Travel Classics Writers Conference October 2011 in Vancouver
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Travel Classics West 2011

Okanagan Valley Press Trip

4 nights/5 days

Day One

Depart from Vancouver for the Okanagan Valley, approximately four hours' drive inland. The area is best known as British Columbia's wine growing region, but it is also rich in adventure and cultural activities. Spend your first two nights in the area's biggest city, Kelowna, staying at one of its beautiful lakefront hotels. After arriving, head to Mission Hill Winery - an epicurean and architectural landmark in the Okanagan, described by the New York Times as "the Versailles of the Valley." A welcome lunch is followed by a sommelier-guided tasting tour of the winery - make sure you don't miss the collection of antique tasting vessels! Time permitting, there will also be tasting stops at Quail's Gate Winery.

After heading back to the hotel to freshen up, head for dinner at a local favourite, Raudz Regional Table where Chef Rod Butters is known for his creative dishes showcasing the very best local ingredients.

Day Two

After breakfast, head out to explore Kelowna's urban side - take a walk through the downtown Cultural District to discover the Kelowna Art Gallery, great independent exhibitions, museums such as the BC Orchard Industry Museum and BC Wine Museum, as well as colourful shopping at locations like the Turtle Island Art Gallery. Lunch will be at another local favourite, Cabana Grille, before continuing our gourmet tour: Cedar Creek Winery, Carmelis Goat Cheese (try the goat's milk ice-cream!) and the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Tonight enjoy dinner back at the hotel, relaxing by the waterfront with some fantastic B.C. wine and local food.

Day Three

After breakfast, check out of your hotel - it's time to hit the road! Heading south along west bank of Lake Okanagan, stop enroute at some roadside fruit stands, wineries and artisan food producers in wonderful locations with equally charming names. In Peachland one of the best breakfasts is served up in a rustic restaurant on the waterfront know as the "Blind Angler" and a late morning ice cream is always a welcome treat at Summerland Sweets. Here you can also take a bit of a stroll with your cone over one of the areas spectacular train tressels. Back on the road, head south to Penticton. Enjoy a casual lunch on the lake at the Hooded Merganzer or drop into the very unique Burger 55 for a mouth-watering hamburger experience. After a bit of free time to stretch those legs and explore Penticton's downtown, venture off to discover the the wineries of the Naramata Bench. This acclaimed stretch of vineyards that wind up the east side of Lake Okanagan features over 30 wineries. Tonight's dinner will be a unique affair: local catering company Joy Road is known for their open-air dinners atop God's Mountain, taking in a spectacular view of the lake below.

Day Four

Check out of your hotel and grab a casual coffee and breakfast from local favourite, The Bench, before hitting the road for the South Okanagan. Running close to the U.S. border, this is the area of the valley that gets really hot in summer - in fact, it's considered a desert region. Tour through picturesque Okanagan Falls and visit some critically acclaimed wineries, such as See Ya Later Ranch, Burrowing Owl, Road 13, and Tin Horn Creek on the way down to Osoyoos. Once in Osoyoos, check in to Spirit Ridge Resort, a property that adjoins Nk'Mip Cellars, North America's very first Aboriginal owned and operated winery. Enjoy free time in the afternoon at the resort before tucking into a chef's tasting menu at the resort's restaurant, Passa Tempo.

Day Five

Enjoy breakfast on mainstreet at Jo Jo's cafe featuring fresh homemade breakfast items before heading over to the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre for an education on the desert and the fascinating culture of the Okanagan people. In the late morning, check out of the hotel and head back to Penticton for afternoon transfers back to Vancouver.

Interested in a pre- or post-conference tour?

Contact Janice Greenwood-Fraser
Manager, Travel Media Relations
Tourism British Columbia
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation / 604-660-3228
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