Friday, July 25, 2014

fisgard lighthouse

On one of our little explorations around Victoria, we stumbled upon the Fisgard Lighthouse. (OK, we really didn't stumble upon it. Phil505 did a little pre-vacation research and knew it was there.) It's on a historical military fort, similar to Fort Stevens on the Oregon coast. It was built in 1859 and was the first permanent lighthouse on the Pacific coast of Canada. And, it's quite possibly the prettiest lighthouse I've ever seen. I think it's because of all that red.

Phil505 and I sort of have a 'thing' for lighthouses. On my first trip out to the northwest we went to the Yaquina Head and Cape Meares lighthouses. We climbed the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse in Florida on our honeymoon, and I've been to several more on the Oregon coast in the last 10 years. Now we can add a Canadian one to our list.
I loved this brick archway inside that led to the spiral staircase.
The view from the top. . .


Because it was close to closing time, we only had about a half hour to explore the park and about 20 minutes of that was walking from the parking lot to the lighthouse and then back to the parking lot. But it was worth it for this view.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

craigdarroch castle

Sunday was our first full day in Victoria. We walked over to the Royal BC Museum (which is just across the street from the Parliament building) and learned a little bit about Vikings and a lot of Canadian history. The Viking exhibit was very crowded and I may have been getting slightly annoyed at the people taking pictures of every. single. thing. behind. every. glass. case.
After a couple hours there, we went back and got the Jeep and drove around the outskirts of Victoria. There were a lot of beach areas and homes with waterfront views that were pretty spectacular. We ended up at Craigdarroch Castle. It was originally built in the late 1890's for a wealthy family of Scottish immigrants. It has over 20,000 square feet of living space and a total of 39 rooms. Can you imagine cleaning all that? I have a hard enough time with my 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. (Well, I'm sure this family was able to afford someone to clean it for them. They were Canada's first millionaires.) Unfortunately, the man who had it built died before it was finished.

After the family sold it, it has since been a military hospital, Victoria College, offices for the Victoria school board, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Now it's a pretty big tourist attraction and they are working on restoring parts of the inside. The rooms have been furnished to look like they would've back when the original family lived there. It was even used as one of the sets for the filming of Little Women back in 1994. In fact, Victoria was where quite a bit of the movie was filmed. Now I want to go rent Little Women and watch it again and see if I recognize anything.
The parlor on the first floor was huge and had one of at least four pianos that I remember seeing on our tour.
The main staircase which was fabricated in Chicago went up all four floors and each landing had huge bay windows with amazing stained glass.


Out the window you can kind of see the downtown area of Victoria.

Looking down. . .
The less formal dining room near the kitchen.
I had more pictures from inside, but they turned out really dark. You can see more here.


Now I've been inside a castle. I can check that one off my bucket list.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

exploring victoria

We took the ferry to Victoria out of Port Angeles. It's a 22 mile trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and it takes about 90 minutes. Here are our first glimpses from the ferry at Fisherman's Wharf and our hotel peeking out in the middle.
We stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point. It was a really pretty hotel. They have a restaurant that's quite well known - mostly because it has outdoor waterfront seating. There is a pretty little Japanese garden on the grounds and the people who worked there were extremely helpful. We had valet parking as part of our package. So not used to that.
Our room was nice, very modern looking. It was so much bigger than our room in Seattle the night before!
The bathroom was all marble tiled. The tub was divine. The shower is on the opposite side.
We had a little private balcony with some lounge chairs. Here was our view of the harbor. There were water taxis going back and forth all the time and planes taking off and landing right in front of the hotel. The one thing I loved about Victoria is that there is a really nice walkway all along the water and you can get pretty much anywhere by taking it.
After we got settled in, we went out for a walk. The Parliament building was amazing. The grounds are so beautiful. You can take tours inside, but we didn't do that this trip.
Just around the corner from the Parliament building is the Empress Hotel. Oh man, this place is just magical. That's how I like to describe it. It's like stepping back in time. We did go inside and saw a small part of it. There were some fancy shops and the dining room where they serve high tea. 
We had dinner at an English pub style place called The Flying Otter. Phil got himself some fish and chips and I had a club sandwich. When we came out, this was what we saw. . . the Parliament building all lit up. So pretty.
We also were just in time to see these two put on a little strength show. He was lifting and balancing her and then she lit her shoes on fire. They drew quite a crowd and it was a heck of a lot cheaper than Cirque de Soleil.
And that, my friends, was our first evening in Victoria.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

vacation day 1: seattle

We recently celebrated our 10th anniversary by taking a trip to Seattle (to see the Mariners take on the Indians) and Victoria, BC. We left for our trip Friday afternoon and headed on our three hour drive up to Seattle. 

I always love it when you round the big curve and the Seattle skyline comes into view.
We decided to check in at our hotel before we went to the ballgame. Phil spotted the Ohio State sticker on the back of the truck in front of us. I knew there were Indians fans in there!
We had great seats on the first baseline. I was the only one wearing Chief Wahoo in our section, and the Indians lost that game, but since the Mariners won, there can be peace in the family. We did get rained on a little bit, but that's Seattle for ya. I instagramed this picture with the hashtag #marinersfireworks in the hopes of getting us on the big screen. Unfortunately, they must not have liked my Indians cap or the caption "to each his own." Oh well. I tried.
For the record, my new favorite Mariner is Endy Chavez. I'll let you all try to figure out why.
There were fireworks after the game which was cool because 11 years ago on my birthday we were at an Indians game in Cleveland and there were fireworks that night too. It's pretty neat when all the lights in the whole stadium go off and then the sky lights up with color.
We cancelled our first reservations at the Red Roof Inn and stayed downtown in the business district at the Executive Hotel Pacific, thanks to one of those Amazon deals. It's a pretty old building, but has been nicely remodeled. Our room was teeny tiny. I mean you-can-hardly-turn-around-in-the-bathroom teeny tiny. The bed was comfy though and we got there late, so we were ready to crash.
We were right across the street from the downtown library.
Our stay included breakfast vouchers for the little cafe' downstairs. The hot tea and egg sandwiches were included, the fruit salad was not. Whatever.

Then it was off to the ferry dock to catch the ferry to Bainbridge and then on to Port Angeles. From there we caught another ferry to Victoria. 
Up next: beautiful views of Victoria.

Monday, July 7, 2014

vacation selfies

So the Mr. and I just got back from a wonderful vacation to Victoria, BC and the Seattle area for our 10th anniversary. Oh you guys, if you ever get a chance to see Victoria, go! The whole place is kind of magical.

Here's a collection I took at most of the places we went. I'll share more details about these places in later posts. But for now, you get an overview.

#1 - Craigdarroch Castle. The stained glass, the beautiful huge staircase, the pianos. It was very cool to take a step back in time and see how the rich and famous lived.

#2 - Fisgard Lighthouse. Probably the prettiest lighthouse I've ever seen. That red just popped out with the blue background of the sky.
#3 - Butchart Gardens. So many flowers in one place. I'm standing beside a huge climbing bunch of snap peas. You can't see much of it in the picture, but it was pretty amazing.
#4 - The Empress Hotel. So old. So Victorian. The ivy. The windows. The beautiful grounds. I loved it.
#5 - The Mounted Canadian Bear. Because you know you'd take your picture with this guy too if you could.
#6 - The Canadian Moose. Because he's not to be outdone. And he was way cuter!
#7 - The Coho Ferry on our way back to Port Angeles, WA. We had a beautiful view of the Olympics and Mt. Baker.
#8 - Pike Street Market. Where flowers and fish await. And some pretty cool artwork for the mancave.
#9 - The Waterfront, Seattle. Where it costs about $16 a person to ride the Great Wheel. No, we didn't.
#10 - The Bubble Gum Wall. It's right under Pike Street Market and it's gross. There is so much gum. No, I didn't.
#11 - Kerry Park. Where you will get a terrific view of the Seattle skyline.
Tune in next time for more of Phil & Wendy in Seattle and Victoria. I promise more than just selfies.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

_____-ing

mourning: the closing of twopeasinabucket.com. I stumbled upon a link to that site one day about 6 years ago while reading Simple Scrapbooks magazine and immediately became a two peas addict. I learned a ton about scrapbooking from the Garden Girls and from Shimelle's weekly Glitter Girl videos, and then from other crafty people who would post comments in the threads. I loved the non-scrapbook related message board too. I learned a lot of cool things there. It was a part of my every day reading. While they had an online store, I never purchased anything. I had enough local places to shop, so it wasn't necessary. I never even joined and became a contributing member, but I sure got my brain full of ideas and spent a lot of time there reading. I'm so sad to see it go. 
marveling: at how well my window box is doing this year. I dug out all the old dirt and refilled it with some good stuff we bought at Marbott's. It totally worked. Well, that and the fact that Phil has it hooked up to a soaker hose that's on a timer so it always gets watered. Really, this picture doesn't even do it justice. It's so pretty.
eating: good ol' Kraft mac & cheese for lunch today.
relaxing: today I went for a pedi and she talked me into a mani too. I haven't had a manicure in 10 years, so I went with a French manicure just like I had for our wedding day. Little splurges are fun once in a while. Plus, she used the cheese grater on my feet. Smooth as a baby's behind. . . I've really got to get myself one of those things.
craving: chocolate. I could totally go for a milk chocolate hazelnut bar from Ikea. Yum.

decorating: for the 4th. The top of the piano is all decked out in red, white, and blue. I really want to make a burlap banner for the deck (we are having a small gathering here on the 4th) and I want a patriotic table runner. And I have a whole pinterest board of fun things that I'll probably never get made.
listening: got a new Kari Jobe CD yesterday at the bookstore. I've heard her on the radio lots of times, but this is my first time purchasing her music. And ya, I know. I should probably just be going all digital with my music, but I'm just behind the times. I can't even figure out Pandora.

smiling: when I see Wilson snuggling with Phil. He's such a big baby. He thinks he's a lap dog.
watching: HGTV. We got the Dish hooked up on Monday. Our internet service is getting really spotty and we need to make a change, so we got a bundle with TV and internet. I haven't had cable channels since I was in high school. Phil505 is in his happy place. Now he can watch all his favorite sports teams from the comfort of his recliner. And I will actually get to see my husband during football season :)

needing: to finish the file organizing in the office/scrapbook room. I really want to share the transformation with you.

wanting: to get some stuff hung up on the walls this summer. It's time.