Our 2014 Pacific Northwest Trip Continues in Port Angeles, Washington, and Victoria B.C.

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.

Port Angeles KOA campsite

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.

Dandelions and Daisies

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.

Marymere Falls Trail

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.

Lichen draped like a sweater on tree limbs
An Alder tree (??) dwarfs the bus.

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.

Forget Me Nots
Bridge across rippling waters
White Trillium
Polished roots, ferns, and moss

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?

Marymere Falls

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.

Granny’s Cafe going strong for over 65 years

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.

Port Angeles, Washington, and the Olympic Mountain Range

And explore we did. First stop was the British Government Parliament Building for a tour.

Some kind of event in front of the building
Staircase inside Parliament Building
Tile mosaic floor
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Window commemorating the 60th year of her reign from 1837 to 1897

Of course, we couldn’t pass up Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel.

The Empress Hotel
Tea at the Empress Hotel
Fresh berries with whip cream was the first course

We walked off our meal around the harbor, through downtown, and took a Dark and Stormy break at the Sticky Wicket.

Wish we had time for a 3-hour sail
Dave Harris, One Man Band, Victoria B.C.
Ferry Boat
Plenty of street art to admire
“Daddy, you’re home.”
“Them some tall tulips, Henry.”
McDonald’s everywhere we go
The Sticky Wicket Pub & Restaurant
Inside Sticky Wicket looking out

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.

Beacon Hill Park is full of flowers

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.

Bouquet of flowers
“One o’clock, lady with a camera. Turn to your left. I’ll turn right.”
What you lookin’ at?
Where have all the fairies gone?
Red Hibiscus
Blue and lavender bell-shaped flowers
Okay, yellow tulips, point your faces to the right.
Monkey Puzzle tree. Watch your back.
Water fountain in the pond
Okay, here I come. Who needs a drink of water?

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.

Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

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.

Craigdarroch Castle would make a great setting for a murder mystery
Inlaid tiles and wood
Fireplace detail
Stained glass window

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.

Safe Travels

Victoria, B.C.

Day 9 of our Alaskan Cruise, found us docked at Victoria, B.C.

Good morning Victoria, B.C.

We had visited Victoria twice before taking a bus to Butchart Gardens, roaming around Beacon Hill Park, falling in love with Craigdarroch Castle, and touring the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. A stroll through the downtown area was also fun as we walked in and out of the stores and read the menus outside of the restaurants, but this trip there was no time to take in these activities.

With limited time ashore during this visit, we stuck close to the ship. A one-mile walk took us to the Empress Hotel where we had earlier made reservations for tea through Open Table. Our sightseeing in Victoria consisted only of our walk from and to the ship along the harbor.

The Johnson Street Bridge opened on March 31, 2018. The single-leaf bascule (moveable) bridge is the fourth bridge crossing the span.

Johnson Street Bridge

The Friendship Bell, located in Centennial Park at the corner of Belleville Street and Pendray, was gifted to the city by Morioka, Japan, on May 19, 2015. The bell marks the 30th anniversary of the cities of Victoria and Morioka, Japan, becoming twin cities.

Friendship Bell

We might not have been able to get to Butchart Gardens, but there were plenty of colorful plants and flowers along our walk.


We also walked past Fisherman’s Wharf, a colorful collection consisting of a fishing fleet, live-aboards, float home dwellers, and transient vessels along with commercial operators.

Fisherman’s Wharf

We arrived early for our reservation so we hung out in the hotel’s lobby. Jon read while waiting.

Jon busy reading

I, on the other hand, picked up the camera and gawked at the architecture, the stairs, the windows, and a view of the Parliament building.

Empress Hotel Lobby
Lobby through the railing
Hallway to hotel and restaurant
View of the Parliament building from the Empress Hotel

By the time we settled into our seats for tea, I was so immersed in the quiet atmosphere that I forgot to take photos. A piano playing in the background, white tablecloth and napkins, and an attentive server combined to set a pleasant mood. It was an expensive treat, especially since we upgraded to the rose champagne, but oh so worth it when the three-tier tray piled with mini pancakes topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, scones, and other treats arrived.

Back on board we went up on the Lido deck and watched the horizon of Victoria B.C. fade away.

Victoria, B.C., skyline

As we neared the open sea, the pilot boat pulled alongside to pick up the pilot that had steered the ship through the channel.

Pilot boat

We kept busy during our last day at sea. There was a presentation by the head chef, with assistance from a couple of his sous chefs, and the head maitre d’ on stage where we learned about how they made the food for all the passengers and crew members. Afterward, they took us behind the scenes into the galley that seemed to go on for a mile. The tour ended with the chef and maitre d’ signed copies of the Princess Cookbook. Ongoing was the end of cruise sale where passengers (including us) picked through tables piled with clothing and other goodies.

The library seemed like a quiet place to relax after the presentation and shopping. Situated along a narrow walkway opposite of the Crown Grill, the library was not the quiet spot I had envisioned. Sounds of a violin, bass, and piano rushed through the open doors from the piazza. Clapping ensued when the musical tempo increased. Jingles and jangles of keys on belts and patters of feet cushioned on carpet announced crew and passengers that passed by. A crew member slid a folding table on its side. Another pushed a luggage cart. A couple’s hush tones snuck in from a table nearby. A boy explained something to his father. Mahjong game tiles clattered against each other. Cards shuffled. Laughter erupted. Knives sliced against a butcher block. The murmur of several conversations melded into a cacophony. Couples and groups gathered in front of the restaurant waiting for the host to seat them.

Cruise ship library a hub of activity

We headed back to our cabin to pack and get ready for our departure the next morning.

Taking a 10-day cruise was just what we needed to relax and set aside all of our household chores, fifth-wheel maintenance, and technology for a few days. Our interest in Alaska has us thinking about a trip in our RV so we can explore in more depth. Another cruise to Glacier Bay might also be in our future.

Safe Travels