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Old Tower Farm
Old Tower Farm
Organic farmstay cottage rental accommodation
Local Attractions
Visitors' Guide to Keremeos, British Columbia, Canada
& the beautiful Similkameen Valley area


hikingwine touringhistoric sitesfresh farm products
horseback ridingdown hill & cross country skiingrodeosfishing
farm tourslakes, rivers, mountainsstar gazingfood & restaurants
Native Indian cultureWildlife and Farm Animals
village parksbicyclingtriathlonsfestivalskayaking
click on small photos to view larger versions
Beautiful Similkameen Valley: Orchards, farms, mountains & wetlands

Old Tower Farmstay is located just outside of Keremeos, British Columbia in the rural, unforgettable Similkameen Valley. Here, miles of fertile farm and ranch land stretch between the mountains and along the Similkameen River. The area is known for its large number of organic farms.

Blossom time on our organic farm

Come to the Similkameen at blossom time – Late April until mid May you can stroll or cycle along country roads and enjoy the sweet fragrance and soft pinks and whites of peach, cherry, apricot, pear and apple blossoms.

Harvest time is a wonderful time to visit Keremoes

Come to the Similkameen at harvest time – Throughout the valley the trees and vines are bending with their loads of ripe, colourful fruit starting in early July with cherries and raspberries, followed by apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, apples, and grapes right up until late October.

That’s not to mention the vegetables: peppers, tomatoes, squash, beans….the list goes on…. all to excite your pallet and stimulate the inner chef.

pumpkin patch with K Mountain, Keremeos

Many local Keremeos farms offer u-pick opportunities. Whether you pick your own or visit one of many local fruit stands, you will want to bring some of the bounty home with you after your holiday. Relive the memories and flavours of your vacation when you open your jars of preserves next winter.

autumn fruit stand, Keremeos, B.C.

In addition to the mouth watering selections of Similkameen grown produce, home made preserves, honey and juice, many of the fruit stands have entertaining displays of antique farm equipment, shady picnic areas and ice cream.

Organic Farms

Local Keremeos farmers have taken advantage of the warm, dry south Okanagan climate and rich soils that are perfect for growing things without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Half of the tree fruits grown in the Similkameen valley are certified organic and you can also buy organic raspberries, strawberries, and a huge selection of organic vegetables directly from the farmers.

The first Ambrosia apple tree was discovered in an orchard in Cawston. Wood from that tree was grafted and the variety has been developed into a truly homegrown treasure of the Similkameen. For the full story see: organicambrosiaapple.ca


Wine Country

Visit ten very different wineries within a fifteen-minute drive of Old Tower Farm. There are at least 35 others within a one-hour scenic drive. You can take a tour, talk to the growers and winemakers and taste the fruits of their labour. British Columbia wines enjoy an outstanding international reputation and some of the best wines in the world are made in the south Okanagan area from locally grown grapes. The Okanagan-Similkameen hosts spring and fall wine festivals with a tantalizing selection of tastings, dinners, tours, music and theatre to choose from.

Similkameen Wineries Association
Forbidden Fruits Winery
Robin Ridge Winery
Orofino Vinyards & Winery
Seven Stones Winery
Crows Nest Vineyard and Restaurant
Clos du Soleil Winery
Eau Vivre Winery
Rutic Roots Winery
Cerelia Winery
Herder Winery
Okanagan Wine Festivals

B.C. Heritage Sites

The Old Water Tower our farm's landmark!

This is an area for history buffs! You can start with Old Tower Farm itself and its unusual 1908 water tower that provided pressure for the domestic plumbing. The guest cottage itself was built as a honey extraction house. Our old apple barn has thick walls that insulated against heat in the days before refrigeration.

Historic Grist Mill, Keremeos, B.C.

Just a stones throw from us is the Keremeos Grist Mill and Gardens, a B.C. provincial heritage site and home of the water mill built in 1877 to grind flour for the gold rush miners. It still grinds flour every day and you can sample it in the homemade bread at the Grist Mill’s restaurant. The site also features the original general store, period gardens, interpretive presentations and several country-style special events throughout the year.

“The Red Bridge” was built in 1907 as a railway bridge across the Similkameen and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in the West.

Also built in 1907, the South Similkameen Museum is housed in the original Keremeos town jail and chronicles life in the early days of miners, railways, and settlers.

The historic gold mining town of Hedley, B.C. is only 30 minutes away. Tour the cliff-side Mascot mine and visit the museums and the Snaza'ist Centre. Take the self guided walking tour of Hedley to see the significant buildings of the gold mining era.


Village Parks (all accessible, clean, safe and child friendly):

Path along the river dyke
Exploring the the Similkameen riverside

Memorial Park in downtown Keremeos provides a nice place for a picnic (including a covered gazebo), an informal game of soccer or Frisbee, a swim in the outdoor swimming pool in July and August. Kids can have fun in the playground while grownups will find lots of useful information at the Visitors Centre.

Pine Park is beside the Similkameen River in Keremeos. There’s lots of shade under the beautiful mature pines, picnic tables and a playground. There’s plenty of room to stretch the legs as well as access the riverside dyke path which links to the village promenade.

Kobau Park in Cawston has a great playground, ball park, basketball court and access to the Similkameen riverside for exploration and pleasant walks along the dyke.

Check out the map for park locations and Similkameen River Dyke walks.

Hiking

Quiet channel of the Similkameen River.

The possibilities are as endless as the mountains….. For example take a walk along the Similkameen, a day hike to the Keremeos Columns or a longer sojourn into the Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park.

breathtaking mountains, Cathedral Lakes Park

There are miles and miles of trails beside pristine sub-alpine lakes and up into the spectacular alpine area where you rub shoulders with mountain goats. Information is available about access to the following hiking areas:

South Okanagan Grasslands Protected area
Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park • See also Cathedral Lakes Lodge
Princeton area
Keremeos village and Similkameen River Dyke walks


Skiing

We are only a 45 minutes drive to Apex Alpine Resort and Nickel Plate: a world class ski area for both alpine and Nordic skiing.

Kayaking

The upper Similkameen River is a favourite for many kayakers. At run off time the Ashnola challenges the best.

Fishing

Yellow Lake, a jewel of a mountain lake, is easily accessible right on Highway 3A just 10 minutes from Old Tower Farm.

Star Gazing

The Similkameen is a great place to observe the stars and planets without interference from urban light pollution. You can also take a trip to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory just a scenic 30 minute drive away.

Starry skies over Old Tower Farm - Romain Bayle ©2007

Beaches

There are some refreshing swimming holes a few minutes away along the Similkameen River. Skaha Lake is less than 30 minutes drive away and offers a great family beach and park at Kaleden. More beaches and parks line the shores in Penticton and Osoyoos (each just an enjoyable 30 minute drive away).

Bicycling

This is an excellent area for cycling the rolling country roads or mountain trails.

Triathlons

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Wildlife

It is not uncommon to see deer, big horn sheep and mountain goats grazing near the roadside and eagles soaring overhead in the south Okanagan.

Big horn sheep on the highway near Keremeos Big horn sheep on the highway near Keremeos

Farm animals – petting zoo:

One of our neighbours has opened to the public their large collection of farm animals from many areas of the world. Well designed and beautifully situated on the upper bench across from the Grist Mill, Farmer John’s is a lovely place for people of all ages to enjoy a farm experience, take a guided tour on foot or golf cart and learn about and visit with the friendly farm animals.

Horseback riding

Take a trail ride in the spectacular Ashnola Valley with very experienced guides who will tailor the ride to you ability. To book a trail ride please contact:

Horesback riding - a great way to explore our area

Cathedral Rim Trail Rides, Keremeos
250-499-5084

Apex Mountain Guest Ranch
250-492-2454

Indian Grove Riding Stable, Osoyoos
250-495-7555

Rodeos

Keremeos Rodeo excitement!

Experience the excitement of rodeo! The Lower Similkameen First Nations hosts the Chopaka Rodeo on the Easter weekend. The Elks Rodeo is on the May long weekend.

First Nations Pow-wows

Everyone is invited to enjoy a taste of local Native Indian culture:
A pow wow is a traditional North American Aboriginal gathering featuring colourful dancing, food, story telling and great family fun!
The Ashnola Pow Wow ground in Keremeos hosts an annual Pow Wow in May.

Traditional Native Indian dancing, Keremeos, B.C.

Free Anual Events

Memorial Park is the site of three annual festivals in the warm summer season featuring free admission for all ages:

• Canada Day Celebrations on July 1st.

Kars Under the K (Sunday July 31st in 2011) fills the park with antique & vintage cars, trucks, tractors, muscle cars, street rods, custom & classic cars.

Similkameen Sizzle PepperFest on the third Saturday of September.
Kars under the K annual vintage car show

All three festivals start off with pancake breakfasts and the days are filled with music, entertainment and prize draws for all ages. Canada Day Celebrations and Kars Under the K also offer free swimming for kids at the public, outdoor pool. SizzleFest features celebrity cook-offs, pepper eating contests and hot dancing music from professional bands.

Food and Restaurants

Keremeos has many heritage buildings

Who would expect such diversity in a small town like Keremeos? Coffee and croissants while you surf the net; delicious steak or salmon dinner at the Branding Iron; Mediterranean specialties at the Pasta Trading Post or a healthy, hearty lunch on the Grist Mill garden patio. Go international with the German menu at the Crows Nest Winery or enjoy the food of Thailand at Benja Thai.

Why not try a taste of India at Sanderson’s Fruit Stand or great home style burgers and fries? - Keremeos has a wide selection of dining options to satisfy your pallet but you won’t find the big fast food chains here!

You can experience and taste the homemade bread from flour ground at the Grist Mill, tour and taste at our six local wineries, and compare honey made from the nectar of different flowers at Orchard Blossom Honey.

Keremeos pepper festival

If you are staying for a while you can stock your kitchen with fine cheeses, Dutch baking, deli meats, local Okanagan fruit juice, jam and honey, and all your basic needs from our local stores. Not to mention the many fruit and vegetables stands to choose from, u-pick and farm gate sales.

For more information about local attractions, including a calendar of local events, go to:
Village of Keremeos
similkameencountry.org
The Grist Mill Heritage Site
Similkameen Wineries Association
Nk’mip Desert Heritage Centre
Osoyoos Desert Centre
Hedley and its gold mines

Organic Ambrosia Apples:
B.C. Grown Organic Ambrosia Apples

For informatin about another organic farm-stay vacation in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, visit Bold Point Framstay

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Old Tower Farm
Old Tower Farm - Organic farmstay accommodation & quality apple gifts
2649 Middle Bench Road, Keremeos, B.C., Canada, V0X 1N2
 phone: (250)499-5654  alainp@telus.net