Valentine's Day in Victoria
If you're a resident in the PNW and looking for a little weekend getaway that is easily accessible with children, look into Victoria, B.C.! Even if you're not a resident, Victoria is a great place to visit! We have been there several times, with and without our kids, and enjoy it every time. Located on the south tip of Vancouver Island, the easiest way to get here is by boat. The Victoria Clipper operates daily, departing Seattle in the morning and returning in the evening so even just a quick day trip is possible if that's all you have time for.
This trip has become an annual tradition, going on three years now. Grandma flew in on Saturday to come with us this time. With the kids being so little and needy, it's almost impossible to do these trips without the help as my husband needs my assistance handling the boat when we go through the Ballard Locks and when docking. We left Seattle on In Search of Sunrise on Sunday. We like to break up the travel and stay overnight in a port along the way. We chose Port Townsend for our first night and got in just in time to watch a beautiful sunset over the sound and head out for dinner at one of our favorite spots in town, Sliverwater Cafe. Ice cream is always a must at these ports so after dinner, we stopped at Elevated Ice Cream Candy Shop for locally made strawberry ice cream.
Left early the next morning; it was a quick run across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into the Victoria Harbor. We like to stay at the Downtown Victoria Harbor as the location is so central for walking around the city and great views. The Fairmont Empress is just above the marina and we captured the most beautiful sunset bouncing off its walls the first evening of our stay while walking along the waterfront. On a previous visit when Totes was only six months old, we made reservations for high tea at the Empress. It was such a fun experience and I am really looking forward to taking Apple when she is old enough to sit and enjoy it. But for this trip, walking along the grounds was great too.
If you've followed along with my previous posts, you'll know that every time we go into Canada, Totes is obsessed with getting an "Egg Surprise". These are the Kinder Chocolate eggs with a surprise toy in the middle. Since they are banned in the USA, they are extra special to him when we have a chance to get them. And the local Shoppers Drug Mart we walked into to buy a stash had, even better, a GIANT egg surprise. He was over the moon and inside were TWO hot wheels cars. Unheard of! Most of these toys find their way to the garbage after a few weeks but they're entertaining until then.
On Valentine's morning, we set out in search of a great breakfast spot. With a few pointers from some locals we ran into along the street, we ended up at the Mo:le for brunch. It was worth the walk, great food and service. Did a little shopping after that with the favorable monetary exchange rate. We had reservations at Zambri's, an Italian restaurant that we have been to on previous visits and always have had a great experience. Grandma stayed back with the kids while we had a little adult dining with our friends. Just a side note that the other family we were traveling with contacted the Fairmont Empress and arranged a babysitter to come to their boat at the marina and stay with their kids! What a great service.
Victoria is very walkable and Douglas Street is where we spend most of our time strolling and shopping. Also near the marina and Empress Hotel is the Royal BC Museum and the British Columbia Legislator, which is a gorgeous historical building that is great to take a walk through. Beacon Hill Park is a few blocks up from here and has an adorable children's farm, play area and endless space for kids to run out their energy.
Because we always do this trip in the winter and the weather is inevitably unpleasant, there are so many things I want to do in the area but have yet to... like visit the Butchart Gardens! It does take a bit of travel to get to from Victoria but shuttle buses or public transportation is available.
With the ability to jump on the Victoria Clipper out of Seattle and a direct ride into the downtown harbor, getting to Victoria is effortless and a great option for a quick weekend getaway with your family!
I hope to get back this summer on one of our trips on In Search of Sunrise and would love to hear recommendations on things to do in Victoria and the surrounding area that I haven't talked about here yet. Leave a comment if you have anything for me to check out next time!
We were lucky enough to spot a lone humpback whale on our way home. We stalled the engines and watched her breaching the surface on her way north. The Pacific Northwest is such a magical place!