What’s better than a long weekend? An extra long weekend, of course. My weekend extension began as my boyfriend Adam and I set off on a road trip to Riding Mountain National Park for a two-night stay at the trendy Lake House Boutique Hotel + Ice Cream Shop. Ice cream, right next door to where we would be sleeping?! I could barely contain my excitement. Here’s how I extended my long weekend and fell in love with Wasagaming all over again…
Dreamy photo shoots
Anyone else sometimes feel like summer is slipping away? I make so many plans in July and August, yet often have a lingering feeling that I’m not making the most of my sunny days. Heading out in the Travel Manitoba van (Manitomobile?) really made me and Adam feel like this was going to be a highlight of the season, and one that would satisfy that itch. Our road trip included several “quick, pull over!” moments, even if just to capture the rolling hills of jelly rolls in the distance.
Riding Mountain National Park is 3 hours west of Winnipeg, with several ways to get into the townsite of Wasagaming. We chose the East Gate on the way in, stopping to snap a few shots of this historic entrance before continuing onward.
A quaint boutique hotel
This was my second visit to the town and Adam’s first, and he was surprised to see this quaint little town nestled into the National Park. Our little home-away-from-home for the next two days was the Lake House Boutique Hotel, a stand out example of how Wasagaming has completely transformed over the years.
The hotel’s branding is eye catching and really makes the town feel current – yet still maintains a cool, retro vibe. Check in was a breeze, which is always a nice surprise after a few hours of travel.
We dropped our overnight bags to admire the rustic details in the room – from the wooden wall in the bedroom to the vintage signage. Just outside the room was a quaint courtyard (complete with fairy lights) with a hot tub for cool summer evenings. The entire hotel has a low-key, relaxed feeling to it that really reminded me of the small-town hotels I stayed at with my family on summer road trips. What would a summer vacation be without a bit of nostalgia?
Our stay in Wasagaming was marked by lovely weather and we were frequent visitors to the Lake House Ice Cream Shop & Smoothie Bar to cool down. We had our pick of over 30 flavours of hard ice cream, as well as famous ice cream sandwiches and cinnamon bun ice cream sandwiches (yes, you read that right). I happened to discover a new favourite flavour – funky monkey – a delectable combination of banana and chocolate that may or may not remind me slightly of that yummy banana medicine we all had as kids. In the morning, we both opted for smoothies (you can build your own or choose from pre-made flavours) and Adam had a little pick-me-up at the coffee bar.
In addition to smoothies, we kept our sweet tooth alive and well at the new Lake House Breakfast Bar, where we had our choice of some healthier options (yogurt, fruit) but instead opted for delicious cinnamon buns – oops!
Sandy beaches & blue waters
The skies were blue and the sun was shining, which meant the beach called our names more than once. Extending our weekend in Riding Mountain was a great call: the beaches were bustling, but not overly packed.
When either of us needed to return to the room to get something, it was only a short walk away. It was amazing to be able to enjoy the water without ever having to get into the vehicle and drive. The convenience factor of staying at the Lake House was a huge plus for us, as our past travels have often included a large amount of effort to get to the beach to relax.
Pizza, pizza and more pizza
The Foxtail Cafe came highly recommended, and after one taste, we were officially fans. We returned both nights and tried a portion of their menu by ordering several plates and sharing. Everything was delicious, but if I had to pick I would highly recommend the bruschetta, apple + walnut salad and the pizza (any kind, really). Again, we were in small-summer-town heaven as this restaurant was only steps away from the Lake House. The patio was the perfect place to enjoy our meals with trees for shade and many friendly visitors (we had a curious squirrel nearby), but the inside was equally as inviting with mint green light fixtures and a vintage feel.
Cocktails and nachos
One of the best things about our stay at the Lake House was the new lounge, where we ended both of our nights over cocktails and drinks. The interior is gorgeous and mirrors the rustic theme and red elements of the rest of the hotel.
The room was equipped with several seating areas, including cozy couches and long tables for larger groups. Our drink selection included Farmery, The Lake House and Deep Bay Mojito. We opted to sit at the bar stools, chatting about the day and occasionally people-watching as the lounge filled up.
The best part? The Lake House lounge offers a $10 nacho bar! We piled on the toppings and had a seat while our nacho-creation was being baked in the oven. I don’t know about you, but I automatically love a bar/lounge more if they offer some kind of late night snack.
A charming town site
We both agreed that one of our favourite things about staying at the Lake House was being right in the middle of all the action. Our only day trip consisted of a morning drive to the bison enclosure and Lake Audy. For the rest of our visit, we wandered through town to shop, relax and of course, catch the various Pokestops. The town is sprinkled with chocolate shops, clothing boutiques and even a thrift store.
Our trip to this beautiful piece of Manitoba came to a close in an incredible way. We had been waiting all day to go kayaking but with high winds, we had to wait until the evening – a blessing in disguise. We set off with Annik from Parks Canada on a sunset kayak over the smooth, calm waters and watched the sky turn pink and orange from the quiet of Clear Lake. It was an experience that warranted leaving our phones back in the hotel and taking photos only with our memories. Until next time, Wasagaming. ❤️