After we had our fill of all things tulips, we headed across the bay to the Port Angeles KOA. They had opened a few days before our arrival at the end of April 2014 and were still in the process of completing maintenance projects.
It wasn’t the finest KOA we had stayed at but the pretty wildflowers in bloom were a bonus. Since we were leaving the trailer for a night and taking the ferry to Victoria B.C., it suited us fine.
Their website now lists the campground as a Journey classification, they have new camp hosts and updated amenities. Although they are open year-round, amenities and the number of sites during winter are limited.
While in Port Angeles, we had time to explore a small bit of the Olympic National Park. A short distance from U.S. Highway 101 we found Marymere Falls to be an easy roundtrip hike of 1.8 miles.
There was no doubt we were walking in a rain forest when we saw tree limbs dripping with lichen, and moss clinging to the trees like a green coat. I expected fairies and gnomes to appear any minute.
Blue Forget Me Nots and wild white trilliums poked their blossoms up through the undergrowth of sword ferns, while polished roots snaked there way around the base of the trees toward the ground.
The falls weren’t particularly spectacular, surely nothing like Niagara Falls or even Twin Falls in Idaho. But, hey, who doesn’t like feeling the spray on their face or marveling at the power of water flowing into the pool below?
We stopped at Granny’s Café for a home-style meal after our drive and hike. Granny’s history dates back to the 1950s. Their website details how each owner has honored the original vision of the restaurant while adding touches of their own. I’m sure we’d have another great meal there if we visited today.
The next day we waved good-bye to the Olympic Mountains and Port Angeles as we ferried to Victoria B.C. We arrived on the first ferry to give us plenty of time for exploration.
And explore we did. First stop was the British Government Parliament Building for a tour.
Of course, we couldn’t pass up Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel.
We walked off our meal around the harbor, through downtown, and took a Dark and Stormy break at the Sticky Wicket.
Then we went on to Beacon Hill Park, making for a long day and miles of walking. If visiting Victoria with no time to make the drive to Butchart Garden, try Beacon Hill Park as a substitute.
The garden provides visitors with peaceful surroundings to enjoy the colorful display of flowers, trees, and water features, along with geese, ducks, and blackbirds. Oh, and don’t forget the garden art.
The Royal Scot Hotel & Suites served as our home for the night and boy did we ever have a good night’s sleep after our long day.
We had plenty of time to tour the Craigdarroch Castle the next day before we caught the ferry back to Port Angeles. The Victorian era building incorporates 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish, and Italian Romanesque elements, all evident by the arches, columns, and towers.
When I heard that the man who built the castle between 1887 and 1890 was Robert Dunsmuir, I thought about the Dunsmuir House in Oakland, California, which we had visited years ago. Could there be a connection? Yes, indeed. Robert’s son Alexander Dunsmuir built the house in Oakland for his bride Josephine. Unfortunately, Alexander never lived in the Oakland home. He died in New York while on his honeymoon with Josephine who died two years later.
Information about Craigdarroch Castle can be found here.
Next up we continue looking back on our 2014 Pacific Northwest adventure as we turn south along the rugged Oregon coastline.