Saturday, August 31, 2013

Enjoying Alpine Meadows Resort

Serenity Now!

Alpine Meadows Resort is located about twenty minutes south of the village of Clearwater along a bumpy and windy dirt road.

The main lodge.

Our cabin 

This really was a lovely start to our Wells  Gray vacation.  There was enough to do nearby to fill two days and it really was more luxurious than we expected.  We had booked it last minute as our original plans for the first two days fell through.  In hindsight it would have been a nice way to end the trip.  I sure would have appreciated soaking in the hot tub the day after that three and half hour horseback ride. 

 The view from our deck.  Hallamore Lake is about a ten minute walk down the hill.

The start of a delicious dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant

 Early evening on Hallamore Lake

Watching the sky turn pink from the hot tub.  

The next morning, from my meditation spot.

If I had to use one word to describe Alpine Meadows I would say "serene".  It was so very, very peaceful.  The resort seemed nearly full but it was as though our cabin was nestled in a bubble of silence.  The only sound that could be heard was the occasional crunch of gravel as people, and more rarely vehicles, moved along the road.  In Kelowna we can hear the sound of crickets, birds and sometimes the creek.  At Alpine Meadows as you get closer to the lake you hear the birds and other natural sounds but at the cabin, all is calm.

The Boathouse Restaurant

Turns out we weren't the only looney couple on the lake.

Flyfishing from one of the row boats.  Kayaks and canoes are also available free of charge.

The resort as seen from the lake

We brought our own kayaks with us for the trip, and launched them in the slightly larger Dunn Lake about three kilometres south of the resort.

 We were joined by some dragonflies

Though we weren't able to get a cabin with cooking facilities, the lodge has a propane BBQ for use at their activity centre.

 If that didn't bring the bear, nothing would!
(The plates are fairly small so the steaks aren't as enormous as they look here).

There are so many things to do at the activity centre.  There's a children's playground, a flat area with equipment for bocci, croquette and badminton.  There's a horse shoe pitch, an oversize chess board, a basket ball net (where I beat Mike at a game of Horse ...though he was shooting from much farther back than I) .  Inside the building there are chairs and tables and a ping pong table where we practiced our killer serves and spikes.  I'm sure I would have won if we were keeping score.

A misty morning meditation.

 Breakfast at the Boathouse

Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs!  Next stop - Across the Creek Cabins.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Drop In For A Bite

Before we ran our Saturday morning errands this past weekend, we headed out to the East Kelowna orchards, bound for Bite Me Organics.  I'd heard owner Robyn King on Radio West earlier in the week and I was keen to purchase some of her peaches for Aunt Lily's Peach Marmalade.  The first photo below isn't Bite Me Organics, but is one of the many orchards found in East Kelowna.

The peach orchard is located at 2934 Dunsmuir Road off East Kelowna Road.  Check their website to see when they're open as they do have set times.  I hadn't heard the entire interview so I showed up on Thursday morning but nobody was there.   I did have a little peek around the yard and was really smitten with the barn and lovely house amid the gorgeous flower gardens and fruit trees.  There's something about east Kelowna that's just so inviting.

Bite Me Organics is a small family run orchard with four varieties of peaches and five varieties of apples.  Most of the work is done by Robyn, her husband Richard, and their grown children.  With eleven acres of fruit trees grown using organic methods, this sounds like quite a daunting task for a family.  Timing is everything as they say.  The five apple varieties all ripen at different times, though I'm sure it's still a lot of work.  I don't think we give our farmers enough credit (or cash!) for the hard work they do to provide us with the necessities of life.

Robyn has spruced up the barn by displaying paintings by local artists.  

Harbright Peaches

The front garden

Lovely views from the front garden.

You can also find Bite Me Organics on Facebook if you'd like to leave some comments or have questions about their latest harvest.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery

Yesterday, what began as "We should do lunch sometime," turned into a four hour leisurely nosh and wine tasting at a Westbank winery.  My friend Val had recently celebrated a birthday so a winery visit was definitely in order.  We wanted to keep it on the west side of the bridge and we both enjoy Asian cuisine so Volcanic Hills fit the bill.

I'm not going to go into a bunch of detail about the winery because their website does an excellent job of all that.  It does, unfortunately do a very poor job of telling you where the place is located.  I clicked on "Visiting the tasting room" and it directed me to take "A quick turn off Boucherie Road".  Really?  How far along Boucherie Road and from which end?  I really get annoyed by websites that want you to go on a scavenger hunt to find their address.  I'm on the site because I already know I want to go there, please just tell me where you are.  Eight paragraphs later, under "Hours of Operation" it lists the address:   2845 Boucherie Road incase you want to pop it into iMap. 

To make our lunchtime wine selection a little easier we opted for pre-meal tasting.  For $5.00 you can sample five different wines and if you decide to purchase a bottle the tasting is free. We sampled three rosés, the Syrah and the Merlot.  They were also offering a free tasting of their special Seven Directions Pinot Noir, which is also a rosé, made from organically farmed Pinot Noir grapes grown in the nearby Kalala vineyard. I'm not well versed in winetasting lexicon, but can tell you there was something to appreciate in all varieties.  The Merlot was my favourite with a subtle caramel flavour I enjoyed.  
 It was truly a perfect day to sit on the patio and have lunch at the newly opened restaurant.  Lazeez, which means delicious in Urdu, definitely lived up to it's name.

Though Val and I love the fat reds, a refreshing rosé was more appropriate for the warm afternoon and would pair well with the Indian cuisine.  We selected the simply named Rosé made from Gamay Noir grapes.

Our server talked us into ordering a bottle instead of a glass each.  At $16.00 for two glasses, which is reasonable for Kelowna prices, an additional $9.00 would get us the whole bottle, and in B.C. if you don't want to drink the entire bottle, you can cork it and take it home with you.

The Indian fusion menu had some great sounding choices and the smell of the food from the surrounding tables was heavenly.  They also had a separate kids menu that included a couple of more North American dishes if you have less adventurous children.  

Unsure of the heat factor, Val ordered the medium spiced butter chicken.  She found it tasty but would go with a little more heat next time.

I enjoyed the curried vegetable risotto.  It was packed with flavour, fresh veggies and had a nice bite, though it lacked the creaminess of the traditional italian dish.  

We arrived at the winery at 1 p.m. and took our time over our meal.  There was no rush from the staff and it really was a perfect Okanagan afternoon on the patio.  All too soon, the clock struck four and with much regret we left our table, vowing to return.