View Full Version : My Girls Escape to Seattle/Victoria BC ~ Gardens & Glass ~ 6/2012 ~ pics ~ Completed!

06-22-2012, 07:59 PM
This is more of a Northwest Trip Report, but with the Wonder being in Seattle this summer, I thought others might be interested in my non-cruise trip to Seattle.

We are very blessed to have wonderful neighbors that we have become very good friends with. In fact, we have taken all of our Disney cruises with them and several trips to Disneyland. ::MickeyMo

My DN and I regularly walk around our neighborhood for exercise and to talk about our day's trials and tribulations with our daughters/husbands/family/work, etc. We both have special medical needs children who require a lot of our time. During one of our walks one night, DN brought up the idea of getting away for a girls only trip. The idea sounded very intriguing. As time went on the subject was brought up again in February. My DD was going away to Diabetes Camp for a week in June and DN’s oldest daughter would be home for summer from college to help care for her other daughter. The timing seemed right. DN’s husband had free miles on AA that would be expiring before he could use them, so he offered them to us. It was decided that we both wanted to go to Victoria BC to see the garden. So, our Girls Escape to Seattle was born. :cool1:

Our plan was to fly very early into Seattle (2 and a half hour flight from Phoenix) and spend Tuesday in the city. We then made reservations for a Victoria Clipper cruise package to Victoria BC with a city tour and Butchart Garden for Wednesday. We would spend another day in Seattle on Thursday and head home in the early evening.

Day 1 - Free at last!
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don’t get me wrong. We love our husbands :hug: and our children :hug: very much, but we were looking forward to a few days of worry free vacation from our everyday challenges. Let the fun begin!

We had a 6:10 AM flight out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which meant that we had to leave our houses at about 4:30 AM in order to make our flight. We left on time, found a spot in the parking garage next to Terminal 2, checked in for our boarding passes, waited for security, found our gate, loaded the plane and we were off on our adventure.

We decided that while we wouldn’t’ go “cheap,” we weren’t going to “blow the wad” either. So, instead of booking a shuttle from the airport or renting a car, we took advantage of Seattle’s mass transit system and rode the light rail train from the airport to Westlake Center. From there, we hopped on the monorail and rode it to Seattle Center which was very near our hotel. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Executive Inn. It was a nice hotel very close to the Space Needle and Port 69, where we were to catch the Clipper to Victoria.

When we arrived at the hotel, we checked our bags with the front desk and went exploring. We started by walking down to Port 69 and checking in for our Victoria Clipper cruise and got our boarding passes.

Our first glimpse of the Space Needle.


We passed the Olympic Sculture Garden on our way to the pier.



We then proceeded to walk along the waterfront. Since we got such an early start, we were kind of hungry for lunch so we decided to eat at Anthony’s Bell Street Diner. I had the New England Clam Chowder in a sour dough bread bowl with a Caesar salad. The chowder was very good and the bread was even better. While it was overcast and gloomy when we arrived it wasn’t raining. However, it did rain quite heavily for a few minutes while we were eating lunch.



After lunch it was just “misting” a little so we walked down towards the Aquarium. We passed the new ferris wheel, but it was not opened yet.



We purchased Seattle CityPASSes which got us admission to several things we wanted to see, including the Aquarium. I have been to some big aquariums before: National, Monterey, South Carolina, and Aquarium of the Pacific. I have to say that the Seattle Aquarium was very nice. I saw some specimens of anemones that I hadn’t seen before as well as some fish that are native to the Northwest Pacific coast. We especially enjoyed watching the otters try to crack their abalone shells against the side of their tank.






After the Aquarium we walked further down the water front to the Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. We didn’t find anything too interesting there and decided to head towards Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square was very picturesque.




One of the tours we wanted to take was the Underground Tour. I was a little skeptical because I thought it was going to be about haunted corridors underground, but in reality, it was a very entertaining and interesting tour of how Seattle was built and how the tunnels actually came to be and why. It was fascinating. I highly recommend this tour to anybody visiting Seattle.




After the Underground Tour it was getting towards late afternoon so we decided to check out Pikes Place Market. It was around 5:00 by the time we got there so most of the vendors were getting ready to close their stalls. We did see the fresh sea food that was available, but didn’t see any fish throwing. We also saw the beautiful flowers available for very reasonable prices. I wish there would have been a way to bring them home with me.




We then headed to dinner. On our way we passed a French bakery, so we popped in and got some chocolate filled croissants for breakfast the next morning and a panier to eat then. The clerk at our hotel recommended Local 360 as a great place to eat. He was right! This restaurant procures all of their products from sources within 360 miles of Seattle. DN had a rabbit gratin that she said was very good and I had a hamburger that was one of the best I’ve ever eaten, and their fries were amazing. We were very happy with our decision to eat there. Again, if you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend this place.

06-22-2012, 08:03 PM
While we were eating, it rained again. So far, we have been very lucky to be out of the rain. After dinner, we walked from the restaurant to the Space Needle. Our CityPASS got us 2 entries into the needle, one during the day and then another at night. Since it was still light out we decided to go up to see if it was clear enough to see anything. While still cloudy, the clouds were high so we got a great view of the city. Unfortunately, we couldnít see any of the Olympics or Mt. Rainier.





Seattle is on daylight savings time (a foreign concept to those of us living in Phoenix). Anyway, what this means is that it is still somewhat light out until 9:00 PM. We decided that it was just nice sitting at the top of the needle and to stay and watch the light gradually fade from the sky, rather than go down and come back up after dark. Remember, we had a very early start to the day. We watched the lights come up and decided to call it a night. On the way out, we caught glimpses of the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit lit up and took some pictures.




Next: We're in Canada, eh?

06-25-2012, 05:39 PM
Okay, before any of our Canadian DIS friends get offended, our bus driver told us how to talk like we were from Canada and gave us permission to do so, hence, my reference to being in Canada, eh? No offense intended to any of our neighbors to the north.

Day 2 Ė Victoria BC
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, after a wonderful day in Seattle and walking a lot, it was another early morning for us as we had to be at the pier for our boat ride to Victoria at 6:45 AM. It was about a 15 minute walk to the pier from our hotel. After a quick stop at the McDonalds next door to get some milk to go along with our croissants, we started walking down the hill to the water front.

Since we already had our boarding passes, we bypassed a long line and went through customs and waited to board the boat. We had a relatively low boarding number, so we didn't have to wait too long. We sat on the upper deck in the very back next to the door to outside. DN prefers to be outdoors when on a boat. As soon as we were seated, the purser came on over the intercom and informed us that the captain was expecting rough waters in the Juan de Fuca Strait and that motion sickness medication was available for $.25 a dose at the gift shop. A few people took advantage of the offer, I, however, had come prepared with my own and took 2 pills! I am sure glad I did. It was a dreary looking morning as we left Seattle.


As we made our way towards Victoria harbor, the captain informed us that the seas were a lot rougher than originally thought and that we would be taking the northern route on the east side of Whidbey Island through Deception Pass and out on the Southern end of the San Juan Islands. This little detour, while scenic, was an hour longer than we anticipated. Some people didnít make it very well. The Strait of Juan de Fuca became the Strait of Juan de Puko very quickly.




Anyway, once we arrived in Victoria, the sun started coming out.


We made our way through customs and headed to our bus for our city tour and ride to the Butchart Gardens. I had always wanted to see these gardens. I loved the miniature replica that Disney put in Epcotís Canadian pavilion. But the real thing was 100 times better!

The driver took us through Victoria and pointed out some interesting sights, including China Town. He told us about the stone lions to the entrance of China Town donated by Seattleís sister city in China and how the story goes that the lions will become real when an honest politician walks between them. Needless to say, they are still stone. He then told us a little about the government and he told us how the gardens came to be. It was all very interesting. Once we arrived at the garden, we were given 2 hours to explore. Fortunately, DN and I purchased a couple of sandwiches from the Clipper so we ate our lunch on the bus ride. We didnít want to take precious time from the garden to eat. Once there, we started exploring being awed and delighted around every turn of the path. Our first site was the family manor, where the Butchart family first lived. It is now administration for the garden.


The next thing was saw was a bunch of hanging baskets with the most colorful and full blooms I have ever seen.


The next stop was the most jaw dropping, The Sunken Garden.





The azealeas were beautiful.




This was the original limestone quarry where the limestone used for Mr. Butchartís cement mix business was harvested from. Mrs. Butchart got tired of looking at it and hauled in tons of top soil and thus the gardens were created.

The flowers were all blooming and the trees were gloriously green.




The next stop was the Rose Garden. We were a little early for all of the roses to be blooming, but what had were beautiful.








Continued on next post.

06-25-2012, 06:22 PM
We saw the Sturgeon Fountain


Then we went through the Japanese Garden,




Butchart Cove,


The Star Pond,



And finally, the Italian Garden,


Before we knew it, our 2 hours were almost over. We grabbed some yummy gelato from the Italian Garden and headed to the gift shop.

On the way we spotted this green house.


After all, we had daughters and husbands to buy for. It is very challenging bringing more than 3 oz of Maple Syrup home for your hubby when you donít check bags, but fortunately, they sold cute little maple leaf shaped bottles to put in my 3-1-1 bag. Score! We made it back to the bus with 5 minutes to spare.

On the way back to Victoria, we learned how to convert to metric and learned about The Fairmont Empress hotel which is where were left off to explore the harbor on our own.


Our first order of business was to find a gift shop and do some shopping. Including a shop at Rogers' Chocolates. That didnít take long and then we walked along the inner harbor looking for places to eat.


The Fairmont Empress Hotel,


The Government building,


I can be a bit picky and was at my worst that day so I had a hard time deciding what I wanted. We ended up at The Old Spaghetti Factory (not very Canadian, I know). Anyway, it was located in an historic building where the public pool used to be accross the street from this.


The meal was good and filling for our boat ride home which didnít promise to be any better than coming. We then went into the Empress Hotel to look around and get some more photos before heading back to the Clipper to board.





So it was time to leave sunny Victoria.


We passed the Port Angeles Ferry coming in.




Going back wasnít as bad, as we were going the same direction as the tide, however, the minute we hit the Strait, we lost our sun and it was cold, cloudy and windy the whole way back to Seattle.

We got back to Seattle at 9:30 PM, went through Customs again and then headed up hill to our hotel. I have to admit, it was a cold walk!

Next: Butterflies, glass and guitars, oh my!

06-29-2012, 11:31 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012

This was our last day in Seattle. Our plan was to spend the day in Seattle Center enjoying the museums and exhibits offered there. It was also very close to our hotel and monorail so when it was time to leave for the airport we were very close.

Since none of the museums opened until 10:00 AM, we decided to take a well-deserved sleep in. Not something we get to do often at home. After sleeping in, getting up and ready, we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant for their buffet breakfast. As buffets so, it was all right. After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and checked our bags with the front desk clerk to be retrieved later in the afternoon.

Our CityPASS gained us entry in to the Pacific Science Center.


As we were standing in line to exchange our voucher, busloads of middle school aged children descended upon the center. We were inundated. The premier exhibit at the center was the King Tut exhibit, it was also an extra charge and you had specific times you could go in. Unfortunately, the earliest time available by the time we got to the ticket window was 3:00 PM. It was too late for us as we had a flight to catch. I really wanted to see the butterflies anyway. So, we got our tickets and headed into the center. Our goal was to get to the butterflies before all of the students. Fortunately, there were only a few people in the butterfly exhibit and we walked leisurely through enjoying the difference species of butterflies and watching chrysalises hatch before our eyes.






By the time we left the butterflies, the center was overrun with students. We decided it was time for a more quiet and sedate experience, so we headed to the Chilhuly Garden and Glass Exhibit. This exhibit just opened up on May 21st. I was most excited about seeing this exhibit. A few years ago, our Desert Botanical Garden held a Chilhuly exhibit where his glass sculptures were displayed next to their plants and cacti. It was the best exhibit I had ever seen. I had always been a Chilhuly fan and was anxious to see his work again. I was not disappointed!

Afterwards, this piece was made a permanent part of the garden. I think it looks like yucca plants and a perfect entry into the botanical garden in Phoenix.


Back to Seattle, we checked our back packs at the complimentary baggage check. We started off in the Glass Forest


Then entered the Northwest Room where the glass was inspired by Native American baskets. Also displayed was Chilhuly’s personal collection of Native American rugs and drawings.



Then came the Sea life Room, which contained some stand alone sculptures and the Sea life Tower



My absolute favorite was the Persian Ceiling. I could have spent all day looking up at this ceiling, but for getting a crick in my neck.





The next was the Mille Fiori. I felt like we were looking into an aquarium.





The Ikebana and Float Boat came next.


Chilhuly is probably best known for his chandeliers, i.e. the ones on the Disney Wonder and Magic.



The Macchia Forest came next. I wish I could get one of these for my house.


Next: Day 3 & Chihuly Exhibit continued.

06-30-2012, 12:55 PM
Now, where was I, ah yes, the Chihuly Exhibit. We were last in the Macchia Forest. So far, all of the exhibited glass has been gorgeous, spectacular and unbelievable, but, the piece de resistance was the piece in the Glasshouse,




This piece is huge. The glass house was inspired by Chilhuly's love of glass conservatories. It can be rented for events and receptions and is gorgeous. It also offers a great view of the Space Needle.



As we walked outside of the glasshouse, there was a corridor with chandalier's of different colors hanging



And, last but not least, the garden itself.




I love the use of color.

Some of these look like graceful birds






I like how it looks like seal pups swimming under the log


After exiting the Chilhuly garden exhibit, we headed for lunch. We ate at a very nice Sports bar across the street in the TV station building. It was very good and felt good to sit down.

After lunch we headed over to the EMP Museum.


This museum is a combination of science fiction, music and pop culture. When you first enter the museum, you enter a lobby with a huge screen showing independent music videos.


Then you turn the corner and see this:


A giant sculpture made out of guitars, stringed instruments and drums. Very interesting.

We walked through the History of the Guitar exhibit, the Kurt Cobain exhibit, the Avatar exhibit, the horror film exhibit and the Sci Fi Icon Exhibit. Here are a few images of the icon exhibit.

If you are a fan of the original Star Trek series, youíll recognize this from The Trouble with Tribbles.


If you are a Star Wars fan, youíll recognize these items from Yoda


After leaving the EMP, we made our way back to our hotel to collect our bags. After some packing rearrangements, we headed back to the Monorail station for our return trip to the airport. Our time in Seattle had ended. We ate at Big Foots at the airport before our plane boarded and then we were off, back to 100+ temperatures.

We had a great time visiting the Northwest and recharged our batteries for our responsibilities at home.

I hope your enjoyed my report. :goodvibes

07-19-2012, 03:47 AM
Wendy - Great pictures! I don't know how I missed this TR whilst you were writing it.

Love the Chihuly! I haven't been to Seattle in over 20 years and all your TRs on this section of the board are making me think that I'm long overdue in heading back to the north-east corner of the US.

Thanks for sharing your great pictures.


07-19-2012, 10:37 AM
Wendy - Great pictures! I don't know how I missed this TR whilst you were writing it.

Love the Chihuly! I haven't been to Seattle in over 20 years and all your TRs on this section of the board are making me think that I'm long overdue in heading back to the north-east corner of the US.

Thanks for sharing your great pictures.


Thanks again Princess! :flower3: I couldn't get enough of the Chilhuly, it was brilliantly displayed.

I haven't been that far north before. I can't wait to go again with my family someday.

08-15-2012, 01:20 PM
Thanks for the TR, the gardens in Victoria looked stunning!

08-15-2012, 01:46 PM
Thanks for the TR, the gardens in Victoria looked stunning!

You're welcome! :blush:

It was beautiful! The garden is something that must be seen in person. The pictures just don't do it justice.

12-10-2012, 04:56 PM
Thanks for your photos. I'm going to visit Seattle, Victoria and Butchart Gardens again, the last time being 26 years ago on my honeymoon. Your photos are beautiful and inspiring. What camera and lenses were used? I found your posting on a D5100 list.:)

12-10-2012, 07:52 PM
Thanks for your photos. I'm going to visit Seattle, Victoria and Butchart Gardens again, the last time being 26 years ago on my honeymoon. Your photos are beautiful and inspiring. What camera and lenses were used? I found your posting on a D5100 list.:)

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy your return trip.

I am a rank amateur when it comes to photography, but I do enjoy taking my photos. I use a Nikon D5000 with the 18-55 kit lens and a Nikkor 55-300 Zoom lens. :goodvibes

03-02-2014, 01:28 PM
I know this is an old trip, but I wanted to say how much I loved getting to see it. :goodvibes

It's been over 10 years since I've been to Victoria and now I really want to go back! And those pics of the Chihuly Gardens were spectacular. I can't wait until my boys are old enough to go and enjoy it.

My oldest also has T1 and I absolutely love your idea to take a trip during Diabetes camp. What an awesome way to have some adult fun while knowing your kiddo is in good hands! :thumbsup2

03-02-2014, 04:56 PM
I know this is an old trip, but I wanted to say how much I loved getting to see it. :goodvibes

It's been over 10 years since I've been to Victoria and now I really want to go back! And those pics of the Chihuly Gardens were spectacular. I can't wait until my boys are old enough to go and enjoy it.

My oldest also has T1 and I absolutely love your idea to take a trip during Diabetes camp. What an awesome way to have some adult fun while knowing your kiddo is in good hands! :thumbsup2

:blush: Aw! Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed my report. It was a wonderful get away for both my friend and I.

However, my DD did get her revenge for going without her by making us take her last summer to Seattle. We went to Olympic National Park instead of Victoria though.

My friend and I are talking about taking another short trip in July when both of our daughters are away at camp. Not diabetes camp, but band camp for DD. Hopefully she'll be able to fend for herself by then. :rolleyes1

03-02-2014, 11:45 PM
Band camp sounds like lots of fun! And always nice to have time for a girls getaway. Fingers crossed that she'll be ready to try it solo for a week!