If ever there was a time to explore your own province, Summer 2020 may be it!
This June I discovered Alberta’s “Lake Country”—Lac La Biche County—for the very first (but certainly not last) time, working with FestivalSeekers and Lac La Biche Region Tourism to help promote the area.
Located just 2.5 hours north east from the Edmonton area, in northern Alberta, Lac La Biche County is considered a “year-round playground” for outdoor adventure seekers, home to 152 lakes!! Whether it’s hitting the beach, camping, fishing or hiking—to name just a few of the activities the lakeland area is known for, this is the perfect destination for an outdoor escape, practically in your own backyard.
Note: during the pandemic, you are encouraged to get outdoors but please keep physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines in mind, and if you are sick—please stay home!
This summer, Lac La Biche Region, Festival Seekers, Community Futures Lac La Biche and Lac La Biche & District Chamber of Commerce are hosting the first-ever #LLBCOnline Festival, encouraging locals and tourists alike to put their feet up at home, kick back on a lawn chair, or tune in from your desk to virtually explore the region’s local businesses and experiences on Facebook, as a way to put the Lac La Biche Region top of mind for Albertans and to show off the amazing community. Maybe the virtual experience inspires you to visit in person too!
For my day trip to Lac La Biche County, I stopped by a brand new clothing store in the region, visited the popular golf course, and explored a 300-year-old Old Growth Forest in Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park.
What I experienced is really just a sample of the types of experiences you can do in the region, and the type of businesses you can support!
- Read my FestivalSeekers’ blog post: Virtually explore Lac La Biche Region businesses and experiences in #LLBCOnline Festival this summer
3 Activities to Try in Lac La Biche County (Northern Alberta)
Timing: We left at 9:30 a.m. and were home by 8 p.m.
Stops: We made three official stops in Lac La Biche County, but that barely scratches the surface of what you can do in the region!
Stop 1: Shop at Straight & Arrow—a chic boutique near Plamondon, Alberta
I was so surprised to find Straight & Arrow, an incredibly cute and cozy shopping boutique located off a Township Road address, on a farm near the small hamlet of Plamondon, Alberta (in Lac La Biche County).
Straight & Arrow Boutique is owned by Allison, who launched her store as the pandemic hit. What a unique challenge and opportunity entrepreneur Allison faced with this new business. I was really impressed to meet and hear from Allison, who said she tried to find the positive in the situation. Not being able to open her store physically during those first few months of the campaign gave her the opportunity to get her online shop and inventory up and running, and give her time to learn the ins and outs of business ownership before her physical store opened this June.
Allison’s store stocks clothes that are designed to fit your life and your style—a nice play on the word lifestyle! Actually, Allison is all about the wordplay, as Straight & Arrow was named around the phrase ‘Straight and Narrow’—which encourages people to stay on the good, honest and moral path of life. So you can keep going on that path—but do it in style with Allison’s clothes!
When I peeked at Allison’s website online, I knew I’d be walking away with clothes because her style is GREAT! As soon as I walked into the store, I did a beeline to her jumpsuits, which surprise surprise, I ended up buying both of the jumpsuits she stocks (a classy black one with ruffled shoulders and a pink and white polka dot jumpsuit with tie-up arm straps—so fun!)
- If you shop Straight & Arrow Boutique online and use my code LINDORK2020 before Sunday, June 28, 2020 you can get 10% off your order! Allison also offers free shipping on orders over $150.
Allison says the inventory style features more muted tones, I’d describe it as more warm colours. Coral, beige, black, browns, oranges. It’s a really lovely look.
Straight and Arrow Boutique also carries jewelry from local Lac La Biche Region artisans, and there are some consignment items (high quality pre-loved) that you can shop as well.
And just overall, the entire look and feel of the physical shop is amazing. You can tell she put a lot of care into the design and style of the shop. There are lots of wooden, rustic tones and a giant (truly, it is so tall!) wooden mirror as well.
Congratulations to Allison on not only launching her new business but keeping it going online through the first few months of its existence, and now with the reopening of the physical shop, if you are in the Lac La Biche County area whether a local resident or someone driving through, you’ve GOT to visit the Straight & Arrow Boutique!
Stop 2: Rounds of Golf and Eats at the Lac La Biche Golf Club and Pelican Grill
A popular attraction in the Lac La Biche Region is the Lac La Biche Golf & Country Club, which sits on the shores of Lac La Biche Lake, making it one of the most scenic golf courses in Alberta!
During my visit I got to chat with Lance, the Head Professional of the Lac La Biche Golf Club, who told me he’s been working at the club for 25 years—since he was 11-years-old! His parents took him to the golf course as a child and he started washing golf balls and golf karts and just made his way up in the organization.
Did you know: Head Professionals in the golfing world basically oversee all aspects of activities, play, tee times, and events at the golf course.
Lance confirmed that visitors to the region love the outdoors, and one of those very popular outdoor activities, is a round or two of golf. This golf club is also conveniently located just minutes drive from Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park!
I didn’t golf during my trip but I did visit the “19th hole”—which, in golf terminology, is the pub, bar, or restaurant you often head to after your round of golf.
At the Lac La Biche Golf & Country Club, the 19th hole is The Pelican Grill restaurant which just got a new caterer and new menu this year! The Pelican Grill is actually now being operated by the same owners of the Costa Cafe, which is a popular cafe on Lac La Biche’s Main Street!
Their current best-selling dishes are their fish and chips and burgers, and they’ve also got some gluten-free options if you’re looking for that. I also had a serious craving for some popcorn shrimp, which is one of their popular appetizers!
If you’re a fan of golf, be sure to cross golfing at the Lac La Biche Golf Club off your list!
Stop 3: Explore Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park and get ice cream
Alberta is home to many great provincial and national parks.
In Lac La Biche County, there is a cluster of eight different islands around one lake that comprise Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park! This park is unique, what with all the islands that make it up, but also because it is home to an Old Growth Forest. The trees in this forest have stood for over 300 years.
Typically there are all sorts of outdoor activity rentals (canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, etc.) but this summer is a bit different due to the pandemic. You’re still welcome to do all of these activities, you’d just need to bring your own gear!
There are sandy beaches and great hiking and biking trails in the park, and it’s also full of birds! Follow Long Point Trail guides and watch for woodpeckers, song birds and warblers. There is also a viewpoint that overlooks the lake, home to pelicans, cormorants and many other waterfowl. Pelicans, I’m told, are very common in this park!
Also very common: picking up ice cream for your park exploration!
I met up with Jaclyn of Alberta Parks on my visit, who showed me the popular Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park ice cream stand, located on the ‘Big Island’ and featuring over 20 flavours. They give you some serious scoops here (get it in a regular or waffle cone or cup), and it costs just a few dollars.
My stops during this Lac La Biche County day trip featured just some of many Alberta small business owners who are participating in the first-ever #LLBCOnline Festival taking place this summer June 17, 24, July 1 and July 8 (Wednesdays) on the La La Biche Region Facebook Page.
I also blogged more about #LLBCOnline on FestivalSeekers’ website!
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Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by FestivalSeekers and Lac La Biche Region. This has no impact on opinions stated in this post. I love Alberta and exploring Alberta, and had so much fun visiting this area of the province for the first time.