Route 97, Canada's Epic Roadtrip.

 
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I’m a gal who loves to vagabond off the beaten path where getting slightly lost is an exciting part of a  perfectly serendipitous adventure. My most cherished memories are derived from moments when I let my sense of wanderlust over-ride my sense of convention, times when I kicked caution to the curb and reason to the wind.

Admittedly  I am not a fan of guided tours or all-inclusive resorts. I don't like partaking in meticulous trip planning, travel site sleuthing or searching for contrived photo-op experiences to include in a neat and processed itinerary - in fact I don't much like itineraries. What I do like is hanging out with the locals. gathering a few insider tips and booking my next stop from the road.

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When I first arrived in the Okanagan, there really wasn’t any way to gather tips for my kind of trip, so I had to discover the hidden gems, DIY Trips and special stops on my own. That’s what inspired me to create Okanagan Valley Vagabonds.

As a communicator and visual junkie, it was important for me to ensure the valleys hidden gems had a way to be discovered by the right tribe - my tribe. I wanted to create an on-line treasure map for vagabonds to follow - where x marks the spot to the best places to EAT, SIP and PLAY. So, if you’re a traveler seduced by the promise of a whimsical road-trip, or you simply love wandering off the beaten path in search of hidden waterfalls, desert climbs and off-grid yoga - Okanagan Valley Vagabonds is your treasure map to the Valley. Loaded with visual stimulus the site tells the story of the Okanagan, it’s people and special places - it helps you unplug as you prepare to experience the uncluttered elegance of farm to table food and paradise viewed through an unfiltered lens.

From dazzling desert hikes, to the sultry seduction of the valleys vineyard benches, the Okanagan is Mother Nature’s playground. Breathtaking geography and an endless strand of picture perfect lakes offer roadside reflections that intrigue our imagination igniting our sense of wanderlust. As the Okanagan River meanders lazily through the valley so does the Kettle Valley Railroad, a retired expanse of track perfect for cycling or hiking the terrain. If you prefer to paddle, Okanagan lake flows unfettered from Vernon to Penticton where the lazy river channel connects it to Skaha Lake. Quite frankly - it doesn’t matter how you vagabond the valley, what matters is that you do it right.

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Understanding the handcrafted elegance, and harmonious relationship our chefs, winemakers, farmers and artisans share with the land is an expedition of discovery all its own.  Ours is a crafty destination offering up a plethora of small batch breweries, cideries, distilleries and markets serving everything from amazing cheeses to fruit wines and honey.  Influenced by the diversity of settlers who immigrated from around the world the Okanagan is rich in culture. As you drive along Route 97 you’ll recognize shades of Tuscany, France and Morocco along with a little hint of Arizona - which I attribute in part to the spectacular golf courses beckoning you to slow down and book a round. We challenge you not to.

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Having said this, I would be remiss not to mention that we are much more than a one-season wonder; the valley’s a robust four-season destination unrivalled for the range of recreation available at ones fingertips.  Our magnificent Monashee Mountains are perfect for ski enthusiasts seeking champagne powder in spring skiing conditions, while our southernmost Lake Osoyoos is boasted to be the warmest in Canada. We’re also home to many species of wildlife unique to our terrain and climate.  Bird watching enthusiasts, fishermen and star gazers from around the globe come to experience the natural wonder of our lands and its inhabitants.

The Okanagan Valley has grown up, and grown up well. Certainly, there’s a bit of urban sprawl here and there but for the most part there aren’t any skyscrapers obstructing your view of a starlit night or any set rules that determine how you play your days away. So, welcome to my Okanagan and my website – unplugged, unfiltered and ready to explore.

 

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Kylie Woods