Explore BC: Penticton

This is the second post about our trip to BC back in October. You can read about our Kelowna highlights as well.

I had never been south of Kelowna before, so Penticton and onward were new experiences for me. Mack had last travelled the area on road trips with his family as a child, so it is safe to say this journey was a different one.

Hardy Falls

On our way south, we stopped at Hardy Falls in Peachland. It was a great way to stretch our legs and watch the Okanagan Kokanee salmon spawn at the same time.

Hardy Falls

Hardy Falls

It was a peaceful walk, lush and shaded, with many points above the creek to see the pink hued fish from above.

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Salmon!

Kettle Valley Steam Railway

If you prefer to ride a train over one of the remaining Kettle Valley Railway trestles instead of walking or cycling over them, consider the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, located in Summerland.

Kettle Valley Steam Railway

Mack wished it read “Hill Valley”

We have to say the experience was a bit underwhelming after visiting the Myra Canyon Trestles, but it was a family friendly activity, with an on-board banjo player and an interpreted tour.

Kettle Valley Steam Railway

Open air cars

Above the Beach Bed and Breakfast

Above the Beach really spoiled us. It’s a bed and breakfast situated on one of the hills overlooking Skaha Lake, run by longtime residents Barb and Gary. We were fortunate enough to be upgraded to one of their Carriage Suites, which have a separate entrance, a large soaker tub, and a great view.

Above the Beach

Carriage suite

Their breakfasts were a wonderful way to start off our day – one morning, we were treated to cream-cheese stuffed French toast, and on another, eggs benedict. Mack was also happy with the unlimited coffee! And though it was slightly chilly,we still took advantage of the chance to eat outside with views of the beach. We wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again in the future.

Above the Beach

Breakfast at Above the Beach

Penticton Farmers’ Market

So many of the producers Jennifer profiles in her book vend at the Penticton Farmers’ Market, so when it lined up that we would be in town on the Saturday, we made sure to head downtown early to explore.

Penticton Farmers' Market

Penticton Farmers’ Market

Mack wonders why I always torture myself with markets when we’re travelling, since we can’t ever buy much, but I love seeing what’s available from local vendors. We picked up some honey from the Similkameen Apiaries, coffee from Backyard Beans, and Joy Road apple cinnamon buns to nibble on.

Penticton Farmers' Market

Gorgeous tomatoes

In addition to the farmers’ market, the Downtown Penticton Association also organizes a separate market that stretches another few blocks that offers other merchandise and services – we wouldn’t have realized they were two separate entities if we hadn’t read about it prior.

The Bookshop

Mack is a huge book junkie, so we knew a visit to The Bookshop was in order. Located on Main Street downtown, we stopped in during our walk through the farmers’ market.

The Book Shop

Just one section of The Bookshop

The floor-to-ceiling shelves in parts were pretty daunting to navigate, but staff were quick to help if needed. Most of the fun was perusing the titles on our own anyway to find gems hidden in the rough.

Buy the Sea

An Edmonton ex-pat owns Buy the Sea, a seafood retail shop with a built-in fish and chip stand (they also have a location in West Kelowna). The fresh seafood case reminded me somewhat of what Ocean Odyssey in Edmonton is hoping to offer: a combination of raw products and those that are marinated and ready to be cooked.

Buy the Sea

Buy the Sea

We stopped in for dinner, and the fish and chips really hit the spot. Freshly fried and nicely breaded, it was our favourite meal in Penticton.

Buy the Sea

Fish and chips from Buy the Sea

Upper Bench Winery and Creamery

Upper Bench Winery and Creamery has the distinction of offering a perfect pairing from in-house products: they not only make their own wine, but cheese as well.

Upper Bench Estate Winery

Upper Bench Winery

We stopped in to try both one afternoon. While the traffic on the adjacent road was more audible than ideal, it was nice to drink in the surrounding vineyard views. We also had fun playing fetch with Emma, one of the property’s animal mascots.

Upper Bench Winery and Creamery

With the sample platter (and Emma eagerly awaiting more fetch friends)

A related note – the best cheese we tried on our trip came from nearby Poplar Grove Cheese. We didn’t end up taking any photos of the small shop, but the Harvest Moon Washed Rind was some of the creamiest cheese we’ve ever had – it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Play Winery and Bistro

Our bed and breakfast hosts recommended Play Winery, one of the newest wineries and full-service restaurants in the area. Built on a hill above Skaha Lake, the view from the patio is lovely. Also, because the tasting room is embedded in the restaurant, it is open much later than most, which is handy to know about in the off-season when most wineries shut down by 6pm.

Play

Seared scallops from Play Winery

The food was good for the most part; the seared scallop appetizer stood out, served with beetroot yogurt, fried beets and microgreens.

Sunset over Skaha Lake

Sunset on Skaha

After two nights in Penticton, we were off to Oliver and beyond.

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