Brief Okana­gan trip sparks love of area

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties -

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.

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