Prairie Cruising, Anyone?
The thing about rural gems? Often they go completely unnoticed. They may be slightly hidden. Thankfully, more and more attention is being given to these rare gifts. More people are becoming attuned to the beauty that waits for them, beyond city limits. Some of this awareness can be traced back to two unique individuals: Janine Carroll, Coordinator of the Camrose & District Centennial Museum, and Hazel Cail, Executive Director, Tourism Camrose.
Janine Carroll lives and breaths Camrose County and its history. She has fostered a genuine interest in the lives of those around her, and those who've preceded us, on our shared paths.
Janine has worked in a number of different museums in the county, having recently taken over the Coordinator position at the Camrose and District Centennial Museum. She is the president of Camrose Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society, and she also runs weekly "Ghost Tours" in and around the Camrose area, telling the stories of those who've passed on. For more information on the local Genealogy society, please see the button below.
One area of expertise for Janine, is sharing her vision, and drawing the community around her efforts. If you ever need to fill a room, give her a call! She has a heart for those around her, and it shows. People are drawn to her kind and quiet spirit.
Janine Carroll began Prairie Fun days, as a driving tour. It was to be a self-guided day of discovery, for those ready to explore some of the rich rural treasures of the county. She arranged to have volunteers at various stops throughout the day, to greet visitors, and share with them, some of their passion for the particular venue they were manning. These volunteers still shine today. It is one thing to stumble upon an old school, or church, or even a tea house; anyone can wonder at the architecture, or maybe even peek through cloudy windows. --To be welcomed inside, even by someone dressed in the garb of another time? To be educated about the historical significance of a place, and its foundational ties to the area? That is extraordinary. The welcome hospitality, provided by volunteers and business owners provide, truly provide the makings of authentic rural magic. You simply must come and experience it!
Today, Prairie Fun Days still offers self- guided driving tours, centred on a brochure, with details and maps for each splendid location around Camrose County. These gems may be theatres, churches, even mini-golf and petting zoos, along with a healthy heaping of museums and farms en route. You'll still be welcomed by passionate and knowledgeable volunteers. Here's where it gets even more exciting: The Camrose County, and Tourism Camrose have now partnered with the venture, to provide a well priced luxury bus experience, so you can be driven from place to place, experiencing the wisdom of Tour Guide Hazel Cail, along with Janine Carroll, and other knowlegable, and entertaining speakers along the way! The bus is convenient, yes, but even if it wasn't, the community and connection provided, sharing meals, laughing, learning together, throughout the one or two day experience, adds to the experience, exponentially. Click on the box below for more information.
In her position as Executive Director of Tourism Camrose, Hazel Cail has constructed an opportunity to combine her knowledge base, passions and heritage. Hazel grew up on a farm north of Bawlf, and now farms with her husband, near Camrose. From her childhood she has had a passion for connecting with the outdoors, animals, birds, and any forms of insects or other living thing, she could manage any proximity to. She has a degree in Education, but has worked mostly in various Governmental positions. Hazel worked for years with the Economic Development & Tourism cabinet minister, before becoming involved in the realm of international and inter governmental relations. No wonder Hazel teaches those accompanying her on the Prairie Cruiseline Bus Tour so naturally. She has had years of experience, passion, and preparedness to back her up!
The photo of the Edmonton Legislature below is courtesy of www.edmontonattractions.com
Cruising & Community:
Pat Beckley & Pam Molineaux, two sisters, now from the Camrose County area, happened upon a piece of their own heritage on a recent Prairie Cruiseline Bus Tour excursion. The Kingman Museum is housed in a 1938 Farmington Country School, on the Main Street of Kingman, Alberta, a small hamlet whose population is measured in the tens, not the hundreds, or thousands. The community may be small, but it's spirit is mighty! I dare say, you've not tasted the heights of hospitality until you've wandered into the cafe at this eclectic and extraordinary museum. While you're there, I'm sure you'll want to sample some of the home-made pies and baked goods with your tea. Your eyes will be just as nourished as your belly, in this rural gem, when you realized that every glance falls of some intriguing artifact. For Pat and Pam, it was the picture of a transatlantic ship, "The Aquitania", that brought them home. Take a few seconds, and hear Pat tell of the discovery she made, by clicking on the box below.
Whether you're interested in Inuit carvings, the one room classroom & school life, home and kitchen memories, community collections, agricultural implements, magazines, glassware, books.... you simply need to go--- even if only to fill up on local hospitality and warm baking, Kingman Museum awaits.
Just a few of the treasures found there, are captured below.
Just a few of the treasures found there, are captured below.
Revealing Eclisiastical Riches:
Camrose County harbours some of the most beautiful historic churches! In fact, the St. Thomas Church, pictured in the bottom row, and also under the Architecture Tab, is one of the oldest remaining churches west of Winnipeg! These structures whisper of the sacred and the ordinary, the glories of the Devine, and the realities of every day life on the prairies. You'll be amazed at their presence, their passions, and their stories, told in every pew, colour and detail. No wonder they share a place of prominence on the Prairie Cruiseline Bus Tour.
Agricultural & Environment Wisdom:
Hazel's passion for the outdoors and her rural farming roots, shine on the Prairie Cruiseline adventure. It won't take you long to realize you're being welcomed into some of her most favourite spaces, as she shares about common farming practices, the nesting habits of Purple Martins, or beautiful Scottish Highlander long-horn cattle.
Your Next Get Away:
Whether you're looking for the next great B&B, a place to catch a show, go dancing, or simply explore, the route along the Prairie Cruiseline will not disappoint. And the magical thing is? You're bound to be introduced to the next big thing, and then discover it's been here for a hundred years already! Shop or dine at the Rosebush Lodge: B&B, Tea & Gift House, Campground & Special Event Facilities. Gather some friends, and reserve the Rosebush Lodge on site or the 1930 Ferintosh B&B Manor, for your next writing, crafting, or scrap booking retreat. The possibilities are endless, once you step outside your front door.
Prairie Fun Days is overflowing with opportunities to explore train stations, one-room school houses, historic churches, community treasures, fire halls, theatres, and the list goes on! For two days every summer, Rural Alberta throws open its doors, (at least the ones in Camrose County) to remind the rest of us, of what true hospitality & heritage embodies. The impact of such an exploration, facilitated by Janine Carroll and Hazel Cail of Tourism Camrose, the County, along with all of its home grown hand-picked enthusiasts, will leave a life long imprint on all those who join in the experience.