Friday, May 30, 2008

British Columbia and Washington trip, Day 3

More snow!

We woke up after a deep, dark sleep in Sidney-by-the-Sea (a cute little seaside town north of Victoria itself) feeling rested and ready for more exploration. (Can I mention that when you travel with my dad you are either GOING or TOTALLY ASLEEP?! I am a girl who needs a lot of quiet and processing time, but somehow all of our activity made me fall asleep around 10pm most nights and up at 8am - which is just SO not my normal sleeping schedule)

However, we hadn't expected snow on the ground! It was only about 2-4cm (the temperature was about 2-4 degrees as well - love that metric system!) but it gives you an idea of how chilly things were. Everyone reassured us that it hardly ever snowed on Vancouver Island, even in the winter.

Nevertheless, I bundled up in pretty much of all my clothes (tights, jeans, 2 shirts, hooded sweatshirt, jacket, and scarf!) and we went into Victoria for museum fun. I love the totem poles that are all over B.C.! It seems that the First Nations of the area are given more of a respected place in modern society than here in the US - but that there sadly can always be improvement.

We went to the Royal BC Museum, which had funky but cute exhibits about the history of British Columbians, as well as a First Peoples Gallery and a Natural History portion. I liked these First Nations masks and other artwork:

We then drove up to Craigdarroch Castle, a "castle" built by a coal magnate out of beautiful woods. Devon always says that he wants to live in a house that looks like a castle, and this wouldn't be a bad place for that. It was even a college in early 1900s, which again reminded me of my school (particularly our music building), which was relatively new for the East Coast in that it was built in the 1930s, but to a California girl it felt really old and fascinating. I always loved seeing photos of 1930s Bennington girls!

I digress (too much caffeine!) - here is the beautiful inside of the building:

There was a lot of beautiful stained glass:

Next we went to Butchart Gardens, where I saw this disheartening sign:

We had a nice time, although it was extremely expensive for us both, especially considering many of the flower displays were either not yet in bloom or trampled down by snow and hail! Still, I'm glad we went and we saw lots of gorgeous blooms.

Then we wandered down to the Southwest coast of Vancouver Island. There we saw: lots of trees, lots of ocean, and hardly any people. Lovely!

We finished up with a trip to Smoken Bones, an amazingly good BBQ joint in Langford. Ooh! Was it ever good. I'm not widely experienced in good BBQ (having never been to the South), but we both keep bringing it up now that we're home... "wish we could go back and have that BBQ", and "you know what would be good right now? Smoken Bones brisket!". My lovely bride and groom, Jacqueline and Greg (who were married last weekend, photos very soon!), planned a long honeymoon in B.C. and I totally stole this recommendation from their honeymoon registry. G & J, I cannot wait until you have a chance to try their food! SO tasty.

(I also loved Sidney's Fish On Fifth, and would go back in a hot minute. Yum!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

British Columbia and Washington trip, Day 2

On our second day of the trip, my dad and I drove up from Quinault to Port Angeles to catch the Ferry to Vancouver Island/ Victoria, B.C. Though the weather was cool and damp, we weren't prepared for what we saw along Highway 101 along the Washington coast to Port Angeles - rain, hail, and lots of snow!

(We also drove through the little town of Aberdeen, Kurt Cobain's hometown, and past the Sleater-Kinney exits of Olympia; I tried to get my dad excited about these Pacific NW 1990's indie rock landmarks, but he didn't get it.)

Upon arriving in Port Angeles, the sky cleared and became a beautiful bright blue reflected in the sea. We then drove onto the ferry for a freezing, rocky crossing of the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

I got a little nervous on the boat (ship?), as it was much more rolly than I had expected. Mostly it was funny (trying to walk and the bathroom doors slamming open and shut), but I thought, "what if I get seasick and start puking in front of everyone?". Luckily, it was all good, and over before I knew it. I did love the ferry's old fashioned (and Canadian-sounding) signage:

I had never been on a drive-on ferry before (having only gone on the Larkspur-San Francisco ferry which goes really, really slowly), so it was odd down in the hold (or whatever) with all the vehicles!

After all that traveling, we were finally in Victoria itself, yay!

The very first thing we did was go to Miniature World, in the Empress Hotel building - which is just beyond words and discription. So so SO cool and weird and odd - my very favorite being Space World, where I couldn't stop laughing long enough to take a good long exposure photo:

There were a lot of funky dioramas and arrangements to see. Honestly, you should just look at their website, because it's seriously amazing and weird. My dad enjoyed the world's smallest working sawmill (for serious nerds only), but I really liked the combination of history and tiny-ness as well. As well as its... oddness.

Victoria is a beautiful seaside city which has a feeling of old-world Europe, Native American culture, and new world modernity. Even in the cold weather (lots more rain and hail!), there were a ton of beautiful spring flowers all through the downtown area, and delicious restaurants, tea houses, museums, classic architecture... it's a city I'd love to visit again. Preferably in the summertime!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

hold on for more updates soon!

I had a lovely weekend filled with hard work, relaxation and big life events as well. A wedding, a baby shower, a memorial - what a three day weekend!
I'm back at work today but my web host is having a big of trouble, so I won't be able to retrieve my email (and the blog photos are missing), hopefully not for much longer. I will be updating the blog with more of the photos from my vacation to British Columbia, a few personal/ portfolio shoots, and then Gregory and Jacqueline's wedding photos (!) in the coming weeks, so keep checking back.

In the meantime, if you need to reach me asap, please call me at 707-235-8953.

Tonight Devon and I are going to see Flight of the Conchords in SF, and I can't wait!

("two guys in roller skates, that's way hotter than one!")

Update: it was awesome and adorable!

Friday, May 23, 2008

British Columbia and Washington trip, Day 1

My dad and I had a lovely father-daughter trip to the Pacific Northwest in April, and I finally made time to edit the photos down to a reasonable amount. Here's the first day of our trip!

We flew from Santa Rosa to Seattle (love that we can do that now!), and drove down around the Puget Sound, west towards the Olympic National Rainforest. Although it was mid-April, the weather was very PacNW-y - cold, grey, kinda drizzly. The further we drove into the sticks (literally, in this case, since we were in lumber country), the more I was reminded of the ride I used to have from NYC through Upstate New York to my teeny little Vermont college. I could've sworn we were in New England in March!

We stopped in Elma, WA, at the Rusty Tractor, which was a mistake (white American cheese is not the same as Swiss Cheese), but could you have passed this up either?:

Hmm... wish that we had. Yuck.

The drive up to our destination, Lake Quinault Lodge (on Lake Quinault, owned by the Quinault Indian Nation), was a bit prettier - and I loved these signs! Why don't we have these on the California coast? Is it because they seem, well... pointless?

Even though it was chilly, we had a nice like walk around the area and saw some beautiful wildlife as well as a lot of uprooted trees from the crazy storms they had this winter.

We saw lots of fat red robins, skunk cabbage, tall trees, and rain... all of which were prevalent through the whole trip. Pretty flowers too! My dad pointed out that some old Super 8 footage we have of my mom eating salmonberries was taken right along the lake where we were staying, in the 1970s. Cute!

Here's my dad at the lake's edge - what a lovely vista:

I definitely recommend the lodge if you're interested in peace and quiet and staying far away from civilization (though I imagine it's much busier in the summer months with "city people"). The food at the restaurant was surprisingly delicious and seemed to focus on sustainable produce as well! The steak I had there was amazing.

Giant chess sets are pretty cool too (although, man, are we both terrible at chess!)

And, though it was cold and the lawn was being reseeded, part of me couldn't help thinking, "what a lovely place for a wedding." Ack!