My mother made me go to Vernon.
This odyssey began with my mother’s announcement that she had not decided whether or not I would be driving her to Vernon, BC, to stay with her friend. Vernon, BC is about 4.5 hours’ drive from Vancouver through the mountains to the Okanagan region. Keep in mind that I had not volunteered to do so, nor had I ever been asked to do so. She continued with: if she did decide that I was driving her, I should bring Hennessy because he would enjoy it. For those of you who don’t know, Hennessy is my 100+lb Mutt.
When I pointed out that her imperial pronouncement did not count as asking nicely, she seemed confused. Such is life with my mother.
Keeping in mind that I had still not agreed to drive her, my mother told her friend I would be driving, and her friend was concerned because she only has one spare room. Mother told her this was not a problem as I would sleep on the floor. She then called me, and with the glee, you would expect if she had, for instance, booked me into the presidential suite for the economy rate told me I was sleeping on the floor.
My mother is 89 and is currently suffering from sciatica and can not operate computerized devices such as a GPS, so while she still drives locally, such a long drive in the unknown territory was out of the question. She knew this, which is, I believe, why she was misbehaving.
Making a martini out of this lemon
I decided to make lemonade, maybe even a lemon drop martini, out of this particular lemon. First, I told my mum what I thought about her sleeping on the floor plan, once again she seemed confused that I wasn’t overjoyed. I assume that is her defense being unable to admit being wrong or thoroughly inconsiderate, then I searched for pet-friendly hotels in Vernon – there are plenty that accommodate large pets. Finally, I asked Son#2 and his fiancée if they would like to join me for a post-graduation (fiancée), post final year online summer class (son#2) break. They live in downtown Vancouver and have been very isolated during the COVID-19 precautions.
At the last minute, my mother decided she was going to bring the collapsible electric wheelchair bought for my father shortly before he passed away. Folding it does make it a bit easier to tore but not any lighter. It made the trip a bit crowded, especially for Hennessy but he toughed it out and we got everything and everyone into my Nissan Rogue. Well done, Rogue. It was a pleasure to drive the whole way.
Waze navigated us to the end of the dirt road in the foothills off Silver Star Road. My mother’s friend lives in a mobile home in a clearing attached to a house. There is woods and a creek. After unloading my mother and her luggage with wheelchair and Hennessy had a run around including wade in the creek we headed down the mountain into Vernon.
The Village Green Hotel was quite comfortable for an affordable pet-friendly hotel. The pet rooms open onto an enclosed grassed area with a couple of large trees. Super for dogs. There are two picnic tables and chairs. I sat out while Hennessey had a wander and a pee. If there was another dog or person, I kept him leashed to be polite. The other room for son#2 and his fiancée faced onto a lovely grassed area with seating and flowers. The COVID precautions limited some things but there were restaurants, coffee, and breakfast within walking distance.
There are also lots of trails. Hennessy and I were quickly able to access the BX trail for our morning walk.
Venon, BC is pet friendly!
Vernon has many enclosed off-leash areas. We chose Muntrie Road dog park as it was fairly close to the hotel. It is grassy and weedy and about the size of half a football field. Lots of room for humans to stroll around, and the dogs can run and run. There were several water bowls and big bottles of water on a bench. Hennessy clearly enjoyed himself, and the other dogs and owners were lovely
Hennessy, the big sap, cried when we left for dinner (this travel thing is new to him) so we took advantage of the easy take out arrangements afforded by the COVID crisis and had dinner on the picnic table in the doggy area.
The Okanagan region is famous for its wine. There are lots of wineries. A friend recently did eleven wineries in four days. Whew! Honestly, none of us were keen on wine tours. Happily, we found other entertainment in liquid form.
Son#2 had and to write an essay exam so we set him up with internet and headed off. We wandered through Polson Park which was pretty.
Tasting yummies for everyone!
We then decided to visit the Honey Bee House. Honey is good. We were pleasantly surprised. As well as local and international honey to enjoy they have a meadery. Honeymoon Meadery We learned where the phrase honeymoon came from. The newly married couple were gifted with enough mead to last them one cycle of the moon. Sounds good to me!!
There was a mead for every taste. Dry to sweet, with and without fruit. Several we tasted were truly excellent. Of course, we brought son#2 here after his exam as a reward. He enjoys mead and this was better than anything we have ever tasted before. The mead I have tasted up until now (bitter, yeasty, and one dimensional) made me wonder what all the fuss was about. Now I know! I highly recommend their Ode to Odin if you like dry and their Nectar of the Sun for sweet. If you are looking for fruity both the Blackberry Twist and the Raspberry Romance are delightful. Their Apple Indulgence is apple pie in a glass with lovely spice depth added to the apple flavor. You can order online at https://www.planetbee.com/product-category/mead/.
We had baked snacks and lunch at the Davidson Orchard Country Village, conveniently located a couple of hundred metres from the meadery. This is a lovely place to while away an afternoon with local food and handmade goods as well as local fruits and vegetable. Mmmmm strawberries. Also dog-friendly as long as they are on leash.
We ended up at the Okanagan Spirits Craft distillery. It is right in Vernon, BC and was a short walk from our hotel. The tasting room is gorgeous. The big copper stills and towers right there to view. It is big and airy while being cozily comfortable too. It also smells amazing! We had the place to ourselves, and the sommelier gave us her full attention. The three of us have quite different tastes, so we all tried something different. The fruit liqueurs are made with their vodka and are complex and fruity, not just sweet. Their Family Reserve Gin starts with local apples, and it is fantastic. I was dubious. Those of you who follow my blog know that Gin is my preferred libation. This gin is complex, delicate, and fruity while still being dry and ginny. Some ice and a patio and summer is set with this gin. The Evolve color-changing gin is not just a gimmick. It has its own distinct flavor which melds perfectly with tonic. The tonic also makes it turn pink. We are talking about working this gin into a ceremonial toast for the wedding. Two things that are wonderful separately melding into something beautiful and new. I also tasted two of their Whiskys. I prefer the Laird of Fintry Single Malt Whisky. They use only local products so they don’t do a peated whisky. That’s fine because while I enjoy peated whiskies, peated whisky is not to everyone’s taste and Okanagan Spirits have demonstrated you don’t need peat to make a delicious whisky.
The next day we drove home, south to Kelowna through the Okanagan. A thoroughly stunning drive. Despite the inauspicious start to this adventure, we had a lovely break in a very pet-friendly area of Vernon, BC, and the Okanagan.
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