A Handmade Travel Guide: Road trip through Saskatchewan
It seems like it has been a long time since my friend Lana and I went on a road trip through Saskatchewan to participate in the Regina Folk Festival. It was August, it was hot and we had a hell of an adventure!
On our way through the prairies we stopped in Medicine Hat to have a look at the world’s largest teepee, Saamis Teepee. Originally it was designed for the 1984 Olympics in Calgary but then moved to Medicine Hat where it stands right next to the highway as a symbol of Canada’s Aboriginal heritage. It is huge. Like seriously huge, 20 stories tall! Inside you can find wonderful paintings by First Nations artists.
We had dinner in Swift Current (This small prairie town’s motto is “Where life makes sense.”. Now who wouldn’t want to live there?) and arrived at our campsite just outside Regina on Thursday night. The next morning it was super hot and humid. Not the kind of weather you would imagine to encounter in the prairies at all. Before setting up my vendor booth at the festival, we had a couple of hours left to explore the city. But first breakfast! The 13th Avenue Coffee house is a charming café that clearly lives up to their mantra: healthy, fresh and local.
13th Avenue seems to be the best area to find vintage, unique and sustainable stores in Regina. The Cat & Fiddle Antiques is a vintage boutique in a historic house. The front yard is already part of their wonderful display and it only gets better when you go inside. I didn’t mean to spend any money but couldn’t resist an awesome wall hook in the shape of an anchor. How could I say no?
Further down the street we found Seed, a store that specializes in Canadian eco-fashion. Lisa Wicklund, the owner is a funky woman whose personal style is reflected in her choice of display and the brands her boutique carries. We loved it!
If you’re into cool magazines, paper goods and stationary, the Paper Umbrella is the place for you. So many beautiful notebooks and hip magazines, I could have stayed forever.
Just a few doors down, we visited Traditions Hand Craft Gallery. They feature local artists and artisan who produce high quality products. I’m absolutely in love with the pastel mugs and those super adorable babushkas. Each of them is a different season, how awesome is that?
After a refreshing Latin American drink at La Cucaracha, we set up at the folk festival. It was a sticky, hot afternoon. Our plan was to close up the booth just before the last show, so we could watch it. That didn’t happen. The last show was cancelled due to a severe thunderstorm warning. At that time we were still laughing and not taking it too seriously. Which changed on our way back to the campsite. Instead of 20 minutes it took us about 2 hours to get back. I’ve never seen rain that heavy and winds that strong. Tornado-like winds, we were told the next day. After successfully passing a fallen tree that was blocking our road, we made it back to our tent. Well, what once was our tent. It was a sad pile of tent on the dirty, muddy ground. We saved our soaking blankets and mattresses, passed the fallen tree once more (my heart almost stopped when Ravvy, my RAV 4 SUV started sliding down the ditch sideways!) and found shelter in the next hotel. Thank goodness for the bottle of wine we had with us! The rest of the weekend went by rather peacefully. But, oh boy, those prairie storms are crazy!
Our last stop was Moose Jaw. We stopped because you have to stop in a place with a name like this. Right? And then there are the tunnels. What are the tunnels? We didn’t know either but they’re seriously amazing! During prohibition times a American chap named Al Capone ran a bootlegging operation from Moose Jaw and had a wicked hideaway right in the middle of the town. The tunnels. Today you can join a theatrical tour through those quarters, including his office, bedroom and the tunnels in which they hid the liquor. So fun!
Lots of people think of Saskatchewan and the prairies as a boring place. I surely don’t agree with them. It was wonderful, beautiful and such an adventure! Hopefully I’ll make it to Saskatoon next year.
With love from the Maple And Oak Diaries,