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Family Vacation
Mar02

Planning a Family Vacation – What You Need to Know

Family vacations give parents and kids alike a great opportunity to relax, recuperate from the stresses of school and work, and make lasting memories together. Planning a family vacation, however, can be time-consuming and stressful.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind while planning your family trip.

  1. Set a Budget

The first thing you should do is decide how much you want to spend on this trip. There are plenty of websites that can give you estimates for how much different locations costs for a family trip. Narrow it down to what you can afford to spend. You will be able to easily budget for “known” expenses like plane tickets, lodging, events, and other travel related expenses. However, you will also have to decide how much “free money” you will bring per day. This is for things like eating out or shopping for souvenirs. This is also what makes or breaks a trip budget usually. Don’t forget to have emergency money ready in case something happens during the trip (an unexpected expense or accident).

  1. Book Everything Early

Family vacations are usually centered around designated weeks off for the local school system. Sometimes you share these prime vacation dates with nearby cities, the whole country, or even multiple countries. This is why it’s wide to book flights, lodging and activities as far in advance as possible so that you aren’t fighting for space at the last minute. As soon as you receive the school year calendar, start thinking about when you want to travel and where you want to go.

  1. Pick Accommodations

Depending on where you are going and what your budget is, you may have plenty of accommodation options to choose from. You can get a villa or vacation home, a hotel/motel, stay at a resort, lodge on a cruise ship, Airbnb/VRBO a private space, rent or buy an RV, stay in a tent if camping is an option, and much more. You should pick your accommodation based on (A) Your budget, (B) How many rooms or beds you require, and (C) Where you are going.

  1. Make an Itinerary

What time do you need to leave for the airport? What airline are you taking? When will you arrive at your destination? Do you have any layovers? How are you getting to the hotel? Are you renting a car once you arrive? Building an itinerary of the basics will help you stay organized. Plus, you can print it off and distribute it to members of your family so that everyone stays on the same page through the trip. This will also help prevent any miscommunication, as all the details are written where everyone can see them.

  1. Plan Daily Activities

Depending on the type of trip, you will want to plan 1-2 activities for the family to do together per day. This might be something elaborate like going to an amusement park or it might be something simple like cooking dinner together. Family vacations should be about spending time together so it’s nice to have some activities around which to center that. Be sure to leave some space open every day for lounging, walking through town, or doing something spontaneous. Everyone will appreciate having some “them time” available here and there to read a book or take a nap by the pool.

If all of this sounds a bit much to take on, try using a travel agent. They can take care of the basics for your family vacation so you can focus on making each day special and unique.

Get planning your family summer getaway now, and check out our great selection of cottages!

 

cocktails
Feb27

Easy DIY Cold-Weather Cocktails

Hopefully we are nearing the end of all this cold, but until then, here are some ‘warm-you-up’ cocktails, perfect for a cozy night at home.  Nothing can keep you warm while it snows quite like a hearty winter cocktail. These 7 cocktails are perfect for the cool weather season and super easy to make yourself at home.

  1. The Winter Bramble Cocktail

This wintry-themed cocktail features your choice of gin, Crème de mûre, lemon juice, blackberries to muddle and as garnish, and homemade Cinnamon and Star Anise Syrup that can be mixed in or drizzled on top. Vibrant, bold, and tart, this drink is perfect for warm evenings by the fireplace.

  1. Sex on a Snowbank

This 3-ingredient cocktail is super easy to whip up so long as you have a blender and some ice on hand. You only need Malibu Rum, cream of coconut, and some shredded coconut for the rim. This frothy, ivory drink just screams winter wonderland. Blend the ingredients together and serve in a martini glass for an uber-elegant look.

  1. Chocolatey Winter Cocktail

If you’re a fan of hot cocoa, you’ll love this next winter-themed cocktail. Notes of chocolate, nutmeg, and vanilla will remind you of your favorite wintery baked goods. It’s simple to make, too. Boil milk, half and half cream, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla extract in a saucer. Turn off the heat and add some cocoa powder. Add vodka.

  1. Winter Sangria

The best part of sangria is that slight modifications can make it perfect for any season. This winter variety has a flavor profile with cranberries, pomegranates, and cinnamon. Typically, sangria is made with red wine but there are white wine varieties, as well. Use fruits that pair well with the wine you are using and make sure it has time to sit and soak up the flavors.

  1. Winter Spiced Negroni

Made with Infused Navy Strength Gin, Campari, Antica Formula, and hot water – this wintertime cocktail is super easy to throw together. Make the infused Gin yourself with your choice of gin, 4 cloves, 2 star anise, 1 liquorice stick, and 1/2 tsp of allspice and let it sit for 24-hours. This spiced drink is rich and warm, perfect for the holidays.

  1. Winter Waltz

Winter Waltz is a twist on the Sazerac containing Angostura Bitter, Rye Whiskey, Amaro Averna, and All Spice Dram. Warm, golden, and savory, this is the perfect snow-day drink. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake vigorously until the shaker gets frosty. Strain into a lightly chilled martini glass and enjoy.

  1. Winter Ginger Recipe

Ginger, apple, and cinnamon are the perfect winter flavor trio. Spicy, sweet, and hearty, this cocktail is sure to keep you warm this snowy season. Start by simmering Ginger Liqueur, apple juice, and hard apple cider. Let the mixture cool before pouring into a brandy sniffer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Voila.

Hopefully these special seasonal cocktails bring you warmth and comfort as the weather dips. Another tip to get your head out of the cold? Look ahead to the warmer weather and start planning your cottage vacation! Sign up to our newsletter and be first to know about new sales and promotions!

 

Romantic Restaurants Kelowna
Feb10

4 Romantic Restaurants in Kelowna for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is upon us and whether you are a Kelowna local or visiting from afar we know you will be looking for the best romantic restaurants in town.

Bouchons Bistro

Located on Sunset Drive, a short walk away from the waters of Lake Okanagan, Bouchons Bistro is a sophisticated French Bistro that has been a fixture in Kelowna since 2004. And no one does romance quite like the French. Parisian décor cocooned by a soft, rich ambiance awaits you as you pour through their extensive wine menu featuring offers from both British Columbia and France.

With their robust brunch and dinner options, you can book your reservation for mid-afternoon or late-night. Try the Cassoulets (rich, slow-cooked casseroles), Foie gras de canard (Duck Foie Gras), or Lapin à la moutarde (Rabbit in mustard sauce) for an authentic French meal.

The Bohemian Cafe & Catering Co.

In the heart of downtown on Berard Avenue, The Bohemian Cafe & Catering Co. is perfect for a romantic breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Open until 2 – 2:30 PM daily, this café has an award-winning menu (Best of Kelowna) filled with locally sourced options. If “sustainable” is the three syllables that warm your cheeks on V-Day, then Bohemian Café is for you.

A warm, bright atmosphere will make you feel like you’re eating at your home-away-from-home. Choose from homemade back bacon, homemade breadstuffs, and homemade jam to complete the cozy, romantic feel.

RauDZ Regional Table

Nestled right on Water Street, with the lake but a stone’s throw away, RauDZ Regional Table is the perfect date-night spot. Reclaimed heartwood pine tables, photographic artwork adorning the walls, and 100% local wine offerings work together to create the perfect Valentine’s Day in Kelowna experience.

Share a double chocolate mashed potato almond brioche with almond milk cremeaux, warm chocolate sauce, brittle cocoa tuile, and raspberry sorbet. And don’t forget to try a gin and tonic with RauDZ Creative Concepts’ farm-to-flask gin, The Whole Truth.

West Coast Grill + Oyster Bar

Right off of Harvey Avenue on Abbott Street, you’ll find West Coast Grill + Oyster Bar, featuring beachy, relaxing, and upbeat décor. The extensive food menu boasts Ocean Wise sensibilities, gluten-sensitive choices, and vegetarian options. The pacific fish fritters and/or calamari are perfect for sharing between a couple.

Dine on Thursday for their “Two can dine for $45” special. This includes your choice of four chef-inspired entrees, a salad each, and a shared dessert. Signature drinks include a rich and spicy WCG Caesar and a fresh, fruity gin-based Pimm’s Cup.

 

Sure, Valentine’s Day can be corny and corporate. But when you focus on time spent together–over good food, no less!–it can be something really special. Take this Valentine’s Day to tell your special someone all the things you love about them over a romantic dinner and drinks.

 

Planning a special anniversary? La Casa Mirador is open to book all year round and can sleep up to 28 people!  Contact us to start planning your next big event!

Skiing & Snowshoeing
Feb03

Where to Do the Best Skiing and Snowshoeing in the Okanagan

Everyone loves a good summer vacation. But what are we supposed to do for the other 10 months of the year? The winter season actually has plenty to offer adventurers looking to get away for a long weekend or more.

Sporty travelers heading to the Okanagan have plenty of trails and skill hills to choose from – and we’ve compiled some of the best!

Tip: Many of these locations offer both skiing and snowshoeing, so be sure to read their website or call ahead to see what’s available!

Okanagan Ski Resorts

If skiing or snowboarding is your thing, these hills are the best in the west:

  1. SilverStar Mountain Resort

SilverStar Mountain Resort boasts 132 runs, a ski-in ski-out village, and seasonal festivals that bring live music, food and drink, and other activities to the hill. You’ll find it in the Shuswap Highland of the Monashee Mountains, just northeast of Vernon, B.C.

  1. Big White Ski Resort

Big White Ski Resort is so infamous that some students attend Kelowna’s UBC university campus just to have access to their legendary runs. With 118 designated Alpine trails and over 25 km of Nordic trails, you have plenty of mountain to explore.

  1. Apex Mountain Resort

Located near Penticton, Apex Mountain Resort has 4 lifts, 79 marked runs, over 40 unmarked runs, 4 terrain parks, and over 5000 ha of backcountry terrain. The village resort has everything you need between runs, like a bistro and saloon.

Okanagan Snowshoeing

There are plenty of places to snowshoes, here are some local favorites:

  1. Kettle Valley Railway

Accessible via Myra forestry service road, June Springs road, or Chute Lake road, the Kettle Valley Railway is a trail that runs through Myra Canyon near Kelowna. The total trekking distance is 12 km out and back with a 150m elevation gain.

  1. Kelowna Nordic

20 min east of Kelowna, just off Hwy 33 on McCulloch FSR, Kelowna Nordic is a dog-friendly park with 75 km of snowshoeing trails, a toboggan hill, a day lodge, special events from time-to-time, and warming huts along the routes.

  1. Telemark Nordic Club,

Find the Telemark Nordic Club west of Okanagan Lake near the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. The area has 5 snowshoe trails ranging from 2 km to 15 km, depending on what you’re looking for. In total, they have over 50 km of trails to enjoy.

Skiing, snowshoeing, or all of the above! There’s plenty to do in the Okanagan during the wintertime. Stop by and enjoy everything that our landscapes and trails have to offer, even during “off” season.

Want to plan a skiing or snowshoeing getaway? La Casa Mirador is open to book all year round and can accommodate up to 28 people! We’ve also got a private roof top hot tub to warm up in after a long day in the snow! Contact us to start planning your next winter vacation!

Family Day Activities
Jan27

Family Day Activities in the Kelowna Greater Area

Family Day lands on Monday, February 17th, 2020 this year – a perfect time to enjoy some long weekend activities together with friends and family. Or, take a mini vacation to recharge yourself in the Okanagan Valley this winter season.

Whether you are traveling with children, with a S.O., or on your own, you will be able to find the perfect event this Family Day:

Families with Kids

  1. Skating at Stuart Park Outdoor Rink
    Open daily from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM
    Free to skate; rental equipment can be purchased

With skates available from Bladez Skate Truck for $4 – $5 apiece ($2 for helmet), Stuart Park Outdoor Rink is the perfect whole family activity for Family Day weekend. Check the live camera updates on their site to ensure the rink is open before stopping by, as weather conditions and maintenance cause temporary closures at time.

  1. Vernon Winter Carnival: Family Day in the Park
    Saturday, Feb 15 starting at 11:00 AM
    Free to enter.

Located at Paddle Wheel Park in Vernon, B.C., this family-friendly afternoon event features games, a bouncy castle, the Annual Polar Bear Swim (1:00 PM), balloon creations, carnival pals, s’mores and hot chocolate, a bonfire, and so much more. There will also be BBQed Johnsonville sausages available by donation.

  1. Spread the Love event at East Kelowna Market
    Sunday, Feb 16 starting at 10:00
    Free to enter, items for purchase available inside

Join the East Kelowna Market for a selection of art, craft, and food vendors; wine tastings from local wineries; live music; an arty DIY corner for painting wooden hearts; and more. The first 50 guests will receive a sweet baked treat and be entered to win a prize basket. Homemade soup is available by donation with proceeds going to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Couples or Solo Adults

  1. Wine and Yoga at Volcanic Hills Estate Winery
    Saturday, Feb 15 at 10:00 AM
    $20 fee

Located in beautiful West Kelowna, Volcanic Hills Estate Winery offers an early afternoon Wine and Yoga event for anyone 19+. The 15,000-square-foot property is located on Boucherie Mountain, a 60-million-year-old dormant volcano, which inspired the winery’s name. Their wine names follow the theme with items like “Magma” and “Eruption.”

  1. DeTox + ReTox Yoga at Rustic Reel Brewing Company
    Sunday, Feb 16 at 8:30 AM
    $20 fee

The Kelowna Greater Area is renowned for its home-grown wine selection. But they have started to break into the craft beer market in line with the growing trend across B.C.! Enjoy 75 minutes on the mat with Rustic Reel Brewing plus a 10oz cider, kombucha, or beer. This event is BYOM (“Bring Your Own Mat”).

  1. The Science of Whiskey at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
    Monday, Feb 17 at 6:30 PM
    $60 fee

Hosted at Western Canada’s oldest craft distillery, this blind whiskey tasting night is the perfect Family Day event for those looking to mix-and-mingle over drinks. For this event, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery will guide you through sampling a few of their products and explain the process of their creation.

While not every province observes Family Day, British Columbia sure does! So join the friendly Okanagan residents for a relaxing and fun-filled Family Day this 2020.