I just got back from my favorite new close-to-town trip! JASPER ALBERTA. The only thing I don't like about Jasper is that it is in Alberta. I love the mountains, the bike watching, the peple watching, the parks, the beer, the shopping, the houses, the gardens...
The first thing I like to do in Jasper is figure out which direction the bakery is. I can't do without The Bear Paw Bakery (Pyramid Lake Rd & Connaught Dr) and the Other Paw Bakery Cafe (Connaught Dr-hwy through town). The best croissants and coffee in town! Try to get there before 10, that's when the midmorning rush starts, but their staff are pretty good at getting through the line quickly.
There are plenty of great places to check out, neat buildings, and super places to stay.
I haven't yet found the best place to stay in town, but getting a suite in a house is the way to go. It's cheaper and more fun! My favorite way to find a new place is to sneak around and look at some places that I like, most hostels have signs on them, and will have a no/vacancy sign on them. I like to look for a place near downtown and with access to an outdoor space. Then I record the number/name and call them up next time I'm planning a trip.
We had good luck last year when we stayed at Juniper House and chanced an Odds show the night we got there. I love the Odds! There are lots of bands coming through town this summer too.
One of my favorite spots is the Jasper Brewing Company, if travelling with kids, they open the dining room at 5pm but you can always go in the pub side and grab a Growler to take home with you. This summer they've got a lovely Hefeweizen to replace their Blueberry Vanilla Ale. You can go for a taster tray (six glasses to figure out your faves). Monkey fingers were T's favorite (coconutyt chicken fingers) for a pre-dinner snack. I'm not that excited about the food there but the beer is GREAT!
Olive (next to the Bakery) was really good the first time we went, they have a dynamite patio and this mint beet salad was really good. Tons of grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers to choose from.
Coco's Cafe looks good, sort of a hippie vegetarian joint with good sandwiches. Cafe Mondo has great salads, get their daily offering sample plate and enjoy some real food. They have great coffee too but it'll cost you, priced at over $4 for an Americano! Yikes! I love the build your own pizza concept but we both got sick at North Face Pizza after witnessing some shady un-Food Safe shenanigans. Buyer Beware!
My other favorite thing to do in Jasper is riding bikes. It's a no brainer when travelling with or without kids. We've rented them from 'Freecycle' ($30/24hrs) two years in a row and this year brought along T's bike. See more of Jasper without getting so darned tired. This visit, we stayed at a place that was a bit our of the way (a little too far to walk without whining from the kid, but the problem was solved with a quick rental of bikes. Plus the kid was learning how to ride in traffic somewhere where the cars actually look/respect bikers).
I wish some local would start up a bike Co-op or rental shop with funky old bikes, that would be a great business opportunity! If you do, email me!
Lots of ice cream to be had in Jasper. T asked: "Hey Mom, have you heard of, um, we all scream for ice cream?".
Reward your cutie pie with some ice cream. I think there are 5 places, but my favorite is 'Grandma's Convenience' which is really great, but locals go to 'Scoops and Hoops', they single scoop is huge! We grabbed cones and headed across the street to hang out in the park on more than one occasion. 'Candy Bear's Lair' has ice cream too and makes their own fudge and chocolates (yummy-turtles).
There are so many older character homes in Jasper that have been taken care of. One of my favorite things to do is to stroll around checking out the beautiful yards, fences, gardens of all the homes. I love to see how others have made their home sweet homes.
This photo (above) is the Jasper library. So cute!
More than a few homeowners have converted the boulevard in front of their places into wild gardens (rocks, little poppies, daisies, strawberries, buttercups, asters, and grasses) to make a low maintenance (no watering/weeding required) gardenscape. Just lovely! Really inspirational for anyone who gardens!
What is your favorite vacation spot?