Off Season Travel and a quick trip to Osoyoos

Like most people out there we haven’t been on a vaction/trip/anywhere really for over two years so when things opened up (including our schedules) we decided it was time for a quick getaway here in the Okanagan. Bear with me while I unload a bunch of thoughts in to week 6 of doing new things in 2022!

After a bit of research we opted for the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos. Our criteria for choosing were: high likelihood of good/warmer weather/sunshine, lake view, walkable to places to eat and a pool and/or hot tub. Watermark got us all of things – except the pool – they have one but it’s outdoors so not open during the winter. Their hot tub was open though so all good there!

As expected the trip was great, we went at the end of the week so the resort was super quiet, the weather was great and we got to spend some quality time together. It lead to a lot of conversations about off season travel: the challenges and the advantages!

Challenges:
Reduced Hours: In the smaller Okanagan Towns summer is really their time to shine and many places close or operate on very limited hours, travelling in the off season means you have to be ready to adjust your plans and/or do a lot of research to confirm some of your favourite summer places are open.
Reduced Staff: Partially off season, partially covid measures we notices a number of places were operating on very few staff members. Reservations are important especially during these times!
Weather: Even though the Okanagan is warmer than many places in Canada, it does still experience winter and in some areas this means low cloud cover. We lucked out and had clear blue skies the entire time we were there.

Advantages:
No Crowds: Biggest advantage is that you practically have the place to yourself almost anywhere you go!
Private Tastings!: We love off season winery visits: Often it is so quiet that it gives the people working a chance to really share what they love about the wine and talk about their passion. We’ve had so many amazing off season visits and this time to Phantom Creek Estate and Tin Horn Creek were both examples of that. For both visits we have exceptional service and a chance to really learn more about the winery and the wines.

Some Tips/Ideas Gathered from Our Trip – Cool Stuff We Discovered in Osoyoos

  1. 15 Park Bistro To make things simple on our first night at the resort we booked in for dinner at the restaurant in the resort and it was a great choice. The food and service was both excellent. We also were there for the last night of Dine Around Okanagan and opted for the set menu with wine pairing – would definitely do that again!
  2. Lake Village Bakery: We found out about this place from a flier at a brewery we stopped at, while at the Bakery we also discovered a great local coffee roaster: Lone Tree. So a bunch of wins from one random stop for a flight of beer. It pays to have a plan but also to be flexible and go with the flow!
  3. Phantom Creek Estates Another unplanned stop that really turned out well. We booked a reservation for a tasting during a stop for lunch. We were one of only two groups in the Winery and had a great tasting with one of their managers who shared a lot of knowledge of the area and his love of wine. If you are in the area this has got to be a stop. The wine was terrific and the views were amazing.

Some Things we Brought with Us, and Some Things we will Remember for Next Time

  1. Coffee and Cream: We knew the condo had a coffee maker so brought some of our own coffee (and then switched the next day to the Lone Pine coffee we bought at the bakery). We did forget milk though so needed to make a stop to pick some up. Next time we’ll remember both.
  2. Small Britta Filter & Refillable Water Bottles: A water filter is a new addition to our hotel stay packing list and will certainly be a repeat. Although the water is fine to drink it’s nice to have a pitcher of cold water in the fridge to fill up water bottles for the day.
  3. Travel Blankets: We loved the deck at the Watermark, we had early morning sun and a great view of the lake but it was chilly. A couple of light weight travel blankets are going on our off season packing list to make early morning coffee on the deck even more enjoyable.
  4. Binoculars: This is probably a sign we’re getting old. Between trying to see what was on the mountain side across the lake to wondering what kind of bird was flying over the lake a pair of binoculars has been added to our packing list.
  5. Scentsy Mini Warmer/Night Light: Ok, a quick plug for my side hustle of being a Scentsy rep. We really love travelling with one of these mini-warmers. They are a nightlight and we put it in the hotel bathroom to provide a bit of light so there is no need to turn on all the lights in the middle of the night. We don’t always use the scented wax in the warmer for hotel stays but it can be nice to bring a favourite scent. We totally forgot to bring a mini-warmer with us this time but will not forget next time!

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