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A fruit picker's paradise

Vernon, Canada

A relatively relaxed start to the day with a breakfast at 8.30 am with our hosts. It really was a home from home experience – except that Pat McQueen's breakfast far outshone anything I could ever provide. Off to Chapters on our way out of Kamloops to see if we could buy the latest issue of Canadian Homes and Cottages but it hasn't reached BC yet, they only had the last issue on the shelves!

The temperature gradually crept up as we neared Okenagen lake passing through the town of Merrit with its own Holywood style path of stars (Johnny Cash, The Dixie Chicks etc). The highway twisted and turned and climbed and fell until eventually we caught sight of Okenagen Lake in the distance. As we reached the town of Peachland the first lake side town on Highway 97 it was 31 degrees.

We parked up just before Penticton for lunch in the picnic area beside the lake before motoring on to the first Winery Rick had chosen – Red Rooster. I had volunteered to be driver from then on in whilst Rick did the sampling. My experience was limited to put it crudely 'sniffing' the wine, which in actual effect gave a good impression of what Rick was tasting! Red Rooster seemed to be a middle of the road place. Neat, ordered and not pretentious and we both particularly liked the Reisling. Bought a bottle to sample at the weekend when we have our two night self catering unit. Back through Penticton and the vineyards and fruit orchards to Mission Hill Family Estate Winery just north of a town called Westbank, not far from Peachland. Think of the Ritz and Hotels and you will get the impression of this place. It cost twice as much to taste the wines and although all were at least 15C$ more expensive per bottle than Red Rooster they really weren't that much to write home about. As Rick said spend less on the grounds and the shop and charge less per bottle!! Crossing over to the east side of the lake we made our way to Gray Monk Estate Winery. They were the only one to offer free tasting and a glass of non alcoholic juice to me. They had a range of very unusual wines and we succumbed to buying a bottle of their 'Port' wine plus bubble wrap packaging to transport back for Christmas! Now what shall I throw out of my case to accommodate it?

We arrived at Richmond House, our B&B in Vernon at around 6.45 pm and asked if the hostess knew of a good restaurant for pasta not too far away. With a little difficulty due to the road having changed a bit since Tom Tom was last updated we found Tita's a small, family run restaurant in Vernon tucked away just by a level crossing. We both chose the house special, pasta shells with lamb following a salad with home made bread and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Rick had an Okanagen light ale and I had a peach cider. Rick treated me to a Lemoncello with my coffee to make up for missing the tasting. Feeling quite mellow now!

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on August 11, 2010 from Vernon, Canada
from the travel blog: Go west, then go west some more.
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