Brief Okanagan trip sparks love of area
Driving up to the Okanagan from Vancouver on an overcast and cool summer day, we had emerged from the Coquihalla Connector into a bright world of blue skies and summer fruit.
“Looks a bit like Crete and the Mediterranean,” said my partner — high praise from a committed city slicker who hails from Greece.
I noticed the abundance of ripe tomatoes and smell of lavender.
We were in Kelowna for my business, staying at the Summerland Waterfront Resort ( www.summer landresorthotel.com) on Okanagan Lake.
Then — while I was off working — he bought a studio apartment at the resort.
“It’s just for investment. We’ll come here once or twice, then sell it,” he said. So we came up again, two urbanistas, anticipating a brief visit and a faster sale.
“What else is there to do here, but visit a couple of vineyards?” he stated. learning about the place, and meeting the people, such as the older German couple who produce the coddled peaches of Naramata (individually packed in coffee filters, so the precious fruit doesn’t bruise); the family that produces light and fruity Pinot Noir in an unlikely shack of a place near Penticton; the 20-seat Victoria Rd Bistro in Summerland, owned by a young couple who prepare locally grown gourmet cuisine; and the tomato guy in Peachland, who grows the most divine tomatoes (and peaches, of course), capitalizing on the heat reflected off the rock cliffs surrounding his garden patch.
No Vancouver tomato tastes the same.
At the end of the day, we return to the Summerland Waterfront Resort with our booty — always wine from local vintners, and usually fruit and vegetables — and savour it all under the warm desert sky.
The view from the Legacy on Mara Lake project in Shuswap country — one of numerous developments in the Okanagan catering to sun-hungry Albertans.