British Columbia

Winter hikes
Dec04

Wintertime in Kelowna tends to be mild and sunny—perfect for winter hikes. That’s because the region is a semi-arid desert! Sure, you will always get a bit of snow but the temperature rarely drops uncomfortably low. Plan to work up a bit of a sweat and you won’t even notice the chill.

That’s why we’ve compiled this great list of winter hikes for you in the Kelowna area.

  1. Cedar Mountain Regional Park

Cedar Mountain Regional Park (AKA the Kelowna Crags) was renamed the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park after a substantial land donation after the 2003 wildfire that devastated the area. Now, hikers can enjoy over 403 hectares of natural land, an easy and short walk, and a stunning view of the Okanagan Valley at the top.

  1. Spion Kopje Hiking Trails 

Sometimes written as Spion Kop Hiking Trails, this central Okanagan trail system takes hikers to the peak of the Spion Kopje mountain. You’ll find these trails closer to Winfield, about a 33-minute drive North from Downtown Kelowna. Follow the markers for a clear view of Lake Kalamalka and parts of Oyama.

  1. Mill Creek Regional Park

Mill Creek Regional Park is a family-friendly hike that is highly rated by experts and novices alike. The trail is moderately flat and all forks in the path take you to the same destination so you don’t have to worry much about getting lost. The area tends to be a haven for mosquitoes in warmer months, making it a refreshing winter walk even if you have done this trail before!

  1. Rose Valley Regional Park

Enjoy 250-hectares of parkland in the West Kelowna Rose Valley neighbourhood. The Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir-filled forest land has winding natural trails, a conservation area and pond, and views of Okanagan Lake. Dogs are also welcome on-leash and Rose Valley Regional Park is open to visitors year-round.

BONUS: If you are looking for a day trip, E. C. Manning Park is about a 3-hour drive from Kelowna and is one of the most popular parks in the province. Located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, the climate and geography make it a perfect natural location for year-round visits. The park has hiking trails for all levels, from 15-minutes walks to a 6-day excursion!

Just because there is snow on the ground, doesn’t mean you hiking enthusiasts need to be stuck indoors. The Okanagan is known for its scenery and wintertime is no exception. So bundle up, pack a snack, and take a relaxing winter hike amongst the trees.

Looking to book a spot for hiking, skiing, or other winter sports? Ask us about La Casa Mirador, our large group vacation rental property in West Kelowna. Open year-round! 

BC Beer
Oct30

Let’s chat about B.C. beer. We talk a lot about wine on this blog. After all, B.C. is considered the “wine country” of Canada. Beer drinkers need not despair! We have plenty of craft breweries in the area, too. B.C. craft beer is rising in popularity, especially on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver proper. That means there is a ton our there for beer lovers to try.

Autumn and winter come with their own flavours (think: dark beers, like stouts, and anything spiced). And B.C.-based breweries are more than accommodating to these seasonal tastes. Try any of these fall/winter season B.C. craft beers. You won’t regret it.

  1. Granville Island Lions Winter Ale

If you don’t already know, Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district in Vancouver, B.C. Granville Island Brewing was Canada’s first modern microbrewery. Their beers are ubiquitous across the province. You’ll have no problem finding the Lions Winter Ale, and more, at any local liquor store. The Lions Winter Ale has a vanilla-like flavour that pairs well with full-flavoured foods and cream-based sauces.

  1. Whistler Brewing Chestnut Ale

You can probably guess by the name, but Whistler Brewing is located in Whistler, British Columbia. This ski-resort-town is bustling with winter sports and year-round entertainment, including eateries and breweries. The chestnut ale is a spiced/herbed beer with a blend of caramel and crystal malts. It’s a “Warm you up from the inside out” kind of drink. The bold, nutty flavour will do well with any rich winter meal.

  1. Hoyne Dark Matter

Hoyne Brewing is located in Victoria, B.C., so if you are staying at one of our Parksville or Qualicum Beach vacation properties, a day trip for a tour is not out of the question. (It’s about a 2-hour drive away.) Dark Matter is a delicious stout-meets-brown-meets-porter. It’s a bit of an enigma, soft to sip with hints of chocolate. This is a beer for everyone, even those who tend to avoid darker brews.

  1. Nelson Brewing Co. Faceplant Winter Ale (Organic)

Nelson Brewing, located in, obviously, Nelson, has been a staple in the local community since 1991. They produce all nature, full-flavoured beers. They are certified organic, producing without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetic engineering. The Faceplant winter Ale has hints of brown sugar and molasses. It’s sweet, malty, dark, and smooth.

  1. Driftwood Satori Harvest Fresh Hop IPA

Driftwood Brewing is located in Victoria, B.C. The Satori Harvest Fresh Hop IPA can only be brewed once a year when fresh Centennial hops are collected from Satori Cedar Ranch near Chilliwack. This IPA is hoppy, floral, piney, smooth, and grassy. Everything we love in a fall and winter season beer. It has a 7% ABV, so enjoy responsibly.

Find something you like thanks to this guide? Let us know online! Use @lacasacottageresort on Facebook and @lacasacottages on Instagram. Want to visit some B.C. breweries first-hand? Ask us about our Kelowna area vacation rentals.

wine pairing lineup
Oct16

Everyone knows that British Columbia is Canada’s wine region. Vineyards may not be open this late into the year but you can expect any local venues to be stocked up with wine from around Kelowna. Here are just a few ideas of what types of wine and food pairings to try.

Savory Squash + Pinot Gris

Squash is in season so you will probably be able to find it on many-a-menu these days. Any savory squash meal should pair well with Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris is rich and spicy and quite popular in B.C. so you’ll find it everywhere. It pairs well with the rich creaminess of squash-based meals (think: pasta, warm salad, or soups).

Meat and Potatoes + Rioja

Steak and potatoes. Sausage and potatoes. Red meat stew. These are perfect cold weather meals because they fill you up and make you feel warm and cozy as the nights get chilly. Try pairing these meals with a Rioja, which is a deep, leathery red with hints of cherry. Want it sweeter? Open a newer bottle. For more savory, pick a Rioja that has been aged.

Apple Cinnamon + Riesling

Cinnamon will be making a grand appearance in a big way in many desserts and even breakfast/bunches. You might find it with apple or pumpkin, which are in season. But what wine goes best with apple cinnamon tarts after a long day? Try Riesling, which is equal parts sweet and acidic—a perfect counterpart.

Turkey Leftovers + Grenache Rosé

If you’ve already celebrated (Canadian) Thanksgiving, you most likely have a fridge packed full of delicious turkey leftovers. You might be finding yourself adding it to everything: soups, salads, sandwiches. How about accenting the inevitable turkey overdose with some nice Grenache Rosé? The ruby rose colour and heightened acidity make it a great fall pairing.

Vegetable Stew + Pinot Noir

Vegetable stew is great to make in bulk and freeze or refrigerate for easy fall meals. Pack it full of lentils, mushrooms, carrots, potato, corn, and anything else you desire. Vegetarian stew lasts longer in the fridge than meat-based counterparts so you don’t have to worry about rushing through it. Pinot Noir is so food friendly it goes with nearly anything but it will keep this particular meal company with it’s rich fruity character.

Lamb + Zinfandel

Thinking about ordering rack of lamb for a luscious, fall meal? Try pairing lamb-based recipes with Zinfandel, which is a perfect fall wine that also goes great with sweet potatoes. Zinfandel has hints of dark fruit and a smoky zest but you can also find earthier varieties.

Looking for a fantastic Fall getaway? Contact us and ask about our vacation properties here in beautiful British Columbia.

Vacation Home Pros
Sep25

Thanks to services like Airbnb, travellers everywhere are rethinking vacation accommodations in a big way. Traditional hotels are fine and are certainly reliable but they have many downsides, too. Vacation home rentals offer a more personal, community-based travel experience that can really add a lot to a vacation or trip.

Let’s take a look at why traditional hotels and motels aren’t keeping up with the times.

The Cons of Staying in a Hotel

So why are modern travellers turning away from common hotel brands? There are a few reasons.

  • Hotels are the Same Around the World. A branded hotel looks pretty much the same from city to city and sometimes even country to country. That means you might be missing out on unique aspects of that culture or community!
  • Hotels are Bad for the Environment. From over-washing sheets and towels to maintaining huge amounts of empty rooms during downtimes, hotels can have quite a negative impact on the environment. In fact, they produce up to 60 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. Yikes! They tend to use a lot of power and water, much more than is needed to sustain a private vacation rental home or cottage.
  • Hotels are Crowded. Vacationing usually means you are looking for some rest and relaxation. But with a packed hotel, you never know what kind of neighbours you are going to get. With other patrons above, below, and on either side of you, you might be exposed to all sorts of racket.

Why we Recommend Vacation Homes

Taking up in a rental home instead of a traditional hotel gets you closer to the community you are visiting, gives you more peace and privacy, and often comes with personable perks that hotel chains don’t offer.

  • Supporting local businesses. Many rental properties (like ours!) are owned and maintained by residents of the province or city itself. That means your money is going right into the hands of long-standing community members, rather than CEOs somewhere oversees.
  • A personal touch. Vacation homes tend to be less stuffy and corporate-feeling, so you can feel right at home asking for recommendations of what to do or reaching out directly to a property manager if you have any concerns.
  • Budget travel. Vacation properties come in all shapes and sizes so you are sure to find something that fits your requirements and budget. You can shop around until you find something that fits your budget perfectly before committing to anything.
  • Last minute travel deals. Vacation rentals often have special deals for any open spaces available on a last-minute notice. For example, you can join our newsletter to be notified about special deals as they arise.

What do you think? Have we convinced you to give up stuffy hotels and try out a unique vacation home bursting with personality? Contact us to see what we have to offer, whether you are booking a quaint overnight stay or a big seasonal bash.

BC music
Sep11

Are you coming to stay in one of our Okanagan vacation homes? Need some music for the trip? Travel can be a bit of a drag, particularly if you are stuck in a car or airplane for a long time. We made a special playlist for you that features all B.C. artists so that you can get in the mood for your stay here!

Not only will a solid playlist make time pass (or accent any good times you are already having during your vacation) but audio is a great memory device. What does this mean? Playing these songs after your trip is over will, hopefully, remind you of how much fun you had.

(Note that not all of these songs may be suitable for children.)

Let us know what you think.

The Best B.C. Artists Playlist

  1. “You’re Too Cool” by The Zolas
  2. “The Party Rages On” by Zumpano
  3. “Misunderstanding” by The Grapes of Wrath
  4. “Funny World” by Mae More
  5. “Of Mice and Men” by John Mann
  6. “These Lines” by Shari Ulrish
  7. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
  8. “Oblivion” by Grimes
  9. “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Bublé
  10. “Força” by Nelly Furtado
  11. “Weapon” by Matthew Good Band
  12. “Home” by Joshua Hyslop
  13. “Run Away With Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen
  14. “I Love Myself Today” by Bif Naked
  15. “Seventh Wave” by Devin Townsend
  16. “Bit By Bit” by Mother Mother
  17. “Capable” by KO

To download the whole playlist on Spotify, use: BC’s Best.

Feel free to add anything else you can think of. After all, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” (according to Plato).

Need some help planning your trip—specifically, where to stay once you are in B.C.? We have a range of vacation homes that we cordially invite you to try out. Contact us for more details and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so that you can watch for special deals.

Travel well!