Is Victoria from Seattle a Must-do??

Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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Is Victoria from Seattle a Must-do??

Spending 4 nights in Seattle, driving up from Portland OR in rental car; on our second or third day considering taking the early & expensive (7:30 am & $200 couple) ferry to Victoria for the day to see the B. Gardens, have tea at Empress, and catch the 7:30 pm ferry back. This is 6 hours on the ferry with only 9 hours to explore what I expect to be a very lovely city. We cannot stay over and of course would not wish to make the trip on a rainy day, but given Seattle's dreamy weather this summer, hoping it continues to mid-September. Seattle will be the last city on a 3-wk vacation starting in WY & MT. Shall we just enjoy Seattle to the fullest? We love coffeehouses and bookstores, and wish to explore Ballard, Olym. Sculpture Pk, perhaps take shorter ferry ride to Bainbridge, staying at Harbor Steps area. If it is pouring rain these days, we could also drive to Vancouver but would prefer to park the car and explore on foot or mass transit for most part. Whoever took the one-day ferry, please advise if you felt it a highlight. Thanks much.
aliced is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:47 PM
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We took the ferry and found it very tiring (even one way) due to the duration of the ride and the uncomfortable seats. I would definitely not go round trip in the same day. Victoria is a charming city but it is very touristy---for that reason some people love it and others don't. I personally love it and the B Gardens are fabulous.
It's best to spend at least one night in Victoria. It does have a great little airport with frequent flights from Seattle. Flying in is much faster and less tiring than the ferry.
montereybob is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:52 PM
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No, I wouldn't say it's a must, especially since you can't stay over. Plan to visit Victoria and Vancouver on another trip and enjoy the many things there are to do in the Seattle area.

Mid-September is usually nice weather. We rarely have "pouring rain" except during in winter--it's usually just a light drizzle if it rains at another time of the year ;-).
NWWanderer is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:52 PM
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Since you will fall in love with the northwest, just do your next trip starting up there, and at that point do vancouver, whistler, and some of vancouver island, the sunshine coast, etc. etc. which is a whole vacation in itself.

There is plenty to do and see in the Seattle area.

I love the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, making sure you go or come back with the night lights on the skyline.
lincasanova is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 04:21 PM
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mma
 
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We took the Victoria Clipper for just one day. I personally did not find it tiring. We sat at a table and played cards for most of the way. Victoria is a pretty city - however I wish we had more time there. We only did Butchart gardens because we took the 8:30 ferry and came back on the 5:30 boat. By this time on your trip you might be getting a little tired to do this. My suggestion would also be to do Bainbridge Island (we never made it there - sister got sick - good reviews in guide books) and save Victoria, Vancouver and that area for another time. Have a great trip!
mma is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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My advice would be to take your car on the Bainbridge ferry, then drive from there to Port Angeles (about 1.5 hours away), leave your car there, and take the fast passenger ferry from PA to Victoria (about 1 hour). You can explore the town on foot and take public transportation to Butchart Gardens. Return to PA on the fast ferry, and drive back to either Bainbridge or Kingston to return by car ferry to Seattle.
azzure is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:38 PM
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I'd agree that, with limited time, that you take the shorter ferry ride to Victoria, either form Port Angeles or from Vancouver.

Or, better yet, skip Victoria altogether this trip. I really can't see doing just Victoria and not Vancouver which has so much more to offer.

If you really wanted to get out of Seattle during this trip, why not go to the Olympic Peninsula? for one very long day?
easytraveler is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:53 PM
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We also went from Seattle to Victoria on a chartered ferry for a convention of folks. I was glad to experience Victoria, but the time there was very short & I did find the 3hrs. on the ferry very tiring. I would go by plane if I had it to do over.

We did have High Tea at the Empress at that time ( several years ago). It was very expensive, but I wanted 'the experience'. If I remember right, it was $50-ish.
I returned this past May-June & spent a week there. My internet friend from another board suggested we do tea at one of the smaller shops around Victoria (forget the names but will find out, if you wish), OR do it AT Butchart Gardens. This was a VERY GOOD suggestion!
It was in a sun room area looking out onto the gardens. Any of these other locations for tea is much less expensive than at The Empress.
Hear is a link to the room/prices at B gardens where we had high tea:
http://www.gazebo-victoria.com/victo...rnoon_tea.html

And here is a picture of our group having tea:
http://tinyurl.com/nfco3x

I do recommend having a drink on the Veranda or in the Bengal room of the Empress. Yes, it's expensive too, ( drinks $12 & appys the same ), but I loved the atmosphere of the Bengal.

There is also a great dock side house boat place for fish & chips & if you like oysters the best & biggest one I've ever eaten was there ( & living on the Gulf Coast, I've eaten my share!) : Barbs http://www.barbsplace.ca/
The Fanny Bay oysters are ONLY available there - no place else in the world.

More advice available if you need it. Just let me know.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:22 PM
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I also recommend the short ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. It's a fun trip and a lovely island.
montereybob is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:33 AM
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We spent 36 hrs. in Victoria some years ago and I'm not sure even that was worth it when there are so many other things to do in the area. Not that I don't think Victoria is nice - au contraire, we're going to Seattle in Sept. and spending five days on Vancouver Is., two of them in Victoria - I'm just not not sure it's worth the time and expense for a day trip. I concur that a trip to the Olympic Peninsula would be a better use of your time. If you fall in love with WA - which would be hard not to do - you could put a couple of days for Victoria on your next agenda.

Thanks Olesouthernbelle for the oyster info. I had Barb's on my short list, but your oyster testimony clinches it.
polly229 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:42 AM
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Your welcome, polly229: You won't regret it. The oysters are huge - our gulf oysters are usually in the area of an inch or two in size. The one I got ($1.95 for one) was about5-6 inches! If I'd known that, I wouldn't have ordered the fish & chips as well.
There is a harbor seal there (in the harbor) & a store next door that sells fish to feed her, if you're interested.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:59 AM
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If you go browsing on government street, the Bard & Banker is a good Pub for a drink. We weren't as impressed with the various food the 8 of us got - except for the pizzas were great! Nice Pub decor.

Pescatore's is a great restaurant for dinner! Also, enjoyed Santiago's.

We missed the Convention Center, but some told me it was worth seeing.

We enjoyed the British Museum & lunch there in their shop was even very good!

Do you know about the Sunday morning water ballet that the little Tugs put on? Starts at 9:45AM. Cute!

We were instructed to miss the wax museum & the aquarium, so we did.

If you have time for a road trip, so up Hwy 17 to Merrydale's Apple Winery. Wonderful outdoor restaurant here! Stop at the pull outs along the way. Also stop & walk through Gold Stream Park (where the salmon spawn). We turned around & headed back after walking through Chemainus - the mural city.

Another great trip, if you have the time, is to take the ferry to Salt Spring Island. Lots of artists there. You'll need a car to visit the artist's businesses around the island. I know of a great B&B there if you're interested.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 12:26 PM
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Thanks everybody; we have decided NOT to do Victoria on this trip; we will get there perhaps via a Canadian Rail trip etc. The shorter ride from Bainbridge would still add up to ALOT of travel time so we'll take that under consideration and enjoy Seattle and its environs to the fullest.
aliced is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Though I loved Victoria, I think you have made a wise decision, given the time constraints.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 01:19 PM
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I'm late to this party, but Victoria is definitely not a "must do" imho. I've been living in Seattle for 25+ years and went to Victoria exactly once.
suze is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:19 PM
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suze: I have to say that I felt somewhat the same way when my friend suggested this gtg. I told her I'd 'been there, done that'. She convinced me that Victoria was more than what you see on the surface. And, she was right! I'm SO glad I went. Would love to go again! I guess having some locals show us around made all the difference.

Another stop we did was crabbing for rock crab at the Sidney Pier. Actually, friend's daughter & DH did most of the crabbing - we more or less looked on or lent a had if we felt like it. The pier has a great view of snow capped Mt. Baker on the horizon. It was a beautiful day & we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

A drive or walk/drive through Beacon Hill is very nice as well!
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:19 PM
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hand.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 10:49 AM
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My reaction wasn't so much about doing Victoria as it was about spending that much money and 25% of the Seattle time - much of it on a boat - when there are so many things to do closer to Seattle. In '99 we found it enjoyable but it was part of a 2 wk. trip to Seattle/Vancouver, not a 4 day trip. But it was long enough to let us know we'd like to go back sometime and we're finally getting around to it next month on an "island trip" - three nights in Friday Harbor, 5 on Vancouver Is. (3 Victoria, 2 Ucluelet), 1 driving back to Seattle via Whidbey Is. Spending a brief period somewhere can be useful for finding out where you want to visit longer (like a [horrible] day tour from Athens to Argolis where we saw Nafplio in the distance and thought we'd like to go back, which we did for several wonderful days the next year). But if Aliced adds Victoria to her to-do list without actually visiting, she can make better use of her Seattle time this visit.

Thanks, Olesouthernbelle for the additional info on places to eat, the seal, and things outside Victoria. We had figured we'd do at least one day trip outside Victoria in addition to our travel to and from Ucluelet, so I've added your comments to my list of ideas. Does the ferry schedule permit doing Salt Spring Island as a day trip?
polly229 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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I agree with your comments about using precious time wisely.

You're welcome about the tips, polly. I need to make a correction the Hwy to Chemainus is 1A. Here is a map link:
http://tinyurl.com/mwr87d

And a link for the ferry: http://www.bcferries.com/
We went from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour & returned on the Vesuvius Ferry. We did it as a day trip. We didn't make it to the Saturday Market but would have liked to make it, if possible:

"The Saturday Market is a fun, interesting and rewarding visit. Located in the Park in Ganges, the Market is famous for displaying local art, crafts and garden products. It takes place every Saturday from April to October, 8:00 am to 4pm."
This quote is from the following Salt Island link:
http://www.islandgourmetsafaris.com/...ere/4527347647
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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Thanks for the additional info, olesouthernbelle. We like markets, so that sounds like fun. It also sounds like we may stay Sat. night on Vancouver instead of going back Sat. night. (Sorry we kinda hijacked your thread, Aliced, but keep this in mind if you return for a Vancouver Island trip. Wish I'd paid more attention to what there was to do - I'd have booked a flight home a day or two later.)
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