O’Keefe Ranch- A Fun Escape to The Past

Okeefe Ranch
Photographer
Mark Matthews

O’Keefe Ranch- A Fun Escape to The Past

Our visit to O’ Keefe Ranch was a first-time experience at a ranch for both my girlfriend Chelsea and I. Leaving the sounds of the highway behind and stepping onto the soft dirt pathways of the working historic ranch was instantly a refreshing experience. There was a day of fun activities planned for us that we immediately took on with newbie gusto! We learned so much. From how to drive a stagecoach, to blacksmithing, to everything there is to know about the O’Keefe Family who homesteaded in 1867.

Tourism Vernon wants you to Activate Life this summer. Start here.

Okeefe Ranch
Photographer
Mark Matthews

Pieces of history from the ranch are scattered all over the property.

Expert horsemen, Clyde, welcomed us with open arms and shared his expertise and love for horses. His commands to the horses had them trained like dogs and fined tuned like a bicycle. Harnessed to the stagecoach they responded to his every action. It reminded me of how professional mountain bikers are with technical details. Perhaps back in the day I would have raced horses!

Okeefe Ranch
Photographer
Mark Matthews

Clyde even gave me the opportunity to practice driving the Stagecoach solo.

These horses are not just a form of transportation; the thrill you get from galloping the horse, ripping fast, and experiencing the landscape around you is a really cool way to see places, much like on a mountain bike. It’s funny how one of the oldest forms of human transport is almost forgotten about today. Visiting places like the O’Keefe Ranch is the perfect way to step back in time and learn about the past – in real time!


Another favourite part of the visit was the introduction to the art of blacksmithing. Patrick, of The Dancing Scot Forge, is the metal wizard working at the O’Keefe Ranch. We came in during the middle of a class and he had zero problem finding time to teach me some skills. His passion for forging in steele and his creations is very inspiring. Learning the basics on how to forge a taper was a really fun challenge that made me appreciate this craft even more.

Okeefe Ranch
Photographer
Mark Matthews

The most beginner skill set of blacksmithing is still very challenging!

It’s safe to say Chelsea loved the animals: “I fell in love with every horse I met. You could tell they're all friends by the way they neigh at each other as they pass. Same with the ducks. They’d quack in response to a greeting and the peacocks have no issue showing off their feathers. I felt like I had been transported to a magical fairyland and I never wanted to leave!”

Strolling through the old homestead under big shady trees and past heirloom plants and flowers was wonderful. We had a gorgeous, hot June day to spend learning about the ranch and it couldn't have been more perfect.

Every single person working there could not have been more pleasant. It was such a joy meeting everyone and witnessing first hand their passion not only for the ranch, but for the history behind it as well.

Okeefe Ranch
Photographer
Mark Matthews

Touring via stage coach was a fun way to explore the property!

In short, this place is such a good time! All the employees are so happy, welcoming, and the vibes are very peaceful. We will definitely be returning on our next trip to Vernon. It's a special piece of paradise in the Okanagan with a really inspiring history.
 

For more information about the Historic O’Keefe Ranch visit the official web page here. https://okeeferanch.ca/

The Ranch opens to the public from early May until late September.

Hours: May and June 10:00 am to 5:00 pm - July and August 10:00 am to 6:00 pm - September 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Pets on a leash are very welcome but are restricted from entering any of the heritage buildings

Adults (19 – 59): $13.50

Seniors (60+): $12.00

Youth (13 – 18): $10.00

Children (6 – 12): $8.50

Toddlers (5 and under): FREE

Family Day Pass: 2 Adults and 3 School-aged Children up to the age of 18: $33.00

Tourism Vernon wants you to Activate Life this summer and explore, start here.

Learn more about exploring the Vernon area and book a stay in one of the 26 hotels and motels in Vernon.

Old school vs new school horsepower. Make the most of your time to #ExploreVernon. Once done learning about the “old school horsepower” housed at the O’keefe Ranch, hit the new school horse and saddle up with @SilverStarBike for a spin. Check out Mark’s SilverStar biking adventure here.

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