THE BEST WAY TO NELSON

From LAX, direct service (stop, no change of plane) to Spokane, Wash., is offered on Southwest, and connecting service (change of plane) is offered on Delta, Alaska, United, Southwest and Frontier. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $180. From LAX to Castlegar, Canada, connecting service is offered on Air Canada. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $716.

Nelson is about a 30-mile drive from Castlegar and the Castlegar Municipal Airport, a 150-mile drive north of Spokane.

CURRENCY

The U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar have been neck-and-neck lately. As of early October, $1 U.S. bought $1.03 Canadian.

WHERE TO STAY

Best Western Baker Street Inn, 153 Baker St.; (250) 352-3525 or (888) 255-3525, http://www.bwbakerstreetinn.com. Seventy rooms, recently renovated. Rooms for two, $104-$170, depending on the season and view.

New Grand Hotel, 616 Vernon St.; (250) 352-7211 or (888) 722-2258, http://www.newgrandhotel.ca. Thirty-four rooms. Steakhouse and sports bar on premises. Most doubles, $78-$98 October-June, $90-$109 July through September. Eight budget rooms for solo travelers, $40-$45.

Mountain Hound Inn, 621 Baker St.; (250) 352-6490 or (866) 452-6490. http://www.mountainhound.com. This basic lodging has 19 small rooms, no elevator. Winter specials combine room rates with Whitewater lift tickets. Most doubles $78-$98 Oct. 1-June 14, $91 June 15-Sept. 30.

Prestige Lakeside Resort, 701 Lakeside Drive; (250) 352-7222, http://www.prestigehotelsandresorts.com/nelson-lakeside-prestige-hotel.php. Prime location at the lake's edge with restaurant, bar and space, but minimal character and mediocre service during my visit. Rooms for two, about $134-$192, more for suites.

For B&B options, check http://www.discovernelson.com and http://www.bbkootenays.com, which lists dozens of bed-and-breakfast operations in and near Nelson.

WHERE TO EAT

All Seasons Café, 620 Herridge Lane; (250) 352-0101, http://www.allseasonscafe.com. A sophisticated neighborhood bistro serving modern food from local and organic sources, with a smart wine list. Main dishes, $21-$31.

BiBO, 518 Hall St. in Herridge Lane; (250) 352-2744; culinafamily.ca/bibo-nelson. Modern bistro in an old brick manor. Dinner nightly, brunch on some Sundays, live music occasionally. Main dishes, about $15-$27.

Louie's Steakhouse & Lounge, in New Grand Hotel, 616 Vernon St.; (250) 352-5570. Red meat and martinis. Main dishes, $16-$39.

Kootenay Bakery Café Cooperative, 377 Baker St.; (250) 352-2274. Lots of organic food and a happy buzz at breakfast. Items, $4-$8.

TO LEARN MORE

Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce, http://www.discovernelson.com.

Tourism British Columbia, http://www.hellobc.com.