hope that you are having a good weekend :)

    Away From Blue

    1. We try to make the best of the the winter by setting a good example for the kids and teaching them to get outdoors despite the weather. Thanks for stopping by, always appreciated.

  2. So many great places you got out to! The zip line course sounds like fun and I would love to ski again someday!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

    1. Thanks Jill. We did the zip line as a family early in the pandemic and had a blast. Our goal this winter had been to take the kids to the mountains but that just didn't work out with all the restrictions, but at least we got them out for a bit. I snowboard but have thought about learning to ski, especially as I am getting older.

  3. These all sound like so much fun!! And how awesome that you decided to treat yourself to a facial--I need to do that, it's been years! My husband surprised me with a mini getaway at a nearby hotel in a couple of weeks, and they have a spa... I might have to do that too!

    1. I know exactly what you mean. That kind of self care is low on my list too. It seems more frivolous I guess, although it was 100% worth it and my winter skin loved it! I am making a commitment to myself to do it again in June, just before Summer vacay. I hope you had a lovely getaway. Thank you for stopping by, it's greatly appreciated.

  4. That all sounds like so much fun and your Valentine Dinner looked amazing.

  5. We've never tried snow skiing or boarding. We used to go roller skating when we were dating some 35 something years ago.
    Hubs did a little ice skating, but I've never done that. Cross country skiing on trials sounds like an enjoyable way to see outdoor sites. We've wanted to go snowmobile riding, but never done that either. We do have a side by side & enjoy trial riding & seeing the outdoor sites that way. The face treatment sounds like something I would like to do. I've never wanted to have massage or manicure or pedicure but I think I could do the face thing. I've done face peel masks myself in the past years ago & enjoyed it & the gunk that pealed off, amazing. Karen

    1. Trail riding sounds like a great activity. We don't own a snowmobile but have done it a few times here and there and also rhino, similar I think to the side by side idea. Both are great fun! We used to have a roller skating place here and we loved going as well. Just recently my kids asked if there was a place like that around, it's too bad they all closed down. I'd love to see them comeback!

  6. My gosh, look at you guys playing 'local tourist'. What great adventures. My granddaughter is having her 5th birthday in a few weeks and my daughter wants us to give Lucia a 'memory' rather than a gift. Something like a horse riding adventure or take her somewhere for a special experience. Would love to take her to play in the snow in the mountains or to ride horses or maybe to some caverns near here.
    My friend Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag - do you know her? - does a local tourist series with a post a month. This would be a great post to link up with her. Loved learning more about all there is to do in your community.

    1. Thanks for the tip! You are so knowledgeable and I am going to check that out ASAP! I am like your daughter and have encouraged family, especially aunts to really think about experiences rather that material gifts. It gives children time to bond with family and also gets them an experience. We are thinking of taking our little niece for a pony lesson for her 4th birthday this June! My daughter is so excited to share this hobby of hers with her little cousin! What did you guys decide on?