When it comes to my favourite TV shows, I’m a firm believer of the cliche that what makes a good series isn’t just a good ending, but it’s about the friends you make along the way. Like a great TV show, a solid day trip isn’t just about where you end up, it too is about the stops you make along the way.
With that in mind, here’s why your next day trip should be to Whytewold (or Matlock, or Dunnottar, or however you choose to define the area), a destination less than an hour outside the city, but packed with a fun-filled day of pit-stops the whole way there.
Stop #1: Breakfast at Upper Crust Bakery
On your way to Whytewold, make sure you stop through Selkirk, home to one of my favourite bakeries, with some of the best cinnamon buns you can find in Manitoba. This cute, unassuming, baked-good paradise has a lot to offer, but the cinnamon buns, to me, have always been the clear winner. Even though they’re not covered in icing (although you can buy a container of icing in store(!) to apply yourself…wait, why didn’t I do that again? When I have I ever declined icing? What’s happening to me?), or even smothered in sticky goodness, there’s really only three words to describe why these buns are so good: Dat dough though. Seriously, so fresh, so sweet, so good.
Pro Tip: Bring your goodies down to the beautiful Selkirk Park and eat them by the river as pelicans look on (but they don't bother you for food, they're too busy catching fish). Plus, by heading down there you’ll be right beside our next stop…
Stop #2: All aboard at the Marine Museum of Manitoba
Before leaving Selkirk in the dust, throw your anchor down at the Marine Museum of Manitoba. This is one of the most unique museums you’ll go to, with six restored boats to explore through - all attached together with outdoor walkways to help tell the story of marine life in Manitoba dating back to 1850. There is so much to see here, from living quarters, to old motors, entertainment spaces, kitchen and dining areas and honestly so much more. Each ship has something different to offer, and there’s so much to see and interact with all the way through.
My favourite part: every ship has a functioning (it spins) steering wheel, so obviously I have six boomerangs on my phone of me pretending I’m a master of the sea.
Stop #3: From the sea to Salty’s
Selkirk was a great stop, but with the sun shining and the temperature rising, it’s time to move forward (and actually past Whytewold) to Winnipeg Beach. And since it’s lunch time, before you head downtown, stop by Saltys for a taste of one of Manitoba’s delightful drive-ins.
Saltys has it all, sloppy and delicious burgers, home-made french fries, crunchy deep-fried onion rings, and flavourful thick milkshakes. If you’re not hungry yet, they have ice cream and all sorts of other treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re asking me, order the poutine. It throws all presentation out the window and focuses on the three essentials of a good poutine: flavourful gravy, real cheese curds, and tremendous french fries.
Stop #4: Which way to the (Winnipeg) Beach
Whether you’re a walker, a swimmer, a shopper, a gamer, or a sport…ster, Winnipeg Beach has something for you.
Enjoy the beach
If you’re looking for a place to swim, they called it Winnipeg Beach for a reason. With cool water, and a long stretch of sand to pick your spot from, you could spend your whole afternoon catching some rays and splashing for days. My trip was in the spring, and seeing as I don't own a wet suit, swimming wasn't in the itinerary. Thankfully, the town has a recently renovated boardwalk where you can walk along side the water and get those steps in while still enjoying the cool breeze off the lake.
Go back in time at Playland
“They don’t make them like they used to” is a phrase I’ve uttered every time I’ve entered an “arcade” as an adult. At Playland, they make them like they used to. Try your hand at a mix of classic arcade games, pinball machines, pop-a-shot, and skee-ball. Five bucks will get you 20 tokens, which is plenty to play your favourite games, get a little too competitive, and earn tickets for your efforts! Also, the aesthetic is the definition of Instagram worthy.
Bring out your inner Serena at the tennis courts
Everything’s better out at the lake, including tennis! The target audience for a game of tennis may be small, but when the court is looking over water, the view may entice you to take up the sport if you haven’t already.
Grab a scoop at Dairy Bee
Walking the waterfront without an ice cream treat in hand seems like a real missed opportunity. Luckily, Dairy Bee is here to fill the void! Yes it’s more food. Yes, at the end of this fun-filled day you’re going to think you just went on an elaborate culinary tour. No, I don’t see any problem here.
Stop #5: Mr. Manitobium’s Whytewold Emporium
It’s dinner time, and Whytewold Emporium (not to be confused with Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium a 2007 box office flop staring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman) is our second last stop of the day!
Located in the charming community of Matlock, a trip to the Whytewold Emporium is a summer tradition worth starting. If you still need a few minutes before you eat again, there’s a lovely greenhouse and antique store attached where you can stock up on flowers for your garden, or find that perfect trinket for the shelf in the living room.
From there, sit down, relax, and enjoy a menu highlighted by authentic wood-fire pizza. The Drunken Chicken is the local favourite - there’s nothing better than some pizza straight out of the fire. We came a couple weeks early, but throughout the summer, the Whytewold Emporium also features slow-roasted BBQ so delicious that you need to call in your order the morning of - and trust me it’s planning ahead for.
Stop #6: Just walk it off
Every great meal needs a great walk afterwards, and Matlock is the perfect place to do just that. With a walking trail that travels all throughout the town, and a sprawling beach with the insta-famous Matlock piers, you’ll not only get in a nice easy hike, but some beautiful pictures along with it. The piers, put up by members of the community in early June every year, stretch all the way out past the shore, and provide a beautiful view of the open water. The sunsets can be very pretty, but if you’re ever there in the morning, I can’t think of a more beautiful spot to watch the sun rise.
Once your stomach has settled and your camera roll is all filled up, it’s time to go home. And here’s the best part: You’re back in Winnipeg in half an hour. Have a great trip!