Discover for yourself why it’s a not-to-be-missed destination. The youthful energy the region exudes and the entrepreneurial spirit enhancing it has blossomed. The stunning setting amid orchards, vineyards, rolling grasslands and picturesque parks surrounded by lakes remains (the three main ones are Okanagan Lake stretching south to Penticton, Kalamalka Lake and Swan Lake). Added to that a renewed vibrancy and the growth in year-round activities available for anyone with the desire to pursue them. The array of activities available whether you are an adventure seeker, explorer, foodie, or culture hound is astounding. Chart your approach at tourismvernon.com
For the foodie, fall harvest is magical. October is festival month with something for everyone from the active adventurer with biking and hiking to the relaxer with farmers’ markets and lip smacking homemade pies. In season, you’ll find apples, pears, grapes, prune plums and blueberries, squash and other winter vegetables. Of course, the area’s talented cheese makers always offer delicious cheese selections.
Source the bounty at farmers’ markets such as Vernon Farmers’ Market, held outdoors at 3445 43 Avenue, Mondays and Thursdays, 8 am to 1 pm, through October. Over 100 growers and artisans tempt you with fresh picked fruit and vegetables, preserves, eggs, meat, seafood, dairy products, baking and gourmet food as well as art, crafts, flowers, plants and other gift items. Special event Mondays is prime time to meet the locals and let the buskers entertain you. In November, sales move indoors at Kal Tire Place and the market is open Fridays, noon to 4 pm. While the markets at Lumby and Enderby end early October, you’ll find the Armstrong Farmers’ Market, Saturdays, 8 am to noon, to October 29th.
Drop into fantastic farms and orchards such as Davison Orchards Country Village, local farmers since 1933, with much to offer the whole family, daily from 8 am to 5:30 pm. Don’t leave without a bite at Auntie May’s Deep Dish Café, especially a slice of those famous Davison homemade pies. Ride through the orchards on the Johnny Popper Tour, play in the Crazy Cow Kids Corral, visit farm animals, and check out the antique tractor collection. Shop the extensive market for luscious Okanagan produce, preserves, bakery treats as well as country gifts and gourmet specialty foods such as artisan cheese, sausages and Davison’s own pure apple juice. Every autumn, Davison Orchards hosts a series of fall events with, Apple Harvest Festival every September weekend and the Pumpkin Festival every October weekend. Next door is Planet Bee, a honey farm with a tasting bar of its honey and other local, national and international honey, for purchase along with a broad selection of bee products, and home to Honeymoon Meadery with its own tasting bar. While Historic O’Keefe Ranch winds down its regular schedule for touring the heritage buildings by October 3, events are scheduled October through December. Check okeeferanch.ca for current details on fun activities for the whole family.
Cheese! It’s Natural Festival takes place in Armstrong on November 5. If you can’t make the event, then just outside of Cherryville, you can visit Triple Island Cheese Farm, known for world-class Gouda and Maasdammer cheeses. You’ll also want to try cheese made by Bella Stella of Lumby, Terroir Cheese and The Village Cheese Company of Armstrong available at many gourmet shops and farmers’ markets. While you’re on the road shop the Bulk Food Store at Rogers Foods in Spallumcheen to purchase flour and other products directly from the mill.
If you’d like wine to pair with that cheese, you’re in the right place. Head south to the Scenic Sip (scenicsip.ca) in Lake Country to hit the tasting rooms of 50th Parallel Estate, Ancient Hill Estate Winery, Arrowleaf Cellars, Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Gray Monk Estate Winery, and Intrigue Wines. Plan to experience the amazing al fresco dining for the summer salads and wood-fired pizzas on the patio of Chaos at Ex Nihilo for lunch or early dinner until October. For fine wine country cuisine at lunch until October 31 and dinner until October 15 in the dining room or deck of the Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk.