This past Tuesday, our little family returned from a one week vacation in Vernon, BC. Why Vernon, you ask? My sister invited us out. My sister and her husband have been traveling to Vernon for years to stay at the his parent’s cabin. Two years ago we were actually out there for five days (I was pregnant with Z at the time, so I was DD for everyone doing wine tasting). Last summer, Mark & Cathy built a new lake front cabin, just a short drive from the Outback Resort, which is where we stayed with them last time. Fast forward to about March, when Michelle & J asked us if we would like to come out to the new cabin for a bit with them this summer. And we said yes. Flights were booked early (found some cheap seats…a rare find in Regina, SK), and we were set. Z got to fly for free, since she is only 20 months old.
The evening before our flight left, we had last minute packing to do, the usual. We attempted to put Z to bed at a decent hour, especially with the abnormally early wake up call she was going to have. She would have none of it. Of course, she was in the process of cutting the bottom two canine teeth, which means, a sad, exhausted baby, who just wants to be snuggled, and rocked, and held a certain way. Between Brett and I we did manage to get our bags to the door, with just the final items to add when we woke up. None of us got more than 2 hours of sleep. I was worried. This could be a disaster flying on an airplane with a toddler who has only slept 2 hours. I went to sleep at 2 am hoping my alarm would go off, and the flight would be fine.
Our alarm woke us at 3:55 am. The taxi was in our driveway by 4:10am. I woke Z up, changed her diaper, and hopped into the taxi by 4:20 am. And we were off. No tears. We arrived at the airport, which was actually very busy for a Tuesday morning at 4:30 am. The West Jet employees saw us with our arms full of luggage and a toddler and immediately helped us at the self serve kiosk (luggage tags), and put us in a quick luggage drop line. Upstairs through security, no problem, and then to find a seat to wait. Brett went in search of coffee, milk, and a snack, while Z and I talked about airplanes. If you have never been to Regina International Airport, I can tell you it is small, we are a small city (approx. 230,000). And our Tim Hortons was being renovated, so crappy coffee was all Brett could find. Well not entirely true. Brett liked the coffee, I couldn’t drink it (I’m not really a coffee drinker….I’m more a fill it will loads of sugar kind of girl). Our wait in the airport was pretty short, we boarded the plane around 5:15 am. By 5:50 am we were in the sky. Z was so excited. She spent a large portion of the time looking out the window telling us what she saw.
We arrived in Calgary shortly before 7. We had approximately 20 minutes to use the washroom, and let Z run off some energy. And then we were up in the air shortly after 7 am. The flight from Calgary to Kelowna was approx 40 minutes. We arrived in Kelowna before 8 am local time (9:00 am SK time). We gathered all of our luggage, got the keys to our rental car, got directions for the drive to the lake house, and made a plan. We needed to stop and grab a few items on our way to the lake house (diapers, pop, milk, cocktails, snacks & breakfast). Two minutes away from the airport, Zaeya was fast asleep. We enjoyed the casual drive (we needed to let Z sleep, we weren’t in a hurry at all). We arrived at the lake house a little over an hour later.
The Lake House is beautiful. It is in a quiet, gated community, situated on Lake Okanagan. The view was breath taking. I could have stayed there all summer long. Our week was
quiet,enjoyable. Life is rarely quiet with a 20 month old toddler who is a little chatterbox. Z spent the days playing outside under our supervision. She constantly asked to go down to the dock to look for fishies, Bubble Guppies (characters from her favourite and only tv show she watches). She ate/chewed on copious amount of ice cubes (popsicles), she investigated bugs, she watched the birds nest above the neighbours door, she tried to catch a glimpse of the chipmunk. And she played and interacted with everyone at the cabin. There were lots of people. There were our hosts, Mark & Cathy and there 3 sets of other couples (they stayed at the other cabin, but always came over around 3 pm for a dock party). There were Steve & Roxy, Jarret, Michelle & Olivia, Brett, Z and I, and later, Kyle, Teneille & Lily. There was always someone to talk to and play with. Most of our days were just spent outdoors, enjoying the views, and taking in as much Vitamin D as possible. Occasionally we hopped onto the boat, jumped off the dock to cool off, took the paddle board out for a spin, or just floated.
Here are a few pics of the views from the house, dock or of the house itself.
We did leave the lake house a few times. The first excursion was to the Vernon Farmers Market. So much fresh BC fruit & veggies.
Our next stop was at Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery. This was a great little stop. Inside they had a live bee display behind glass, where you could watch the Honey Bees working. We even spotted one of the Queens. The shop also sold numerous types of honey. And the best part, you could taste all the different flavours, and then pick the ones you wanted. They had approximately 15 different flavours of honey. Soo many to choose from. And even better, they had MEAD tasting. I don’t remember which ones we tasted, but they were delicious. And we definitely picked up a couple of bottles. This was a great little stop. When Z gets a little bit older, I think it would be a nice quick little stop to check out again.
After Planet Bee, we stopped next door at Davison Orchards. This was super neat, and perfect for a toddler. They had lots of tasty snacks inside (we tried the ice cream with fresh berries). We bought tickets to ride the train, pulled by old tractors throughout the orchard, where you had the chance to see all the varieties of products they grow, and also hear about the history of the orchard and how they plant and maintain so much produce. The ride ended at a little playground for children. It had duck races, slides, buildings to climb in and out of, old trucks and tractors buried in the sand pile for children to sit in, and ample room to run around. They also had a small petting zoo, with donkeys, goats, and chickens. And then there was the store. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, jams, preserves and of course other little touristy items. Brett, Z and I ate lunch there. Delicious soups and sandwiches, and there homemade apple juice. We may have bought a 4 L jug of juice to drink back at the lake house.
Our last excursion was sans kids. Mark & Cathy graciously offered to babysit while Michelle, Jarret, Brett, Steve, Roxy & I went wine tasting. We stopped at 5 vineyards in the Vernon area (see the list below). When we were here 2 years ago, we stopped at the same 5 vineyards, however I didn’t get to do any tasting (I was pregnant with Z). This was a fantastic morning. We got started around 10:30 and were back home around 3pm. It was a busy wine tasting day, it was raining out, so a lot of people looking for indoor things to do. Wine tasting is perfect to do on a raining day. This is only the 2nd time in my life where I have actually gone Wine Tasting (not counting when I was DD). Some friends of ours used to live in Redlands, California, and on a visit, took us to Temecula to do some wine tasting. From what I remember of that trip, it was a lot of Red Wines (i prefer white). But it was a lot of fun. At our tastings in Vernon, the wines were predominately white wines (which is perfect for me). And so delicious. Brett and I knew we planned to bring home a few bottles of wine. We even re-packed our Wine Skin (bottle protectors), so we could bring some home. And then my brother in law asked for a box, to pack bottles in on the plane. That changed our game. Instead of a couple of bottles of wine, we brought home a box of wine (12 bottles), and 2 in our suitcase. Why not. We really liked what we were tasting, and then we didn’t have to try and decide which place to buy our favourites from, we just got our favourites from each place. :)
- Ex Nihilo Vineyards
- Arrow Leaf
- Gray Monk
- Intrigue Wines
- 50th Parellel Estate
All in all, it was a very enjoyable week. It was great to make memories with my sister and her family. I can’t wait to do it again.