Food and wine are a big part of the South Okanagan experience – come discover NK’Mip Cellars.

6 Ways to Make Your Indigenous Vacay in the Okanagan More Meaningful

Fall is the ideal time to visit the south Okanagan

The drive from Vancouver into the South Okanagan Valley is one of the most breathtaking in Canada. It shuttles you through Manning Provincial Park and between the peaks of the Cascade Mountains, delivering you to the heart of British Columbia’s picturesque desert landscape, teeming with vineyards, lakes, and never-ending views.

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) has provided stewardship of the land for millennia and helped build what is now one of the province’s finest travel destinations.

The fall is an ideal time to visit. The season presents the region’s colours and colourful character in full splendour. Not only is the landscape at its optimum beauty but the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos are energized by harvest activities, several of which are tied to Indigenous heritage.

Here are ways to discover the depth of experiences in the South Okanagan this fall and to immerse yourself in the culture of the regions as generations before have done.

Find Enrichment at the NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre: Inside and out, this heritage museum offers opportunities to understand the South Okanagan better than any other facility in the valley. The interactive displays and exhibits detail the OIB’s history, including how its members have used plants from the area for medicine and inventive tools. The NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre also has more than 1.5 kilometres of trails to explore, featuring strolls to a traditional pit house and sweat lodge, and close-up views of the unique metal sculptures of artist Smoker Marchand.

Savour Indigenous Food and Wine: The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry launched in April and is garnering rave reviews under executive chef Murray McDonald. McDonald named the restaurant after the Four Food Chiefs, the symbols of sustenance for the OIB. The chef regularly teams with winemaker Randy Hall and his protege Justin Hall at their award-winning NK’Mip Cellars to provide a superb culinary experience at Spirit Ridge Resort — Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The winemaking team returns the favour by making sure Spirit Ridge is stocked with their finest vintages and varietals.

NK’Mip Cellars also participates in some of the wine-focused fall festivals in Oliver and Osoyoos. Notably, the Festival of the Grape features dozens of wineries pouring choice wines for the public, along with live entertainment, an art show, and the not-to-be-missed grape stomp. Strip off your shoes and socks, roll up your pantlegs, and start crushing grapes the very, very old-fashioned way.

Saddle Up On a Horse: Graceful equines have been an integral part of Indigenous life in Western Canada for more than three centuries. Horses have helped OIB communities survive, aiding them in moving to higher ground during floods and in taming the land for irrigation and farming. So, a horseback ride in these parts is as much about culture as it is giddy holiday fun. To get saddled up, visit Indian Grove Stables at Spirit Ridge Resort.

Tee Off in Front of a Legend: Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the NK’Mip Desert Canyon Golf Course is keeping your eyes off of the scenery. The 18-hole course faces directly at n’aylintn, the massive granite monolith that is one of the South Okanagan’s most recognizable landmarks. A round of golf on this course owned by the OIB offers more than exercise and a test of your skill – it gives you plenty of opportunities for memorable snapshots and plenty of challenges for any handicap.

Photograph the Fall Colours: Speaking of cameras, be sure to keep yours handy when you meander through this area rich with flora and fauna. Eye candy awaits in the form of lush autumn colours that splash like paint through the vineyards and along the lakes. Head to the top of Anarchist Mountain for a spectacular view of Osoyoos and its landscape.

Feel the Spiritual Energy: Take it from chef McDonald, a native Newfoundlander who recently relocated to Osoyoos. The desert is full of spirituality that you will want to tap into when you stay at Spirit Ridge Resort. “You get this feeling that comes over you when you first drive up this road. This spiritualness. It’s a special place,” McDonald says, noting Spirit Ridge’s abundance of activities that add to its appeal. “You come to one resort area and you have multiple restaurants, you have a winery, you have a cultural centre, you have a golf course, all within, I can literally, reach out and knock on the winery. They have all that in one little area, and [it] that just makes it that much more of a magical, cool thing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

From Spirit Ridge Resort, visitors enjoy an abundance of nearby activities, including exceptional dining, a winery, cultural centre and golf course.

Inside and out, the NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre offers opportunities to understand the South Okanagan better than any other facility in the valley.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Aquaculture companies’ judicial review challenges reconciliation and Aboriginal Rights: First Nations

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Black Creek residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

CSWM will be closing the landfill in Campbell River and opening the organics composting facility in 2022. In the meantime, the City of Campbell River was hoping for a break on yard waste drop-off for residents. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona waste board upholds yard waste drop-off fee

Campbell River had hoped for waiver until new organics facility opens

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farms seek court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. on Oct. 31, 2018. Several Vancouver Island mayors and members of British Columbia’s salmon farming industry say a federal decision to phase out fish farming has left them feeling “disposable and discarded.” In a letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, they say they weren’t consulted before she announced a plan to phase out open-net pen fish farming in the Discovery Islands over the next 18 months. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward
Strathcona Regional District pens letter to Trudeau about fish farm closure

Minister Jordan, MLA Babchuk and MP Blaney also included in letter

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Most Read