The main lodge is decorated with comfortable country casual furnishings. It features a great room area with a fireplace

The main lodge is decorated with comfortable country casual furnishings. It features a great room area with a fireplace

A romantic escape close to home

Once you have children, your life changes dramatically. Sometimes it seems like your entire existence is consumed with meeting your children’s needs — regardless of their ages. When they are young, you are changing diapers and wiping noses and when they are older you are a taxi — driving them to sports or music practices. It’s a tough job but the rewards are great.

Once you have children, your life changes dramatically.

Sometimes it seems like your entire existence is consumed with meeting your children’s needs — regardless of their ages.

When they are young, you are changing diapers and wiping noses and when they are older you are a taxi — driving them to sports or music practices.

It’s a tough job but the rewards are great.

That said, every once in a while you need to take time out from the busy job of being a parent to recharge your batteries.

It’s also healthy for couples to take time away from work and parenting to recharge their relationship.

There is a tendency to think only of far-flung destinations when you envision an ideal romantic escape and while a Caribbean island does make a great romantic escape, it can be expensive and require a longer stay than is practical for a parent with young children.

Enjoying a quick escape close to home can also provide peace of mind to a parent who is nervous about leaving their children. If you are close to home, it is easy to drive back if your baby becomes ill or struggles a great deal with your absence.

One of the newest luxury accommodations to consider for a romantic escape close to home is a unique little bed-and-breakfast inn near Rocky Mountain House called the Prairie Creek Inn. Located off a range road in the middle of the country, the inn is surrounded by farmland.

It’s a beautiful spot but not the kind of place where you would expect to find a luxury inn.

The property is not visible from the road and the small sign near the two gateposts does not give any indication that a luxury inn is hidden down the road. As we turned off Prairie Creek Road and caught our first glimpse of the inn, we were pleasantly surprised.

The inn is built on the edge of a meadow near a bubbling creek. The main inn building, the restaurant and the luxury cabins are constructed of logs with green roofs and stone chimneys.

Next to the inn is a 40-seat restaurant with a wraparound deck.

When we popped inside the main lodge, we were greeted by the inn’s owner and manager, Terri Cameron, and promptly given the keys to our luxury cabin. There are 14 room types at the inn and we stayed in one of the newly-built executive guest cottages that sit near the banks of the creek.

Our two-bedroom cottage was built for comfort and had every amenity we could want. It was decorated with antiques and had wood floors, a modern fully-equipped kitchen, a gas fireplace, a soaker tub and shower, a big flat screen TV, a large covered deck and rustic wooden outdoor deck chairs. Little designer decorating touches and a rubber ducky strategically balanced on the edge of the soaker tub made it feel homey.

One of the things that sets Prairie Creek Inn apart from other accommodations is its onsite gourmet restaurant and that evening we decided to enjoy a quiet dinner at the Heartstone Restaurant.

Even though it was a Wednesday night, the restaurant was almost completely full, which was encouraging when you consider the fact that this place really is in the middle of nowhere.

The restaurant has a marvelous atmosphere with original art on the burnt orange walls and a large stone fireplace. Entrees like pan-fried B.C. salmon with fresh mango salsa, boneless tenderloin of lamb with peas and fresh mint and duck breast marinated in sesame, soy, honey and ginger are better than the average classic country fare. The warm sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce was a delightful way to end a perfect evening.

As we relaxed in the great room of the main lodge following dinner, I chatted with the innkeeper about the unique accommodation that she owns and operates.

“My husband and I wanted to get away from the rat race of city living and we spent a long time looking for the right location on which to build a high end luxury inn,” Cameron explained.

“We wanted our inn to be a wholesome way to inspire and change people’s lives. First-time guests are always surprised by the level of luxury we offer here, but I think that exceeding expectations is the best part of running the inn.”

After dinner, I took a walk along the creek and spent some time just listening to the sound of the water from the comfort of an Adirondack chair. There’s something incredibly relaxing about the sound of moving water and I stayed there until the light began to wane.

As I snuggled under a warm duvet in our cabin later that evening, I found myself anticipating my second day at Prairie Creek Inn. The little inn is full of surprises, but the most surprising feature of all is just how far away a local escape can feel.

If you go

• Prairie Creek Inn is located 15 minutes south of Rocky Mountain House in the heart of rural Central Alberta.

• The inn is open year-round and rates range from $175 to $305 per night, depending on which room type you choose. There are 14 room types at the inn, ranging from lodge rooms to luxury cottages.

• The onsite Heartstone Restaurant is casually elegant and has a menu that changes regularly. Breakfast is wonderful and included in the cost of a stay. (Please note: the chef has changed since my recent visit.)

• The inn offers romance packages, golf getaways, packages that include icefield helicopter tours and fly fishing packages.

• For more information or to check rates, visit www.theprairiecreekinn.com.

Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. Follow Debbie’s travels at www.wanderwoman.ca. If you have an interesting travel story you would like to share, please email: DOGO@telusplanet.net or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4R 1M9.

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