From Osoyoos, (see previous Blog) we headed westwards toward home – but not before making one last stop in Princeton for the Seventh Annual Traditional Music Festival. Considered the gateway to the Okanagan, Princeton is a charming hamlet about 300 kilometres from Vancouver and a convergent point for the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers. En route there, we passed countless lush orchards and vineyards, hugged by verdant mountains on one side and crystal clear water on the other. To describe the drive as “scenic” would be an understatement.
We made two detours along the way. First in Keremeos to pick up some plump peaches, crisp apples, sweet cherries, and other fresh fruit and vegetables at a few of the colourful fruit stands dotting the road. By the time we were done shopping, we were our own little mobile fruit stand.
Next up was lunch. We decided to stop in the quaint town of Hedley, the inspiration for the band of the same name.
Here, we hitched our post to the historic Hitching Post Restaurant, a local eatery rich in character with a complex and storied past.
A bit of background on the place: First opened in 1903, the building was one of Hedley’s first permanent structures. (In the early 1900s, Hedley was a bustling city and a mining and business center of the Similkameen, and considered one of BC’s richest mining areas.)
Over the years, the building was converted and re-converted to many things, including a Masonic dance hall and mining supply store, a department store, a warehouse depot and several restaurant incarnations.
In 2004, local chef Wilson Wiley and his entrepreneur/archaeologist wife, Brenda Gould, purchased the building and the business, continuing the tradition of making the Hitching Post a destination restaurant specializing in homemade food with fresh ingredients.
On our brief visit, we knew we had made the right decision to lunch here. My younger daughter and I shared a delicious pizza with gooey cheese and a robust sauce, which perfectly complemented my entrée-sized fresh tomato and onion salad, while my husband thoroughly enjoyed his burger and onion rings, and my older daughter devoured her classic BLT.
After polishing off our lunch (seriously, there wasn’t a morsel left on anyone’s plate), it was off to Princeton.
By the time we arrived on Sunday afternoon, the festival was in full swing with two stages. The festival kicked off on Friday evening with a street dance and an Irish ceili band. Over the next two days, this free festival offered up concerts, workshops and jam sessions with some amazing music that you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else.
Another wonderful thing about this festival? The truly eclectic crowd. But, it was clear what this diverse crowd did have in common: a genuine appreciation for music and love of dancing, which my husband and girls happily joined in.
It was the perfect way to end our holidays – lively music, glorious sunshine and dancing in the grass among rolling hills in a beautiful BC setting.