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Trip Report - Victoria

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Dec 22nd, 2004, 06:38 PM
  #1
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Trip Report - Victoria

My husband and I just returned from a lovely get-away to Victoria. We were there for 3 nights, and stayed at Abigail's Hotel, a wonderful B&B close to the downtown area. We had a room with a see-through fireplace, facing into the bathroom and the bedroom. Breakfasts were delicious and they served a nice evening snack if hors d'oevres with tea or coffee.

Lodging was much less expensive than it is in summer. In fact, the price for our B&B was higher when I'd made the reservations, but I was browsing the internet close to our arrival and noticed the rates had been lowered. I called Abigail's and they were happy to honor the lower rate.

We went from Seattle, taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island and the Coho ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. There were no lines at the ferries this time of year, but you have to figure time to coordinate the ferries and the drive. The ferry to Bainbridge I. takes 35 minutes; then there is a 1 1/2 hour drive to Port Angeles; then a ferry of about 1 1/2 hours across the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the harbor in downtown Victoria.
Returning takes longer because of border checks upon arriving at Port Angeles. We spent 1/2 hr in line getting off the ferry due to this US check, and we were about in the middle of cars getting off.

We found this a great time of year to visit Victoria. We stumbled upon a lot of special entertainment we hadn't expected as we toured about. We had surprisingly good weather, too, cool but sunny.

We went on the scenic drive to Oak Bay, which is clearly a great place to bike or walk. Oak Bay has a nice shopping area. We visited Craiderough (sp?) Castle. That visit was made especially wonderful because a trio were singing old English type songs and carols while we were there. We went to the Emily Carr house and learned about her. She was a great painter and writer. An actress played Emily Carr and read a heart warming Christmas story while we visited. We visited Buchardt Gdns at night and enjoyed their beautiful light display on the theme of the song "On the First Night of Christmas..." And we did the usual shop visiting in downtown Victoria.

We went to the spa at the Delta Victoria. It was my husbands first spa visit. We both enjoyed it, though it added a lot to the cost of the trip, and I'm not sure if we'll do that again.

We had a lovely dinner at Camille's, which is reportedly the most romantic restaurant in Victoria. It was very nice and was indeed romantic. My husband recommends the venison.

Victoria was a refreshing break. It's an easy winter getaway from Seattle, and also from Vancouver, I'm sure.
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 09:18 AM
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Thanks for the trip report, Orcas. Glad to hear you had a good time.

Your mentioning that Emily Carr was a great painter and writer was news to me. Oh I knew she was a great painter, and I love her painting style, but I didn't know she wrote as well.

Although I've lived in Calgary for close on three decades, I'm not a native Canadian. My husband and I immigrated here when we were in our twenties. I've learned about Canada's history and people as I've gone along, of course, but there still are lots and lots of gaps in my knowledge.

I just did an Internet search on Emily Carr's writing, and some of the subjects she covered look as if they would be interesting. I take my hat off to her. It must have been a lonely feeling to paint in a family that didn't appreciate art, period, and in a society that, at the time, didn't appreciate Carr's particular style. I'll look out for her work (meaning her writing) next time I'm at the public library.

Thanks again.
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Judy, When we went to the Carr house they said that Canadians knew her as a painter and most Europeans knew her as a writer, so you aren't alone. She was quite talented at both!

She was unable to paint for decades as she had to spend all of her time running a boarding house just so she could afford to eat. It makes me wonder how many women and men have been unable to express their creativity and artistic gifts because they have had to spend all of their time working.

The reading was out of a book of short stories about people and events that occured during the 20 years she ran the boarding house. The story was about a plum pudding, sent as a Christmas gift to one of her boarders by his mother in England. He was terribly disappointed, as he'd wanted a book. With his permission, Emily used the pudding as the centerpiece for a lovely dinner party, and all the guests, who might have been lonely otherwise, had a joyous Christmas.

We were all given an old fashioned recipe for plum pudding at the reading. I've never made anything requiring steaming for 6 or 7 hours. Don't know if I'll try it, but I might.
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 09:20 PM
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I have a letter written by Emily Carr. I understand she wrote a lot of them.

(The castle you referred to, Orcas, was probably Craigdarroch.)
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Dec 25th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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Thank you for the trip report, Orcas. DH and I are planning a trip to Victoria next September, and your insights are very helpful. What a lovely trip, congratulations. Merry Christmas!
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Dec 25th, 2004, 09:49 PM
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victoria is a favorite of mine.
I have a very high opinion of the BC Museum of Natural History and Butchart Gardens.

The museum is very well done. It is fairly small when compared with some of the behemoths of the world, but that does not mean that quality is short changed.

If anything, the exhibits have been carefully chosen to fit the history of the province and it is not trying to be all things to all people.

It has a theme and it sticks to it with impressive displays and interpretations.
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the report, Orcas! We hope to visit Victoria and Vancouver this summer. It will be our first visit to Canada. Is it really different than the US? ***kim***
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 10:44 PM
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Brookwood, I concur on the Museum of Natural History. We missed it this trip, but have been in the past and it is truly a gem.

Kimamom, Canada must surely be the envy of lots of American visitors. It's a lot cleaner and fresher in appearance than the US and there seem to be more parks and public spaces. You can sense the public pride in the hanging baskets of flowers, gardens, and clean streets.

You can tell a Canadian from an American by the "eh's?" or the "oui's."

I'm pretty interested in the concept of "Cascadia," a new nation with British Columbia joining the Pacific NW down to San Francisco. Don't think the Canadians are interested, though.

Tell me your opinion on Cascadia after your vacation.
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Jan 21st, 2005, 10:20 PM
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Does anyone know who Emily Carr was married to?
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Jan 21st, 2005, 11:03 PM
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I did a Google search and did not found mention of Emily Carr's husband.

Then I read the entry about her in "The Canadian Encyclopedia" by Hurtig Publishers, and found no mention of a husband there either.

Finally, I did a Google search for EMILY CARR + SPINSTER, and found a few references, like this Wall Street Journal article dated June 29, 2001 in which Susan G. Hauser referred to the fact that, in Carr's lifetime, she was considered "a batty old spinster."

http://www.heffel.com/News/news_06292001Wallstreet.asp

So I get the impression that Emily Carr didn't marry.
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