Saturday, February 21, 2009


My friend Katherine is thinking about travel stories. This morning we laughed together when she asked how it is that we write about places that we go to visit, but not about what we know best. When we go to a place, we bring our fresh eyes. Another writer, Rita Moir, encouraged us in her writing class to find that special view when we want to write.

So then I got to thinking about Nelson. Nelson is a city in the midst of the mountains. If I could have imagined it when I was a child, I would have seen it from the book, Heidi's perspective. A favourite of mine when I was a child, Heidi is brought to the Swiss Alps where she lives with her grandfather where she thrives. She thrives on cheese, milk, and bread - all foods on many people's sensitivities list. Not a story based in this time.

The 4 top things that make Nelson special....


This is one outdoorsy place. People come to visit in the summer and people come to visit in the winter. Here we climb mountains and slide down them. I can immediately think of 6 shops selling outdoor goods.


Basically everything is built on the side of the mountain. Except for the mall and the waste transfer station, which are on the flat land, right by the water. Curious. Since the winters are relatively warm, we experience spring-like conditions many times during the winter. During the melting, water winds its way downhill and then at night, it freezes. Which brings a big market for these. But when the clouds part and we can see the peaks on the mountains with snow, it is a truly magnificent site.

Nelson is also parked on the West Arm of the Kootenay Lake. Mountains and water and rocks.


In the 1980s and as an antidote to the tough economic times, Nelson restored many buildings to the splendour of the heritage days.


Nelson definitely is one of those places that can boast having four distinct seasons. Each season is awe-inspiring in its own way. The long autumns are really the best kept secret for when to come and visit. The temperature is warm but not hot so hiking is pleasant (well, if you call working real hard pleasant), and the vibrant colours are a wonderment to the eyes. And mountains, well, they attract snow. (Except for this year - quite the oddity.) If you like snow, this is the place. But what is still a novelty to me after 14 years is the moderate temperature in the middle of winter. I like to experience spring time temperatures in the middle of winter. That may mean that the snow is heavier to shovel, but it is a good trade off.

What else is special about Nelson??

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