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Tina Creswell owner of the Star Cafe, prepares to serve another delicious Cowboy Brunch to guests

Ghostown Blues is one of those places that truly needs to be seen to be believed.  I asked the owner’s wife if she was the one responsible for all of the decorating and she said “No, it was all Greg’s vision – he did it all himself.  Besides he has better taste than I do.”

There was just something so calming and relaxing about the place.  Something we felt the minute we pulled into the drive, just a few kilometres outside the Town of Maple Creek, on the road that takes you up to Fort Walsh.

We were there for their Sunday staple – the Cowboy Brunch, a partnership owner Greg Hisey entered into with Star Cafe owners Tina and Dave Creswell, utilizing the extraordinary talents of Chef Noy.  He creates the Brunch – and Greg provides the venue for enjoying it in.  And what a unique venue it is.

The before photo of the log cabin hewn entirely by axe

To say that Greg lovingly restored all of the buildings on the property I think would be an understatement.  Every building has it’s own unique story (all of which are posted), and every decorative antique piece that graces the walls, or is perched perfectly on a shelf, has it’s own story and history, which I’m sure Greg would tell you if you but asked.

The much improved after

And the comfy cozy interior

It’s the details that make all the difference at Ghostown Blues

The fully restored Thresherman’s Wagon

And the Thresherman’s equally comfy interior

The Sheepwagons (of which there are two) are roomier than you’d think possible.

Our brunch was served up in true Cowboy fashion:  short on ceremony, and big on taste.  With no waiters to serve or clean up after you, you simply stood when they told you the food was ready, grabbed it while it was hot, and then chose where you wanted to sit and eat.  Those sturdier souls, (seeing as it was raining), chose the fresh air of the porch, while the majority of us, (including a newlywed couple, who had gotten married and had their reception in those same hallowed halls just the night before), chose to stay comfy and warm inside the fully restored old Church.

The infamous bannock prepared by Chef Noy

On the menu this particular Sunday (it changes every week), was roasted chicken, breaded pork tenderloin, sauteed green beans and carrots, mashed potatoes (with plenty of gravy), and the oh so delicious treat of bannock (the only menu staple guaranteed to be there every week!).  Rounding off the meal was Chef Noy’s infamous Chilli – so good that few will attempt to compete with him in a Chilli Cook-off anymore for fear of losing!).

The Interior of the multi-purpose Lodge

Seeing as the inside of the church is only made to table sit around 25, strategically placed around 4-5 tables, it was a chance to invite or be invited to sit with someone new and learn about their own story.  (We lucked out and got Nikki Jacquin – http://www.facebook.com/Nikkis.Portraits.of.Childhood – who was just finishing up her tenure as the Artist in Residence at Cypress Hills!).  In an age where we all too often ignore the people at the table next to us, this was an awesome chance to actually interact with everyone.

Following breakfast’s second helpings (or thirds in some cases) chased down with freshly brewed coffee, and a mimosa once noon rolled around, it was time to view those cabins and other accomodations not otherwise occupied, and to learn more about their history, from Greg himself, the man who restored them and decorated them all to their current look.  All I can say is wow!  The beds thick with comforters and pillows just begged you to climb in them, especially as I was going into a food coma after eating way too much bannock.  (But can you blame me?).

Yep, I could have happily stayed there all day, lounging in one of the cozy cabins, reading to my hearts content, poking my head out to see if anyone was yet converging at the fire, and going for a walk to the outermost edge of the property to view the horses.

Rocco looking a little bedraggled after the rain

Or to play with Rocco and Molly, the owner’s two very well-behaved and well-trained dogs. (Who know better than to enter the buildings.

Now that was the way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

How to GoHere: Located just west of the Town of Maple Creek about 3 kms, simply take the Hwy to the Cypress Hills Winery or Fort Walsh (Hwy 724/271), and shortly after you cross the bridge, you’ll see it on the right-hand side just off the road.  You can see their own map and contact information here.

Gotta Go:  Okay, here’s where I wax poetic about the beauty of the bathrooms.  A beautiful mix of rustic charm and elegant modern fixtures, seeing as these two bathrooms (located in the old church) were also the bathrooms available for bed and breakfast guests to use, they also contained equally beautiful showers.  Had I a towel (provided in-room to B&B guests), I might have been tempted to try them out!  (You can see them  in all their glory at the bottom of our “Gotta Go?” Tab at the top of the blog).

Good to Know:  As the “Blues” in the name would suggest the Ghostown Blues plan on hosting a number of live music events throughout the season with some big ticket names including Romi Mayes on July 27th (which I’ll let you know how it turns out if you’re unable to go, as I’ll be there), Ed Brown on Sat Aug 4th, Belle Plaine on Aug 24th, and another favourite of mine, Little Miss. Higgins on October 26th.

Here’s a sampling of Romi Mayes for your listening pleasure if you happen to come out to hear her sing – don’t hesitate to introduce yourself – I’ll be the one begging for Bannock.