Friday, September 07, 2012

Victoria ... a long weekend in a northwestern paradise

(Above: Steve and a microbrew at Swans Restaurant in Victoria, British Columbia. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

My husband Steve is some sort of a genius when it comes to making on-line travel arrangements. (No ... He can't find amazing deals to a precise destination on a very specific day. He can, however, find incredible deals for our "travel habit" because we do have a high degree of flexiblity and he will check lots of websites daily!) Well ... he managed to find a cheap ticket to Seattle and cash in a "companion" seat for me. He also booked ferry rides to Victoria, British Columbia. We had a marvelously long Labor Day weekend in the Northwest.

The weather was better than either of us dared to hope. We spent our first afternoon in Seattle's Pike Place Market ...

... admiring the salmon ...

... listening to a cool bluegrass music and watching the crowd of eager customers. For more photos from Seattle, CLICK HERE for a Flickr! set or HERE for a slideshow.

(Above: Cool reflection of stained glass on a second story glass wall above the nave in Victoria's Cathedral. )

Once in Victoria, we had a full schedule of sight-seeing. First up was the Christ Church Cathedral. We were almost alone in the sanctuary ... except for a couple of ladies ... one of which was the chairman of the liturgical textiles. We talked about the needlepoint cushions ...

...the amazing Victorian shells beads on an older altar screen, and about the amazing, new altar screen by Carole Sabiston.

(Above: Detail of altar screen at Christ Church Cathedral by Carole Sabiston.)

She told us about Munro Books, a store on the glamorous main shopping street owned by Ms. Sabiston's husband that featured several large banners.

Well ... we went there, of course. It was well worth the trip!

(Above: One of eight banners called The Four Seasons Suite by Carole Sabiston.)

The work was amazing and the book store was great too!

Of course we also toured Craigdarroche Castle. It truly is a legendary Victorian home!

It really isn't a "castle" and was never the home of true royalty ... but it certainly was a delight, filled with more than just period furniture. Every little detail was wonderful.

Every room was filled with personal items from the family that built the place. Everything was lovely, exquisite, and in excellent condition.

The staircase was a masterpiece in wood.

The dining room was ready for guests.

The wall was hung with interesting paintings, engravings, family portraits ... and this fascinating hair wreath.

One room was being used by volunteer stitchers conserving four panels of lace curtains.

Several rooms included sewing accessories like these great "sewing birds".

There was also an interesting "armadillo" tote/basket/purse ... the likes of which I've never seen! For more photos from Victoria's Craigdarroche Castle, Cathedral, harbor, Carole Sabiston's art, etc., please CLICK HERE for a Flickr! set or HERE for a slideshow.)

From Craigdarroche we walked to the nearby Victoria Art Gallery and saw several great exhibits. One featured William Kurelek. We were hooked. Another was called Silk Splendor.

I took load of photos.

(More are on a Flickr! set HERE or as a slideshow HERE.)

In the same general area is the Government House Gardens. We walked through the acreage that has been restored to the natural landscape of British Columbia ... before invasive plant life was introduced.

There were also several beautiful flower beds.

Most interesting though was a tent under which a team of native Canadians were busy carving a new totem pole. It will be dedicated this coming weekend with many festivities.

It is actually a reproduction of a totem pole originally carved by one of the master's grandfathers!

On we walked to the historic Ross Bay Cemetery ... visiting the grave site of Victoria's "first artist", Emily Carr ... whose permanent retrospective we'd just visited in the art gallery. The show was called "From the Edge of Nowhere."

Over the two days we spent in Victoria, we also walked through the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel and visited the colorful harbor. We watched seaplanes take off and land, whale watching tours come and go, and eyed the water taxis.

The water taxis are SO CUTE. They look like giant rubber duckies bobbing up and down across the harbor.

We had to take a ride to the nearby Fisherman's wharf area ...

... and see all the boats and pretty boat houses.

Also ... just for fun ... we went to Miniature World, a hilarious collection of tiny military scenes, railroad constructions, doll houses, and even outer space vehicles with tiny lights.

The circus area was quite expansive. The lighting changed from day to night and everything spun around non-stop.

Yet, one of the major reasons for coming to Victoria was a chance to visit the historic Butchard Garden. It was worth the trip entirely!

I took hundreds of photos (saved 99) ... practicing my skills "off automatic" ... trying to capture the vivid colors successfully ... so as not to need Photoshop for color and contrast corrections. Most of the images I took were exactly what I wanted. I have a Flickr! set HERE and a slideshow HERE.

Butchard Gardens has a "sunken garden" section, a Japanese garden, a formal rose garden, an Italian Garden, a place for fireworks, shops, a bog, restaurants, totem poles, a cove for boat rides, and a carousel. (Plus more!) We had a wonderful time.

We rarely do much shopping when traveling ... except for chocolate! This is Roger's Chocolate ... also a bit of history since it has been selling Steve's favorite flavors since 1885!


Crazy Ravens Studio said...

I lived in Victoria for eight years. Looks like you took in all my favorite things. One of the best experiences was to attend a Halloween re-enactment of the "Fall of the House of Usher" at Craigdarroch.

Margaret said...

So glad you enjoyed your Canadian visit! Next time, ask your hubby to move over slightly eastward one province, and take in Banff or Jasper off season! I'd be delighted to meet you! (If you missed it...knowing you love need to visit Victoria's Button & Needlework Boutique: Enjoy!

Lynne Rattray said...

I'm SO glad that I linked from your Facebook post to your photos as they are exquisite! Usually holiday photos are painful to scroll through but each of yours is a joy - thank you! Can you believe I live 2 hrs away I have never seen most of what you did? The Gardens looks to be a must next year (figure flower will be tired pretty soon). Much appreciated Susan!

Lynn Cohen said...

Thanks for the tag along view of your wonderful weekend. Or was it a week? You saw so much!!!!
Glad for you on all counts!

Wanda said...

I feel I've been there now! Thanks for sharing. You both are teachers at heart.

imajan said...

Wonderful post. I live in Victoria and treasure every one of your comments! Love all of the "spots" you enjoyed. Come back, and bring a few friends!! especially to our world famous ButcharT gardens. ha. P.S. great photographs