Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Bloomin' Inn - A Review

Back in 2009 when I won Camp Croppin' there was a gift certificate included in my prize package. I had never heard of the place before but several of my scrapping pals said they had heard wonderful things about the place. The Bloomin' Inn in Pincher Creek, AB. I didn't even know where that was but I never look a gift horse in the mouth so I planned to go immediately. Which of course turned into later. Which turned into much much later. Which turned into "Oh my word I haven't used that gift certificate yet!!!" It was a fabulous addition to the prize...a weekend for 2 at the amazing scrapbooking retreat centre valued at over $400. I had asked my friend Sheryl to go with me waaaay back in the Spring of 2009 but the weekend we both had free in the Fall was all booked up at the Inn and we couldn't get away in December so 2009 faded into 2010. We attended Camp Croppin' again and we started talking about the weekend again. Finally we booked for late August. Now, I believe in being entirely truthful when I do a review so I have to say I really wasn't expecting much. Yes, they have a fabulous website filled with all kinds of great info and photos but due to some kind of weird circumstances I had a less than courteous experience with the booking process which led me to be less than impressed. But I let it roll off my back and was open to anything at that point so I put my adventure hat on and off we went. Because hey, it was free.

The drive there was looong (8 hours plus a few stops) but it was so pretty. We found this dill field a few hours out of the city and needed a stretch so out came the cameras. It was ridiculously hazy that day but we still got some cool shots.
With the signs and our multiple maps printed off Google it was fairly easy to find and in the early afternoon we pulled into this beautiful farmyard complete with a wraparound covered porch.
Nobody was around so we just wandered inside and I died and went to vintage heaven.

We found our way to the crop room and were told that the annual fair was this weekend and the owners Colleen and Francis were really busy that day. Ah, no matter. We are self we unpacked and claimed a spot to ourselves. I was impressed with the amount of shelving each person had! Things were simple...not extravagant but highly functional. My kind of space. There was even a plug in right at my station for my sewing machine. Heaven.
At this point I still wasn't expecting much in the way of amenities and service. Remember my (multiple) poor phone experiences? They had nothing at all to do with the owners themselves. Let's just say I am happy that I am who I am because I did NOT let that set the tone for the weekend! I am thrilled to report that the Cyrs (and the guests at the Inn that weekend) not only made it a super fun visit, they also made a very lasting impression that I will carry with me always. WOW WOW WOW!!! The Cyrs were so warm and welcoming, coming to the crop area later in the evening after their fair commitments were complete to personally welcome us all and announce that supper was served. The food was a whole other ball game...I'll come back to that.
Our table mates from Calgary Keri and her sister Janis. They shared everything and let me play with their Cricut! These girls were SO FUN. I hope to see them at Camp Croppin' this year for sure!
The whole crop space accommodates quite a large number of people and it was so comfortable.

A highly functional little kitchen area was so handy for making snacks and tea. On the other side was a small bank of computers for journalling and had Internet access.

The view from the mezzanine where the bedrooms are located. Isn't it SO vintagey cool?

Just outside our bedroom door. Each room up there can comfortably sleep 4 people. Antiques everywhere. Swoon.
The eclectic mix of antiques in the main house has your eye wandering from piece to piece the second you walk in the door. I love the mix of dining tables and chairs. The food. Ah, the FOOD. Down home, wonderful, fresh from the farm, GOOD COOKIN'! Like Grandma used to make. Served up by people who you want to sit down and have a chat and a cup of tea with. I can't say enough how welcoming and wonderful this place is. It is something you MUST experience for yourself.

I wish I had these signs for my kitchen!

Back to the main attraction! Across a small foyer from the scrapbook area is a huge area for quilters. There were some ladies from Okotoks there enjoying some stitching time together and were nice enough to humour me with my camera. And my questions. And my begging for fabric scraps.
The cupcake quilt was by far my favourite. It had sparkly thread for the sugar lumps and little pink crystals on the tops of the cupcakes. Every detail was just to die for.

The talent was unreal. These ladies impressed me and inspired me to be nicer to my sewing machine. I think they felt bad for my little EuroPro working it's little heart out on my Starbucks book. LOL
The amount of care and work that goes into these pieces is huge. The photos don't do have to touch the fabric to appreciate the quality.

This was serious business. They had quilting tools and accessories like I had never seen before.
This is a hobby I would definitely get back into. Linda was the ring leader...she owns a glorious quilting store called Rumpled Quilt Skins (click on the name to see the website!). I am dying to visit this store and take a class. Although I am not sure I would be allowed to walk through the door with all the horrible things I have done to my machine since I ditched sewing for scrapbooking!
This weekend was a whole new level of creative inspiration for me. The scenery, the indoor environment, the people...every detail helped to make it a renewal of the spirit. This particular trip didn't cost much because of the gift certificate...but I can say hands down that I would not hesitate to book again with the Cyrs no matter the cost. The Bloomin' Inn is a great place to congregate with your best gal pals...a great place to meet NEW gal pals...snap a few (hundred) photos on a hazy day when the windmills are turning and go out and seek some creative adventure. It's just out there waiting for you!


Jerri-Lea said...

That looks like so much fun!! Glad that you were able to enjoy your prize!

Original Inspirations said...

Oh, I absolutely love the Bloomin Inn ... and you captured it wonderfully. Did you manage to get into the barns, and chicken coop, and everywhere else. I'm a farm-girl at heart, but city-girl for 34 years now ... so when I ended up at Bloomin Inn with Dawn a few years ago, I was wantin to stay. Haven't been back yet ... but you certainly brought all the smiles back today.

Kate said...

I am SO surprised I did not go traipsing through the barns. LOL I grew up on an acreage with a whole bunch of animals...and yet I did not go visiting them at the Inn. I was waaaay too busy getting a ton of scrapping done and eating my body weight in deliciousness. LOL

Anonymous said...

Wow im really suprised you liked it so much i found it very dirty and colleen very rude. It was really great when Cindy was running the scrapbooking weekends and hope she comes back some day ane only then will i think of going back..

Kate said...

I don't believe in erasing comments because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Free speech! But putting a name to the comment is always nice.