The retreat is perfect for adventure and solitude seekers
COLD LAKE - The home of Debbie and Brian Hamilton is quiet and serene - a peaceful retreat that’s country living at its finest. But it’s the warm, friendly smiles and the sense of adventure of our hosts that makes Hamilton House the perfect retreat after all the festival seeking we’ve done.
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Hamilton House Bed and Breakfast Inn is just 10 minutes southeast of Cold Lake in Cherry Grove and 1.5 hours from Lac La Biche on AB Highway 55 east.
Storytelling is part of the fun - and the couple has a wealth of stories to share about the area’s history, its natural beauty and its people. Then there are the fish tales borne out of the bountiful catches in nearby Cold Lake.
Brian has two boats and you can hire him to take you fishing for a half or full-day adventure. If you want to set out on your own, there are kayaks and canoes for paddling around the lake behind Hamilton House.
We headed out with Brian who pointed out the local history and fishing holes and that’s exactly where we headed.
“The biggest trout caught was 59 pounds - and that was in 1929,” he says. You can just tell he’s hoping to break that record one day.
“Last year someone caught a 40-pounder ice fishing. It took three holes in the ice with an auger to get it out!”
Our fishing adventures were fun, but we were itching to get back to the serene peace of Hamilton House.
Debbie was waiting.
She showed us around the beautiful gardens surrounding their country home before showing us inside. The Hamiltons have been welcoming guests here for 14 years, near where Debbie grew up. The homestead sits on six acres, a mixture of the manicured lawn and flower gardens complete with a stream and small pond at one end. The pasture beyond has three horses.
The boreal forest has numerous paths that the Hamiltons have made for peaceful walks and outdoor pursuits, including some quading in summer and cross-country ski trails in winter, that are used by the locals as well.
We walked through the musky trails down to the little lake on the property - tranquil and beautiful in its pristine natural beauty. Lily pads filled the lake with blooms and the only sound was the canoe as it sliced quietly through the lake, the oars softly slapping the water.
We soon heard the birds, especially the loons’ soulful cry when we got too close to the nest. The two birds quickly put the babies on their backs and swam away. A beaver slapped his tail indignantly as we came nearer his pad, but otherwise, we revelled in the solitude, soaking up the beauty of the area.
Back at the house, the home has four rooms, all decorated with a rustic charm. Another larger room is available off-site above the garage.
“Our rooms even include a cabin on a little island on our small lake, only accessed by canoe or cross-country skis in winter,” says Debbie. “It has solar power and an outdoor shower and toilet, but inside there are double bunk beds, linens, a propane stove and barbecue…. It’s an adventure.”
Adventure or not, we were happy to nestle in for the night in the comfort of our cosy room - happy with our down-home adventure of the day.
The next morning we joined our hosts for a great little breakfast of homemade crepes with fresh fruit and cream and sausages.
It’s the kind of hospitality I’ll come looking for again.
If You Go
For more information on booking Hamilton House check the website www.hamiltonhouse.com .
Take it the the lake this summer and head north, into the MD of Bonnyville and Lac La Biche. Both communities are waterfront and host an incredible array of events all summer.
Check out the Bonnyville Extreme Mudfest while your at it!
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