The VanMag Guide to Summer in the Okanagan
With its acclaimed chefs, great wine and superb golf, the Okanagan is the West's favourite summer playground.
July 13, 2017
You’re likely here to do one (or more) of three things: explore the wineries, grab a round of golf or hit the lake on a gorgeous sunny day.
For golfers, the walkable Summerland Golf Course doesn’t get its due as one of the Okanagan’s best tracks, perhaps because of a flat, but still interesting, front nine. There’s also a great complement of memorable holes at the Les Furber-designed Fairview Mountain, but few are more difficult than the dogleg 16th. And, built on one of the steepest properties anywhere, Tower Ranch is among the best of its vertiginous type, thanks to designer Thomas McBroom.
If you’re here on the weekend, you won’t want to miss the Penticton Farmers’ Market, which winds through the downtown streets on Saturdays and features dozens of local producers and wineries. Grab a twice-baked almond croissant from Nummers while you collect your supplies for a proper Okanagan feast.
Breakfast starts at Kelowna’s Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate for a baked-daily apricot or pear croissant, filled with, natch, local fruit. That local produce makes for some top-notch cuisine in the area, too, with Kelowna’s Waterfront Wines (it regularly secures Best Okanagan Dining at our annual Restaurant Awards), a local favourite.
Wind your way through the valley with a picnic basket of food as your goal: Covert Farms in Oliver for organic produce; Lake Country Coffee House for fresh-baked berry muffins; then back to Kelowna for the Salted Brick Charcuterie, run by Jason Leizert (of Vancouver’s Boneta) and known for its daily menu using local livestock, for take-home meats.
For a true OK experience, get on the list at one of Joy Road Catering’s alfresco vineyard dining parties at God’s Mountain Estate. On a site overlooking Skaha Lake, chefs Dana Ewart and Cam Smith create a true farm-to-table treat that will likely be the highlight of your trip.
The South Okanagan is known for hot sun and sandy beaches. The four-star Watermark Beach Resort, which occupies a prime spot on the Osoyoos beachfront, adds a couple of elements that aren’t nearly so universal: polish and panache.
The rolling pastoral hills of East Kelowna aren’t the place you expect to find either a boutique hotel or an oasis of music, but turn left on the long driveway off Sallows Drive and you come to Bottega Farm Inn, which is perhaps the most unexpected lodging in all the Okanagan. The 10 rooms have a modern-but-relaxed vibe, and frequent concerts and a state-of-the-art recording studio out back lend an elevated tone.
And embrace the fact that Predator Ridge Resort, just outside of Vernon, is a theme park for adults, and roll with the piney fresh air, top-notch resort accoutrements and ready access to the links.