Naramata Inn’s Chef Ned Bell and Kate Colley share the area’s best spots for getting a truly local experience with Scout Magazine.
- Where to take a walk or hike in nature; Naramata Creek Park. This 2.4km, hour long hike follows Naramata Creek up through a deep river canyon to a beautiful cascading waterfall. Or Rock Ovens. Rock Oven Regional Park is a collection of stone and rock ovens built between 1911 and 1915 located on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR). The park is a collection of hiking trails leading to 10+ rock ovens which were built by the immigrant workers while building the Kettle Valley Railway. The rock ovens served as ovens to bake bread and feed the workers. The Rock Oven Regional Park is accessed by hikers and mountain bikers only. No road access. The route along the KVR to the rock ovens includes two tunnels and should take 3-4 hours to reach when hiking. From the trailhead on Smethhurst Road, the trail first leads explorers to Little Tunnel (rock tunnel and some great views). From the tunnel continue along the trail through the McCullough switchbacks and then to the regional park and the Adra Tunnel (collapsed rock tunnel).
- Where to stop for coffee; Just Baked:: Naramata Street Coffee – not to be missed, serving locally roasted coffee and baked goods. If doing the Creek Falls hike though, hit up Legend Distilling before or after. They do great picnic bento boxes, or head inside for a bite on the patio, or load up on their pre-made cocktails – most with a Naramata twist – Rhubarb Negronis, Farmberry Cosmos, Manhattans. Their housemade spirits are worth the stop, as well. Try the Blasted Brew and Naramaro. Add a splash to your coffee.
- Where to eat breakfast, brunch or lunch; Neverland Tea Cottage – one of Vancouver’s most beloved tea houses, now has a destination tea cottage in Naramata. Neverland Tea Salon was founded in 2013 by two childhood friends with a shared love for decadence, whimsy and adventure. Now, eight years later, this adventurous spirit has led them to the magical lakeside village of Naramata. Surrounded by vineyards, orchards, mountains and a peacock named Kevin. Locals’ favourite breaky is Grape Leaf, a Naramata must. If you wait long enough it’s also a guaranteed peacock sighting. Owner Elisa and family have been giving the take-out window heavy use these past 18 months, but pre-Covid they were dine-in and also boast a summer patio. Everybody goes there and the food is excellent. Try the build-your-own-breakfast-sandwich, hibiscus iced tea, locally made chai, veggie breakfast scramble, and, when in the mood, a giant stack of pancakes. Great sandwiches and salads too.
- Where to adventure; A bike ride! Get a ride to the Glenfir access to the KVR Trail and wheeeeee down the KVR, past Little Tunnel, Arawana Station, history and insane views. Keep going past Smethurst and, heck, keep on going to Penticton. The rolling vineyards, lake views and farmhouse are straight out of a movie. Pass Hillside Winery for a drink or snack (there’s a new brewery going in that everyone is excited about, further towards Penticton) and pause at the Bench Market for some pear juice, a Canadiano, and their addictive granola bars. This path actually takes you all the way to the S.S. Sicamous at the west end of Okanagan Lake where there is this tiny slice of Paris in a really French feeling creperie. You need both a sweet and a savoury.
- Where to go for an adult beverage; There’s a bundle of breweries in Penticton. The newest is owned by Naramatians and is called Neighbourhood Brewing. They have a youthful, fun vibe and serve Tex Mex, like burritos stuffed with steak and tater tots. People seem to favour Slackwater Brewing for overall food and fun.
- Where to eat dinner; You cannot miss Elma. It has the best food. Their “Elma Bread” plus labne, hummous, olives – seriously, everything on the mezze offerings – but you can’t miss the cocktails (Elma Sour!) and the labne. Tip; over-order, over-eat, and then wander the strip afterwards.
- Where to patio; THE BISTRO at Hillside Winery. Be delighted, while you savour interesting flavour combinations and ingredients that pair beautifully with the unique and compelling taste of Hillside’s award winning wines that are crafted exclusively from Naramata-grown grapes. And with breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake as the backdrop. Also can’t miss Wayne & Freda – coolest coffee shop in Penticton.
- Where to watch the sunset; From Little Tunnel up the KVR overlooking Okanagan Lake. For easy access, enter from the north side, there is a gravel parking lot off Chute Lake Road (at the 3km mark just past Glenfir Rd). From here you can actually drive along the KVR. Use extreme caution driving along the narrow gravel road, though. There is a very small paved parking lot just before the tunnel. The pavement continues on to and through the Little Tunnel, making it easily accessible for everybody. Too much work? Sunset from the Wharf Park Train Docks are just as nice, as it’s right on Okanagan Lake.
- Where to stay; The best thing about Naramata is the community. Many unique spots to stay – vacation rentals, B&Bs, Winery guest houses, 113-year-old inns (ahem). The Village Motel is a great place to stay near the Inn. Many units have kitchenettes, a cute courtyard, close to everything, lovely onsite owners. Also, our friends (heavy with Four Seasons pedigree) have opened up a few B&Bs this year including the right-in-the-village, L’alma Art House. They are art-centric, luxury-minded and lovely. Therapy Vineyards Suites are gorgeous, and everyone loves Sandy Beach Resort, but you have to book about 10 years ahead.
- What to pack; A camera to get a shot of one of our local peacocks that roam the village, they are both known as “Kevin”. And, really cozy stretchy pants that double as dinner out pants. You’re going to want to eat, drink, be comfy, prepare to relax, slow down, enjoy. Really comfy shoes – you might surprise yourself with how far you want to walk and wander. A book, a cooler, a water bottle for sunset wine time. Don’t bring your laptop; forget your phone charger. If you really want to get away, Naramata is here for you.
Read the full Scout Magazine article here.
Photo credit: Jon Adrian