Tuesday 7 August 2018

City Girl in a Small Town

Three and a half months ago, we got married! We had a beautiful ceremony on the Oasis of the Seas, and spent a week celebrating with our closest family and friends. A month later, we hosted a local wedding reception for our friends and family. It's been a hectic couple of months, but we are settling into married life and looking forward to being travel partners for life.

I'm way behind on our travel diaries! I still have to catch up on our Navigator of the Seas cruise and Paris. It's hard to believe that trip was nine months ago. But I will definitely get to them, and get to our Oasis of the Seas wedding cruise. In the meantime, while this is fresh on my mind, I'm going to jump right into our little mini-moon trip last month. We won't be going on a real honeymoon, so this is as close as it will get!

The husband goes to the Okanagan for work twice a year in the summer. The Coquihalla highway is notorious for its steep, mountainous terrain. It's especially dangerous in the winter, which is why he visits in the summer. I've never been the Okanagan so we thought it would be a good idea for me to join him for the weekend. It was also a chance for me to explore my own province!

I flew up late after work one night to rendezvous with the husband. The flight was over an hour delayed, and it was via a small, little propeller jet. For a girl who flies often, I was nervous about this tiny little plane. It honestly felt like it didn't have enough power to take off. Thank God it was a short plane ride. We were only in the air for about 40 minutes.

Kelowna definitely had a small-town charm vibe. It was very quiet, and the air was still. It's hard to describe, but in the city, you always feel rushed like there's always a sense of urgency. There is always honking and people talking in the background. It's different in small towns.

We had lunch at Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate Estate Winery. I visited my first vineyard, and boy, do I love being in the vineyard. I just wanted to run up and down the rows for days (actually, I am majorly out of shape so I didn't.) It's an awestruck feeling though, and the views are beyond gorgeous.

I'm not big on wine, unfortunately, I haven't quite acquired the taste of wine yet. I know, I was in wine country and everything is dry! I will have the odd Riesling, but I am totally guilty for being a Moscato fan.

For lunch, we had oysters to start. I had the cod (pictured), he had the steak (not pictured).

After lunch, we drove to La Frenz in Penticton to pick up a few bottles of wine. Penticton is about fifty minutes away from Kelowna. While we were there, we stopped by Tickleberry's, a local favourite ice cream shop. Here, two scoops was the minimum!

The next day, we drove Oliver, which is about an hour and twenty minutes south of Kelowna. We stopped at Terrafina at Hester Creek Estate Winery for lunch. I had a squid-pea sprout salad, and the husband had pasta. Both dishes were very unique and delicious!

Oliver was where we started to see cherry trees everywhere. Being in the produce industry, I knew that cherry season had just started. I had never seen a cherry orchard before, so I was pretty excited to see them. Unfortunately, U-Pick doesn't start until July, so we missed out on cherry picking.

We also made a pitstop at LaStella, the only winery in the Okanagan that makes a Moscato! LaStella is a smaller winery, but it was the end of the day, so we were able to sample a couple of wines while we were there. Wine tastings at LaStella are to be pre-booked, so the sommelier was very nice to let us sample a few.

From there, we continued our drive to Osoyoos, another twenty minutes west. Osoyoos is a border town to the US. It is also the most southern town in the valley, so it was pretty hot and humid. We stayed at Spirit Ridge at NK'IP Resort. It is a unique area with lush vineyards for miles. While the resort overlooked Lake Osoyoos, behind it was the Cascade Mountains. It was also a desert, home to rattlesnakes and gophersnakes, both of which are "at-risk" species in BC. The resort is on the Osoyoos Indian Band's reserve. There was a cultural centre in the resort, but we didn't have time to visit.

It was raining and the weather was cool when we checked in, so that meant we had to skip the pool.

We visited the NK'MIP Cellars and had our first wine tasting. I didn't try anything I liked, but the husband really enjoyed their Merlot, and ended up buying a bottle for himself, and a few bottles of Meritage for our family. Afterwards, we walked around the vineyards and the desert trail to take in the surroundings and the gorgeous view.

We took advantage of our full kitchen, and cooked dinner. We had cedar plank salmon, sweet corn and grilled mushrooms. We watched the sun set and enjoyed a glass of Moscato on our balcony.

Isn't that a cool sunset picture on the right? I read about this trick online - using your iPhone as a mirror to photograph a "live" reflection with your SLR. I really liked how it turned out!

The next day, we checked out and had lunch in the resort restaurant, Mica. It was Father's Day, but it was a very quiet day. Maybe it's just like this all the time in the Okanagan?

Before we set off on our way home, we had three more wineries to stop at. We stopped at Platinum Bench Estate Winery. Funnily enough, Platinum Bench is known for their artisan bread. We had pre-ordered three loaves. It was so good. Next stop was Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, a very well-known BC winery. Burrowing Owl had an observation deck for viewing. The climb up the tower was well worth it - the view was breathtaking.

Lastly, we mad a quick pit stop at LaStella to pick up a couple more bottles of wine! It was much busier than it was the day before. But we were in and out in no time.
On our way out of the Okanagan, we stopped at many fruit stands, buying cherries for our families. We took Highway-1 home. It was a four hour drive, a shorter route than the Coquihalla.

Even thought I am from this province, BC is uncharted territory for me, and I love being able to explore it like my own backyard. We had a wonderful time in the Okanagan and I would love to go back for a longer visit next time! And whether you like wine or not, I highly recommend a visit to the Okanagan!

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