Further Afield Trips asks locals in a town well beyond Vancouver’s city limits where to find the best places to eat, drink, chill, and have a good time. Think of it as the country cousin to The Dishes.
In this edition, born-and-raised Summerlander and Dominion Cider Co-founder/Orchardist/Cidermaker, Mike Harris, leads us on a tour of his native soil…
Good morning! Let’s start the day with a walk/hike in nature. Where should we go?
The obvious choice is Giants Head Mountain, a bit of an Okanagan Grouse Grind with great view payoff. But a lesser-traveled and lighter workout option is to park at the Kettle Valley Railway station and take the Trans Canada trail that winds along above Prairie Valley, looking down on vineyards and orchards. Bring the dog, there is a nice gazebo lookout too.
Is there somewhere along the way we can stop for coffee?
The Beanery has caffeinated Summerlanders for the last 25 years and is still the spot for a good basic cup. If coming in from Penticton, Wayne and Freda is a must stop. But the best option is to pick up some beans from local roasters Lonetree or Backyard Beans and make a stovetop espresso on a camp stove while enjoying the view from the gazebo.
Now we’re starving! Where should we eat?
Pull over at Granny’s Fruit Stand for one of their famous cinnamon buns or other baked goodies. Or pickup a dynamite club sandwich from Yaki’s Pizza. Take both to the lake and sit on the pier at Rotary Beach looking across at Naramata.
We’ve got some free time for an afternoon adventure. What do you suggest we do?
Drive out to Faulder about 10km behind Summerland then park and ride bikes the rest of the way to Darke Lake, a rustic provincial campground. To get there you’ll pass through the rolling hayfields and farms of picturesque Meadow Valley, and hardly see another soul.
Where should we head for a post-adventure beer, glass of wine or cocktail?
Pop in to Detonate Brewing, a nano brewery nestled in the industrial area. Nate, the owner, has built everything in there from scratch with an engineer’s ingenuity. Order a Giants Head pale ale or one of his barrel aged sours. If he’s not here, head to the newly opened patio at Sage Hills winery and enjoy one of winemaker Keenan’s latest natural wine projects.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s the plan for dinner?
Shaughnessey’s Cove was a local hangout for my parents when I was growing up here. Long closed, it recently re-opened under the management team behind The Score on Davie. The owner, Jesse, grew up in Summerland and created a hip spot on the water with a cantina-vibe and modern menu focused on local food and drink.
Any tips on a good spot to take in the view and watch the sun go down?
A spot not found on any guidebooks is locally called the Summerland lookout. It delivers a stunning panoramic view of Okanagan Lake, from Pentiction to Peachland. To get there, drive past Garnet Lake about 2km and stay to the right on a rough road. 4X4 and campfire materials recommended.
Let’s warm up with a nightcap / a warm drink before we turn in for the night. Where do you suggest we go?
No trip to Summerland is complete without a stop in at the Peacock’s Perch Pub, an institution little changed since it opened in the ‘70s. Come as you are and travel back in time a little.
It’s time to catch some shuteye, where do you suggest we stay?
The Okanagan is begging for a cool boutique hotel. Until one opens, the best bets for a unique accommodation are Airbnb and the like. Many offer lakefront stays or are nestled in orchards and vineyards.
Anything we absolutely have to pack in our suitcase while visiting?
Summerland is blessed with abundant farms and things to do, but it’s still a place that best rewards those who know how to create their own fun. This is a town of wood-oven pizza parties and casual barbecues at friends’ houses more than cocktail lounges and tapas bars. Make sure to bring a DIY sense of adventure.