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Choose Your Own (Local) Experience
By John Bowden | Cover photo: The Sentinel
Tucked away between the Rockies and the Okanagan, the Kootenay Lake region has a compelling and magical blend of culture and nature. It begs visitors to slow down, explore and discover what makes this place tick. And there are more ways than ever to immerse yourself in authentic, local experiences.
The concept of experiential tourism isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is steadily gaining more awareness. Living like a local, actively participating in experiences, and learning about the people and geography that have shaped a place are at the core of it. We are wanting you to get the most out of your vacation, and it’s all waiting for you in the Nelson and Kaslo areas.
Coinciding with the popular Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, local businesses just outside of Kaslo will be offering Open Houses - a taste of the local experience for visitors.
- The Sentinel welcomes you to take in views of Kootenay Lake and Mount Loki from our expansive sundeck and terrace. Wander through our organic garden, sit lakeside and get a sneak peek at our massage rooms, brand new cedar hot tub and sauna. Hosted in the roundhouse Maloca, join us in an open drumming circle. Come for the views and the mountain air and come back for our famous garden to table breakfast! Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5, 11am-2pm.
- Wing Creek Resort, with it's stunning grounds, orchard, show home, forest trail and beach walk will be opening its doors for you to come and explore. Leave the stress of city life behind and find a little piece of paradise. Your experience will have you coming back for a night, a week, or perhaps even a lifetime. Sunday, August 5th, 12pm-3pm.
Knowledge, Observation, Participation - Feel the Difference
- Between a Lake and High Place is a new, and unique business that specializes solely in experiential tours. They are located in the Kaslo area and offer a variety of experiences. They’re taking visitors to new heights with experiences such as acoustic walks, “batstronomy”, and a Pixie Treehouse MicroConcert. Their tours encourage guests to slow down, discover, and learn about the culture, people and landscape of the West Kootenays through distinctive local experiences. Like other tourism operators, their passion for this place is contagious. Visit their website for special events.
A Tasty Experience - Agritourism
- Biobio Guest House located on Arrowhead Farm minutes from Nelson provides eco accommodations with tours of the organic farm. Come learn about organic farming and permaculture, buy farm fresh organic produce, swim in natural ponds and participate in workshops on farm crafts.
- West Arm Apiaries in Harrop harvests honey from bee yards in the area. They also grow delicious blueberries - U-PICK, and garlic. Call ahead to make sure they are open and they have product available.
Tours and Guides
If you’re keen to get outdoors, but not sure where to go or what to do, consider hiring a local guide to show you around.
- Local mountain bike instructors that know the trails best - Shred Central and Kootenay Mountain Biking - Nelson
- Road cycling tours with personalized service - Kootenay Cycling Tours
- Paddling trips with knowledgeable guides and storytellers
- Professional spelunkers leading cave tours, and
- A friendly ziplining crew that will talk about the local flora and fauna, and entertain and support your aerial adventures.
These are just some of the talented and passionate folks that you’ll meet on your tours. And don’t forget about our ski guides – they can spin more than a few yarns and help you find the sweetest of sweet powder stashes during the winter: backcountry, cat skiing or at Whitewater Ski Resort.
Behind the scenes brewery tours (like the new Beans and Brews Tour with Kootenay Mountain Culture), outdoor markets featuring nearby producers and artisans, and dozens of independent restaurants and cafes with their own flair provide a truly local experience. Wandering the historic downtowns in Nelson and Kaslo reveals a treasure trove of boutique shops with curated items for the Kootenays. Strike up a conversation with a shopkeeper and you’re bound to learn an insider tip or two about the area.
Dozens of accommodation providers allow you to choose your home away from home. The newly opened Savoy Hotel offers a boutique experience from the team responsible for the world famous Shambhala Music Festival, while the Hume Hotel exudes over a century of Nelson’s heritage charm. Cozy spots like Logden Lodge and Wing Creek Resort feature a genuine mountain feel in nature, and there are top quality vacation rentals with a personality to match your own.
Whether you want to relax and smell the roses or carve turns at top speed, richly rewarding and authentic experiences await in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region.
Feel the difference.