It helps that they picked us up in the west end and drove us to and from the ferry terminals on each side of the ferry trip, but after a weekend like this, I think we’re more inclined to go the transit route (which we’ve done before on another trip) to make another getaway like this sometime in the future. Hopefully you’ll see why by the end of this post.
I do have to say that one of the extreme highlights of this journey was the ferry ride to Schwartz Bay. I noticed a variety of people suddenly looking out the window to one side of the ship. Looking out to the deck, I saw people crowding next to the rail as well. That’s when I did a mad search to the distance, instantly spotting a pod of killer whales making their way across the Georgia Straight. I just blurted out, “Orcas!”, and everyone in our immediate vacinity craned their necks to catch a glimpse.
I know that this isn’t a big deal to many locals, but nature is something that is always awesome to me. Just the fact that I can go running around Vancouver and spot harbour seals, otters, and bald eagles dive bombing fish out of the water, this was another moment of awe to add to the stack.
Directly off the other side of the boat ride to the island, we took a quick detour to get an amazing tour of Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, located just outside of Victoria. Owners Kristen and Bruce Jordan were on hand to see us through their operation. However, it was Kristen who drove the show with her fantastic tour, followed by a hearty tasting of their many different ciders.
This was by far my favorite sampling, Kings and Spies.
It was very, very convenient that the 15th Annual Wine & Oyster Fest was going on that evening at the Coast Hotel in Victoria Harbour, and it did not fail to deliver.
Until this day, I had never tried my hand at raw oysters. I started out slow and went for a cooked one first, which mostly tasted like chewy, cooked ocean water. So I psyched myself up enough and went for the raw stuff. Since you don’t chew them, it tasted mostly like ocean water as it went down. Then someone showed me the idea of squeezing lemon juice and pouring a little tobasco sauce into the shell. Went down way more tasty, and I did that about seven or eight more times.
The wine did not fail to deliver, and there were so many island wines that were exciting to try because of how familiar I find myself getting with Okanagan based wines. It’s great to try new things, but sampling what comes from the other direction over on the island was a great experience.
I can’t forget to mention the variety of island-based micro-brews at the event as well. There was a lot of good ones to try, but I kept coming back to the Lighthouse Brewing folks. Their stout was very tasty.
On day two, our itinerary took us to the Royal BC Museum, which was actually my second visit to this really neat place. That trek was a great learning experience in terms of general history of B.C., but this visit was to see their “Treasures: The World’s Cultures from the British Museum”. This collection was a variety of impressive pieces from all sorts of cultures from varying aspects of time.
I didn’t take many pictures from this visit because pictures were not allow in this particular exhibit. However, you can see pictures from our other visit to this museum here.
After a few hours at the museum, we were treated to a harbour ferry ride over to Spinnakers, a great restaurant and brewpub, but the tour we had of the place taught us so much more.
Our tour took us to see where they make their own micro-brews, just steps from the kitchen, and the upstairs is more of the pub atmosphere until you step out onto their balcony with an incredible view of Victoria Harbour. And actually, this was our second visit here, only having some pizza the last time we were here in 2007. Little did we know how amazing the variety of dishes are here, and our host paired the samplings with many different wines.
Ever try sampling beer that’s paired with different chocolates? I never have, but Spinnakers micro-brews go down really smooth with a little sweetness like that. Have to say that made me a big fan, especially of their hefeweizen.
Head outside an just around a fence is one of a few guest houses that you can rent and stay in. Very cozy, very peaceful, gorgeous, steps away from great food and drink, and a very easy stroll to downtown. We’ll have to find a way to make a visit to Victoria land in one of these rentals.
We crammed a lot into a Friday to Sunday getaway, and many thanks goes to Coast Hotels for their amazing hosting of the entire crew they invited along for this weekend event. All in all, their were fourteen of us new media folks that they took along on this adventure, and everything they put together for us never failed to be an enjoyable time and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.
You can see all of my photos from this trip here.