In this neck of the woods, organic bakeries, fair-trade coffee houses and locally stocked cafés are opening up like sunflowers in August. Travelers can exchange the highway pit stop for spotless surroundings, wholesome breads and organic coffee.
Highway #10, minutes south of Riding Mountain National Park
Here you can find an eclectic collection of local art, global crafts, used books and fair-trade organic coffee. Originally established as a bookshop, the addition of a café and gallery incorporates locally milled spruce timber, and plenty of natural sunlight creating an eco-funky feel of café culture. Visitors are greeted by the subtle smell of spruce and the aroma of espresso and are encouraged, latte in hand, to browse the shelves of books and crates of vintage magazines. The gallery is a lively combination of local and international art. Poor Michael's is also a popular venue for artists, singers and writers to showcase their talent.
On summer Saturdays, check out the local flea market at Sportsman Park, just across the road, where you can find everything from Depression glass to homemade cheese. In September, enjoy Sonics & Sojourns, Onanole's newest festival.
Chipperfield Coffee Company
Open all year
Minnedosa's first general store has been transformed into the town's first contemporary coffeehouse. Chipperfield Coffee Company borrows its name from the prominent family whose successful business once thrived within the same brick walls. The interior retains its early twentieth century charm; be sure to look up at the original tin ceiling and exposed chimneys. Specialty lattes boast titles like Turtle Caramel and Snickers Bar and come in 16-oz. mugs generously topped with chocolate whipped cream. All drinks are made with purified water and fair-trade coffee.
After you've enjoyed a latte, drive north on the # 10, and visit The Old Church Pottery & Gift Shop. Go for the handmade pottery, stay for the Mexican hammocks and Japanese rock garden.
Wasagaming, Riding Mountain National Park
Siesta Café has a trendy, urban feel and offers cottagers, weekenders and travellers a good brew, Internet access and soccer updates via a flat screen. Siesta Café maintains environmental and social responsibility by using compostable cups made from potato starch and serving fair- trade organic coffee roasted in Clandeboye, Manitoba. A must-try is the Wasagaming Wonderbar, a mélange of hardy ingredients including sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and Shreddies coated in peanut butter and honey. After you've checked your e-mail, take time to enjoy the shops along Wasagaming Drive or hike a few of the 300 kms of trails in Riding Mountain National Park.