The Top 10 Reasons to be Thankful in the Cypress Hills Destination Area
The Cypress Hills Destination Area is a beautiful Area in Southwest Saskatchewan that is just waiting to be explored. If you’re one of the millions who have been, you’ll know how truly amazing this place is. As another thanksgiving approaches here’s just a few of the reasons why we’re so thankful for this beautiful Area, not just at Thanksgiving, but all year long.
#10 – Tasty Beverages
Enjoy a cold one or a hot one, a healthy one or a less than healthy one 🥂 Here you’ll find the beverage choices are many! Enjoy home-grown sunshine with the Cypress Hills Winery Wine at The Resort at Cypress Hills or Grotto Gardens, enjoy a coffee-flavoured specialty coffee at the Daily Grind, The Shop or Grotto Gardens, or try a tasty cocktail or craft beer at the Rockin Horse, the Jasper or the Elkwater Lake Lodge, which also happens to host a fantastic Wine in the Hills Wine Festival in October of every year. And if looking for something a little healthier try the freshly made juices at the Daily Grind or smoothies from the Broken Spoke. Whatever your beverage of choice, one thing is for certain, you won’t leave here thirsty!
#9 – Fantastic Food
We don’t mean to brag but…..oh who are we kidding, we’re happily bragging! The Cypress Hills Destination Area has some of the most incredible food in all of Saskatchewan, it’s your foodie destination. We’ve got restaurants galore, with red-sealed chefs, scratch kitchens and fresh baked treats that will knock your socks off! We’ve even got lots of food-related events, from the Wine in the Hills, Wine Festival at the Elkwater Lake Lodge, the Cowtown Culinary Guided Tours, and the Taste of Maple Creek Food Festival! If you love the iconic Saskatoon Berry, you’ll find plenty at Grotto Gardens, with an orchard out back and a baker who puts them in everything out front. This is the place you say goodbye to your diet and helloooooo to yummy, delicious, fantastic food!
#8 – Wide Open Spaces
While going to a place where “everybody knows your name” is great an all, sometimes you just need to get away from it all. A little space to breathe. A little space to create. A little space to explore. A little spcae to connect, and a little space just to be. Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got lots of those kinds of spaces. From the Great Sandhills and Checker Board Hill near Leader, to Grasslands National Park, one of the most silent and darkest places on earth. Find a spot in the forest just to read a book, or find an uncrowded campground just to enjoy a campfire and your favourite people. Whatever kind of space fills your soul – we’ve got plenty to spare!
#7 – Historic Attractions
History comes in many forms. From Natural History in the form of flora and fauna, or the prehistoric kind found in the story of fossils, to the history of an Area’s people, how they got there, who got there, when they got there and why they got there. And these stories are told in so many ways in the Cypress Hills Destination Area. From the stories found in the T.Rex Discovery Centre which tells the story of the rich fossil beds nearby, including that of Scotty, Canada’s largest T.Rex and others who roamed when she did. To the stories of the people of the West, found and preserved by those whose First Nation’s ancestors first explored this land, to the western settlers who arrived, all archived in museums big and small in Gull Lake, Leader, Val Marie, Maple Creek and Eastend, and archived at the Historic Reesor Ranch, Saskatchewan’s first ranch to be designated a Provincial Heritage Site. There is even the much larger and impactful story of Canada’s North West Mounted Police. A story which evolved into our present day RCMP. A story whose origins can be found in and around Fort Walsh National Historic Site. There are stories just waiting to be told, to those who are willing to listen.
#6 – Cowboy Culture
From riding the open range with real cowboys, to enjoying the benefits of a working ranch, you’ll get firsthand knowledge of that mythical of creature…the Cowboy. Here, the folks you’ll see in the Cypress Hills Destination Area are not costumed interpreters, they’re the real deal. Hard working men and women, who help to put food on the plates of the world, who work hard and who play hard. They can rope a calf, recite a poem, or tell you a tall tale around a campfire. If the spirit of the west captures your imagination you can enjoy western-themed accommodations at the Historic Reesor Ranch or Ghostown Blues, take in western themed events such as Maple Creek’s Heritage Days, the Maple Creek CCA Rodeo, the Val Marie Indoor Rodeo, or the Buckin Broncs and Indian Races of the Cowtown Showdown. Or enjoy guided experiences at Grasslands National Park including Cowboy Coffee and a guided hike title “The Cowboy Way.” Enjoy a good local steak at the Ranch Hall Grill, or wolf down some delicious horse nuts (not what you think!) at the Rockin Horse, or even cook your own from local ranches purchased at Ranchhouse Meats. Take in the cowboy boot arch at the Great Sandhills, see the Cowboy Hat display at the Prairie Wind and Silver Sage Museum in Val Marie, or view the remnants of old homesteads in Grasslands National Park and throughout the Cypress Hills Destination Area. Cowboy culture is alive and well! Giddy up!
#5 – Art and Culture
It’s hard to reconcile rural life with great art and cultural events, but that’s indeed what you’ll find in our Area and we are so grateful! Take a tour around the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery, enjoy artist’s working throughout the summer hanging from the walls in Area restaurants and hotels. If you’re an artist and want to talk shop while being inspired, plan a visit to Sky Story Studio in Val Marie, the gateway to Grasslands National Park and enjoy a combination Bed and Breakfast and artist studio, which often hosts art workshops. Or enjoy the artistry of pottery in the Town of Eastend with Whitemud Pottery and Nixavl Pottery, which also hosts Pot Parties where you can paint your own Nixavl bowl. We’ve also got art-inspired events all year long with paint nights, an Artist Residence for those who need time and space to create, known as the Johnson Cultural Centre, and photography workshops hosted by a variety of photographers. Our arts isn’t just visual, with Cowboy Poetry and live music events host at a variety of venues, it’s audible as well. Take in the art and culture of the Cypress Hills Destination Area and find yourself…inspired.
#4 – A Goodnight Sleep
Let’s face it, the world can be a stressful place, but it’s a whole lot easier to take when you’ve had a good night sleep, and that’s what you’ll get in our Area. Thick plush mattresses, warm cozy bed linens, quiet peaceful surroundings, gorgeous sunsets to put you to bed matched only by the gorgeous sunrises that are waiting for you to wake up to. Whether you luxuriate in the Elkwater Lake Lodge; enjoy the rustic authentic spaces of the Historic Reesor Ranch or Ghostown Blues Bed and Breakfast; experience the affordable options to be found at the Willowbend Motel, Willowbend Cabins, Horseshoe Haven, or Cottage of Content Vacation Rentals; or the YMCA Camp Elkwater; or rest in the comfort of our Sky Story B&B and Guesthouse 71, there literally is a bed made for everyone who wants one.
#3 – Winter
Never thought we’d be able to say with a straight face that we’re thankful for winter….but here we are! The peace and quiet of a snowy trail as you cross-country ski or snowshoe, the rush of the wind in your face as you downhill ski or snowmobile, the quiet stillness and camaraderie of a day spent fishing with your best buddy by your side, or a game of shinny on a frozen lake or rink. For those less excited about the cold, we’re sure we can get you excited about the warmth that’s waiting at one of our fine hotels, bed and breakfasts, or cabins cuddled up on a couch with that special someone, or roasting marshmallows and anything else that gets near, with an open fire on a cold winters day. It’s the perfect time to get together with friends and family who are otherwise too busy in the summer, and the perfect time to view wildlife, who don’t just leave when the snow flies. With events like Cowtown Christmas in Maple Creek, Christmas in the Village in Val Marie, Winterfest in Gull Lake, and Battle of the Little Big Puck, we can celebrate winter and all of the fun that comes with it. Winter is also the time that some of our finest and most affordable packages are available. We’re thankful we don’t just get to experience the Cypress Hills Destination Area in the summer – we get to experience it all winter long too!
#2 – Fun and Adventure
Whether you like your adrenaline to be at an all time high while ATV’ing, galloping or heading downhill through the trees on your steed, whether it be the four-legged variety or two-wheeled kind, or you like a more laid back meander through the woods riding a Segway, a fishing expedition, or becoming one with goats during a yoga class, we have the kind of adventure you’re seeking. Paddle, hike, golf, swim, bike – whatever adventures you’re looking for, or whatever adventure you hope finds you, chances are the Cypress Hills Destination Area has been there …done that.
#1 – The People
Young, old, rich, poor, lovers, family, friends, no matter who you are, you are welcome here in the Cypress Hills Destination Area. We are so thankful for all the people who visit us, play with us, and smile because of us. It’s a place where people find connection, peace, fun, and a place they belong. So thank you people. We wouldn’t be here without you! We can’t wait to see you again.