Okanagan has everything for happy summer - beaches, lake, wineries, golf courses, hiking. However it is good to get away for a couple of days just to change perspective, hit the refresh button.
North Vancouver is a great place to visit : so many dining options, beautiful sunsets on a pier, endless shopping opportunities. Things are a little bit different due to COVID-19 measures in place everywhere. Some places either remain closed or have reduced hours. However local tourists are enjoying North Vancouver attractions.
Place to stay in North Vancouver: Pinnacle Hotel, Seaside Hotel (both 4 star hotels). Both have limited room service, but you can always request towels or trash removal. Service is good.
Next to hotel is Tap and Barrel Shipyards, where you can eat with a great view. The pier has many benches for people to enjoy the sunset and a view of Vancouver downtown. The Vancouver downtown is exactly on the opposite shore and sea bus goes there every 20 minutes.
Vancouver is the most green city in the world and the best way to experience it- going into the park. Parks in the summer become attractions to families with children, yoga classes, bikers, runners, social circles (people sitting in circle, literally).
Vancouver offers so many dining options- it is hard to decide where to go.
Park Royal is a home to various stores. Unfortunately some stores will be closing indefinitely due to COVID-19 economic impact on sales, such as Loft, Macy's, Nygard. Tsawassen Mills is a huge shopping ground. It is easier to maintain distance from other shoppers, as this shopping mall is massive.
Naramata Bench deserved accolades for it's wine, picturesque country side soothing eyes with green grape aisles and blue water of Okanagan Lake. There are many wineries to visit and it is worth it to split in several visits.
The roads are easy to navigate with signs on both sides of the road, where to turn. Speed limit on Naramata bench road is 50 km/h.
Good news- all wineries are open for tasting, although some available through reservation only. The best thing is to plan your visit by checking their website/phoning in advance.
Red Rooster winery has tasting room open by reservation, but they might take in walk-ins if not busy.
They currently charge $15 tasting fee per person, waived with $30 wine purchase.
Winery follows COVID-19 safety protocols, safe distancing in place, employees wear PPE.
Moraine Winery tasting open air terrace is open by reservation, but they might take walk-ins as well. Tasting is free, there are discounts if you purchase a box of wine.
Township 7 winery has great classic wines to offer - walk- ins welcome. Tasting fee is $5, waived with wine purchase. It is difficult to leave without wine purchase though.
Elephant Island Winery - fruit wines and this year they added traditional grape wines to their repertoire. Elephant Island Winery tasting open by reservation only, so please book ahead. If you never tried fruit wines before it is worth it to taste all of them first.
We could recommend blackberry wine- it is perfect with summer salad, grilled meats, corn on the cob. Their fortified raspberry wine is savory and burst with flavor- best way to intake vitamins.
Elephant Island winery grows it's own cherries. I like cherry wine, it taste different each year, depending on fire season/rain/sun conditions. Naramata bench is very sunny place which is perfect for fruit and grape growing.
The summer weather is perfect for the beach, especially if you have so many clean and free beaches like Okanagan.
Spending time on the beach is by far the most popular summer activity in the Okanagan, check for yourself. The picture below was taken 10:40 AM, before everyone made it to the Boyce-Gyro beach. However it is already busy.
The beach has washroom/change room/shower facility, multiple tables with benches, 2 volleyball fields, kids playground, boat/flotation devices rental. It also has water/snack stand. There is a new restaurant open in the area, which seems to be very popular "Diner Deluxe". You can see on my picture a waiting line to get in.
Marble Slub Creamery also opened their doors near Boyce-Gyro beach, offering freshly made ice-cream and various treats. We are so happy to see Marble Slub to return to Kelowna, as they have tasty treats.
The sign below got vandalized -some people doubt the restrictions are being followed.
Summer is here to stay for a next little while, time off booked with employer, it is time to plan stay-cation in beautiful British Columbia and Okanagan area. Okanagan offers plenty recreational activities: boating, hiking, golfing, biking, swimming, playing beach volleyball and tennis. And of course, it is very well known and deserved wine tasting destination.
It is up to you choose the activity you like.
In this blog I wanted to mention Predator Ridge Resort and golf. One resort features several activities: hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, pickleball, yoga classes, fitness classes, swimming, dining.
They are located 301 Village Center, Vernon, BC. They are currently open to public, bookings at email@example.com or by phone 1-888-578-6688.e.com
As resort is located away from HWY 97 and nestled between rocky mountains it has fresh air filled with grass and flowers aroma, beautiful nature, some wildlife to watch. It is suitable for all ages from babies to adults and the resort is pet friendly.
I encourage everyone to visit, whether for a couple hours or a couple nights.
Meats and the variety of sausage from Helmuts Kitchen can't leave meat lovers indifferent.
They have beef, bison, turkey meats raw and seasoned. Variety of cheeses is sold here as well, if you need to assemble a charcuterie board.
Sausage ranges from smokies of all sorts to apple whiskey salami with black forest ham in between. This is a must visit place in Kelowna for a protein treat.
What is different about Helmuts Sausage and Kitchen is that they are transparent: you can trace where meats are coming from. They offer custom meat processing to hunters as well.
Bilga farm is well-known for their juicy strawberries. The taste of strawberries you remember since childhood, before big-box stores started pumping out tasteless, crunchy strawberries with a texture of an onion year-around.
The strawberries at Bilga farm are hand-picked fresh daily and sold the same day. This is a cash only operation: 1 lb. box costs $5, 2 lb. box $10, 3 lb. box $15, 4 lb. box $20, 5 lb. box $25, large flat $35. The customer gets to pick which box they like, so I am pretty happy with what I got! The strawberry season is expected to last for another five weeks this year, so help yourself to fresh strawberries!
Their address is Rutland Road North, which is behind MacDonald's.
After 2.5 month of lock down, we are using every opportunity to go for a hike. There are so many beautiful provincial parks in the Okanagan area.
It is important to wear hiking shoes, pants (it is a tick season), sun hat, have a water bottle with you. I tried to take a picture of a tick hiding in the grass next to trail, just waiting for a new home with a meal!
Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park is a natural, forested park that borders the canyon of Trepanier Creek. The trail links to a linear trail in the District of Peachland and creates a five-kilometre Greenway recreational corridor from the Okanagan Lake waterfront to the Okanagan Connector Highway 97-C.
From 1909 to 1947 there was a small hydroelectric power plant on the creek that supplied the District of Peachland. Remnants of the Trepanier Creek Dam are still visible.
I wanted to share an inspirational video by Duiwaigh Studios. Angi Sullins and Silas Toball are talented artists that have their own Duiwaigh Gallery, inspiring each one of us to love our inner child.
" Between the worlds of right and wrong
Inside the Duirwaigh wood,
We beckon weary passers-by:
"Forsake the world of 'should'!"
Rekindle long lost hopes and dreams
Refuse the ordinary
Engage your heart in matters light
Remember how to love unleashed
Remember why you are here!"
It is time to take a long breath in after the first wave and enjoy what life has to offer in the Okanagan. Specifically all it's unique beauty: the lake full of fresh water, blooming orchards, beautiful beaches and wineries.
This time we are going to cover Sleeping Giant winery in Summerland. It is a short drive off the HWY 97, just past the Summerland entrance if you are coming from West Kelowna.
The Sleeping Giant winery is located in between the orchards and along Bottleneck drive together with other wineries. Sleeping giant winery produces fruit wines only, but a huge variety: apricot, gala apple, cherry, pear, peach, Saskatoon wine, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry-rhubarb, cranberry, pumpkin, black-currant wines. This is for people that complain they don't enough fruit and vegetables. Definitely a pleasant solution:
"What did you have for dinner last night? "
- "I had a bottle of fruit salad"
- "How did you manage to get fruit salad into the bottle?"
- "It was apricot fruit wine".
Summerland Sweets is the parent company of Sleeping Giant and it produces a variety of jams and waffle syrups. The variety is unlimited: from traditional peach jam to apricot and brandy. Anything you wanted, but were afraid to ask for.
We expect the second wave the middle of June 2020 and into July 2020, so now is a good time to take a breather, get outside. It is a time to enjoy life!
One of the Easter symbols is decorated eggs, which represent the life continuity.
This year, save some cash and ditch the fake stuff by dyeing your brown or white eggs the old-fashioned way: with food you already have in your fridge or pantry.If you're into the rustic, farmhouse look or prefer to keep your household more natural, follow this how-to guide to color your holiday decorations with natural Easter egg dyes.
Make Natural Easter Egg Dye
Soak four cups of chopped beets in mixture for 30 minutes. Strain, then allow eggs to sit in liquid for 30 minutes or more, depending on how deep you want the color to be.
Add 4 cups of yellow onion skins to mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain, and allow eggs to sit in liquid for 30 minutes. For a brighter orange, leave the eggs to sit in the dye overnight in the fridge.
Add 3 tablespoons of turmeric to the boiling water. Simmer for 30 minutes, let cool, and soak eggs in mixture until they reach the desired shade. (FYI, since turmeric is notorious for staining your skin, you'll want to wear rubber gloves when handling yellow eggs.)
Light Blue Eggs
Add 3 cups of chopped red or purple cabbage to mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain, and allow eggs to soak overnight for brightest shade.
Dark Blue Eggs
Add 4 cups of blueberries to mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain, and let eggs sit in liquid for 30 minutes or more for deeper tones.
I have chosen onion skins and deep terracotta hue.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recepie
Ingredients for Cake:
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup orange juice (it took 2 oranges)
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped (only if all your family members love apricots-the cake will be tasty without them as well)
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup canola (any oil you have will do)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large carrots peeled and grated
1 cup chopped pecans
2 packages of cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp orange zest
1. Heat oven to 350 F and grease 13x18 inch baking sheet
2. In a small saucepan bring orange juice, zest, apricots and ginger to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately.
3. In large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt. In another big bowl combine eggs, honey, oil and applesauce -whisk well. Fold in flour mixture. Add apricot mixture, carrots and pecans and fold until just combined.
4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Bake until wooden stick inserted comes out clean, 20-30 min. Let cool.
5. Meanwhile, make frosting: using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, honey and orange zest until smooth. Spread on cake and enjoy!
Sweet and sour pineapple beef on rice
This is fast meal to prepare and it is affordable too!
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper
4 tsp canola oil
500 g ground beef
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup diced pineapple (frozen from the bag works just fine)
2 green onion chopped
Preparation: In a small bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
In a large skillet brown beef for about 7 min, add onion, garlic and cook until softened 4 min. Add red pepper, pineapple and reserved sauce. Cook stirring, until beef is cooked and sauce thickened, 2-4 min. Spoon over rice and garnish with green onions.