Celebrating 7 Years | Our Trip to the Okanagan Valley

This is how the conversation always goes. Someone finds out we’re married. They then lead with, “Oh, that’s nice. How long have you been married?” I now say, “About seven years.” Then I wait for the next question, which always comes with a strange bit of horrified face contortion and pity. “How old are you?/How old were you when you got married?”

There are two main factors contributing to this. The fact that I apparently look 18 (despite Canada’s 19-year-old drinking age, I am IDed nearly ever time I seek out a bottle of Cru Beaujoulais) and the fact that I “got married young.” Yep, I got married at the age of 22. It’s young. When I look at 22-year-olds, even I think, wow, that’s young to get married. Frankly, though, I’m tired of hearing about how incredibly young I was when I got married.

My life hasn’t gone much like I thought it would. I didn’t expect to be married at 22. I didn’t think I ‘d move to Tennessee. I didn’t think I’d ever really learn another language. I never once thought I’d live in a park in Argentina and spend nights camping with venomous snakes and days chasing after Chaqueño woodpeckers. I didn’t think I’d spend my days off pedaling on my bike to watch for seals. But I’m sure glad I have. And more importantly (and oh-so-sappily–deal with it reader, I only get one anniversary post per year), I’m glad I did it all with this fella.

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This year, we chose to celebrate our marital trip around the sun with a visit to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The valley is known for being a summer tourist destination, its orchard fruits, and its wines. Seeing as we were a bit early for the orchard fruit season and we were on an anniversary trip, we decided to visit a few wineries and take in a few good meals.

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Our winery visits over two days included Mission Hill (the obligatory Okanagan stop), Quail’s Gate, Poplar Grove Winery, and See Ya Later Ranch.

We started out at Mission Hill, a winery which leaves an impression, even if the impressee has visited Napa Valley and Mendoza in the last year. The views are beautiful and buildings ornate. It feels a bit overdone compared to the rest of the region, but thankfully casual dress and wine newbie questions are still welcomed. If you want to feel like you’re in Napa, go here. It really is worth the 12 dollar fee to join a quick tour and taste a few of the wines.

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Like good tourists, we took a lot of photos at our first stop.  After that, we pretty much let the camera rest in the rental car. Of the other wineries we visited, we really enjoyed Poplar Grove, for the view, for the wine, and for its eco-consciousness. See Ya Later Ranch, although highly recommended to us, had great views and probably some nice, pretension-free food (we went before the restaurant opened for the season), didn’t thrill us quite as much.

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Naturally, we made a point to eat well on our minication. Our first stop in Kelowna was at The Salted Brick. The Salted Brick is one of those places that offer charcuterie boards, cheeses, simple sandwiches on baguettes, soups, and salads. It seems like you can’t be a restaurant these days without having a charcut and cheese board offering. Trendy as it is, I am grateful for it. I love having these options.

Our other notable food-stop was our annual expensive-taste anniversary meal. We ate at Waterfront Wines Restaurant in Kelowna and although spending a pretty penny, greatly enjoyed our meal. The place has all that you’d expect from a fancy restaurant. The thing is, I did feel as though it was trying hard to be fancy, but seemed to fall just short in terms of atmosphere. Fortunately, we care more about the food. With the food, I found zero faults. Everything we ordered was well-cooked and spot on. Wild mushroom risotto, seared scallops. All delicious.

Unfortunately, our tiny table for two was next to a group of three academics still reeling from a just-finished dissertation defense. Instead of having a romantic anniversary conversation, we passed the meal holding in our snickers during their size-you-up competition thinly veiled as getting-to-know-each-other-outside-of-work chit chat.

All in all, we had a great time. If you’d thought you’d exhausted your North American wine regions, consider the Okanagan. The Okanagan Valley is such a low-key wine experience and definitely worth the drive from Vancouver. The drive itself is beautiful anyway. Ideally, I’d suggest making a three-day weekend in the Okanagan Valley, rather than cramming it into two days like we did.

Here’s to another year! Wish I could tell you I had some idea where we’d be celebrating year 8, but guess that’s half the fun 🙂

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