Recharge and chill in Bonnyville

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Alberta's northeast abounds with wide-open spaces, pristine lakes, boreal forests and captivating heritage experiences. Explore NEAB this summer!

In the fiery glow of a prairie sunset, seen from the balcony of Journey North Cidery, the trio of Jaclyn Cameron, Amber McCutcheon and Sandy Munday reflect on a Bonnyville getaway day done right. If you could peer into their irises and see the pictures in their minds’ eyes, scenes of a rockin’ '50s style jukebox breakfast, a peaceful paddle on the lake, nourishing and healthy refreshments and perfectly synchronized spa relaxation would flicker into view. Frankly, it’s like spending a day with the Charlie’s Angels of chill. 

Finding true serenity in these modern times is not always easy, but there is a secret formula for relaxation that Bonnyville seems to have perfected. Like the fresh, cold-pressed flavours of local juicery Core Juice, it’s as if they’ve bottled wellness in an uber-stylish, eco-friendly container. But it’s not for export; you have to make the trip to Bonnyville to imbibe in all this refreshing goodness.

Kicking off the day at Jennie’s Diner, with its primary coloured interior, Cadillac bench seats, classic bar (with swivel bar stools!) and working antique jukebox is guaranteed to put the Chuck Berry jump in anyone’s jive. Jennie and her team make a mean diner breakfast with all the fixins, and the cupcakes are like 1950s cars—big, bold and full of rocket juice.

Griddled goodness put the pep in the ladies step and from there it was a short cruise over to Vezeau Beach, just a five minute drive from Bonnyville. Each of the three women has her own strengths, and while Cameron jumps confidently on her board, McCutcheon is trying paddleboarding for the first time and she’s a little nervous and wobbly at first. But with a little coaching she soon settles in and gets the hang of it.

“At first it was a little intimidating but as I continued on, it was peaceful,” McCutcheon reflects. “And I got to be out with a friend.”

“It is very peaceful and serene, it’s a good time being in nature and it’s not strenuous,” adds Cameron. “We have nice calm lakes with lots of great scenery and it’s typically not busy. Sometimes moose or beaver are swimming in there…”

Paddleboarding on Moose Lake, from Vezeau Beach M.D. Park., Bonnyville, AB.
Photographer: Paul Lavoie
Paddleboarding on Moose Lake, from Vezeau Beach M.D. Park., Bonnyville, AB.


Having had a little light exercise and an escape into nature, the trio return to town for a fuel up at the aforementioned Core Juice before proceeding to the day’s main event: the spa. 

With terry robes, champagne glasses, pampered comforts and the soothing neutral backdrop of Elegance 719, there’s no way not to feel like a million bucks here and the Angels know it. Big grins and cool expressions rule as they sashay from the foaming pedi tubs, through the birch corridor (with real birch trees) to the wood-panelled sauna, and on to the salt room.

If you’ve never been to a salt room, imagine importing the fresh air and mineral richness of the Himalayan mountains into a lava lamp-themed room. With salt filtering through a trickling waterfall, the effect is to clear out the respiratory system and purify the skin. 

Relaxing in the salt room at Elegance 719, Bonnyville, AB.
Photographer: Paul Lavoie
Relaxing in the salt room at Elegance 719, Bonnyville, AB.


“I had never even heard of a salt cave before now,” says Munday, “It’s good for your lungs. You become more relaxed, you could just fall asleep in that environment, it’s warm, it’s peaceful, it just makes you feel refreshed.” 

After a full day of refreshing wellness experiences and sunset at the cidery, settling in to a freshly laundered queen bed at Microtel Bonnyville prolongs the purified feeling a little longer, before making the return to normal life. For the Angels, as Charlie might say, it’s a job well done. 

Photographer: Paul Lavoie

WHEN YOU GO

  • The Microtel Bonnyville delivers exceptional comfort and value, with stylish new interiors to match your chic getaway experience. For an easy meal, fire up one of their self-serve barbecues on the licensed patio and you can grill your own dinner!

  • Core Juice makes healthy taste good, with all fresh, natural ingredients in their juices, smoothies and picnic ready meals.

  • A paved path connects town to Vezeau Beach M.D. Park, where you can launch your kayaks or paddleboards. Or, for motorized watercraft, you can rent from nearby L&D Rentals.

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