Last week we took Sarah's parents to Victoria. Ultimately we wanted her mom to see Butchart Gardens and she's never gone on past visits because she gets seasick easily and there's not really a great way to get to Victoria except by ferry (or small, vaguely unstable seaplane which starts off life as a boat no less!). Typically travel to Victoria from Seattle involves either to passenger-only Victoria Clipper ferry from downtown, a three hour affair, or the Washington State Ferries route from Anacortes to Sydney, also a three hour trip. We went a somewhat unorthodox route, opting to take the 35 minute WSF ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island starting at 9:30am, drive 1.5 hours to Port Angeles, and from there take the 90 minute Black Ball ferry to Victoria arriving around 2:30pm. On the return trip we planned to take the 90 minute Schwartz Bay - Tsawwassen ferry from BC ferries and cross the border on I-5. The idea was to get on a ferry before crossing the international border each time, because we wanted to not have to worry about missing a scheduled ferry if a border crossing took longer than expected. The logistics were surprisingly complex to plan but worked out great except Vivian got seasick on the Coho (the Black Ball ferry's actual name) and threw up.
Theo sits with his grandparents on the Black Ball ferry.
We stayed at the Royal Scot in a two-bedroom suite. Sarah and I had stayed here as part of a package deal on the past trip and loved the central location and the spacious rooms, and it did not disappoint on this trip. As soon as we arrived around 3pm (just slightly past naptime), Theo unpacked and made a bed for himself:
The hotel room was at the end of a long corridor which the kids loved running down:
Vivian went down for a real nap while I took Theo out to a nearby playground:
After nap, the kids stayed in for pizza with the grandparents while Sarah and I went out to dinner and Bellinis (yum! yum!) at Milestone's. The next day, Tuesday, we started with Butchart Gardens.
They had free strollers for use, so we took one in addition to ours. It was a huge hit, and often the only way we could settle who would ride in it would be by letting Theo push Vivian in it:
No garden is complete without a carousel, and of course we had to ride it:
We also took a photo in the rose garden:
...in the same spot we took one in 2005:
Many photos were taken:
The Japanese garden was a particular favorite thanks to the myriad of streams, bridges...
...and stepping stones:
Near the end we sat on some statues while others took potty breaks:
And of course the mandatory gift shop:
After the gardens it was time again to return to the hotel for Vivian's midday nap. Theo is usually still napping once a day but he's able to skip naps so of course he didn't nap and instead we took a ride on a harbour ferry:
We went out to Fisherman's Wharf where the harbor seals are fed so much, they're reluctant to take even salmon filets:
Finally we returned to the hotel's restaurant for dinner.
After dinner, we took a 15 minute horse-drawn carriage ride. The kids were adamant about the horse they picked out:
After the kids were in bed, Sarah and I walked around town some.
The next morning we went to the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo. We arrived before it opened since we were trying to catch the opening "goat stampede" so we had some time to kill. We went across the street and saw a peacock up close:
We also fed the ducks:
We also discovered a nearby playground, complete with a little car everyone could get into!
Finally it was time for the goat stampede:
We also saw pigs:
Afterwards we went back to the hotel and dressed up in our finest finery to prepare for High Tea at the Empress Hotel:
A statue outside the Empress:
Finally, high tea itself:
Finally it was time to take the Tsawwassen ferry back to the mainland. It's an amazing ferry: there's a playground in the waiting area, and then two separate playrooms onboard!
We finished the trip with a final stop at the Milestones near the border crossing.