A Four Day Itinerary of Things to do in Invermere
So Many Things To Do, You’ll Need More Than A Long Weekend
Nestled in the Columbia Valley on the shores of Lake Windermere, Invermere offers casual-chic dining, a gorgeous lake for water activities, golf, mountain biking, and eclectic retail options – the perfect place for a getaway. So what are some top things to do in Invermere, Panorama and throughout the Columbia Valley?
First Things First – Know Before Your Go
Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the regional COVID-19 travel information – which may vary from business to business. If you have questions, we recommend you contact the business before arrival for the most current information.
Day One: Friday
7 p.m. ARRIVAL
You’ve made it. Past the foothills, through two national parks, south around Radium’s new traffic circle, and into your Invermere accommodations. Despite the beautiful drive into BC, you’re tired. Time to fuel up. Make it a quick, more casual meal this evening. The Station Neighbourhood Pub is the place for you. Down by Kinsmen Beach, watch from the Station’s patio the setting sun hit Chisel Peak on the east side of the valley with Lake Windermere in the foreground. Affordable and tasty, this is the spot to unwind, have an Arrowhead Lager (local microbrewer), an order of gyoza to start, and a mouth-watering chicken avocado bacon burger. Minors are welcome. The service is efficient, professional and eager to answer questions about what’s going on in the Valley. Gluten-free options are available.
9 p.m. STAY A LITTLE LONGER
You’ve eaten. Your belly is full. You’re in BC. One last summer weekend before September, school and…you get the point. Life’s good. Take a break and walk off that meal around Kinsmen Beach and the historic Pynelogs Cultural Centre. At this hour, Lake Windermere is glass though the odd paddle-boarder may still be out there in Kinsmen Bay. Dusk in the Rockies: magic. Breathe it in and if one more nightcap is in order, check out the craft cocktail menu, or bring back to your lodging a bottle of Ginger Matcha Tea Infused Cocktail from Taynton Bay Spirits (located directly below the Station Pub where you just ate dinner).
9 a.m. RELAAAX
Sleep in a little. Not a lot, mind you, but give yourself permission. It’s Saturday. The weather’s nice. Take an extra hour and mosey on down when you feel ready to the Invermere Farmer’s Market. From 9 a.m. till 1 p.m., check out an eclectic mix of artisanal foods, crafts, and top tier farm-to-fork produce, baking, and butchering. There are buskers and there is energy. Recharge by osmosis.
1 p.m. HIDDEN GEMS
You’ve walked around the market, you’ve bought all of your fall birthday present obligations, perhaps you’re that rare beast to have even tackled your winter holiday shopping list. This year, instead of travelling abroad, you’ve done the stay-cation. You’re walking toward the rest of downtown wondering what else you can do in Invermere when you smell a smell immediately reminding you of those two weeks a few years ago in Madrid. You’re wondering, how? Where? Show me! There it is. The Back Alley Grill. Through the cutest entryway to a restaurant in all of the Columbia Valley, is local legend siblings Kiana and Tryg Strand’s airstream food truck. Kiana spent a few years in Spain and returned to her hometown to open the seasonal Spanish influenced sandwich/melt operation. Young and hip. Patatas Bravas anyone?
2 p.m. CULTURE
In your mind, you’re in Madrid. No, you’re not, you’re in Invermere. Even better. Your culture cravings nonetheless have been aroused. Where art thou fine art?!? Down the road a few blocks you’ll find the resplendent Artym Gallery – home to some seriously fine contemporary Western Canadian art. Chances are you’ll see one of the painters among Connie and Grey’s stable of artists creating a piece right in front of your eyes. Paintings, glass, sculptures and more.
3 p.m. BEACH TIME
Memories of last night’s shoreline Kinsmen walk propel you back to that same place. Bring your bathing suit. Don’t have a paddle-board? Rent one at Kinsmen Beach Rentals. There is a cafe next to the rental shop that will caffeinate you nicely for a strong paddle around Kinsmen Bay. The water is nice. Jump in, dry off on the board. Polish that tan. Go for another swim. Rinse, repeat.
5 p.m. APRÈS BEACH
Phew. You swam. You paddled. You worked hard on the tan. Time for an appy. Time for a cocktail. You need not travel far. Cafe Allium is right there behind you (housed in the historic Pynelogs building). Owner Megan Ballard is there to greet you. She’s serving dishes made with real food from good sources. Earth-friendly and delicious. This summer Cafe Allium is all about small plates and dishes to share. You get the Goats Cheese topped with Warm Marinated Tomatoes, I’ll get the Cheese Board and let’s dig in.
8 p.m. FINE WINE AND DINE
Screenwriter Frederic Raphael once said: “Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.” You don’t need to be reminded of that. After all, here you are at Birchwood Restaurant. You’re dressed to kill. Casual sexy. Start with the Beef Carpaccio. Proceed to the lamb shank. Conclude the meal with a too good to be true creme brûlée. Go ahead, have that second bottle of Bordeaux.
10 p.m. GLORY FOR THE VALLEY
Josh Wall is the finest bartender in the Valley. The place he co-owns, ULLR Bar, is next door to Birchwood. Best margarita in town without question. He’ll even whip you up a Sazerac if you’re so inclined. New this summer is a grassy beer garden out front. Check it out.
7 a.m. UP AND AT ‘EM
Sure you could sleep in, but that means less time experiencing all there is to do in a weekend in Invermere. Rise and shine. Early bird gets the worm. Get to the golf course early for breakfast before your pre-booked tee time at Copper Point Golf Club, one of Invermere’s golf courses (and a top-ranked one in Canada, at that). Drink coffee, hit balls at the range and get yourself ready for a good round hopefully not spoiled by that damn putter of yours.
1 p.m. CROSSROADS
The theme this weekend is pleasure. You’ve whacked a white ball around all morning. Now, it’s time for food. At the crossroads, there is barbecue at Smokehouse 93 that will transport you to Austin, Texas the moment you take a bite. Slow-cooked brisket. Burnt ends. White bread. So tender you’re not even sure if you’re chewing anything. Indulge.
2:30 p.m. WESTSIDE AND RIDE
You are the epitome of an active lifestyle. You brought your mountain and/or road bikes. Maybe you didn’t. If not, rent at Columbia Cycle. After, take a tour on the Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail. The WLT is a paved, non-motorized, dog-free, multi-use pathway extending along the west side of Lake Windermere. Parts of it are flat, parts of it are hilly. Views of the lake looking east are stunning. Absolutely worth the pedal, rollerblade, walk/run.
5 p.m. APRÈS BIKE
You’ve returned your bike rentals, showered, and are ready to slow your roll. Take a breather wherever you’re staying and be in the moment. Mindfulness. This is the summer’s last long weekend. I know, I’m sorry I even mentioned that.
7 p.m. THE LAST SUPPER
You’re thinking, all right, I want tasty, I want fine, I want healthy, I want ethnic. Where else to go for your last Labour Day Weekend Supper than the renowned Fubuki Sushi Bar? Dan Shoemaker trained in Los Angeles and opened his sushi bar several years ago to rave reviews. The entire menu is delicious. Start with the Green Dragon Roll, go from there. Wash it all down with a frosty Sapporo.
8 a.m. BREAKFAST & KAYAK & CHILL
You’re in and out for a quick and fresh breakfast at the Blue Dog Cafe – an Invermere classic. You’re ready for the final outdoor activity. You’re going kayaking today. Rent a kayak down by Pete’s Marina in Athalmer at Columbia River Paddle. Gently glide north with the current into the spectacular Columbia River Wetlands. Listen to the birds sing. Paddle some more. Feel the morning sun on your back. Find solace in nature’s quietude.
Noon RETAIL THERAPY & THE LAST LUNCH
You’re feeling depressed. It’s almost time to go home. Where did the time go? Sigh. Retail therapy to the rescue. But first, food. Grab a yummy panini and a cappuccino from local coffee roaster Stolen Church. Splurge one more time on food with some freshly made gelato and then hit the streets. Find that pair of shoes at Summit Footwear. Buy that jar of exotic spice at Trading Post Specialty Foods. Find the perfect boho-chic wrist accessory from Her PUBLIC BOUTIQUE. It’s proven: retail therapy works.
3 p.m. SEE YA NEXT TIME
We will miss you! Do come back. Drive safe and take it easy on the roads. You’re on Valley Time until you walk through the front door of your primary residence. You’re fully rejuvenated to take on fall. You’re already thinking about your next Invermere vacation. Can’t blame you.
Where to Stay in Invermere
Start planning your trip with a few recommendations for Invermere accommodations:
Lake Windermere Point Condos are conveniently located in Athalmer as you enter the town of Invermere. These two and three-bedroom modern-styled condo suites offer the ultimate in modern-day living. Guests staying at Lake Windermere Pointe Condos can enjoy the outdoor pool and sun deck in the summer and the hot tub and fitness room in the winter. Steps away from James Chabot Provincial Park and beach.
A hidden gem nestled in the Columbia Valley, Copper Point Resort is the epitome of casual sophistication and charm and a top-rated Invermere hotel. Beautiful full-service condo-style suites with mountain and golf course views, an adventure concierge, tennis courts, children’s activities, Copper Cabana Poolside Bar, Elements Restaurant and Lounge with seasonal outdoor patio and guest shuttle transportation; all this make for an unforgettable resort experience.
Peaks Lodge at Panorama Mountain Resort is the resort’s newest condo lodge offering located between Tamarack Lodge and the Summit Lodge in the Upper Village. It’s a short walk to the Panorama Springs Pools, the Mile 1 Express and many resort amenities. These condos offer full kitchens.
Author: James Rose
Author and Travel Writer based in Invermere