Let’s take a walk along the many kilometres of pathways around Cochrane and see what we can find! Maybe we will even grab a delectable coffee at Coffee Traders and famous MacKay’s ice cream!
I have lived in Cochrane for over 20 years and have walked the pathways daily. Starting in my neighbourhood along the Bow River Pathway my dog Toby and I begin our daily routine with a breath of fresh river air and begin our trek, or shall I say Powerwalk as my friends say – come along! We will venture out along the Bow River for a good 30 minutes and hit the off-leash dog park recently named the Jim Uffelman Park in memorial to Jim who passed away a year ago – maybe we will see his dog Lulu along the way…. At the end of the dog park we look across the amazing multi-use Sports complex, the Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Sports Centre. Would you like to take a quick swim in the warm therapy pool or perhaps grab your runners and run the indoor track? The options are many if you like to stay active here in Cochrane – you can find it all at the Sports center and will meet many families and individuals with activities in common with you – hockey, curling, pickle ball, lacrosse, gymnastics – just to name a few.
Now that we have had our cardio at the sports centre why don’t we head up the hill to Half Hitch Brewing Company? This is Cochrane’s first craft brewery and it recently won gold at the Alberta Small Brewers Associations awards for its Papa Bear Prairie Ale. They have a unique menu and an industrial rustic atmosphere – why not try a kale salad or the chicken and waffles?
Let’s meander on into the core of Cochrane -we have to burn off the beer and the yummy food anyway! As we walk, we can see the Grey Stone Development being started and in a short time that landscape is going to change forever. A community geared towards entrepreneurial families and some higher end homes it may be interesting to see what it transpires into. We are nearing main street Cochrane and as we turn to head North, we see the garden centre, Anything Grows, which is a little gem for any gardener. Right next to that is Riverbend Interiors where you can find any type of flooring, tile, granite and even area rugs for your home décor project, renovation or new build. They are extremely helpful and with their wide selection you will be sure to find the perfect product to complement your interior.
Wouldn’t it be faster to bike instead of all this walking – my feet are getting a bit tired! Let’s hop across the street to Bike Bros and check out their selection of pedal bikes. Their staff is very knowledgeable and with two floors of bikes from bottom to top I am sure we can find something to purchase in a quality bike for motoring around town and along the pathways. Are you looking for a mountain bike you say? Okay, let’s ask the staff what they would recommend! I wonder if they will have a little chariot for Toby to hook onto the bike as well! He won’t be able to keep up to us!
Now that we are equipped with two wheels lets move onto the main street and see where it all began over 100 years ago. As we head west, we see the bustle of downtown – coffee shops, professional services, restaurants, and quaint little shops locally owned. Do you like to window shop? I think we are in the right place! Look at those adorable boots in the window of the Shoe Closet! I cannot just walk by with out looking to see what else she has – oh wow! Such unique shoes and boots and they are all high quality to last a lifetime. I think we better try a few on for size!
With another purchase in hand and the day is starting to get warm, maybe we should go into TrailBlazers and see if they have a nice pair of walking shorts – very good selection for active wear and they even have consignment in the basement! I will keep that in mind for my new skis I may purchase in the fall. Do you ski?
Vintage Verandah and the Kitchen Boutique are definitely worth browsing through – do you have a bit more time? You do – great news – I love the unique character furniture pieces that Tanya Fehr has in her store and the Kitchen Boutique has almost anything you would ever need for fine dining, pastry, baking, fun little gifts – do you have a wedding gift you need to look for you say? Let’s see what they have!
We have really been working off quite a few calories – let me introduce you to the place that made Cochrane famous to this day – MacKay’s ice cream. They are locally owned and although it has changed hands throughout the years, the creamy ice cream is delicious. What is your favourite? Oh, you like to try something new? Perfect – they often have different flavours that you may never even heard of!
On the corner is the RockyView Hotel – the building is over 100 years old and has the hotel upstairs which is said to be visited by ghosts. Maybe come back on Sunday and check out the jam sessions and the free pool in the afternoon – a different outing for the weekend and see if you still are the pool shark you were in high school!
David and Karrie Peace own the Heavenly Outhouse and Poor David’s which are right next to the Hotel. Would you like to pop in and see if they have anything to add to your wedding gift purchase that you started at the Kitchen Boutique? Maybe a nice picture frame or some luxurious towels would be a thought? Oh, and a beautiful card – I am sure we will find the perfect one at Poor David’s – would you prefer a funny one or a pretty thoughtful card with a beautiful sentiment? It is all here – I can spend quite a lot of time perusing the cards and even find myself laughing out loud!
Let’s hop on our bikes and head on. I just want you to look up this side street and make a note next time you are looking for an amazing meal and friendly service check out My Greek Plate. Yanni and Joanna will make sure you are well taken care of and remember to try the saganaki to start and end the meal with the amazing EkmeK dessert. It is to die for! We grab it often just to take home even if we are full from our meal.
Let’s end this day by a little less hustle and bustle and check out the Cochrane Historical Ranche. This will be the perfect ending to a busy day! Grab your bike and lets go onto the pathway to go under highway 1A by the Cochrane Alliance church. The Historical Ranch location has a lot of history because this is where it all began – the first livestock operation started here in 1881. It is now a fabulous place for a walk along the creek into the small forest to see the grandfather tree, run up the stairs for exercise or bring the family for a campfire in the firepits. Let’s park the bikes and walk so we can see if there is any wildlife and to hear the babbling Big Hill Springs Creek as we go. At the end we will see the Cochrane RancheHouse – this is where the Town Hall moved to – you can also book the RancheHouse facility for an event or check out a play by the Bow Valley High School. Be careful of the rocks though and look down – you may come across a garden snake that is sunning itself!! You would rather not? Okay I am glad – I didn’t want to say anything but me either – lets stay on the dirt path! On Saturdays from spring to fall you can come here for the best local Cochrane farmers market that is completely volunteer run. You can meander along and purchase local veggies, see the local artisans and even grab a coffee!
We had a very busy outing and it is certainly time to call it a day! I hope you had fun and enjoyed the adventure – I love it here! WE did not have time to check everything out – there is so much more to see and do – Cochrane has so much to offer in a larger centre with a small town atmosphere – let’s plan to do this again!
~ Kirstin Sundgaard has lived in Cochrane, Alberta for over 20 years and is proud to call Cochrane her hometown. Learn more about Kirstin’s custom Blinds & Window Covering Services or contact her to discuss your interior decorating projects!