You might be asking yourself where the Similkameen Valley is. From just East of Osoyoos through Cawston, Keremeos and Princeton, there are historic hidden gems and delightful small farms with unique experiences to enhance your road trip with your kiddos or a loved one.
The Similkameen Valley is located next door to the Okanagan yet has an extremely different terroir with towering mountains, hoodoos and valley farmland. The Similkameen is ideal for history enthusiasts, wine lovers and organic food purveyors.
The quaint and historic Similkameen Valley is often overlooked as travellers opt for the more popular Okanagan sights and vineyards. This allows for ideal touring with less crowds as you explore historic sights and quality vineyards offering a unique take with an extraordinary terroir.
Grist Mill at Keremeos
The Grist Mill is a favourite stop for all ages equipped with a working flour mill from 1877 and a picturesque spot along the Similkameen river and a heritage farm that goes on for days.
Stroll through at a slow pace as you step back in time with sounds the gentle river propelling the water wheel enabling the property to make its own flour as it has for over 100 years. In fact you can catch workshops where they’ll show you how they make their own bread using their own ground flour.
Cross the small bridge over the river to get to their farmland that grows original heritage apple trees over 100+ years old, some of which are still a mystery as to what variety they are.
Back inside the gift shop you can order a hearty lunch or baked good made with ingredients grown on the historic property. Definitely a true BC hidden gem.
Adults $8, Seniors & kids $6, 5 and under are free.
Eats – Bite into History
Stop here for a solid plate lunch with picnic dinning along the creek. Pick up fruit grown on site for a taste of the Similkameen.
Other Useful Info
Camping is available along the creek. Excellent jams, baked goods and other products made on site.
Honest Food Farm, Keremeos
Honest Food Farm is an adorable small cafe and farmer stand with locally grown flowers, fruits & veggies. I highly recommend for a delicious stop in the Similkameen Valley to refuel before heading to your AirBnB or continuing on your road trip. It’s a family run farm that focuses on sustainability and soil health. I just love the results – excellent produce and flavourful food from the cafe.
The Farmstore is at 156 Becks Rd, Keremeos with a coffee, baked goods and veggie forward foods.
CSA program for locals.
Farmstay at Farmersdotter Organics, Cawston
The Similkameen is Canada’s organic farming capital, so why not stay at an organic garlic farm during your visit?
Farmersdotter Organics hosts guests in one of two architectural and stylish tiny homes. You can explore the property equipped with a wood-fired-oven bakery to grab morning treats before you head out to the local wineries or hiking trails. If you’re looking to relax within the valley surrounded by mountains, farm life and quiet but with modern amenities (hello king bed and patios!) yet is part of a zero-net-solar plan…this is your place!
Runs approx. $200 per night. 2 suites available with this Superhost.
Other than freshly baked goods and garlic onsite you can head to Row Fourteen for an upscale orchard dinning experience.
Other Useful Info
It is a farm so you’ll wake up to a chicken or a cow call.
Hedley Country Market, Hedley
Blink and you might miss this tiny grocery store in one of the oldest buildings in the town of Hedley, located exactly halfway between Princeton and Keremeos.
It’s a must stop for travellers and locals alike for its baked goods and quality sandwiches perfect for a picnic at any local winery or recreational site. Pick up a pulled pork kimchi sandwich on freshly baked bread, local beer, cider or kombucha and any essentials you might need during your stay.
Consider taking home a piece of the Similkameen with the local artisans on display at the Hedley Market. Candles, soaps, glassware and more are available to help you support local.
Explore the Terroir at These Similkameen Valley Wineries
The Similkameen has some excellent wineries when it comes to wine. Dr. Bonnie Henry owns part of a winery there herself! The terroir is quite different than the Okanagan because of the steep mountains that surround the area as well as the strong wind. What I love about Similkameen wines is that they tend to have a minerality as opposed to a robust fruit forwardness. Similkameen wineries are also smaller boutique-style with a relaxed guest experience. You can find varietals like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc and Syrah to name a few. With the heat coming from the only desertous region in Canada bold red varietals thrive.
Have you taken a road trip to the Similkameen Valley? Tell me in the comments!
Roads are a record of those who have gone before.Rebecca Solnit
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