Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Discover the Warmest Place in Canada

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A hidden gem that even many Canadians have never visited:  the Okanagan Valley with it's dry, semi-arid climate, reminding me of Northern Italy.  The hills and mountains around the 135 kilometer long Okanagan Lake are dotted with vineyards, rose gardens and apple orchards.  Winter temperatures go rarely into the minus degrees, yet there are skiing areas within an hour driving distance.  The Southern Okanagan Valley is the only desert-like place in whole Canada. 
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The Okanagan is for Wine Lovers 
Hundreds of wineries invite visitors for tastings, many have even cosy outdoor restaurants or patios and nothing is more relaxing than to sip a glass, overlooking the surrounding wine fields, orchards and golf courses and watching the sailboats on Lake Okanagan. 
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Even a Native Tribe owns an award-winning viticulture company, including tasting rooms, and last week I found a winery in West-Kelowna that offers delicious organic wines.

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Sailing is the Preferred Outdoor Sport
Marinas in the Okanagan are full of boats, many have long waiting lists and sailing the lake is a popular past time.  Non-sailors can book a boat with skipper for sightseeing or a romantic Sunset Tour.  The Okanagan Lake cruising region offers some of the best inland sailing in BC with excellent winds and clear blue skies.

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Floatplane Tours from Kelowna Harbour
At Hart Aviation you can experience the excitement of a floatplane/seaplane sightseeing tour over the breathtaking beauty of the Okanagan and its surrounding mountains, glaciers and alpine lakes. I chatted with the pilots about their Floatplane training classes and they mentioned an offer of a Fly n' Dine Tour to  the Lake Okanagan Resort where you will enjoy the three-course "Wine Country Escape Meal".  After your wonderful meal you can relax, while traveling from the Lake Okanagan Resort to Kelowna in a stretch " Black Tie Limousine". A special evening for sure!  
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Golfers Paradise
I am getting the impression there is a golf course on every hill around the huge lake. Next to sailing, the best outdoor fun in the Okanagan seems to be golfing.  Amazing how many new golf courses are still built.  Each of them seems to compete not only with their greens, but also with their club houses and restaurants with other golf clubs in the area.  Kelowna alone has over 20 golf courses, and many more are located around the whole Okanagan Valley.
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Now, that it is almost November, the Roses and other Summer flowers are still in full bloom, even so the tree leaves are slowly changing colors.  But I can hike in a short-sleeve blouse in the warm sun.  Yes, the Okanagan is a hiker's paradise too, among many other sports- and countless event offers.  A perfect holiday destination for year-round pleasure - also I would not come here in Summer:  it's just too hot then!


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