Spotlight on Kamloops – Where to Eat, Drink, Spa and….Swing
We’ve been traveling around British Columbia a fair bit this summer and one of the highlights has to be my trip to Kamloops. I’ve been to this city a few times in the past year or so, initially on my way to Sun Peaks as a mere stopover, but once I got to know a little bit about all that Kamloops has to offer, I had to book some more time to explore.
I’d been up in Chase at Turtle Valley Bison Ranch, and then drove down to meet my lunch date, Kamloops Wine Trail’s Executive Director, Trish Morelli. Kamloops has a wine trail you could spend a good day on; there’s now three, and soon to be more, wineries that deserve your attention. Monte Creek Ranch Winery, where they’ve planted cool climate varieties such as Frontenac Gris and Chardonnay onsite, has an impressive wine building and patio. Their wines showed very well; a reserve Chard was well worth taking home, with its ripe apple and crisp minerality coming from the chalky soils, and I adored the older Rieslings with their floral, tropical and even petrol notes.
Monte Creek Ranch recently opened the Terrace Restaurant which overlooks their Lion’s Head Vineyard and the South Thompson River, and the food is as stunning as the views. The local artisan cheese and charcuterie board was a delight and we balanced that out with a fresh salad of house greens, with shaved fennel and pear.
Approximately 15 minutes away you’ll find Harper’s Trail Winery, where you can step up to the tasting bar to try their Sparkling Pinot Gris and Cab Franc blend, a Rose made from Pinot Gris, Riesling and Cab Franc, a solo Cab Franc and more. The winery has been hosting yoga there and check the website for entertainment on the western-themed patio.
Privato Winery captured my heart with their Chardonnay, Rose and Pinot Noir’s during my last visit and I was eager to see what they’d done with the property now that they were getting ready to host weddings.
Their gardens and wines were showing so very well, and their Pinot Gris is now also on my hit list. The property is so well maintained that I wondered how they had time to look after the winery. If anyone is looking to gift me wine a case or two of the Chardonnay would be happily received! I did pick up a bottle.
I spent the night in a spacious room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, where I was able to get some work done in peace and breakfast was conveniently included. This is a well cared for modern hotel, with a pool, fitness centre and free internet, all very convenient.
In the morning I had committed to Ziplining and wasn’t sure if I myself should be committed for doing so. After breakfast Tourism Kamloops picked me up and we headed back towards Chase, to Treetop Flyers. Tourism Kamloops has a fantastic marketing campaign entitled “Boldly Unscripted”, inviting visitors to explore Kamloops as the locals do, and they had challenged me to venture into the bold and even brought a camera crew along (the results are in the video above). If you’ve been Ziplining, you know the drill, it’s rather fast with an abrupt stop! Her the scenery, as well as this rather uncomfortable landing, both made me wish I was flying by a little slower. We did a number of different lines before I returned for the swing, a ride which just about stopped my heart. The swing does a free drop from what seemed like thousands of meters up, and I was held in merely by a harness. “Holy Shit” was all I could say after I caught my breath, and I’m not sure if I’d do this again after understanding what I’d gotten myself into. YIKES! If you are brave though, it sure gets the adrenaline flowing, although I do think that a tequila shot should be waiting for you at the finish.
Back to more sane adventures, lunch at Hello Toast on Victoria Street, an adorable spot with healthy portions and lots of breakfast and lunchy things to choose from. It was time for me to have a healthy salad at this point and chill out a tad.
I was ready for some beer, so when we headed to the soon-to-open Iron Road Brewing I was rather joyful, but unfortunately they weren’t yet open, although they are ready for guests now. The room looked promising and the brewmaster had worked at Vancouver’s Main Street Brewing, so I’m certain their beers will have been worth waiting for.
I’d heard of Ginseng being grown in these here parts, as they say, but didn’t know about the Sunmore Ginseng Spa, the only one of its kind in North America. The spa is hidden away in an industrial-like area, but once you are inside, the vibe is immediately serene. The rooms are varied and all gorgeous, there are rooms individuals, for spa parties and couples and a variety of treatments are availbable. I enjoyed a massage that finally took the edge of the swinging insanity I’d gone through earlier. What fun this spot would be with my gal pals!
We decided to have dinner that night at Terra Restaurant, as I so enjoyed this spot the previous time and I was pleased to see the high standard still in force and the dedication to local products a priority. The “Surfer Pig” was a highlight, pork belly, scallops, summer succotash, sunflower, spiced jus, and be sure to save room for the “Glass Forest” a chocolate cremeux, with cherries, white ganache, and cocoa nibs.
I guarantee Kamloops has changed since your last visit and am fairly certain it has even since mine. It’s time for another road trip, after all is less than four hours from Vancouver, an we’re overdue, especially now since Iron Road Brewery is finally open!