Are you looking for a unique writer’s retreat in Alberta? I found the perfect one this week, practically right in my own back yard. It has spawned a new category on this blog aptly titled “Writer’s Retreats” that I plan to add new posts to as often as humanly possible. This is my inaugural post on the topic.
What Made Me Go Looking for a Writer’s Retreat in Alberta?
I founded Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and the PPG Publisher’s Blog almost nine years ago. It will be nine years in November 2018. My dream, from the very start, was to successfully operate this business in a virtual office environment so I could freely travel, write, and work with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any given time. In 2016, I enjoyed a six-month working vacation in Southeast Asia while I continued publishing books for authors back home. The experience proved to me that an online business is viable anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. But I still had a ways to go in terms of my company’s self-sustainability. I had to return home to my external work and continue building it on the side.
Luckily, the “work” required to build a sustainable online publishing/blogging business is writing. Along with travelling, writing is my absolute favourite pastime, so this journey continues to be an enjoyable one … and I’m well on my way now, as you know from recent posts. If you want a snapshot of my dream life, all you need to imagine is someone travelling to beautiful locales surrounded by inspirational scenery and containing a living space with all the creature comforts of my cherished writing room back home.
One day, not long ago, I asked myself, “What are you waiting for, Kim? You don’t have to travel overseas again to experience this. You can enjoy a writer’s retreat in Alberta right now. Just look around you. You’ll find it.” And find it, I did!
Rockyview Hotel in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
I absolutely love the short drive from NW Calgary to Cochrane on Highway 1A (Bow Valley Trail). It doesn’t matter what season it is, I’m always taken aback by the beauty of this small town nestled deep in the valley, at the bottom of the hill. On a clear day, you can see the majestic Canadian Rockies only 45 minutes to the west and watch the trains as they snake through the valley en route to the mountains. That always gets my creative juices flowing. And tucked right in the middle of Cochrane’s historic downtown is a writer’s perfect haven: the old Rockyview Hotel.
What makes this hotel (and this town, in general) the perfect writer’s retreat? For me, it is the cozy, old-fashioned decor and private rooms along with the kind of peace and quiet you can only find in a small town. When I’m writing, I don’t need to be surrounded by other people. I just need a comfortable chair (or bed) to relax in, a cup of coffee at my side, and my laptop in my lap. That said, an all-day breakfast menu and other home-made comfort foods at the restaurant downstairs is an added bonus.
A Conversation Piece: The Golden Ceiling
When you need a break or change in scenery for a little while, you can go for a walk along the picturesque Cochrane streets or relax in the chairs on the hotel’s veranda. I also enjoyed sitting in the window seat of the restaurant and people watching outside while I enjoyed my breakfast. And the golden ceiling in that restaurant is quite the sight to see along with the old wood stove and walls full of pictures from the early 1900s. It really does take you back in time.
In the evening, you can enjoy a beverage at the Texas Gate saloon at the back of the establishment. This has been a popular haunt for locals since the building was first established. And it still has the same old-fashioned decor as the restaurant and hotel does. What a beautiful, historical building in every way. It was such a nice break for me from my usual writing space at home. That definitely helped refresh my enthusiasm along with my creativity. It was the mini-vacation I needed—my dream life realized in a wonderful writer’s retreat in Alberta, right in my own back yard. I feel refreshed once again.
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