From family fun to farm-fresh produce (and even some Halloween screams), Vernon offers plenty of reasons to visit this autumn
While rolling grasslands, orchards and shimmering blue waters from more than 100 lakes have defined Vernon’s landscape for decades and are woven into the soul of this community, this rich valley is also renowned as a tourist destination.
The first people to live in the Okanagan Valley were the Syilx Nation. Then, during the 1800s, European settlers came to the valley to forge new lives with their families. In 1811, pioneer David Stuart, a fur trader who worked for the Pacific Fur Company (later known as part of the Hudson’s Bay Company), came to the interior of British Columbia to trade goods and a year later he established the first fur trade post in the Valley.
By the mid-1800s, people from all over the world were lured to the Valley in hopes of making themselves rich during the Interior Gold Rush.
But it wasn’t until the 1890s, when Lord Aberdeen (later he became Governor-General of Canada) and his wife purchased the Coldstream Ranch and planted orchards, that Vernon really came into its own. To this day, its roots are firmly entrenched in agriculture.
Located in the heart of North Okanagan, a scenic five-hour drive from Vancouver, Vernon is the oldest community in the Okanagan and one of the top five fastest growing communities in the province. Despite that, this city of diverse cultures has managed to retain its small-town hospitality. Today, orchards line the valleys and ridges of these rugged mountains and soak in the sun under cobalt blue skies that boast pure air and down-home friendliness.
With a plethora of outdoor opportunities—Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes right at the doorstep, SilverStar Mountain Resort for skiing and hiking, golf, agritourism, vineyards and wineries—Vernon is a year-round getaway for all.
While agritourism is not a new form of travel—one which involves sampling the day-to-day lifestyle of farmers, ranchers and producers—Vernon presents several authentic farm-to-table events to celebrate this growing trend. From picking apples to the perfect pumpkin, to ghostly corn mazes and local chefs honouring Mother Nature’s bounty, this city is full of family fun this fall.
1. The Apple Harvest Festival – September
Davison OrchardsEvery weekend in September, the historic Davison Orchards celebrates apple-picking month with its Apple Harvest Festival. The celebration includes apple picking, free apple tastings, fresh pressed apple juice, mulled apple cider and amazing apple treats, as well as apple-pie making with Nana Davison.
2. The Pumpkin Patch at Davison Orchards – October
Tourism VernonIn October, Davison Orchards opens its pumpkin patch in honour of this beloved squash plant. Take a ride out to the patch on the Johnny Popper Orchard Train and pick your very own jack-o'-lantern. The pumpkin patch is overflowing with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, so young and old can pick the perfect pumpkin to carve, paint, or just put out on display.
3. The Haunted Corn Maze at O'Keefe Ranch – October
Tourism VernonA must-do at Halloween is the haunted corn maze at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch. This spooky annual event, Field of Screams, features two haunted corn mazes to choose from. This year’s fun-filled creepy theme is Dante’s Inferno.
4. Vernon Downtown Dine Around – October
Tourism VernonSavour the best in local ingredients and wines during the Vernon Downtown Dine Around. From October 13th to 30th, more than 10 local restaurants and pubs will showcase Vernon’s vibrant culinary scene with three-course menus prepared by some of the best Okanagan chefs.
These are just some of the reasons why Vernon is the perfect place to visit this fall. Start planning your next getaway by visiting Tourism Vernon.
CREATED BY BCLIVING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TOURISM VERNON.