October 19, 2017
Small towns might not get all the attention of big towns, or the cachet of big cities, but they’re often fiercely independent, impressively creative, and…
By Carla Mont September 22, 2017 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
Kelowna is more than a pretty face. Sure, the Okanagan city is thick with vineyards and sunny vantage points; it climbs along verdant, rolling hills and embraces the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake. But there’s much more here to tempt, whether you seek urban delights or adventurous play. Here’s how to do it all—or at least scratch the surface—in just three days.
Sign up for a Cultural District Tour and delve into the history of the city’s downtown core, once home to canneries, railways, a packinghouse, and a cigar factory. Okanagan Foodie Tours leads the way during this three-hour exploration of museums and galleries, public art, and a waterfront park. Bonus: you’ll stop at five restaurants to sample local menus along the way.
Amp up the adrenaline with a walk or cycle along Kelowna’s boardwalk, a 2.2-kilometre (1.2-mile) waterfront stretch that showcases the beauty of Okanagan Lake.
For more, head further afield and two-wheel along the Myra Canyon, a scenic stretch of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). Just 40 minutes from Kelowna, start at the Myra Station and wend along the steep-walled canyon that showcases two tunnels and 18 trestle bridges. Or sign on for a guided excursion with Monashee Adventure Tours or Cheers! Okanagan Tours and discover the trials and triumphs of this historic pathway.
Fertile soil and ample sunshine make for ideal growing conditions. Translation: Kelowna is prime real estate for stellar wineries. Visit First Nations-owned and -operated Indigenous World Winery where vintages, produced with respect for the land, pair nicely with Aboriginal-inspired fare, including seared bison flat-iron steaks and bannock bread plates, served at the winery’s Red Fox Club.
Organic and biodynamic wines define Summerhill Pyramid Winery—that, and a pyramid-shaped cellar. Order a sparkling wine at their Sunset Organic Bistro, and ask about the star-aligned cellar’s invisible energy and its all-important life force.
While summers are hot, plunging winter temperatures promise excellent conditions for Icewine production. At Grizzli Winery, set at the base of Mount Boucherie, you can taste the fruits of winemakers’ labours, thanks to an Icewine lineup that includes the light and bright flavours of Sauvignon Blanc alongside the full fruity richness of a Merlot.
Craft beer more to your liking? You’re covered in Kelowna. Sample the seasonal selection—from Pilsners to Porters—at Tree Brewing Co., where small-batch brewing is elevated in a decidedly laid-back environment. Or be among the first to try what’s on tap at two newcomers: Red Bird Brewing, in the downtown core, and Kettle Valley Brewing Company, a nano brewery at the north end of the city.
Few spots offer the casual coolness of BNA Brewing Co. Order a tasting flight at the former cigar factory and sip favourites like the smooth blonde ale Pamela and the hoppy Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur IPA. (Opt for BNA’s boozy frozen drinks for something a little different.) Sink into the abundant oversized seating, and consider pairing your pulls with the kitchen’s baked meatballs, fish tacos, and fried cauliflower.
Elevate your edible experience at the convivial, and newly opened, Perch. In the Innovation Centre’s open-air rooftop café, you can pair housemade, shareable eats—like the prawns on toast and maple-syrup-and-cinnamon donut balls—with local wine, craft beer, and cider.
Lakeside views meet luscious menus at the Delta Grand Okanagan’s OAK + CRU Social Kitchen & Wine Bar. With more than 300 Okanagan labels on offer, you’ll be spoilt for choice when selecting your wine by the glass—all the better to sip alongside OAK + CRU’s signature platter of cured meats, Little Qualicum cheese, housemade pâté, pickled farm vegetables, and more.
The long communal table at RauDZ Regional Table provides a great vantage point to check out farm-fresh dishes as they make their way to diners. Here, amid a friendly, sharing atmosphere, offerings include chicken leg confit poutine, oat-crusted Arctic char nestled on a potato and spinach sauté, and parmesan gnocchi topped with green garlic cream. Save room for the stellar double-chocolate mashed-potato brioche—a RauDZ signature.
All that fresh air is bound to tucker you out—or at least make you eager to retreat to your evening abode. Sleep tight at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, a prime locale for spectacular sunrises and sunsets over Okanagan Lake.
Postcard-pretty Hotel Eldorado also makes the most of its Okanagan Lake address. A mainstay since 1926, the hotel’s waterfront bistro and spacious balconies encourage you to take it all in, and toast your good fortune.
If adventure ranks as high as thread count, stay at Myra Canyon Ranch. Twenty minutes from the city, this vacation rental lodge, with its self-contained units, offers access to outdoor fun, including guided horseback rides along the Okanagan’s hilly, panoramic expanse.
Featured image: Aerial view of Okanagan Lake, with Kelowna in the distance. Photo: Andrew Strain
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