A short drive to lovely little Vernon

If you lived at Predator Ridge, you couldn’t live off Louisiana tiger prawns all the time, so you’d have to head off to Vernon for any shopping.  Thankfully, unlike most commutes into towns, it’s a lovely little drive through open spaces with great views and farmer’s fields, only about 15 minutes if you take the time to gaze at the scenery.

Unlike Kelowna, where there are 19 street lights to negotiate as you try to make your way through town, Vernon has not yet been overwhelmed by traffic or urban sprawl. The town centre is still quite compact, and you can park your car and wander around on foot. There are plenty of parking spaces on the streets and parking lots, and – surprise, surprise! – there is much to see and do.

Walking around the downtown main streets, I was astonished to find so many little restaurants and cafes, especially small family operations selling Thai, Indian, Nepali, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and American-style food. Apparently there are as many dining opportunities in small town Vernon as there are in big city Vancouver.

Also noteworthy are the size and number of the many murals that have been painted all over walls of many buildings. Chemainus on Vancouver Island has laid claim to being the mural capital of Canada, and busloads of tourists go there just to soak up the ambience and look at the art, but Vernon certainly has more than its own share of art to see.

The city streets are clean and well tended and adorned with flowers and other forms of public art. There are interesting little shops selling items like old fashioned records, antiques, clothing and jewellery. There is even a nightclub featuring jazz, something I haven’t seen in Vancouver in years. There is a temptation to call the town centre “hip,” but that would be missing the point. It’s a wonderful destination for a day trip, and probably multiple trips if you lived at Predator Ridge and wanted to go shopping or dining.

No doubt the town boasts all the usual attractions like giant shopping malls and other urban necessities, but I wasn’t there to buy groceries in bulk. As far as a stroll around the main streets goes, it was wonderful.  We popped into a toy store named Vernon Teach and Learn, which was a non-descript name for a wonderful store.  It was the biggest toy store I’ve ever seen in any city. Owners Trevor and Lynella Henke took the time to show us their gigantic collection of kid’s toys and games, and their ice cream parlour.  They sure must like their kids in Vernon, I thought.

One day is not enough to see much of downtown Vernon, as small a town as it may be.  Then there are all the heritage buildings, parks and history that can be explored on other occasions.  If you lived at Predator Ridge, I thought, how handy to have such a delightful small town right up the road.



Categories: Day Trips


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