Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Valentines in Vancouver

After all these years as an innkeeper, my best advice to couples wanting to warm their romance is to keep it simple. Do something that you both enjoy and do it together.

Relax. Don't let Valentine's Day stress you out. A little getaway is more fun than a box of chocolates. A change of scene is way better than a bunch of flowers. Like diamonds, memories of a great time together, are forever.

Check out the Nelson House fun choice of rooms. That's Hollywood pictured above. Sleep in late, breakfast will still be waiting.

You will be very happy Valentines.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We have decked the halls in celebration of all the wonderful guests over the last year...the breakfasts, the laughs and stories we have shared.
We look forward to welcoming you to our home and table in 2014!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ozzie in memoriam


Ozzie was the red-gold colour of an autumn leaf caught in a shaft of light. For anyone who ever met this dog, you will remember him for his big heart, his happy wag: “Hi! My name is Ozzie. How are you?”

At 13 years of age, his life here is over. Many hundreds of bed and breakfast guests were welcomed by his enthusiastic kisses. Everywhere this handsome fellow went, he made people smile. He relaxed them just a little. He was always on the watch for someone who might need what he was offering. It seemed his mission in life.

I am not much of a church believer but if ever there was proof, warm furry friendly proof, of God’s existence, it was Ozzie. This dog’s heart was a bottomless well of love that he was determined, as only a Cairn Terrier can be determined, to share with the world. He seemed an old soul who just wanted to help everyone a little further along the path.

Peace my friend. If there is a forever-land, you are no doubt happy to be there, among the believers in Love.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Enter the Nelson House B & B garden and you are now in a "fee-free zone". Enjoy!
This week, a Reuters story carried by major newspapers worldwide, revealed the dirty little secrets of the hidden fees charged by hotels. "Hotels watch occupancy trends and change prices - and fees - constantly....Overall, nearly a quarter of hotels charge for in-room Internet access, according to a 2012 survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association."
Downtown locations appear to gouge the most. "Common fees include resort usage, airport pickup, parking and gym visits along with charges for room service. Some of the more surprising charges include a fee for moving items around in the minibar (not actually consuming any), a bellman (whether you use one or not), the room safe (even if you don't stash valuables in it), checking out early, checking in early and upgraded amenities...."
The biggest problem with fees is not disclosing those that are mandatory. Last fall the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to 22 hotel booking companies for leaving details out of the price projection when consumers shopped for hotels.
Bed and Breakfasts really are a better way to stay. This short funny video shows you why!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Fun in Vancouver

Summertime in Vancouver is pretty amazing. I took the photo above at one of July and August's three Celebration of Light fireworks displays over English Bay. These shows are the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world and attract up to 400,000 spectators along English Bay each evening. The pyrotechnics are synchronized to music and judged!

The day after the last of these shows, Vancouver turns its attention to the Vancouver Gay Pride Parade. This year was the 35th annual parade but the first to be funded as an accredited civic event. No wonder - the parade drew 650,000 spectators to the three hour extravaganza!

Since Nelson House B & B is just 2 and a half blocks from the nearest parade viewing point and 6 blocks from the Bay, both we and our guests have front row seats to the summer fun. Manager Michael, Assistant Lisa and myself work hard to keep the lemonade, iced tea and coffee flowing for all our lucky summer house-guests.

Here is a pic of Lisa's Pride cookies!! Keep smiling, there is lots of sunshine still to go.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nelson House B & B Garden continued...

Our B & B guests are sometimes blown away by the beauty of the West End's gardens. If stepping off a plane from Phoenix or even Sydney, the green can be kind of trippy! I remind them that Vancouver is in a temperate rain forest. If you visit the depths of Stanley Park, there is moss hanging off the tree branches. We may not be hot and humid like Louisiana but we are certainly cool and humid like the foothills of the Himalayas.
I joke that I am something of a Darwinian gardener. I mean by that I am a firm believer in flowering shrubs and perennials. The photo above shows some of our camellias and rhododendrons. I stick'em in the ground and let the toughest survive! It gets a bit jungly at times but then it also creates a feeling of privacy and escape right in the centre of the city.
The hydrangeas are lovely this year. We have several mature specimens along the front fence and I must have missed adding garden lime to one. With our winter rains, Vancouver has a naturally acidic soil, so now we have blooms in a lovely range of pinks and purples. I will try to take some more pics as the heads grow. The roses, by the way, are "bonica" and always happy bloomers.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nelson House Heritage Garden

A gardener must be an optimist - always planting for the future with the eye of one's imagination. As often happens in life, the future might not work out as planned or, let's face it, we just might not be around to see it happen.

One of the delights of a mature garden is the chance to see those loving plans come to beautiful fruition. Nelson House B & B, a century-old house, has such a garden. It is small - a city garden only - but it has been planted with excellent "bones" and tended with love for generations. A visit to our little urban oasis is a step back in time. Several of our trees, shrubs and roses are truly heritage specimens, planted when the House was young, circa 1905-10.

The photo above shows the "bones" of an astonishing pieris japonica - described by garden sources as growing slowly with an elegant, upright and layered habit. What is astonishing is that this very slow-growing shrub, a native of rainy, shaded mountainsides in Japan and China, is expected to reach no more than nine to twelve feet - ours is fifteen to twenty! Even in Vancouver's well-watered, shady environment, this specimen is undoubtedly one of the oldest on the West Coast.

Blooming through much of March and April in Vancouver, the pieris japonica graceful, dangling bell-like flowers are matched in their day-time charm by the old-fashioned lily of the valley perfume - especially on a mild spring night.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gay Ski Week Special !!

If you are going to Gay Ski Week (Feb. 3-10) in Whistler this year, you will probably want to stop over in Vancouver before or after. I recommend booking your accommodation now! For the first-time ever, BC will have a statutory holiday on Monday, Feb. 11, which will be sure to increase local vacation travel both in the city and the mountains. Then, there is the coincidence of Valentine's Day getaways preceding the 14th.
Fortunately, Nelson House B & B is currently running an amazing, discounted Third Night Free Special for stays on or before Feb. 11, 2013. Here is a link to the accommodation bargain and here is a link to WinterPride. Book early!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Vancouver's Roof-Top Tree

Do you like trees? For the first-time, the roof-top tree overlooking Vancouver's English Bay is stunningly trimmed in lights. The 40 foot Pin Oak is perched above the 19th floor penthouse at Eugenia Place, directly behind First Beach, and is visible through much of the West End.

As imagined by the architects, the oak has now reached the 250 ft. height of the old-growth forest of cedar and fir that originally stood on this spot. Vancouver's highest tree has become a local landmark and now a living all-season wonder.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Memories of a B & B

Our guests (God love 'em) say the darndest things. Recently, two of them surpassed all expectations and wrote two poems about their experience of Nelson House B & B and the Shangri-La suite.
Since it is Christmastime, I would like to share their gifts with you. Both poets have kindly extended their permissions but please accept my apologies for any damage done in selecting from the whole. For those of you who have stayed with us, these poems may stir some memories.
The following is an excerpt from a piece entitled The House by Don MacLean.
" Confidently sitting like a pampered prince, The grey-blue wood frame home, shoulder to shoulder with the towering high-rises, three stories of Victorian splendor, our writing retreat in town for the weekend, on the top floor....
We passed through
a black wrought-iron double gate.
Wide steps rose
to a carved oak door,
and a protective
grey and white cat
challenging us to come forward.
...Second floor, a thousand miles
away from the first,
water chimes by a vine-adorned window,
captivating to my partner,
who stops for three minutes meditation, I watch her watch the floating chimes, and
feel warm at her stillness.
Old photos of old people,
sepia images in one dimensional poses,
stories of the past imagined for a minute, there on the second floor, carpets everywhere
to absorb the city noises.
Third floor is though a smaller attic door, steeper stairs, narrower staircase, slightly mysterious, very quiet."
And by Lisa Shatzky, a small portion of her beautiful poem, The Room at Nelson House.
"But for a moment there was nothing else
but the memory of the room where we stayed, walking up the long narrow staircase to an open attic hideaway, a chamber extraordinaire burgundy walls and east Indian books and a bamboo sofa and two paper dragons hanging from the ceiling facing us with their fire eyes and wild tongues.
We spent the day writing...
And the room became an inner journey
to a sacred place
revealing the hidden labyrinths of being and we stayed by the fire sharing the poems over wine and chocolate...
The room then gathered us in her arms
and danced us into the night
and the poems grew wings
and joined the dragons
My best wishes for the holidays and may the new year bring you all much peace and happiness.