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Nelson Trip

When did we go….

  • May 31 – June 3, 2021


Why did we go…

  • we had not been to this part of our beautiful country in decades


How did we get there…

  • 4-hour drive from Kelowna taking the south route through Rock Creek, Greenwood, Grand Forks, and Castlegar
  • the views are beautiful for most of this route and especially the wild lupins on the side of the road on either side of Nelson



Where did we stay…

  • Savoy Hotel
  • 12 room boutique hotel built in the early 1900’s
  • centrally located in the downtown core
  • nice rooftop hot tub and a sauna
  • the rooms were decent, but we chuckled that there was no closet


Where did we eat…

  • Marzano’s (dinner, beautifully appointed Italian restaurant on Baker Street, good service and very good chow)
  • Oso Negro (breakfast all three days, beautiful courtyard with amazing foliage, casual healthy food, famous coffee, ran into the granddaughter of Harley Hotchkiss)
  • Red Light Ramen (lunch, nice outdoor patio, best ramen I’ve ever had)
  • El Cantina (dinner, Mexican, nice patio with good chow and margaritas)
  • The Black Cauldron Lounge (dessert/cocktails, funky place with an interesting vibe, magical lounge, and apothecary bar with bewitching cocktails)
  • Pitchfork (dinner with our daughter Leah’s friends Kara and Richard, nice outdoor patio, good food, and service)



What did we do…

  • visited our friend Dan Collins at his Ripping Giraffe Boardshop
  • toured the stores on their main strip (Baker Street), including buying some beautiful pottery mugs at Craft Connection
  • purchased a funky hat from Lillie & Cohoe, who design customs hats
  • walked through the neighborhood above Baker Street, enjoying the historic houses and the beautiful foilage (very steep streets like San Francisco)
  • checked out the fabulous murals on the two alleys on either side of Baker Street
  • drove Highway 3A north along Kootenay Lake through Balfour and just past Ainsworth Hot Springs (beautiful drive along the lakeshore)
  • had a beverage and snack at the Prestige outdoor patio overlooking the water and marina
  • hiked through the Old Growth Forest with our daughter’s friend Kara (from Nelson heads east towards Balfour and turnoff at Kokanee Glacier Road where you follow it for 11.4 km to the trailhead, 2.4 km trail, the cedar trees are massive with some that are over 800 years old)
  • en route to the hike we had a black bear run into my daughters Rav 4 but luckily none of us, the bear, or the vehicle sustained any major damage
  • had some beverages at Nelson Brewing Company (certified organic brewery located in a 125 year old building a few blocks above Baker Street on Latimer Street)
  • listened to some live outdoor music at the Hume Hotel patio and ran into some friends (Steve and Jacquie) from Calgary for a nice visit




  • Nelson is located in the Selkirk Mountains on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of B.C.
  • it is regarded as one of the hippest mountain towns in North America
  • population of 11,000 people
  • known as ‘The Queen City’ for its impressive collection of restored heritage buildings and from its glory days in the regional silver rush (first discovery was on Toad Mountain in 1886)
  • the town was named in 1888 after Hugh Nelson, then Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
  • during the Vietnam War, many American draft evaders settled in Nelson and the surrounding area
  • this influx of liberal, mostly educated young people had a significant impact on the area’s cultural and political demographics
  • Nelson has been noted for its illegal marijuana production


What did we not do that is on the agenda for next time:

  • there are lots of hikes in the area to be explored (Pulpit Rock & The Flagpole would be the first one on the list)
  • spend time on the water paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating
  • spend a bit of time in the towns along the route


Final thoughts:

  • in 1986 Steve Martin chose to produce his feature film Roxanne primarily in Nelson, using the local fire hall as a primary set and many historic locations for others
  • the wild lupins along the highway leading into Nelson and beyond were spectacular (similar to what we saw in the Lake Tekapo area in New Zealand)
  • the weather was spectacular with high’s in low 30’s