Food and wine are a big part of the South Okanagan experience – come discover NK’Mip Cellars.

6 Ways to Make Your Indigenous Vacay in the Okanagan More Meaningful

Fall is the ideal time to visit the south Okanagan

The drive from Vancouver into the South Okanagan Valley is one of the most breathtaking in Canada. It shuttles you through Manning Provincial Park and between the peaks of the Cascade Mountains, delivering you to the heart of British Columbia’s picturesque desert landscape, teeming with vineyards, lakes, and never-ending views.

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) has provided stewardship of the land for millennia and helped build what is now one of the province’s finest travel destinations.

The fall is an ideal time to visit. The season presents the region’s colours and colourful character in full splendour. Not only is the landscape at its optimum beauty but the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos are energized by harvest activities, several of which are tied to Indigenous heritage.

Here are ways to discover the depth of experiences in the South Okanagan this fall and to immerse yourself in the culture of the regions as generations before have done.

Find Enrichment at the NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre: Inside and out, this heritage museum offers opportunities to understand the South Okanagan better than any other facility in the valley. The interactive displays and exhibits detail the OIB’s history, including how its members have used plants from the area for medicine and inventive tools. The NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre also has more than 1.5 kilometres of trails to explore, featuring strolls to a traditional pit house and sweat lodge, and close-up views of the unique metal sculptures of artist Smoker Marchand.

Savour Indigenous Food and Wine: The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry launched in April and is garnering rave reviews under executive chef Murray McDonald. McDonald named the restaurant after the Four Food Chiefs, the symbols of sustenance for the OIB. The chef regularly teams with winemaker Randy Hall and his protege Justin Hall at their award-winning NK’Mip Cellars to provide a superb culinary experience at Spirit Ridge Resort — Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The winemaking team returns the favour by making sure Spirit Ridge is stocked with their finest vintages and varietals.

NK’Mip Cellars also participates in some of the wine-focused fall festivals in Oliver and Osoyoos. Notably, the Festival of the Grape features dozens of wineries pouring choice wines for the public, along with live entertainment, an art show, and the not-to-be-missed grape stomp. Strip off your shoes and socks, roll up your pantlegs, and start crushing grapes the very, very old-fashioned way.

Saddle Up On a Horse: Graceful equines have been an integral part of Indigenous life in Western Canada for more than three centuries. Horses have helped OIB communities survive, aiding them in moving to higher ground during floods and in taming the land for irrigation and farming. So, a horseback ride in these parts is as much about culture as it is giddy holiday fun. To get saddled up, visit Indian Grove Stables at Spirit Ridge Resort.

Tee Off in Front of a Legend: Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the NK’Mip Desert Canyon Golf Course is keeping your eyes off of the scenery. The 18-hole course faces directly at n’aylintn, the massive granite monolith that is one of the South Okanagan’s most recognizable landmarks. A round of golf on this course owned by the OIB offers more than exercise and a test of your skill – it gives you plenty of opportunities for memorable snapshots and plenty of challenges for any handicap.

Photograph the Fall Colours: Speaking of cameras, be sure to keep yours handy when you meander through this area rich with flora and fauna. Eye candy awaits in the form of lush autumn colours that splash like paint through the vineyards and along the lakes. Head to the top of Anarchist Mountain for a spectacular view of Osoyoos and its landscape.

Feel the Spiritual Energy: Take it from chef McDonald, a native Newfoundlander who recently relocated to Osoyoos. The desert is full of spirituality that you will want to tap into when you stay at Spirit Ridge Resort. “You get this feeling that comes over you when you first drive up this road. This spiritualness. It’s a special place,” McDonald says, noting Spirit Ridge’s abundance of activities that add to its appeal. “You come to one resort area and you have multiple restaurants, you have a winery, you have a cultural centre, you have a golf course, all within, I can literally, reach out and knock on the winery. They have all that in one little area, and [it] that just makes it that much more of a magical, cool thing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

From Spirit Ridge Resort, visitors enjoy an abundance of nearby activities, including exceptional dining, a winery, cultural centre and golf course.

Inside and out, the NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre offers opportunities to understand the South Okanagan better than any other facility in the valley.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

HarbourCats team up with Bastion Books to bring back Harvey’s Reading Club

HarbourCats and Bastions Books offer students free game tickets in an effort to promote child literacy

Central Saanich newspaper carrier gets letter of thanks, chocolates from her community for note

Ava Verscheure started her first very job by introducing herself to residents along newspaper route

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read