Discover the Okanagan
If you want to discover the Okanagan, Country Ridge Bed and Breakfast makes a perfect “home base” to set out and explore to your heart’s content.
The Okanagan has everything– from fun days at the beach to the thrill of mountain biking to relaxing days in a spa setting. Or maybe a visit to a winery or two or a few days on the golf course is what you are looking for. Lake Country is in the heart of the action and we can give you plenty of ideas to help you make the best of your stay…
LAKE COUNTRY TOUR
Just a five-minute drive from your scenic veranda is the Oyama Zip Line, offering the adventurous spirit a fun morning or afternoon flying through the trees. Don’t forget to open your eyes and check out the amazing views of Lake Country.
Head out from the Zip Line and stop in at the Sunblush Farm Store to check out their fresh bakery items as well as the local seasonal fruit available to make a fun picnic lunch. They have many tasty treats to sample there or to take home for friends and family.
A summer afternoon relaxing and taking a refreshing dip in Kalamalka Lake is something you will long remember. Kaloya Regional Park is the perfect place to go for a stroll around the point and take some amazing photos of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. If you prefer a little more open setting, Reiswig Park at the far end of Woods Lake offers picnic tables, great views of the lake and valley, lots of parking and a walking track. Check out the views here.
For dinner, why not try one of our local restaurants? Grey Monk Winery offers the award winning Grapevine Restaurant where you can sip a glass of wine and marvel at the views of Okanagan Lake from the terrace. Riccardo’s features a Mediterranean cuisine that is second to none. And if you want something more casual, why not go to Osho Japanese Restaurant and bring home your favorite sushi to enjoy on the veranda just outside of your room at Country Ridge.
LAKE COUNTRY GOLF AND WINE TOUR
How about starting your day with an early morning golf time? There are approximately 25 golf courses within easy driving distance of Country Ridge. Something for every skill level and desire.
Predator Ridge is just a few minutes up the road and features the wonderful rolling hills of the Okanagan and that wide open spaces feeling. The Bear Course or Gallaghers Canyon are two award-winning courses close by in Kelowna. If you are looking for a quieter local course, why not try Aspen Grove Golf Course, a family-run course in Lake Country.
After a morning of golf, how about sampling one or more of the 5 wineries that are within 15 minutes of Country Ridge.
- Arrowleaf Cellars is an award winning winery that is locally owned and operated. 90% of their grapes come from the Lake Country area.
- Ex Nihilo Winery is a spectacular winery set on 10 acres of view property overlooking Okanangan Lake.
- Gray Monk Estate Winery is one of the oldest in the area and has long been a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
- Intrigue Winery is relatively new to the area, but is quickly establishing itself as an excellent producer of fine wines. Right beside them is a wonderful blueberry farm which boasts that it puts nothing on it’s plants that a bumble bee would not like. Taking home some of their blueberries or just having some to sample is a taste treat.
- 50th Parallel Winery sits right on the 50th Parallel overlooking Okanangan Lake. What a wonderful setting and what sumptuous wines they boast.
If you are up for longer day trips and more variety in Wineries, there are some 200 of them within a 2 hour driving time. Trip Advisor has many wine tour operators listed for the Okanagan with up-to-date reviews of the tours they offer.
One we we highly recommend is Wine Your Way Tours with Certified Sommelier Guide Shalyn Ross.
Every year the Governor General of BC chooses the finest wines and awards medals to the producers of those wines. Most of these wineries are in the Okanagan and are open for visitors to sample and buy these excellent wines.
As you drive the local roads you will see many fruit stands and signs on driveways offering local fruits and vegetables. There is nothing better than locally grown fresh produce. Allingham Farms has a great stand which specializes in fruits and vegetables – love love love their corn! Gambell Farms has a great selection of fruits and vegetables. I can’t stay away from their cherries that are in season right into August what with all the new varieties.
The town of Vernon is just about 20 minutes north of Oyama. It is fun to take the road that runs along the shore of Okanagan Lake up through the Commonage (which used to be common grazing land for the local farmer’s cattle), past Predator Ridge Golf Course (maybe stopping in to check out the golf facilities and have a coffee) and coming out behind the Army Cadet Camp.
From there, make your way to Ellison Park on the shores of Okanagan Lake. A great place to spend an hour or two walking and enjoying the lake, the beach and the park.
Head out from there to the O’Keefe Ranch. They have a great display of ranch facilities including an old church, a general store, the barns and out-buildings and of course the house itself. This really was one of the first working ranches in the area.
Next stop… Silver Star Mountain. This is a great place to spend much of a day. You can ride the chairlift to the top, walk the high alpine meadows, rent a mountain bike and ride the trails, wander the village and grab a great lunch or just do a bit of window-shopping. Wonderful views, great buildings, fresh air and super photo opportunities.
Coming down off the mountain, head over to Davison Orchards, a family-run farm that has been made into a multi-dimensional business. Fabulous fruit is sold not only fresh, but also made into jams and jellies or pies and baked goods right on the farm. A great place to take a tour and enjoy farm life as it should be.
By now it is time to eat out at one of the Vernon restaurants or maybe head back to Country Ridge, freshen up and head out for Chinese at Winfield Chinese. The best dang Chinese place around (according to our son!)
KETTLE VALLEY AND MORE
The Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railroad consists of 18 trestles over a short section of railroad grade, making it a great place to go biking. If you don’t have your own bike, you can rent one out of Kelowna, but this section of the railroad is also a great place to walk.
There are companies who give tours of the railroad, or you can find your own way and walk or ride along the the level wide track and not only see this amazing railroad, but also see where the Okanagan Mountain Fire stretched up into this area in 2003.
The trestles have been re-built to their former structure, some still showing the burn marks from the fire as they wind high above Kelowna, through groves which were missed in the fire and open spots which are now starting to re-forest. There are tunnels which still have the black soot on the roof which stretches high above you… soot from the engines as they took troops to the wars or hauled gold and silver to the smelters in northern Washington.
Take a picnic and stop along the side of the trail, watch the other bikers pass and look out over the amazing views of this wild terrain. This is a great morning or afternoon walk.
Next, get back in the car and wind down into East Kelowna to visit the Okanagan Lavender Farm– an interesting place with bath products, food and all sorts of things made from their lavender. Sit and enjoy a glass of wine at the Harvest Golf Course as the sun sinks over Okanagan Lake. Another day in paradise slips away.
AROUND OKANAGAN LAKE
We would not suggest you travel all the way around the lake in one day, but it is fun to do the North end of the lake from Vernon to Kelowna. If you have a 4-wheel drive and are game for bouncing and hopping, you can do the South end from Kelowna to Penticton via Naramata and Chute Lake, but if you like your vehicle, I would not suggest it.
Heading North from Oyama, take the highway to Vernon. Continue through Vernon and take the exit to Kamloops. As you pass the O’Keefe Ranch, there is a road to the left that follows the Lake through the Vernon Native Reserve and on to Parks, wonder vistas and eventually Kelowna. The road winds through pine forests with great views of Okanagan Lake. First stop for me is Fintry.
Fintry was a settlement created by Lord Fintry, a visionary who tried many exciting and innovative techniques. He even had a hydroelectric station that provided electricity to the settlement long before that was common in the valley. He had a great herd of prize Guernsey cattle that he bred and showed. The paddle wheeler stopped there and picked up milk and milk products to deliver to the rest of the valley. There were orchards and gardens. It was truly a paradise. Today you can walk in the park, swim in the lake and have tea in the great Manor House. You can walk up the creek, taking the trail and stairs past the many waterfalls. It is quite a climb, but interesting to see how the power of the water was harnessed to provide electric power for the settlement. Read the posters and check out the signs that are around the buildings and the barns. Fintry is such an interesting place.
Back on the road, you wind down the lake past Okanagan Lake Resort and through the range of an migratory path of the herd of elk that travel through the valley. The road to the high lakes join this road. But that is another day. Next stop is Bear Creek Park. This park is renowned for its wildlife and waterfalls. Hike the trails, walking across the bridge and follow the creek and the rushing waters through the woods. Look for deer or grouse or even an elusive coyote. Whether you see any wildlife or not, it is a great place to walk and see the wonders of nature. Continue along the road, take the highway into Kelowna. Stop at one of the local supermarkets and pick up a light dinner to bring home to Country Ridge. Sit out on the veranda, watch the sun set as you sip your wine and munch your take-out delights. Another day slips to its close in paradise.
EAST KELOWNA/ MISSION AREA LOOP
Heading into Kelowna, you can either take the Highway 97 route or the back road through Glemore. The Glemore route is a quieter, more rural route, while the Highway is a faster route for getting you there. Once you are in Kelowna, head along Highway 97 to Leckie Road. Turn South onto Leckie and go to the end of the road to reach the Mission Park Greenway. If you have bikes, this is a great place to ride alongside the creek either up into Rutland or down the creek as far as you want – even all the way to Okanagan Lake. If you ride as far as the Lake on your bike it will be a full day event. If you are on foot, this is still a fun place to wander– crossing the foot bridges to either side of the creek, taking time to sit on a bench and watch the water rush by, watching for wild life and just enjoying the day. Take some water with you or a snack.
Back in your car, head out on Benvoulin Road to visit the Benvoulin Church, where you can take in a heritage garden with many plants native to the area. Next, continue out to Father Pandosy Mission. This was the first settlement in Kelowna. Many of the old buildings are still standing and billboards explain the settlement that began Kelowna.
You can take Lakeshore Drive out to the Mission area where there are many opportunities to pick local fruit. There are wonderful cherry orchards – too good to pass by without stopping.
Summerhill Estate Winery and Cedar Creek Winery are both great places to stop for spectacular views of the lake and a wonderful lunch on the patio. St. Hubertus is a smaller but interesting winery out that way too. They were right in the path of the Okanagan Fire of 2003. Scary times.
Bertram Park is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch, a swim in Okanagan Lake or a walk along the shore. This park is just off the road but lies peacefully along the lakeshore.
Once you are out that far along the Lake it is definitely time to go to Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan. They have wonderful goat cheese, great lunches, and the very best gelato – a definite stop. It is hard to decide which gelato flavor is the very best– so many to choose from and so little time!
Once you head back to Country Ridge and get freshened up, it may be time to go to Ricardo’s Restaurant for dinner- a definite favorite of our guests. We have only had rave reviews from there.
DON’T FORGET …..
There are so many things to do in the Okanagan- we have just touched the surface.Check out Tourism Kelowna and Tourism Vernon for more ideas and for events, What’s Up Okanagan has plenty of information.
We have some great high mountain lakes for day fishing trips. Beaver and Dee Lakes or Oyama Lakes are all great fishing and of course Wood Lake or Kalamalka Lake are great fishing lakes too.
What about water sports? Oops – never mentioned those! So much fun in so many different forms and places near here. You can rent anything from jet skis and canoes to power boats and houseboats.
What about sight seeing trips? The best is from high in the sky. Take a floatplane tour or a helicopter wine tour or even a hot air balloon ride – all possibilities in the area.
Night Life and shopping – there is lots of that just a short drive into Kelowna.
What about a bit farther south? – Oh! Oh! The steam train in Summerland is a great afternoon adventure. Or spend a relaxing afternoon at the Summerland Research Station where many of the new varieties of apples and soft fruits have been cultivated. Summerland also has those wonderful wineries that do fruit wines or vinegars.
The Naramata Bench is a great place to spend the day. They have my favorite Okanagan Restaurant at Poplar Grove Estate Winery and some fun local artists to visit and enjoy to say nothing of excellent wineries and spectacular views.
So much to do so little time.