French Country Inn on a Glacier-Fed Lake in Selkirk Mountains
Located in southern British Columbia, Kootenay Lake draws year-round visitors to its scenic shores, reminiscent of a Norwegian fjord due to the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains on each side. In the summer, you can swim and fish in the lake, or hike around its mountainous surroundings. Come winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing trails open up. Prestige Inn Nelson can be found on the lake’s secluded western shore in the quaint town of Nelson, an old mining village that Lonely Planet says “should be on any itinerary in the region.”
Since the French-country-style hotel is located near the lake, some of its deluxe rooms overlook the crisp, blue shores. Guests are welcome to use any of the amenities at Prestige Inn’s sister property, Prestige Lakeside Resort, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Take a dip in its indoor pool and hot tub, relax at the Shalimar Health Spa, or visit Ric’s Lounge & Grill to enjoy Sterling Silver AAA Alberta beef on its outdoor waterfront patio.
In the warmer months, Kootenay Lake is a nice spot to hire a local fishing charter and probe its glacier-fed waters for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and cows facing an identity crisis. You can also walk to downtown Nelson to take a self-guided walking tour around the town’s historic Victorian homes, or visit Ainsworth Hot Springs, which is less than 30 miles away.
Nelson, British Columbia: Ecotourism Hot Spot with Eclectic Arts Scene
About 150 miles north of Spokane, Washington, the town of Nelson lies along Kootenay Lake’s western arm. Originally inhabited by Sinixt and Ktunaxa tribes, this scenic retreat became a successful mining town in the 1880s and 1890s, when silver-lead deposits were found in nearby mountain ranges. Because of its pristine lake surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks, the area has since become an ecotourism hot spot. Hiking, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking are popular in the summer, and winter visitors take to the slopes at Whitewater Ski Resort, just a half hour east of downtown.
Visit the downtown area to get a feel for this historic city. Here, you’ll find several art galleries and museums, such as the Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, located inside a turn-of-the-century building. You’ll also find gourmet local cuisine, as more and more restaurants here are adapting “100-mile menus” that rely heavily on ingredients sourced within a 100-mile radius.