Tag Archives: Wineries

Living The Good Life In The Okanagan Valley: A Guide

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As the summer season north of the border moves towards its climax, the sense of urgency to enjoy its finest summer getaways while the weather is favourable is rising. One of these choice destinations is British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a semi-arid valley where a series of lakes left over from the last Ice Age are the centrepiece.

The cities, towns and rural regions between are home to a variety of top-shelf experiences, from some of the best wineries in Canada to houseboating expeditions that will allow you enjoy some of the best swimming in Western Canada in a very lively manner.

So that you might plan a journey that doesn’t cause you to accidentally miss out on something that you are passionate about, we will cover the primary centres of this region from north to south, listing the highlights that can only elevate your trip from great to extraordinary by doing them.

Vernon

If you are an avid golfer, then you will be pleased to know that the vaunted Predator Ridge Golf Course can be found here. Ranked as the #1 course in British Columbia by the Vancouver Sun, it boasts killer views of the valley and lakes below, as it is situated high in the benchlands above. If you’d rather play on the water, Kalamalka Lake is an ideal place to do so, as water skiing is a popular activity of this luminous glacial body of water.

Kelowna

The biggest centre of the Valley by far, Kelowna offers the best urban attractions of any city in the Okanagan Valley. A large selection of fine restaurants await, both in the downtown core, and in the many wineries found just outside city limits. Tasting tours can be done to these vineyards, found to the north and the south, an activity that will leave you positively tipsy at its conclusion.

Those looking for a wildly fun multi-day trip can rent a houseboat in town, taking to the waters with several days worth of booze and food with your friends. The real value of this experience is hooking up with fellow houseboaters to have epic parties out in the middle of one of Canada’s most spectacular lakes – whether it is 3 pm in the afternoon, or 2 am at night.

Osoyoos

If merely visiting a winery isn’t enough for you, why not stay at one? This can be done at the Burrowing Owl Estate near the desert town of Osoyoos, where 140 acres of wine grapes ensures that the good stuff just keeps on flowing. Orchards that produce fruit other than grapes sell their produce and baked goods by the roadside here as well, and if you always wanted to try your hand at sailing, lessons can be taken in town on Osoyoos Lake.

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Dear Niagara-on-the-Lake, Our Brief First Encounter Has Me Lusting After You…

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… I hope we will get to spend more time together soon.

Check out our travel bucket list and you’ll see that Napa Valley is on the list of places Marc and I want to visit before we turn 30. After my recent trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I am seriously considering nixing Napa Valley and replacing it with Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is about a 20-minute scenic drive from Niagara Falls and is an absolute must visit for anyone traveling within a few hours of it. Unfortunately for me, I only spent a couple of hours admiring the small town since it was not a planned part of our trip. We made the trip to Ontario, Canada to visit Niagara Falls, but I insisted on visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake since I’m a bit of a wino and a Canadian woman told me I absolutely had to see the town (and sip the wine).

Upon entering the town, I began salivating. Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I did want to jump out of the car and tell my family to pick me up later in the day week. Dozens of wineries sprinkled the drive, vineyards crept into the horizon, flowers and trees added a hint of elegance to the streets, carriages were prepared to make ordinary women feel like princesses, quaint shops awaited classy visitors, and little gems waited for guests to fill their rooms. It took mere seconds for me to realize this town was another slice of heaven on earth.

Since I was rushed for time, I was only able to visit one randomly selected winery, Lailey Vineyard, and it left a lasting stellar first impression with me. I sampled three wines and immediately thought to myself ,”what kind of crappy wine have I been drinking the past few years?” I wanted to buy several bottles, but settled on the 2008 Vidal Ice Wine because of its rarity and the fact I wanted to bring a bottle home to Marc (even though I think he has given up on wine). Oh well, more for me!

For those of you who are not self-proclaimed winos, ice wine is a very sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that are left on the vine to freeze. Canada and Germany are the largest producers of ice wine and only select wineries in the United States produce it. Since I’m not certain you enjoy wine, I’ll stop my tangent there. However, if you are intrigued by ice wine, I love this post: Canadian Ice Wine. The bottle to the right is 375 ml and cost $45, so it is fairly expensive (very expensive on my budget). It is definitely worth every penny though and I can justify the expense since I’m saving it for a special occasion.

In case I haven’t already made my point, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a lovely, charming town. I would absolutely die to stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel (see below). I haven’t researched how costly it is but, quite frankly, I don’t care because I will stay there no matter what the cost. I have already started to set aside money for this dream vacation and it hasn’t even been a week since I visited. I’d love to visit for a few days and do nothing but relax and visit wineries. It would be a true getaway.

What do you guys think … should I keep Napa Valley on my travel bucket list or  should I replace it with Niagara-on-the-Lake? Niagara-on-the-Lake appeals to me more since it’s the less talked about of the two.

~ Lyndsi