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Monday, August 13, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Turning Left for the Hospitality of the People of Glenwood, Alberta

Chance Encounters


Our first experience with Glenwood was one of disappointment. We missed an opportunity.

We were running low on gas when we left Waterton National Park last summer and were hoping to find a small town with a gas station on our way north. Firstly, we headed for Hill Spring. Nothing. Then we aimed for Glenwood. Neither rewarded us with gas. We should have headed for Pincher Creek, but we love seeing small, tiny towns. Without gas, unfortunately, we missed our chance to get to know Glenwood.


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We were under stress all the way until we made it to Fort Macleod. If we had a little more time and paid a bit more attention, we would have been surprised and rewarded by the unique characters of both these Southern Alberta towns. Instead, we sped through Hill Spring and missed our left turn to Glenwood.

Our next encounter with the people of Glenwood and Hill Spring happened when we received a chance invitation to join them for their Pioneer Days Celebrations the weekend of 20 July 2018. What a surprise! This time we didn't miss the turn. We turned left on our way back from Waterton.

During our visit, the people of Glenwood took in the Two Cowboys and made us part of their families. We had breakfast at Tina's Cafe, Polony at Van & Dan's General Store. Lost an Ice Cream eating contest at the Pioneer Parlour & Cheese Factory Museum and watched fireworks that outdid some of the best we've seen.

We've discovered massive RV parks in the twin river beds that surround the towns and danced at the Great Canadian Barn Dance until our feet hurt. In Hill Spring we ate ice cream again at the Hill Spring Trading Co. and we joined in the parade after a delicious pancake breakfast. After the show, it was a roast beef picnic! What a trip!

Observations


Here in lies the lesson.  If you take it slow and make time to look around, meet some of the people and learn more about the history and the attractions of a destination, you will be wholesomely rewarded as a traveller.

Because we did, Glenwood and its people are now one of our go-to places in Southwestern Alberta, and we hope we can encourage you to make it yours.

The small towns are where you will find the interesting people, the unique experiences and the best hospitality. They are the real travel gems you encounter on the road.

Unfortunately, they are the folk that misses out on the big destination marketing budgets, so no one ever gets to hear about them, and only a fortunate few get to experience what they have to offer. The world is a less attractive place without stories of Glenwood and Hill Spring.

You will not see a video of a Millennial blond's hair waving rhythmically with the prairie grass while horses thunder and gallop through the river beds surrounding Glenwood or Hill Spring. What you will see when you make the trip is folk riding their horses through town. Blond Millenials sitting on the porch eating ice cream with their families, and friendly people waving at passers-by. They will go out of their way to convince you of the quality of their polony and give you the first taste of their freshly baked doughnuts before opening time.


These are places whose stories should be told. The world should know more about them, and we are set on doing the job. With your support as our audience, we will bring you more Glenwoods, Hill Springs, and who knows where else...

Hendrik van Wyk 
Travelling Cowboy

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Photos


Glenwood

The Beginning

The Originals

Ice Cream Baron

We Were There!

Traveling Cowboys

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