7 things to do as wine season winds down and before the warm weather disappears.

We know it’s inevitable but we lament it just the same: that slow end to summer when the sun sets before 9 pm and we don’t really need the air conditioner. It’s not yet time for scarves and toques, but lazy days poolside can (and will) quickly become jarringly crisp mornings.

To get the most out of these lingering sunny days, here are seven Okanagan activities worth doing as fall sets in over summer’s last long weekend.

Float in a river/lake/pond

The end of August and beginning of September are primo days for Okanagan lakes, pools, and just about anything with water. If you can toss an inflated raft or tube in it, do: float the afternoon away before watering holes cool down.

Favourite local haunt: Kenyon Park / Christie Memorial Provincial Park, Okanagan Falls.

Eat ice cream before – or as – lunch

Vacations and social events seem to erode our willpower and we more easily abdicate nutritional responsibility. Extend vacation mode by going to that neighbourhood joint serving the best ice cream ever – we all have one, usually seasonal.

Favourite local haunt: Tickleberry’s (Okanagan Falls), or Medici’s Gelateria (Oliver).

Go to that restaurant/winery/brewery/distillery

It’s not time to hibernate, and your local crafter of things delicious would love for you to pop by – some even close over winter. This time of year there’s less traffic and shorter waits. Take advantage of it.

Favourite local haunts: Miradoro Restaurant (Oliver), St. Hubertus Estate Winery (Kelowna), Cannery Brewing (Penticton), Legend Distilling (Naramata).

Have a picnic

Local parks are like having a lawn you never need to mow and a backyard you share with crazy fun neighbours you’ve never met. Before you can’t comfortably walk barefoot, feel the grass beneath your feet one more time – it’s better than therapy.

Favourite local haunts: Manitou Park (Naramata), Gyro Park (Osoyoos).

Get takeout – for the picnic, from that restaurant you want to visit

We can combine our bucket list items, like having a picnic – complete with checkered cloth and tacky serviettes – with that restaurant visit. For upscale eateries call ahead so they can prepare for al fresco dining; a sandwich joint and artisan market/deli are easier ways to indulge last-minute picnic parties.

Favourite local haunts: Il Vecchio (Penticton), or Valoroso Foods (Kelowna).

Buy all the peaches (and squash, melons, tomatoes…)

Fruit stands are as close to farmer direct as we can get, aside from weekly farmers’ markets. Most are mom-and-pop spots. Before they shutter for the season, buy everything you can that’s local and seasonal. Don’t know how to preserve your summer eats? Cosy up to someone good at canning, and barter food in exchange for lessons.

Favourite local haunt: Peach Hill Farm Market (between Osoyoos & Oliver).

Slow cook something, anything

Backyard barbecues are best enjoyed without parkas, so grab that soul food book (you know, the one you’ve been meaning to open) and fire up the smoker with apple wood or hickory chips. Don’t have a smoker? Most conventional barbecues can stand in – a quick search of the Internets can help you figure it out. Make the neighbourhood smell delicious and be the envy of your friends.

Favourite local haunt: Our backyard, with my fella’s secret 16-hour-pulled-pork (address withheld).

Photos by Jeannette Montgomery

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