By this point, it should come as no surprise to anyone that we love fall a little more than we love the other seasons. Despite all our love for fall treks and hikes, sometimes we need a more ‘adventure meets relaxation’ kind of getaway to unwind from the urban chaos. And our solution to that is agritourism.
Given its recent popularity, agritourism hardly needs an introduction but just ICYMI, an agritravel destination is one that gives you a complete farm to fork, farm to table, and farm to glass experience. That’s probably why farm/ ranch stays, winery tours, and other off-urban, soft adventures are becoming popular among urban travellers.
Lucky for us Calgarians, the Foothills region, just under an hour drive from the city, is a go-to for spontaneous backcountry day trips and weekend getaways alike. It is, after all, a perfect blend of picturesque scenery, small-town charm, world-class products, vibrant history and very warm hospitality. So we decided to embark on a farm-style excursion to take full advantage of the harvest season and here are 10 of the best immersive farm adventures you must try this fall.
Explore the Rockies in the most adventurous way- on horseback. Anchor D also has hunting trips and camping options right under the stars for a full ranch experience. Of course, you can choose to stay in one of their luxury cabins too, if that’s what you’re feeling.
Here you’ll get anything honey. Honey itself of course, but also Honey Jams, Mead Jellies, and ice creams. There are even body care products and LOTS, lots of mead, what with it being Alberta’s first meadery. They also offer educational programs that, TBH, are pretty darn interesting.
You might be familiar with Alberta’s original craft distillery, Eau Claire Distillery, for their premium spirits made from barley grown and directly harvested in our region. But did you know you can travel back in time to the Prohibition Era thanks to their Speakeasy tour? Learn about Alberta’s history in their 1920’s era Speakeasy venue and get a taste of those furtive days! Truly immersive.
The Granary Road Market goes beyond a regular farmers’ market with an artisan side where clothing, jewelry, and crafted items meet ready-to-enjoy cuisines. Farm-to-table at its finest if you ask us. Add a humongous Play & Learn Park for the little ones to explore and this alone is a day trip in itself.
Visit the Market on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am-5 pm, or join the Play & Learn Park every day during business hours.
From the colourful exterior, the flower-lined greenhouses, to the 100-seater dining experience, everything about the farm will make you fall in love with it. And if you love some fresh produce, hit up the farmer’s market open daily. All vegetables (including some rarer varieties) are picked daily and washed with care. So dig in, it can’t get better than that!
For over 25 years, this family-run blacksmithing studio has been forging unique furniture, architectural and decorative pieces. You will have the chance to immerse yourself in the old-world craft of blacksmithing. Located on an organic garlic farm (Forage & Farm) you can join full-day Blacksmithing Workshops while enjoying the gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains.
The Museum of Highwood has a remarkable curation of historical gems. From exhibits to picture archives to artifact collections, the museum takes you on an adventurous roller coaster back in time. We went straight to the Heartland exhibit and ended up at Maggie’s Diner down the street to get a feel of Hudson. True fans you don’t wanna miss that one!
The grain elevators in Western Canada have for years been referred to as prairie icons. You can visit one of the oldest ones in the country while taking in some of Alberta’s agricultural history, sounds pretty fun for an educational trip!
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If you’re looking to connect to the land and your food Hartell Homestead is the place to be. The farm has garnered insane popularity for the insightful homesteading classes they offer. But in all honesty, what pulled us here were the adorable farm animals- duh! And since you’re there, don’t forget to check out the farm store and bag some of that freshness!
Of course, we couldn’t finish the list without some bevvies! Owned and operated by the Bonjean family who come from a lineage of French winemakers, the wines- red, white, rose, sangria and mulled- are flavoured with local wildflowers. The end result: a full-bodied, complex wine with a long velvety smooth finish. Wow, indeed!
As much as we hate to pull you out of your agritravel fantasy, we’d suggest you hit the roads and live that fantasy. Make sure to check out the Foothills Tourism website before finalizing your itinerary, it’s a gold mine!