Wine Tasting

Great Wine North of the Border - Kelowna, Canada

Driving into Canada was quite the thrill. We had no idea what to expect - having heard mixed reviews as to whether it would be an all-day ordeal, or a drive-right-in kind of experience. Thankfully, it was the latter. (Make sure you have your passports, and if you’re bringing your pet(s) that you have their proper documentation!) We waited maaaaaaybe 20 minutes to cross the border - and just like that, we were in Canada!!

We entered through the Oroville/Osoyoos area (which was SO FAST), and the drive into Kelowna was absolutely breathtaking. We passed through lush farmland with dozens of produce stands (we stopped for peaches and cherries- and they were DELICIOUS), and made our way through rolling, green vineyards, all the way to the picturesque town of Kelowna.

Kelowna is one of those towns that makes you think, “How come I’ve never heard of this place before?” Located right on the Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna boasts beautiful hotels, award-winning restaurants, lake activities, golf, breweries, cideries, distilleries, picture-perfect wineries, and SO MUCH MORE. (Whew. That was a long sentence.)

We checked into the Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort, located right on the Okanagan Lake, jaws dropped and in awe… It’s truly a stunning property! Sally was welcomed right away with a goodie bag full of treats and pampering deals, and the welcome desk was incredibly helpful and kind.

Our room was bright, airy and spacious - with plenty of room for the 3 of us to stretch out. The Grand Okanagan team even left some treats for Bobby and I too… which is always a fun surprise! Our room looked out at their charming pool area, and while we never had time to take advantage of it, we ALWAYS appreciate a good pool where we stay!!

Now, let’s talk wineries. We had NO IDEA Kelowna had such incredible wine. The Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s premier grape growing region, with over 180 licensed wineries! Because of high import fees and taxes, these wines rarely make it outside of Canada - which makes them extra special! Tasting fees are usually only around $5/person, and are waved if you buy a bottle or two. Some of our favorites wineries we visited were:

  • Hatch Winery: Awesome branding, great wines, great staff. A local favorite - and for good reason!

  • Quail's Gate: Beautiful views and delicious wine! Definitely one of the more popular, touristy wineries, but worth a stop!

  • Mission Hill: Another popular/touristy spot, but their property is STUNNING - and we absolutely loved their wine!

  • Arrowleaf Cellars: This boutique winery may have been our favorite. They have incredible views of the lake, and several delicious varietals. Next time we’ll do lunch on their veranda - it’s breathtaking!

It goes without saying that we did NOT go hungry while we were in Kelowna. The Grand Okanagan Hotel is walking distance to just about every good restaurant in the city, and we’re pretty sure we hit up most of them. Some notable ones that should not be missed, are:

  • Bean Scene for Coffee: We went here every day. Our friend Holly told us about their famous “Cosmic Cookie” and how it changed her life. It changed ours too.

  • Sunny’s Modern Diner for Breakfast: Delicious, hearty breakfasts with a twist. Bobby ordered Chicks on a Raft, which had scrambled eggs, bacon, green onion, sharp cheddar and PEANUT BUTTER, all on a baguette - sounds weird (and is), but he's still raving about it. 

  • BNA Brewing Co: Awesome beers and cocktails, but if nothing else, come here for the zucchini fries. One of the best things we had in Kelowna. (Oh, and they have a pretty sweet bowling alley in the restaurant too!)

  • Antico Pizza: Thin crust pizza that tastes like it’s fresh off of the streets in Italy. Need we say more?

Even though we were only there for a few nights, Kelowna could easily be a week-long destination. From going out on the lake, to wine tasting, to exploring the city center.. There’s SO much to do. From what the locals told us, fall is an epic time to come. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and it’s not as busy as the summer season.

We’re in.

Taking the SLOW Road Around Mendoza, Argentina

Taking the SLOW Road Around Mendoza, Argentina

Our first stop on our trip to South America with LATAM was Mendoza, Argentina. LATAM makes travel to and around South America super easy and really fun.

We rent a car almost everywhere we go. It gives us the freedom to explore on our own time. What if there’s an epic spot to hike ten minutes down the road? What if we want to go exploring? We typically rent whatever is cheapest and can hold all of our stuff. We aren’t picky when it comes to rental cars, and we rarely splurge on an upgrade. 

Waking Up In A Dream :: Cavas Wine Lodge

Waking Up In A Dream :: Cavas Wine Lodge

Every couple of years we find ourselves in a place where we truly wish we could stop time. Where everything we see, eat, do, is pure magic. Where we repeatedly turn to each other and say “Is this real?” Where we text our family and friends and say “Take good care of the dog, we’re never coming home.” Where we plot and plan the milestone opportunities to one day return, “Maybe for our ten year anniversary? Should we renew our vows here?” Where the hotel staff feels like family, and where some of our favorite memories are made. 

Cavas Wine Lodge, we never wanted to leave you!

Monterey Beyond the Aquarium: Whales, Wine, and More!

One thing we love about travel is the ability to visit familiar spots and experience something new. We recently spent a weekend in Monterey, somewhere we have visited several times, and decided to change it up a bit (we normally head to the aquarium). We ended up having the BEST time and discovered a newfound love and appreciation for this part of the California Coast. Here's some of the new things we did that we would HIGHLY recommend!

Whale Watching

This area is a mecca for whale watchers, no matter what time of year! (mid December - April for blue whales, mid April through mid December for Humpbacks) We went with Discovery Whale Watch Tour and they took us on a two-hour tour that brought us close to 6 different whales! It was AMAZING!! We also saw tons of sea otters, seals, and jellyfish (the jellies were a bit terrifying). The boat can be rocky, so if you get seasick definitely prepare yourself. But the experience is 100% worth it!

John Steinbeck Center

John Steinbeck fans? This is something you DEFINITELY don't want to miss! Located in Salinas, just outside of Monterey, you can visit the center that is dedicated to John and his literature. The museum is incredibly well-done (and fun!), and you could easily spend a whole day learning about the man behind all the classics. Whether you're taking a quick break or wrapping up your time at the center, just a mile away Steinbeck's home that's now a restaurant! While we didn't have time to eat there, we heard the food is awesome! And how cute is his home?


Wine Tasting in Monterey Wine Country

Did you know they made wine in the Monterey area? We didn't. Apparently the warm sun, cool fog, good soil, and the topography of the surrounding land and sea have combined to create a vintner's paradise. With over 60 tasting rooms, it's a fantastic spot to spend your day (or just a couple of hours)! Known for their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Riesling, each winery has an amazing selection. We drove along the River Road Wine Trail one afternoon, where we indulged in the Odonata, Scheid, and Hahn wineries. Go out and explore for yourself, as Monterey County has some great wines!

Exploring Cannery Row and Nearby Treasures

While we've been to Monterey several times, we've never actually just walked around the surrounding area! Weird, right? Our favorite walk was from the wharf to Cannery Row, and here's what we recommend that you do. Park at the wharf, and turn left. Take the trail along the water and you'll walk past fun shops, restaurants, along the historic Cannery Row, and even the aquarium (You can easily spend a whole day there - it's incredible)! We walked to First Awakenings for breakfast and back, and it was the perfect way to start the day! If you have a bike, this would be an AWESOME spot to bike ride!

These are just a few of our favorites activities that took our trip to Monterey to the next level. If you have anything to add, let us know! We're looking for new spots to visit next time!

This post was sponsored by Monterey CountyAll opinions expressed here are our own.