Penticton is the main town of the central Okanagan, the great divide between the north and south valley, and the perfect hub for settling in during wine touring. The Saturday Farmers’ Market is a mainstay of summer and fall in BC, and one of the largest and most colorful weekend markets in the province, with numerous downtown city blocks taken over by the freshest vendors and performers and customers queuing up to get their favorites (Little Farm Bread, Joy Road Catering, coffee from Backyard Beans are not to be missed!).
If you’re in the town between the lakes (Okanagan to the north and Skaha to the south) during the winter months you’re also in luck, because tiny hidden gem Apex Mountain Resort is just a short drive away, one of the best small mountain ski resort in Canada. Nearby Naramata Bench is famous for both its wines and vistas, and the views afforded from its steep banks over the picturesque lake are legendary.
There are a number of lakeside motels and hotels, but one that can’t be overlooked is a few blocks off the water, heading towards town. The Ramada Penticton Hotel & Suites is a little world unto itself, conveniently two blocks from the Okanagan River Channel, three blocks from Lake Okanagan and one block to the convention center. Hinged on a peaceful green courtyard and alongside the local golf course, this pet-and family-friendly property has a number of large and comfy rooms and suites to fit corporate guests, couples or large groups.
One of the biggest draws for me is the onsite Kettle Valley Station Pub. This is where the locals go for a pint and woodfired pizza (the Forno oven pizzas are highly recommended!). The menu features local and organic offerings, and reflects the bounty of the seasons in the Okanagan. Of course, being in the heart of wine country, the wine list at the KVS Pub is plentiful with local wines, many hard to find—even locally—and available by the glass. My favorite list though is for their beer. Numerous local and international offerings are regularly available, including the elusive Back Hand of God Stout, on tap when I visited recently. If you can’t decide from the lengthy beer list, ask to take a look in the Beer Cave—this glassed cellar of beer is the ideal thing to explore after a full day of tasting in wine country.