June 15, 2010 | Tips from Travellers >
Osoyoos, Wineries & Vineyards
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I admit it. I’m a little obsessed with Canada – or at least British Columbia. We just got back from a 5-day stay in beautiful Osoyoos in the South Okanagan Valley.
While contemplating a trip to Kelowna, I stumbled on Osoyoos – and more specifically, a little slice of heaven called Spirit Ridge. A year and four visits later, I find myself longing to go back all*the*time. I really can’t stop thinking about it. Why is it so great?
1) Osoyoos is just five hours from Seattle (more or less, depending on your route and number of stops).
2) It is truly another world. The terrain is high desert, mountainous and scattered with sagebrush and very few trees.
3) There are numerous fantastic wineries in the area.
4) There are great restaurants and accommodations.
5) The people are very friendly (and I’ve found this to be true everywhere I’ve gone in Canada).
For me, these add up to be the perfect vacation.
The BC tourist bureau bills the South Okanagan valley “the Napa of the North,” and I see why. I love Napa, but it’s a flight away, so commercialized and a big financial investment.
From May through September, Osoyoos is an oasis. The first time I went (May 2009), it was in the high 80’s. The place is different enough from the wet and lush environment of Seattle to conjure images of California, Arizona and even Mexico. If I closed my eyes, I could be sitting by a pool on the Baja Peninsula – and when I opened them and looked across the vineyards and down toward Lake Osoyoos and finally rested my gaze on the mountains, I felt this was somehow much better. Or at least very different.
What’s more, despite being just 5 miles over the US/Canada border, we ran into only one other American couple while there, adding to the different-from-the-everyday feel of the locale.