I WAS HEADING WEST on the Trans-Canada highway after a hot and buggy holiday in Alberta when I got an email that made my day. It was from Fred in Guest Services at BC’s Naramata Inn where I would be arriving a few days hence. He wanted to know if I’d like something in my room upon arrival. A bottle of Okanagan wine? Some local cider or beer?
There’s nothing quite like knowing you’re being taken care of before you even reach your destination.
The Naramata Inn has everything going for it – history, geography, an abundance of local produce and proteins, talented owners and enthusiastic staff, including Fred. Executive Chef Ned Bell calls the inn “a restaurant with rooms” and given the booked-to-capacity restaurant on the weeknight that we visit, eating is uppermost on people’s minds, including ours.
I start with a salad of juicy tomatoes and just-picked apricots, followed by pan-fried halibut with local mushrooms. For dessert, a dark chocolate mousse sweetened with Naramata cherries and crispy hazelnut praline completes my mission.
Built in 1908 by the town’s founder, who also pioneered the farming of peaches and other fruit trees in the region, the Inn welcomed some of the Okanagan’s very first tourists. In 2020 it returned to its roots when Bell teamed up with several passionate colleagues to make it a place where “birds of a feather feast together.” Smart guests will also stay for a night – or a few. The inn offers 12 mission-style rooms, each unique, but all with access to the upper veranda with views over the expansive garden. Retaining their period charm, all come with either a classic clawfoot bathtub or deep soaker tub (lavender bath salts and locally made soap provided) and most also boast a modern shower. Fluffy towels, fine bed linens and dressing gowns ensure your stay is restful.
The Naramata Bench boasts more than three dozen wineries, so when you’re ready to explore, wine tasting is a sure bet. Need suggestions? Just ask Fred.
Written by Suzanne Morphet for Cruise and Travel Lifestyles