Victoria Mini-Trip Report

Dec 28th, 2008, 11:02 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Victoria Mini-Trip Report

We spent a wkend in Victoria, arriving on the morning of Boxing Day (Dec 26) and leaving tonight.

We wound up going on the Clipper. We got a great rate of $69/person roundtrip. We had thought it far more expensive and found out the key to getting the best rate is not to input that you belong to AAA. That was a suprise! (We joked the AAA rate must be to encourage people to drive to the Coho ferry out of Port Angeles and take their cars across.) The Clipper was cheaper than the Coho at the rate we got it, particularly when you add in the cost of taking the other ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and the gas (to say nothing of the time).

The Clipper was cold in the morning, but the temp on the return trip was comfortable. The waters were smooth both ways and the ride pleasant. I'm sure it can get nasty out there. They have medication available on board for motion sickness, but you need to take it to start for it to be effective if you hit the rough waters.

We stayed at the Marriott Inner Harbour, which is well-located behind the Empress Hotel. It's a standard Marriott. We got a good rate through hotels.com ($89/night). We were easily able to walk to the Clipper, shopping, the movies, the Museum of BC and restaurants.

The restaurant at the Marriott is being redone and was not open, though they have a minimal menu in the bar area. We did not eat there, but one of the restaurant/bar staff got us reservations at Il Terrazzo at the last possible minute, when we found out the Marriott Restaurant was closed and we had a fabulous meal there. What great atmosphere!

We also ate at Pagliacci's twice for lunch. It was really great. We had breakfast at the Dutch Bakery. It was a local place and the pastries were to die for. We also had dinner at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress. It's a great setting with a fireplace and lounge-like seating. There was a very good jazz trio playing.

We walked to a movie each night, just a few blocks away. (Saw "Milk," which was great, and the "Curious Life of Benjamin Buttons")

We went to the Museum and caught the tour of the history of modern BC (European settlement). We were the only two on the tour, and the docent was really excellent. We quickly went through the First Nation's Exhibits and the 150th Anniversary of BC exhibit. I'd like to go on the docent guided tour of the First Nations portion next time, if I can. I think I get a lot more when someone explains and throws in little stories.

We enjoyed the stores in the downtown. We spent some time at Munro books looking at the huge fabric art wall hangings and the smaller ones. One of the people who worked there helped us figure out which book each one of the smaller ones represents.

We got into the native jewelry and art at Artina's and Hill - very good galleries/stores, side by side on Government Street. Also, the person in the jade store across gave us a good history of jade. We had fun trying on hats in the hat store and I bought a couple. Also the Irish store just down the street had beautiful wool clothes.

In spite of the wet, freezing weather, we like Victoria in the winter. I think the shopkeepers are much friendlier. They have time to talk about their stores and merchandise. It's much more laid back. In summer, I think many get tired of tourists.

Victoria got the same snow as Seattle and miserable weather but it got better as the weekend progressed and the sky was blue today (Sunday). (Victoria gets more sun than Seattle as it is in the so-called "rain shadow" cast by the Olympic Mts of Washington, which block some of the clouds.)

We had a lovely time and the trip was very easy on the Clipper. Victoria is a nice getaway from Seattle. It's not a big city with plays or entertainment nightly (especially after Christmas), but there is enough to do, the people are friendly (especially off-season) and the restaurants have great atmosphere and delicious food.
Orcas is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 05:35 AM
  #2  
 
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Thanks for sharing your trip to Victoria, which as you may remember I visited for the first time this past June and thought quite lovely. That rate on the Clipper is considerably less expensive than when I took it in the summer...useful information to know! The winter vs. summer vibe comments were interesting also.

I'm happy you got to Pagliacci's. I wanted to go, but alas, there was a line-up when I thought to go...

Happy new year, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:05 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Enjoyed your report. Thank you.
annetti is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 01:19 PM
  #4  
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Daniel, Hotels are a lot less expensive in winter as well, particularly over the Christmas holiday.

I can imagine Pagliacci's would have a long line during the tourist months. All the places we ate were nearly or completely full, but we did not have to stand in line anywhere. We were really lucky with Il Terrazzo. I am sure we would not have gotten in without a reservation, if not for the man who worked at the Marriott.

We picked all the places we ate based on comments by fodorites. I went through old posts and wrote down a list of recommendations. Every place was great, so, thank you fodorites!

Orcas is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 05:09 PM
  #5  
mms
 
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Thanks for sharing, Orcas. We too enjoyed Pagliacci's on our visit a few years ago. Great rate on the Clipper! We were there in March, but i would love to go this time of year. Lucky you!
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