We did it. We took our very first family-of-three vacation! It was a sweet, fun, romantic getaway…set for three. We sorta planned it on a whim one day over the phone while G was deployed — I did some research, booked our hotel, and had the weekend on a *soft* plan of exploring and perusing. It was G’s birthday while he was gone, poor guy has been home once (maybe?) for his bday since he’s been in, so I wanted to make this trip as special as I could with a few surprises here and there. After a few tips from some girlfriends who’ve been to Victoria, I had our weekend set and ready to set sail (ferry boat pun!)
I loved it there! It was like something out of a movie set. The streets were so clean and lawns well manicured, the people were so nice and helpful. But before I oversell Victoria, let me back it up to our ride out there. We departed from the Port Angeles ferry that takes you directly to Victoria. It was a short (and I use that term loosely with a non-napping toddler on our hands) hour and a half ride to Vancouver Island. If I had it to do all over again would I? Yes! Toddlers are just gonna toddler, ferry boat or not mmkay?!
But look at this lil’ guy…toddlering moments and all, he just makes life so.much.more.fun!
^^^ Accurate depiction of Geoff’s stress level at one point on the ferry ride ;D
All said and done, this little guy did so awesome for being off schedule pretty much the whole weekend and going with the flow of the trip. I mean, one little flash of those chiclets and blue eyes, and Geoff we are back on vacation vibes. 🙂
I had a bottle of Prosecco and charcuterie plate delivered to our room once we arrived. I really wanted Geoff to know how much we missed him while he was gone and start the weekend off with some hashtag champs. #natch
^^^Please take note of this amazing make-shift divider we concocted in our hotel room! We had two sound machines going and dimmed lighting. It worked out great because we were still able to enjoy the actual room and bathroom, opposed to being held hostage and whispering in a corner somewhere! (Not my idea of a vacation, amiright??)
Our first night there we wanted to do something easy and still make it feel like we went somewhere for a ‘date nightish’ dinner (that’s a saying, right??) So we popped down to the hotel’s Veneto Tapas Lounge located on their first floor, and it.was.YUM! Apparently it’s a popular little spot with the locals, and I could see why! It had the perfect lounge/date night vibes with soft lighting and modern decor. There was an actual age limit for the restaurant side because of the bar, so we sat in the adjoined Cafe Veneto, where they serve the same menu. We ordered their crispy maple soy pork belly sliders made with buttermilk fried chicken and drizzled with sriracha mayo (yas), the braised beef short rib sliders, and the crispy pork belly and pan-seared chili-basil scallops (yas, yassss!) The pork belly sliders were so good we ordered another plate to take to our room. Hashtag vacayyy, y’all!
^^^ Haha! I love B’s face in this! He’s all “which one of dem dranks for me?!”
Saturday we made reservations with a tour bus company to take us out to the Butterfly Gardens and Butchart. Now, y’all know I’ve seen some amazing flower fields in my days here in the PNW, and I’ve always loved the Atlanta Botanical Gardens…but Butchart just takes gardening to a whole new level. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! Even Geoff liked it. 🙂
^^^ Gettin’ our tourist on!
^^^ The Sunken Garden…
^^^ The cherry blossoms were in bloom and so so pretty! When the wind would blow, little blossoms would fall from the tree and float around you like something straight from a movie scene. It was magical.
^^^ This is the mansion that the couple lived in while they built these gardens. It all started in 1904 from a quarry that Mrs. Butchart reconstructed in the Sunken garden. Over time she transformed special sections of the property into a Japanese garden, Rose garden, and Italian garden. To this day, the grounds still remain in the Butchart family — now that’s tradition.
After touring the gardens, we headed back on our tour bus to downtown Victoria. There was so much to see there, but with only the afternoon left we decided to walk up a few blocks to their public park at Beacon Hill. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, y’all…even the public park was unbelievably beautiful! and clean! so clean and well maintained. There was a petting zoo, rows of flowers, and trails, splash parks and ponds, playgrounds and waterfront views.
^^^ Bless his lil heart — these were the only type of naps he got…and I’ll take it!
^^^ This is the main port, and heart of downtown Victoria. There were street performers, water taxis and delicious seafood vibes running all through the harbor.
^^^ Dinner, night two. We walked through Chinatown and stopped in this restaurant the server from our dinner, night one, suggested. It was like Thai street food (or what I would imagine it to be like!) I had the chicken Pad Thai and G had the chicken curry rice…mine was better. 😉
^^^ Our last day and walk back to the ferry. This is their Parliament building and the dreary weather and distant photo really doesn’t do it enough justice. It was…you guessed it…so pretty!
^^^ Look at me, look at me…I’m da Captain now.
^^^ I never tire of these faces in my life. Sappy moment in 3, 2, 1… I’m so grateful for their abounding love and spirit.
Another great trip with the fam down in the books! We have a few more fun things in store this summer that I can’t wait to share!
Have a great week, y’all…and thanks for reading!
Lemons to Love,