Vancouver and the BC Interior

  • 941 km travelled
  • 01 hockey team cheered for
  • 19 wines tasted

BC. We’d seen it all cold and frosty during the Olympics and wondered what it might be like in the summer months. So, we decided to stop wondering and get a move on. We couldn’t miss Vancouver, with its exploding downtown food culture and nearby outdoor playgrounds. And we couldn’t pass up the Okanagan, with its countless sun-soaked wineries, lakes and rocky bike trails. Being who we are, we couldn’t commit to just one spot — so we hit both. And, as we predicted over breakfast in Naramata, now that we’re home, we’ve all been looking into Canadian citizenship.

Day 1
We got into Vancouver late and checked into the Hotel. We unpacked and popped down to the lounge for a post-flight round of beers. Outside, we could see people streaming down Georgia St. in all manner of blue and green. We asked our waitress what was going on and she clued us in to the fact that there was a hockey game in town. She mentioned the bartender was actually selling some tickets he couldn’t use. One look around the table and you knew what was happening. Beers were downed, tickets were bought, and we were off to our first NHL game. Sleep? Overrated.
Day 2
Vancouver by storm
It was a little overcast in the morning and the concierge recommended we hop a tiny water taxi across False Creek to Granville Island. Charming is an understatement for this cheese-, meat-, pastry-, seafood-, everything-laden outpost. After we’d sampled most of the market, we headed back to the city’s oldest and hippest district, Gastown, for coffees and porchetta sandwiches. We needed to walk off the huge lunch, so we strolled around Stanley Park on the Seawall just in time to see the sun poke through the clouds. We decided to have cocktails on the Hotel Georgia’s rooftop later, and ended up doing dinner downstairs, too. Great idea or greatest idea?
Day 3
Taken by trees
We grabbed a quick breakfast of local eggs and little potatoes before hitting the coast mountains that border the city. Our first stop was Capilano, a dense forest of huge pine trees around a deep river valley crossed by a tiny little suspension bridge. Sharon is afraid of heights, so of course we made the bridge rock and sway as much as we could. After walking way out over the canyon on the skybridge we headed up to Grouse Mountain for three firsts: a bear sighting, treetop zip-lining and a trip up a massive windmill. When we’d caught our breath, we ventured back into the city for drinks at Salt Tasting Room and dinner at Bao Bei, an effortlessly cool Chinese brasserie with pork buns that go down far too easy.
Day 4
We said goodbye to the city and took off with cameras loaded. Suburbs gave way to farms, and farms gave way to forests as we neared Hope. We stopped for a wander down a stream to wet our feet, then drove into town for fluffy pancakes and fresh fruit. After we had fueled up the travellers and the car, we drove onto Manning Park, the perfect place for an afternoon dip in a lake. As much as we could have just stayed at the lake shore, we opted to carry on to Keremeos, where we found what would be the first of many (many) local fruit stands. Adam wanted to drive on, but Sharon and I shut him down. Thank goodness for motels.
Day 5
Swinging and sipping
As we drove into the Okanagan and the Nk’Mip desert with the sun still rising, we could literally smell the fruit growing in the many wineries and orchards around us. We stopped at the Nk’Mip winery for a little tour and a breakfast overlooking the river — stunning. Adam was dying for a round of golf, so we played a quick nine before taking off for Osoyoos. It was just about time for our first wine tasting, so off to Tinhorn Creek we went. A little Pinot, a little Chard, and time for lunch. Then… another winery — this time at Blasted Church, and this time with cheese. We ended the day with dinner at Summerhill Pyramid Winery where all the food came from farms within about a mile — including the wine of course.
Day 6
Geared up
After indulging all day yesterday, it was due time for some activity. Luckily, the Kettle Valley bike tour was close by. We rented some rough and tumble mountain bikes and set off. The views from the old railway bridges were incredible — it must have taken a good bit of foresight for someone to say, “Hey, let’s turn these into bike routes!” We took a lunch break at Chute Lake Lodge that ended in the best way possible: pie and ice cream. We hopped on our bikes again and took off towards Hillside Estate Winery. A little riesling was well deserved upon arrival, as was a brisk bath in the lake. How were we supposed to go back to reality after this?
Day 7
We began our last day on a beach in Penticton drinking good, strong coffee. A bit too much wine last night, but hey, when in BC… We hit the Bohemian for fruit and granola before setting out. Another winery? Sure, why not. Mission Hill was by far the grandest vineyard we visited, with a massive barreling hall and tasting room. We even got to crush a few hundred grapes ourselves at the House of Rose. After we’d had our fill, we asked one of the employees what the best way to end a trip to Canada was. He laughed and sent us in the direction of a bowling alley and one of the most prized Canadian treasures — a coffee and donut shop called Tim Horton’s. Yep, we were Canadian now — full of fresh air, fresh food, and fresh donuts.