Fab­u­lous Fall Get­aways

En­joy a week­end away at one of these unique B.C. des­ti­na­tions

BC Business Magazine - - Weekend Getaways -

Fall travel is full of perks. Crowds have thinned out since the hot days of sum­mer, kids are back in school and colour-shift­ing fo­liage makes for breath­tak­ing scenery. The weather is still mild and the har­vest brings an abun­dance of beau­ti­ful food.

Whether it’s golf, out­door ad­ven­ture, wine tours, or pure pam­per­ing, B.C. of­fers all kinds of week­end get­aways for ev­ery kind of trav­eller.

VER­NON

The hub of the North Okana­gan, Ver­non is sur­rounded by rolling hills, a trio of lakes, and five pro­vin­cial parks, in­clud­ing Sil­ver­star Moun­tain Re­sort, home of the ski re­sort known for its hik­ing trails and Cham­pagne pow­der and Sparkling Hill Re­sort, Canada’s pre­miere well­ness spa.

With or­chards, farms and award­win­ning winer­ies, the com­mu­nity is newly part of the Sage­brush Sin­gle­track, a multi-des­ti­na­tion moun­tain bik­ing cor­ri­dor that of­fers a di­ver­sity of trails and ter­rains from Pen­tic­ton to Kam­loops.

“Fall is the per­fect time to come hik­ing and moun­tain bik­ing,” says Tourism Ver­non man­ager An­ge­line Chew. “Fall is the time for cel­e­bra­tion and to en­joy the har­vest sea­son. In Ver­non we live our brand, which is to ac­ti­vate life, to get out and en­joy all four sea­sons.”

The Ver­non Fall Fes­ti­val runs for the whole month of Oc­to­ber, fea­tur­ing ev­ery­thing from U-pick pump­kin tours at Davison Or­chards Coun­try Vil­lage to wild-mush­room tours. The his­toric O’keefe Ranch, founded in 1867, has a fam­i­lyfriendly, twisty-turny corn maze, while adults will never look at a scare­crow the same way again after nav­i­gat­ing the three haunted mazes that make up its Field of Screams.

New this year, ex­pe­ri­ence a flight demon­stra­tion and close-up per­sonal en­counter with rap­tors at the Al­lan Brooks Na­ture Cen­tre and a South Asian Dawali Fes­ti­val at the Ver­non Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre. Din­ing in Ver­non fea­tures plenty of lo­cally grown and ar­ti­san crafted foods, and a di­ver­sity of eth­nic din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to tempt your taste buds. As the Okana­gan’s old­est com­mu­nity, Ver­non has Ja­panese, Filipino, Mex­i­can, Korean and other restau­rants mak­ing up its di­verse din­ing scene.

Au­tumn’s crisp days are prime time to fol­low the Li­ba­tions Trail, with sips at BX Press Cidery and Or­chard, Marten Brew Pub, Honey­moon Mead­ery, Okana­gan Spir­its Dis­tillery, and the Scenic Sip — Lake

Coun­try winer­ies and more to the north in Arm­strong and the Shuswap.

The first week­end in Novem­ber is the Cheese—it’s a Nat­u­ral fes­ti­val in Arm­strong, giv­ing peo­ple a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence Ver­non-area cheese pro­duc­ers, such as Triple Is­land, a work­ing farm, and Bella Stella Cheese. Along the way, pick up some cured meats and pre­serves from so many culi­nary ar­ti­sans for a hy­per-lo­cal char­cu­terie plat­ter.

“Ver­non’s lush farm­land makes for some of the best cheese and pro­duce you’ll ever taste,” Chew says. “You have all ameni­ties you need with small-town charm.”

PREDA­TOR RIDGE

A gor­geous five-hour drive from Van­cou­ver or a short drive from the Kelowna Air­port, Preda­tor Ridge might be best known as a golf des­ti­na­tion, and for good rea­son: it’s home to two 18-hole cham­pi­onship cour­ses along with a world-class prac­tice fa­cil­ity just out­side of Ver­non. But it’s much more than that. With a 1,200-acre back­yard, the re­sort of­fers an un­par­al­leled va­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence. Think out­door yoga classes with sweep­ing views, spin and Pi­lates classes, fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties, pool and hot tub, fine wine and gourmet food, lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tions rang­ing from con­dos to vil­las, and more. Then there’s na­ture — such easy ac­cess to so much glo­ri­ous out­doors.

“We have 36 kilo­me­tres of world-class hik­ing and bik­ing trails,” says Richard Zokol, golf and real es­tate spe­cial­ist at Preda­tor Ridge and two-time PGA tour cham­pion. “In the fall, the morn­ings are cool and the af­ter­noons are warm; there’s this in­stinc­tual pull to go out­side, whether it’s golf­ing, hik­ing or cy­cling to winer­ies in our area. You breathe in all that fresh and clean air.

“It’s a re­prieve from the city,” Zokol adds. “It’s an easy des­ti­na­tion to get to, and when you look across the Monashee Moun­tains in the fall, you see the trees turn­ing bright yel­low and you get long fall shad­ows. You can re­ally en­joy the fresh­ness all around, and you have fine food and our fine Okana­gan wine to fin­ish the day off.”

The re­sort has 12.5 kilo­me­tres of bike­spe­cific trails a with a con­nec­tor lead­ing to more than 40 kilo­me­tres of trails at El­li­son Bike Park; rent an e-bike, moun­tain bike, or crosstrail fit­ness bike to ex­plore the stun­ning sur­round­ings. A shut­tle will take to you and from the newly opened Okana­gan Rail Trail, just five min­utes away. Fif­teen min­utes away is Lake Coun­try’s Scenic Sip, a group of world-class winer­ies.

Rental-style ac­com­mo­da­tions com­bine ele­gance and com­fort in spa­ces rang­ing from 500 to 1,500 square feet. All have full kitchens, bal­conies and fire­places, with pet-friendly al­ter­na­tives. Right on site are sev­eral food and din­ing op­tions that cel­e­brate all that’s lo­cal, fresh and in sea­son. Range Lounge & Grill of­fers a farmto-fork ex­pe­ri­ence and Ocean Wise seafood in an up­scale ca­sual set­ting, while pizza, pasta, an­tipasti and slow-roasted meats are on the menu at the fast ca­sual Ital­ian themed Pallino’s. If cozy­ing up in­side your suite is in store, Com­mon­age Mar­ket car­ries lo­cally pro­duced breads, chocolate, sal­sas, spreads, char­cu­terie cheeses and meats, and more; it also of­fers premium Okana­gan wines, craft beer and spir­its.

“The re­sort has all the lux­u­ries and ameni­ties you need to feel pam­pered,” Zokol says. “It’s an easy week­end re­treat.”

PAINTED BOAT RE­SORT

While some West Coast re­sorts of­fer “peek­a­boo” wa­ter views, Painted Boat Re­sort Spa and Ma­rina on the Sun­shine Coast is unique: each of the 30 vil­las is a wa­ter­front unit with beau­ti­ful har­bour vis­tas.

Lo­cated in the vil­lage of Madeira Park in Pen­der Har­bour, Painted Boat is a 20-minute float­plane ride from down­town Van­cou­ver or a two-hour trip by car and ferry. It feels a world away, how­ever, and the sense of re­lax­ation sets in the minute you head that direc­tion.

“It’s the per­fect week­end des­ti­na­tion be­cause it’s so close to Van­cou­ver, and the views from the ferry, even if you’re a lo­cal, make you take a deep breath in awe and ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of B.C. The views are amaz­ing,” says Wal­ter Kohli, CEO of SOFIEN Man­age­ment at Painted Boat. “We can all use that ferry jour­ney to trans­form our­selves.

“In the fall, it’s a lit­tle qui­eter; you don’t deal with the July and Au­gust ferry

traf­fic, but it’s still warm enough to go out­doors and en­joy the kayaks and pad­dle­boards or visit pro­vin­cial parks. It’s serene. We all need re­flec­tion to nur­ture our in­ter­nal life, and our fall is a won­der­ful time to do that.” The Painted Boat, with it’s meet­ing room and pop­u­lar La­goon Res­tau­rant, is also an ideal des­ti­na­tion for cor­po­rate lead­er­ship re­treats.

The re­sort of­fers the best ac­com­mo­da­tions on the Sun­shine Coast. Up­scale vil­las rang­ing from 1,100 to 1,700 square feet fea­ture a full kitchen com­plete with gran­ite coun­ter­tops, washer and dryer, and spa­cious deck to en­joy the la­goon wildlife and wa­ter views. The SPA of­fers re­vi­tal­iz­ing body treat­ments such as a glacial clay sea­weed wrap and stone mas­sages, while the serene SPA gar­den has out­door rain show­ers, hot pools and wa­ter­falls. You can kick back in your suite with a lovely bot­tle of wine for the ul­ti­mate girls’ week­end or ro­man­tic get­away. “You can get pam­pered and step out of the rat race,” Kohli says. “Get away from work and just re­lax.”

BLACK ROCK OCEAN­FRONT RE­SORT

Rugged black-rock shore­lines make shoul­der-sea­son “storm watch­ing” es­pe­cially dra­matic in Ucluelet, on Van­cou­ver Is­land’s stun­ning west coast. Sur­rounded by emer­ald, old-growth for­est with sweep­ing views of vast, open ocean, Black Rock Ocean­front Re­sort is a win­dow to na­ture’s un­fold­ing.

Visi­tors can take it all in from an in­spir­ing hike along the wind­ing Wild Pa­cific Trail right out­side their door, by vis­it­ing Pa­cific Rim Na­tional Park nearby or while re­lax­ing in a sump­tu­ous soaker tub or out­door hot tub with views of the rolling Pa­cific.

Suites come with kitch­enette or kitchen, gas fire­place, flat-screen TV, rain show­ers and comfy, fur­nished bal­conies.

Wild, or­ganic sea­weed prod­ucts from Van­cou­ver Is­land in­fuse re­ju­ve­nat­ing treat­ments at Drift Spa. The Fetch Res­tau­rant fo­cuses on ar­ti­sanal, West Coast in­gre­di­ents, while the fire­side Float Lounge of­fers cre­ative cock­tails, spe­cial cof­fees and a full wine, beer and drinks list to go with in­spired ap­pe­tiz­ers. At ev­ery turn, cozy so­phis­ti­ca­tion meets na­ture’s el­e­ments.

“Black Rock Ocean­front Re­sort of­fers front-row seats to the mag­nif­i­cent storms the Pa­cific Rim is known for,” says Black Rock di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing Cather­ine Au­det. “Storm-watch­ing sea­son is spec­tac­u­lar here.”

Ex­plore the Field of Screams corn maze at the his­toric O'keefe Ranch in Ver­non

Though best known for golf, Preda­tor Ridge of­fers many more ac­tiv­i­ties

The crowds have thinned—it's just you and na­ture

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