treasures and pleasures in your own backyard — mine includes some amazing Interlake gems
It was an amazing week for me last week and I am still filled with gratitude. Thanks to all who have been so supportive of my new book and my efforts as a writer.
One of the events I took in was the annual general meeting of the Interlake Tourism Association (ITA)in Chatfield, Manitoba. I am a brand new member of the ITA, and had the pleasure of writing the copy for the association’s new travel guide. It was terrific working with ITA’s manager/coordinator, Gail McDonald (whom I might add is a follower of this blog.) Gail is someone who really works hard and takes pride in everything she does. The end result was an amazing tourism guide that is getting a lot of positive comments from everyone who has seen it.
For those of you who are not from Manitoba, you may be asking … where or what is the Interlake? And where the heck is Chatfield? Chatfield is a tiny community 79 miles northwest of Winnipeg (just past Inwood along Highway 17.) The highlight of the community is the Chatfield Park of Souvenirs Museum run by Al and Gerry Johnson.
This friendly couple actually lives in the museum, surrounded by hundreds of artifacts from the last century, ranging from a room full of quilts, to antique sewing patterns, a collection of butane lighters and smoking paraphernalia and an entire granary filled with more than 3,000 hand-embroidered hankies. You’ve got to see it to believe it! (No website, but you can call (204) 664-2157 if you would like to visit.
That’s an example of just one of the amazing and quirky things you will find in the Interlake, the land of “inland oceans” named so because — for the most part — the Interlake is the region that lies between Manitoba’s two largest lakes: Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. The Interlake runs from St. Andrews along the Red River in the south, north to Matheson Island (north of Hecla Island on Lake Winnipeg.) It is a large area with a myriad of activities and highlights that in some way or other celebrate the nautical dominance of the region.
Pretty much everywhere in the Interlake is within minutes of water. Usually that is a good and positive thing. (I am a water baby and that is why I choose to live here.) But at this time of year, when the ice is melting off the lakes and the water level of the rivers is high and overflowing some banks, there is once again, some fear of overland flooding. Right now, just 10 minutes south of me, properties in Petersfield are flooding. Looking back to some blog posts last spring, we were facing the same situation in parts of the Interlake, and I have at least one friend whose property was devastated from the spring flooding of 2009.
Take a look at this post for my reflections on last year’s flooding: http://doreenisthewizardofwords.blogspot.com/2009/03/innovation-in-face-of-adversity.html
This year is looking much better, and there is almost no snow left on the ground and very little standing water in my neck of the woods. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that our neighbours in Petersfield are soon standing high and dry.
The rest of the Interlake is doing quite well and gearing up for an early and fun-filled summer. There are so many amazing events I hope to finally take in this year, which include:
- The Red-sided Garter Snake dens at Narcisse: http://www.naturenorth.com/spring/creature/garter/Narcisse_Snake_Dens.html
- The Wave Artists (self-guided) tour of the Winnipeg Beach and Gimli area: http://www.watchthewave.ca/
- The Gimli Film Festival: http://www.gimlifilm.com/
- And perhaps a trip to Matheson Island (be sure to read Gail’s article about this unique Interlake treasure in the new travel guide.) Order your guide and learn more about the Interlake at: http://www.interlaketourism.com/
I think you can tell. I’m pretty proud of my area — which happens to be the very same area that all four of my grandparents settled on their entry from Ukraine more than 100 years ago. It’s nice to have returned to my roots.
How about you, and the place where you live? Do you have a deep sense of connection to it? Are you immensely proud of something (or the people) of your region? If so, tell us about it/them so we can all make some travel plans to discover new gems and share some special moments.
It’s all about being grateful for who and where you are. Being in the moment and embracing it. That’s my thought for the week. Hope to soon see you in the Interlake or somewhere equally special …