KANANASKIS COUNTRY – If you’re lounging on the veranda around 4 o’clock at Mt. Engadine Lodge, chances are you’ll get to spot Mooseaka, Nana Moosekouri or Moosealini bounding across the brilliant green meadow.
On this mid-July day, we get Big Ears, a lanky two-year old bull whose moniker has broken with the moose-naming tradition, started by innkeepers Chris and Shari-Lynn Williams.
As guaranteed as moose sighting are at this cozy lodge off the Smith Dorian Highway in Spray Lakes Provincial Park, so is a relaxing get-away-from-it-all escape. It’s impossible not to feel unplugged and unhurried – and small – in this Rocky Mountain-meets-meadow setting.
Looking south from the deck, Mount Burstall cuts a mighty profile while Mount Shark presents a sharp outline against a blue sky.
Hikers have started to show up at the lodge for the 3 p.m. tea, a daily event in summer that also serves up fresh fruit, hummus, black bean dip, cheeses and breads. Hungry hikers pop by for an afternoon moose-in-the-meadow matinee and a break before the drive back home to Canmore or Calgary. Others are here for a few days of rest and relaxation – coming from as far away as Switzerland or Germany, or as close as British Columbia or Alberta.
In summer, guests are not only lured by the comfy beds, three squares a day of healthy and delicious food, the views and the affable hosts, but also for what has become a Bow Valley musical tradition in the summer.
The Saturday night Music in the Meadows series features some of the finest singers and songwriters in the Bow Valley and beyond, including blues chanteuse Kat Dancer and folk singer-songwriters Laurie Reid and Cori Brewster.
It feels like going to a concert in your friend’s living room. You and no more than 30 others bask in the glow of the late setting sun after a delicious dinner of cooked-to-perfection beef, fresh asparagus and potatoes, topped off with a yummy carrot cake with lime cream-cheese icing and a glass of wine or two.
The music makes you feel at one with your fellow lodge guests, bonded by the evening of personal songs and conversations.
When the show is over, you can amble over to the comfy couch in front of the fire and savour the day over a glass of single-malt. The vibe in the great room is just as cosy whether it’s a summer night or frigid one in the depths of winter.
Shari-Lynn and Chris make sure the fire is stoked and the conversation lively before you bed down for the night.
Sleep comes easy with all this fresh mountain air and a down duvet-covered bed. This is Rockies relaxation at its best.
Mount Engadine Lodge is open from May to September and reopens in mid-December for the winter. Rates include all meals (eaten family style) and afternoon tea.
You can still book for the Music in the Meadows dinner/concert. A few shows have been added to the lineup.
Aug. 18 - The Carolines - Chloe Albert and friends sing vintage songs with three- part harmony - available
Aug. 24 - Del Barber - sold out.
Aug. 29 - Cara Luft - rooms and dinner/concert available
Aug.31 - Kat Danser - rooms and dinner/concert available
Sept.7th - Ann Vriend - 1 room left, no dinner/concert
Check mountengadine.com for more details.
Mount Engadine Lodge is a member of The Charming Inns of Alberta. The dozen inns are located all over Alberta and offer different experiences. At the core, they are quaint, offering a home away from home experience.
For details on the Banff Summer Arts Festival, check out the festival overview page.