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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nelson, B.C., Canada – Dec. 7-8, 2011

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I love the phrase, “Happy Accidents” (a painting term used often by watercolorists when the water or paint goes a little further than anticipated but ends up looking great) and the Aventura has provided at least two so far: The first time I baked bread and ran out of flour, I turned to the most flour-like substance in our meager cabinet, Flax Seed, and thus was born my Flax Seed Bread; and now the discovery of Bibo

 But don’t let me get ahead of myself. 

As some of you may know, part of this trip is dedicated to looking at areas that might be Future Farmland of the Bryants. It was with this anticipation (and not the warning from a nice lady in Grand Forks that Nelson was great, “If you like dreadlocks”, which, of course, only made us want to go there more) that we entered Nelson, B.C

And what a lovely town it is to visit! Nestled next to Kootenay Lake and in the shadow of some of the largest mountains in the West Kootenay’s, Nelson is the epic mountain village. Full of great specialty stores like John Wards Fine Coffee (delicious!), Gerick’s Cycle and Ski (where we rented our cross-country skis and received the tip that Guiness was on tap at Mike’s Place Pub, and R.O.A.M (where The New Austerity was no match for the great salesmanship and product knowledge of Robin who decked Alan out in the latest hi-tech base layer from Arcteryx--highlighted in the product recommendation box to the left.) 

We stayed just south of town on Highway 6 at Kline’s RV Park, one of the few parks in the West Kootenay’s that are open all year. They happily provided a full hook-up pitch in a delightful spot along a creek for just $20/night. 

Only having one full day in Nelson, I was thrilled when Alan joined me for cross-country skiing (a DITL will be out soon!)  On the advice from the wonderful lady at the Visitors Center (oh yes, using all our resources yet again!) we headed up to the Nelson Nordic Ski Club on Highway 6.

Unfortunately, we did not start at the main gate but drove to a secondary parking area where there were fewer cars. We let the dogs run (first time in their Ruff Wear snow shoes--yes, another product recommendation, but they are great at keeping the snow from building up in their pads) and started out on Busk trail. This trail was described as a beginner trail, but it had way more hills (and, sadly, crashing-ly, valleys) than any beginner trail I had ever been on.  So after 90 minutes and many falls between us, we stuck The Noses in the car and headed to the main gate. 

There we were given a proper introduction to the trails and spent another hour on the truly beginner-level Apex trail. Delightful, although we both still fell at least once. (By the way, blame River for the fact that there are so few pictures of skiing – I just couldn’t carry around the large Nikon and ski at the same time, if only we had the small Nikon forever lost in the Rock Creek lakes area. Terriers!) 

We worked up a huge appetite so headed into town for dinner. First stop was to return the skis to the side door of Gerick’s at which point I looked up and saw the sign introducing “Bibo” (cue the harp music.) I walked up the stairs to the door of the most wonderful looking bistro—somehow elegant and rustic at the same time—like something you would find in the St. Sulpice area of Paris. They had me when I was simply peering in the windows, but I did pause to read the menu as well and, well, you just have to read it yourself here. Sadly, they did not open until 5 and we were in desperate need of a sun-downer (hey, don’t judge, it was dark at 4:00!) So we set out for Jackson’s Hole to quench our thirst. We were back to Bibo by 5:35 for dinner.

Bibo is a small place, maybe 10 tables, all effortlessly waited upon by Deidre whose talent at making everyone feel welcome and pampered is only matched by her talent displayed on the walls.

The food lived up to its descriptions and more: From the Speck Wrapped Scallops to the Rabbit Parpadelle and Chicken Cacciatore (with house-made gnocchi.) To top it off, the crème brulee had not the slightest taste of a hand torch (such a crime when it does.) Ahh, but if only this was a restaurant blog, I could go on and on. 

Suffice it to say that we awoke via our alarm at 5:30 a.m. with some pretty good hangovers but even better memories. 


P.S.  A reader suggested that I add more pictures of the RV parks and I will, I promise!  I do wish I had some of Kline's - a very pretty spot.