Well, our flight is booked and our rental car reserved! Babymoon Banff is in officially in-the-works.
We've got a rough itinerary penned and I thought I would share some of our plans, no guarantees that we'll do exactly as planned (especially if there are some early snowstorms) but I figure it might come in handy to know some cool things to do around Banff if any readers are in that neighborhood.
1) Geek Out
The hubster and I are avid parks visitors. No, not the swings & BBQ pit type of parks, the National parks and monuments type parks. Basically, we like to geek out with all the educational displays, interpretive exhibits, museums, and historical factoids we can find and they usually have some killer views.
We've never visited a Canadian park of this kind but we're looking forward to it and have high hopes for Banff National Park. Things get a bit tricky for us traveling in the off-season (another one of our favorite things-avoiding crowds) and late October in Banff is the beginning of restricted hours for many facilities, so we have to make sure we hit certain facilities later in the week when they're actually open!
On a similar geeking out note we hope to visit the Calgary Zoo. I have a complicated relationship with zoos... While I love visiting them and seeing all the animals, I really wish that the animals didn't have to be there. Sometimes they don't, most of the time it's humans' fault that they are! But I love going to the zoo. Politics aside our first major date was a visit to the Oregon Zoo, so it's kind of a romantic excursion for us.
The Glenbow Museum and Heritage Park are intriguing, though I think the Glenbow is more our style. Not sure if we'll have time for either, but they are noteworthy.
2) Pig Out
Oh yes. One of the first things we look at when planning a trip is where we should eat and our babymoon is no different. We were surprised to find so many great options in Calgary, Canmore, and Banff and we've got a few "must see" places we hope to visit.
For our anniversary we're planning a special dinner at The Trough (funny name, right?) though they won't be open on our actual anniversary, we still really want to check it out. I get a little uncomfortable at "fancy frufru" places but we try to go at least once a year and enjoy some "class."
I stumbled across a place called OEB on TripAdvisor and was immediately intrigued. Maybe I get it from my dad, but breakfast places usually make me very happy and this one seems like a must. We're planning on hitting it more for lunch on our way home the last day, so I'll be looking forward to it all trip.
We also keep our eyes open for local brewpubs and there are a few we may stop by if the hankering arises. Banff Ave. Brewing Co. is on the pricey side and fancier than we usually go for, but maybe a brew (for the hubby) and some poutine will do the trick? There are also Grizzly Paw and Iron Goat and The Drake Pub not too far from our hotel. Not sure how much we'll eat out or where we'll end up visiting, but I'll make sure and post reviews ;)
Having different skill levels, knowing that I will be preggers, and understanding that October is an unpredictable time in the mountains choosing hikes for our trip is a tricky proposition but I think we've found some winners.
I had never heard of the "tea house hikes" but now that I have I'm a little sad that our trip is occurring in the off season. That said, even though the tea houses (yes, we mean cabins with a limited menu and hot tea for hikers that make the trek-and pay-it's awesome!) won't be open during our visit we're excited to explore these famous trails.
Another easy-moderate hike with great views in the area is the Peyto Lake/Bow Summit trail and viewpoint. We're planning to combine this trail with our drive up the Icefields Parkway. There is also a Bow Glacier Falls hike that piques my interest and we may explore that as well. I'm a sucker for waterfalls.
There are lots of other hiking trails but we don't want to push it and try something too difficult while I'm preggers. We'll also be looking at pamphlets and brochures as we go and may happen upon some other local gems.
4) Scenic Drives
The hubster and I love going for drives and lucky for us Banff has a lot of great drives to take! We're hoping that the weather won't be too hellish and we'll feel safe going for drives, but only time will tell.
Right now we're planning to do the Icefields Parkway and Tunnel Mountain Drive but we could add in other routes if we feel like it. We like to leave a little bit of wiggle room in our itineraries for lazy days and impromptu adventures :)
Not actually hunt, what I'm talking about is a very concentrated souvenir quest for a children's book (our preferred souvenir when traveling) and maybe a stuffed bear for the little one. The hubster is very adamant that our child will have a stuffed bear. Not an elephant, not a dog, not a seal, nothing but a bear. He's very into this stuffed bear thing. It's just a fun little "mission" that weaves itself into our trip in funny ways, gets us into stores and places we might not otherwise venture into and I like having "goals." Totally optional and a little obsessive, but there ya have it.