Indulge in carefree fall fun in Vernon
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Vernon, BC - The sun gleams off the rosy red McIntosh apple enticing me to pick it. So, I do just that. This type of apple thievery is not only tolerated at Davison Orchard, it’s encouraged. In fact, harvesting your own crisp apple right from the tree at Davison (as a guest on their orchard tours) is a fall tradition in Vernon.
Fall is still prime time in Vernon. Come fall the weather is a little cooler and the crowds a little lighter in the Okanagan; ideal conditions for revelling in a weekend of hiking, biking and staying in a luxe, lakeside villa. It’s also the perfect season for harvest tours and cider tastings, for a carefree fall getaway that will hits all the right marks.
Of course, the ideal way to arrive in Vernon for your 'carefree fall getaway' is by Piper Navajo Chieftain. It's the sleek, seven-passenger airplane Cascadia Air flies between Vancouver and Vernon daily that means the North Okanagan's tourist delights are just an hour from the Lower Mainland.
The getting there is easy, and that's just the beginning.
6 tips for carefree fall fun in Vernon
Here are six ways to get into fall in Vernon, for some carefree fun and harvest flavours.
1. Stay lakeside in Vernon
Make your Vernon homebase Outback Lakeside Vacation Homes. As the name suggests, it's a 60-acre community of homes, villas, cottages and cabins nestled on the mountainside that spills down to a secluded beach and cove of Okanagan Lake.
2. Hike at Ellison Provincial Park
The Outback is beside Ellison Provincial Park, which is where you can achieve hiking nirvana. The park has six easy trails around its campground and evergreen forest, most of them highlighting lake views and the waterfront.
3. Swim in Okanagan Lake
Definitely, take a break on the pebbled beach and swim because Okanagan Lake waters are so inviting and remain warm into the fall. And, if you're so inclined, bring a picnic to devour on the beach or at one of the picnic tables.
4. Hike (or bike) some more - and bring your pets!
Vernon has an abundance of hiking trails, including 35 kilometres of well-maintained, pet-friendly ones at Predator Ridge Golf Community. Its trails also feature picnic area stops and stunning views.
If you want the option of hiking or biking then the Okanagan Rail Trail is a must. The former railbed of Canadian National has been transformed into an unbelievable linear park with a trail that meanders 50 kilometres from Coldstream, just outside Vernon, to downtown Kelowna's waterfront.
Arguably the most spectacular section is from the trailhead at Coldstream to Oyama because it hugs Kalamalka Lake, which glitters turquoise from limestone crystals left by past glaciers reflecting light to stunning effect.
5. Tour Davison Orchard
Ask a local or anyone who's visited Vernon before to name the city's quintessential attraction and Davison Orchard will be the answer. Four generations of the family have turned the 120 acres of farm into an agri-tourism showpiece.
"Fall is fabulous here," says marketing manager Tamra Davison. "We are farm to fork, we are a gift shop, produce store, bakery and Farmhouse cafe. We're fun and educational with seasonal events and our famous Johnny Popper Farm Tour."
The train-style tour sees a tractor pull carts made of apple bins through orchards and planted fields with stops for trivia and apple picking. The main street at Davison resembles a 1930s village, a nod to 1933 when Grandpa Davison established the orchard.
6. Taste the Okanagan
Before you leave you have to drop by the Farmhouse Cafe for the famous Applelanche - an apple juice slushie to die for. If hungry (and you will be!), go for a Grandpa's Favourite (turkey and havarti cheese sandwich) with peach pie for dessert.
An evening at Cambium Cidery will top off any Vernon visit. Set in 30 acres of apple orchard, it's the rebranded BX Press Cidery.
"The BX name served us well for our first 10 years," says Missy Dobernigg, who owns and operates the cidery with her husband, Dave. "But Cambium is perfect for our new chapter of growth, opening a farm-to-table restaurant and continuing to make 25 different, quality ciders."
Besides cider sipping in the orchard or in the tasting room, there's also a patio where Tunes & Tapas live music events are held every Thursday night and Family Dinner is on Sunday nights.
By the way, cambium is a botanical term that refers to the tissue under the bark of a tree that gives rise to new growth. A fall visit to Vernon, for beaches, trails and orchards, is just the cambium you need to prepare for your own new growth.
When You Go
Add some excitement to your visit by checking out some of Vernon’s local fall events (as listed on FestivalSeekers.com):
- Sept 23 - Oct 16: BC Culture Days
- Sept 30 - Oct 30: Field of Screams
- Oct 1 - 31: Pumpkin Picking Festival
For more things to do and places to stay, eat and explore, check out TourismVernon.com.
More ways to #ExploreVernon
Add some more epic to your fall with more Vernon travel ideas here.