Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wed, Sept 23: Penticton, British Columbia

After sitting on the shore listening to the water sounds and a good steak dinner last evening, we both died by is getting dark much earlier now, around 8PM. We are both awake. refreshed and ready to start the day by 8AM.After breakfast, we do a little email ,etc., and then drive to the Visitors Center for information on the wineries.The center is great. The lady gives us several maps and takes time to talk to us about our interests and then marks a route on the map along with places to stop that she thinks we will enjoy. There are maybe 60 wineries with in an hours drive of Penticton, most all of then are in the hills on the east side of the two lakes. The lady at the visitor’s Center suggests that we concentrate on the Naramata Bench area. She gives us a great little map and circles four or five things to be sure and visit. We leave with a bag of maps and information booklets and head for Naramata.

We stop at two wineries, but both have a charge for the tasting even though the visitors center’s information says they are free. We used all our Canadian dollars at the store yesterday when we thought we were heading to the border. So we move on. The next winery, Poplar Grove, on the list also produces cheese and their tastings are free. We try four wines and all the cheeses. We buy two white wines and their award winning Merlot and three of the cheeses! The views from the wineries are great. They are on a bluff overlooking the lake with the vines running down the hill toward the lake.It is a little after 12:00PM and we are hungry now so the next stop is a winery that has a Bistro, Hillside Cellars. The menu is interesting so we sit down and order. Dick has a Greek wrap and Carolyn has a pizza with grilled local pears, caramelized onions, pine nuts and blue cheese made at the other winery. We try a glass each of two white wines. The meal is wonderful. In fact the pizza is so good ,with the blue cheese, that we go back to the other winery and buy a full wheel of it. The owner tells us it freezes beautifully.
Well fed, we head to the little town of Naramata. There is a resort hotel, Naramata Heritage Inn, built in the Cape style of Cape Town,that was built in 1908 and a nice little park down on the water.Believe it or not, there is small stream in the park that flows into the lakeand there are salmon running!We are really a long way from the ocean! There is also a bike trail on an old railroad bed above the wineries that would be fun to ride. The view of the lakes must be grand. There are tons of apple trees with the apple boxes sitting around waiting to be filled!This area reminds us of Clare Valley in Australia in some ways. It is a great place to visit for a few days!

We head back to the campground stopping at the grocery store for some rainbow trout to fix with one of the bottles of white. Then go back to the campgrounds. It has been a pleasant day, warm and sunny; glad we found the place. It is a well kept secret. We spend the rest of the afternoon sitting beside the lake watching the world go by. Dick cranks up the grill and cooks up some things to have over the next few days and we enjoy the bottle of merlot with a grilled hamburger. We are not too hungry after our good lunch and good wine. We will sleep well!

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