Destination: Neepawa. A fall drive along the historic Yellowhead Highway.
Head down the TransCanada Highway until you are west of Portage la Prairie and look for the turn-off for the Yellowhead Highway, the most scenic route through The Prairies. Look for the road signs letting you know that Gladstone is coming up. You must have your portrait taken with the town's cheery monument, Happy Rock (Are you connecting the dots yet? Glad Stone, Happy Rock).
Motor into the town of Neepawa. Look for the charming historic homes lining the streets and the profusion of lilies. After all, Neepawa is the World Lily Capital and home to a grand festival every July. First stop should be the childhood home of Margaret Laurence, author of The Stone Angel one of Canada's grand dames of literature. The museum will make any lit hound squeal. You'll see the portrait of one of Margaret's high school English teachers, the one who inspired her to write. You'll also see the typewriter where she penned her novels and the iconic ‘owl' glasses that she was seldom seen without.
Next it's on to the cemetery, because if you've read The Stone Angel, you know there's something special there. But there's also a little piece of tragic history at Riverside Cemetery. It's the final resting place of the only Titanic victim to be buried in Western Canada. Look for the Lewis Hickman marker.
Lunch time! You should have pie and only pie. Two pieces will probably do the trick but deciding which two will be a challenge at Wilson's restaurant. Val has been blessed with some sort of pie gene that lets her transform lard and few other ingredients into heavenly slices of lemon meringue, creamy coconut and Saskatoon berry pies. She also makes a pie with cottage cheese and raisins-and it is not to be missed.
Fueled up for the afternoon, it's time to head to the Neepawa Golf & Country Club. Don't underestimate this 18-hole course. It's sort of like a supermodel-beautiful and challenging. It rises and falls along the Whitemud River, momentarily causing you to forget the task at hand and simply admire the rolling countryside.
It's late afternoon now, and as the sun falls behind your vehicle, you'll be treated to golden prairie landscapes. It's okay to get out and take some photos of those round bales resting in the fields. Head into Portage la Prairie, and make your way to Island Park where you can dig out that bag of carrots and feed the resident population of exotic deer on the island.
Feeding the deer may remind you that the dinner hour has rolled around. Your destination is Horfrost, where Chef Jeff Mialkowski will knock your socks off with bison spring rolls, buttery pickerel and homemade ice cream that will have you making reservation for a return trip before you leave.