TS Eliot may have said April is the cruelest month, but he lived in England and knew nothing about the true rigours of February. February is grim and only grows grimmer as the month wears on – the snow melts, everything is damp and grey, and the idle snowflakes of January have turned into incessant drizzle and high grey clouds. In February, we all need a little something. Something to keep us going through the months we have to go until it’s actually green and warm again. Today, I’m scopin’ back to last August for sunny adventures with wine and Okanagan road trips to give me something to live for until like, mid-April. This, and snacks. Both good.
In August, Dani and I spent a weekend in Armstrong, just before the madness of the IPE set in and the madding crowd descended for a few days of like, goats. Goats and rides.
We spent two nights in one the coolest bed and breakfasts I’ve ever stayed in, in an actual tiny dome. The property itself is an immaculate jewel of a japanese garden nestled into the corner of a farm fields on a dirt road a few minutes outside of town. The owner – a retired garden designer with a pet parrot – made us tiny Portugese buns in his oven in the morning. We sat in the hot tub, explored the town, and ate a lot of Armstrong cheese. It was a gem of a weekend, made only better by Skeeter the parrot quoting some Shania Twain to us.
Armstrong is only an hour or so from Kelowna – just up through Vernon and a little beyond. Our Air bnb – hosted by the lovely Rick – was another 10 minutes or so beyond town. Armstrong is great town with a few excellent adventures that I can wholeheartedly recommend:
- The hilarious and perfect second hand stores. We went to two, and I made Dani buy a white linen pantsuit for $2.00. Highly recommend.
- There’s a breakfast place where everything is … absurdly lowly priced. Like Ron Swanson, I’m 100% dedicated to breakfast food and will seek out a breakfast sandwich at any time of day. This place? Would recommend morning, noon, and night (I maybe don’t remember the name, but you should be able to find a breakfast place in a town the size of a nickel).
- Rick’s Air Bnb (and the accompanying Portugese buns… ). Rick made the dome himself, and has done a ton of work on his house and his garden. Rick’s whole situation is clearly a labour of love, and it showed in the incredible garden design and little details.
- The Enderby Bluffs – I will READILY admit that Dani and I drove the beginning of this hike, and then sat in the car listening to CBC instead of actually hiking (it was raining) (we had candy). I made Dani put on the white pantsuit and took some photos of her, and then we left without ever doing the hike. No regrets, but apparently it’s nice?
Getting out of town and your regular routine can’t be beat. Everyone needs an opportunity to skip the guilt about not cleaning the bathtub, and frankly you can only really do that if said bathtub is at least 50 kilometres away. Even if you can’t head off on a real vacation, a weekend away from your bathtub will do you good, no?
It’s February – we all need a reason to dream. Maybe set yourself up something to do next weekend… or in August. Everything is better in August.