The Log Barn 1912
There were no five-star hotels to welcome pioneers who settled Vernon and other B.C. regions around the turn of the 20th Century. The Log Barn 1912 site is located about half-an-hour North of Vernon, and it provides great insight into the life created by pioneers who first settled the area. In the early days, meals were eaten at home from crops produced on the Log Barn’s 40-acres of farmland; today’s visitors may instead enjoy a fancy meal at a Vernon restaurant. Fresh fruits and vegetables, pies and other treats like those made by pioneer families may be nibbled and sampled while touring The Log Barn 1912.
Chickadee Ridge Miniatures
Many people have played mini-golf, but, how many can say that they have pet or hugged a mini-horse? Chickadee Ridge Miniatures is one of several hobby farms located Northeast of Vernon near the City of Armstrong. Almost 200 miniature horses gallop the pastures at Canada’s largest miniature horse farm; kids are welcome to pet, hug and walk with their favourite one. While mini-horses are the main attraction, guinea pigs, miniature cattle and other animals fight for the pets and hugs of visitors. Lunchtime is a happy time for everyone at Chickadee Ridge Miniatures: animals can graze on 80-acres of pastureland while the picnic area and grill serves-up homemade hot dogs and hamburgers. Chickadee Ridge is great for vacationing families who are couped-up in their hotel room and searching for a taste of country life in Vernon.
Vernon’s restaurants serve apple pie, but Davison Orchards lets visitors tour and learn about the life of an apple. The Apple Train provides guided orchard tours on which visitors may pick and sample apples fresh from the tree. Back at the village, the country market sells freshly-baked pies, glazed apples and other treats. The farm’s ‘Critter Corral’ is a hotel of sorts for its residents: chickens, goats and other animals. While the apple’s great taste has stayed the same, the machinery used to harvest it has not: agricultural buffs may browse Farmer Bob’s antique tractor display. Davison Orchards’ Spring Apple Blossom Festival and Fall AppleFest festivals take place each year. Families may also learn scarecrow-making and sample pumpkin treats at the annual Family Pumpkin Festival in October.
Swan Lake Nurseryland
Hikers can buy some fresh fruit for the trek on the BX Falls Park or Grey Canal Historic trails. Swan Lake Nurseryland began as a fruit stand on a stretch of Highway 97A that leads North from Vernon to several hobby farms. Today, green thumbs can also purchase trees, plants and vegetables for growing the ingredients necessary to cook a delicious home-made restaurant meal. On the way back to their hotel room, shoppers can buy groceries at the deli, bakery and grocery store. Licking a cool treat from the market’s ice-cream counter is an ideal washroom break pit-stop on the long drive to or from the Okanagan Valley.
Arlo's Honey Farm
Perhaps there’s no better live entertainment than watching a hive of bees dancing happily away and working to make the world a sweeter place. When in Vernon, it's a tasty idea to tour a honeybee farm and sample the fruits of each bee’s labour: natural body-care products, jellies, beeswax, and honey. Books for sale will also provide helpful hints about the health benefits of honey and how to use it in recipes. Bees do more than just make their own products, which is perhaps the reason for the often-used term ‘busy bees’. It’s the work of bees that makes sure Vernon’s fruit orchards pollinate and produce fresh, juicy fruits like peaches, apples and plums come harvest. If Vernon is the land of fruit and honey, bees are the pioneers that helped make and keep it that way.
If apple pie is too fattening or strawberry jam is too sweet, there’s still a way to enjoy the fruity taste of dessert after a restaurant meal. Spirits made in Vernon from raspberries or Italian prunes can feed the cravings of taste buds for the flavour of fruit. It’s possible to take a ‘tour and taste’ at the place where Vernon’s fruity spirits are made and learn how a berry goes from the field to the bottle. A wide variety of fruity spirits and liquers are also available at the local liquor store. When in Vernon, toast the land of fruit and honey with a glass of delightfully fruity drink.
Hobby Farm Tours
Visit a Vernon hobby farm and learn what life is like nurturing nature seven days a week, from the crack of Dawn to well after Dusk. Everyday, goats and cattle must be fed, chicken’s eggs gathered and fruit picked and packed come harvest time. When touring a hobby farm, one will also learn how product gets from the farmer's fields to one of Vernon’s many farmers’ markets. A hard life is a rewarding one, and visitors to a Vernon hobby farm will enjoy several rewards: samples of fresh fruit that they pick, fresh homemade pies and treats as well as an opportunity to cuddle or pet thankful animals. Visitors will leave a Vernon hobby farm with a stronger than ever bond with nature.
Historic O'Keefe Ranch
O'Keefe Ranch was once one of the largest cattle ranches in BC; today, it is a designated BC Heritage Site where visitors can learn what life was like as a free-spirited 19th Century cowboy. As the weather changed, so did the hardships challenging the cowboy’s free spirit: protecting cattle from cold and starvation in the dark months of Winter, herding stock in the blistering Okanagan Summer heat. O'Keefe Ranch was one of many that where cowboys could come after months of isolation: for a warm bath, hot meal, supplies from the general store, and horseshoe repairs. Today's visitors may pan for gold, see vintage farm machinery and walk through heritage buildings that once acted as a hotel of sorts for hard-working frontier cowboys.