Pulling into Nelson BC the first order of business was a stop at Oso Negro - one of our favourite coffee houses.
ahhhhhhhh! a great cup of coffee
Oso Negro was a hopping place, obviously THE coffee and hang out spot in Nelson. Since we don't get this way often we also bought a pound of Speckled Sky beans to take back to the cabin.
We then headed to main street for a quick walk about and a bit of window shopping. Nelson is a veryyyyyyyy interesting place. It is the type of town where you would need a whole lotta money to live there. We stopped and looked on the window at the properties for sale - there were very few houses in for 200k and more in the 400 - 700k range. yikes!
It is also the type of place where if you DID move in you would have to have enough money left over for a new wardrobe. Now, I don't want to be unfair here but really - almost everyone we saw was dressed in what I'll call the 'neo hippie look' or the 'high end outdoor look'.... hmmm not sure if that captures it! The look is hippie but in a very expensive way. I saw kids Cassia's age wearing $200 worth in clothing!
We really didn't blend in of course. Oh well, just passing through anyway.
hmmmm - the economy of Nelson is based on ummm - well, BC bud......
just to be clear about what BC bud is.......!
We stopped in for a few groceries at Extra Foods to take with us to Ainsworth. Well - at least I got my first sticker shock out of the way. Our first grocery shopping trip after coming home from the States is always a bit of a traumatic experience. I still have USA food prices in my head and I think I am seeing things when I look at our prices - I rub my eyes a bit - try again. I actually left without buying one of the items on our list - cheese - I just couldn't do it - I'll need a bit more time to get over the price!
A nice drive up to Ainsworth with clear roads for most of the way.
About 10 kms from the springs the clouds darkened ahead and looked like snow - it caused a neat effect over the lake.
Yup - more snow!
Since we made the trip all the way up to the Ainsworth Hot Springs we decided to spend the night. We thought at the time that it would be better to wait out the snow which had started to fall in earnest upon arrival. The hot springs is also a resort with a hotel but the room rate is way out of reach for us. Instead we stayed at the more affordable Ainsworth Motel - we also stayed there way back in 2003.
so so glad we did!
The Ainsworth Motel is THE place to stay in the area - and that's not just us saying so! The motel was recently awarded the TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Award Plaque for 2012; AND the proprietors - Glen and Elaine are lovely people - we quite enjoyed talking to them and swapping 'going south' stories! The motel is VERY comfortable and VERY clean!
We were only in the motel long enough to get into our swimsuits!
One of the unique features of the Ainsworth HS is the horseshoe cave. The cave is dark with a few lights and offshoots and benches along the way. It is hot in there and the air is very humid and so I can only stay in for a few minutes at a time. Cassia was sure happy with it all!
Pictures were hard to take because of the steam.
The best pic we could get in the cave. Check out the website linked above for better cave pics.
The outlet of the spring water running down to the neighours below.
The view of Kootenay Lake from the motel.
By staying up at Ainsworth for the night we thought we would wait out the snow -
We woke up Thursday morning to more snow! Well we thought - we'll stay until check out and wait for it to taper off and/or turn to rain -
The longer we stayed the worse it got. By 10:00am we decided that we had better start back to Castlegar. Boy, am I glad we have a 4x4 truck! Some of the road was plowed and were ok - until we got to a pinched area that drops steeply - curves tightly and rises quickly. It was bit nerve racking but we made it through!
The motel looks a bit different then when we arrived.
Thursday, March 22nd was also Roofous's third Birthday!
The road at it's worst.
Once the road south dropped in elevation and began to parallel the lake the snow lightened and the road became clear. Happy to have made it down we decided to stop at Balfour and the Old World Bakery for a coffee and breakfast. We had never been before but - again - we were really impressed! Great bakery and very friendly staff - stop in if you are that way!
hmmmm what to get? a tough decision - I ended up with the blueberry white chocolate scone and Derek the ham and cheese croissant.
And Cassia the Easter Bunny - good parents eh? a cookie for breakfast!
The line up for the Balfour Ferry.
The rest of the ride to Nelson went pretty quick with good roads.
Hey! another bridge!
Nelson is a very picturesque city but not so much in the winter and not from this angle. If you google image Nelson you'll see some great pics - this fall picture is one of my favourites.
And that was our Nelson and Ainsworth Hot Springs mini vacation! We felt pretty special staying at the motel and walking to the hot springs. We purchased the daily fee so that we could visit multiple times in one day. After dinner at the Resort Dining Room we went back to the hot springs - what a nice way to end a day. Although the afternoon wasn't too busy we thought that it would be nice to go at night thinking it would be quite. But we were wrong, it was very very busy at night. With all the kids around the hot springs must be a spring break destination as well.
Thanks for checkin' in!
Today's Interesting Link: We would be remiss if we didn't point out that The Nelson Brewing Company also makes a fine bottle of beer.