#38: Road Trip with a Destination – Afternoon Tea at the Empress

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

This is the second year in a row with one of our hundred things being a road trip with a specific destination. Last year, we went to Seattle, with an extra rule: avoid freeways when possible. This year, we did it a bit differently.

Our destination was lovely Victoria BC. We didn’t rule out freeways, because this time our goal was to also circumnavigate the Olympic Peninsula. So we drove as fast as we could to just past Centralia, where we took a side road out west. We stopped for coffee and a surprising item of kitsch at the Elma Farm Stand and Public Market.

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Shortly after this, the rain started, so we didn’t really stop again until we reached our lodgings at Lake Quinault.


Once we arrived and determined that the rain wouldn’t soak us, we went on a soggy hike, and I realized I hadn’t really packed for this kind of adventure. I may look ridiculous with my pants rolled up, but the nature was worth it.

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The next morning, we drove around Lake Quinault, which took longer than we bargained for, but we had heard that there was a world’s-largest tree out there, so we couldn’t not go. Sure enough, it’s pretty big. It doesn’t really fit in a camera frame, so we had to back up to give you a sense of the thing.

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A herd of elk was nearby as well.


We finished with the lake, and headed back to 101. As we headed northward, we noticed a sign for another world’s-largest tree, and we once again couldn’t not stop. Unfortunately half of this tree has fallen down, but it’s still really huge.

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Next stop: Forks, Washington, which looooooves to brag about its place in Twilight lore. You’ll never guess how much of the movies were filmed here. The answer is none! None percent. All the “Forks” scenes were shot in Vancouver and Portland and Oregon City.

This monument is to loggers who have died in the line of duty, which is a good representation of what this area is really about.


Further along, we took the road to Sol Duc Falls for a bit, although the actual Sol Duc area was still closed. There are several small hikes along here which are just stunning – the Ancient Groves Nature Trail was a real standout, and highly worthwhile.

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After a night in Port Angeles and a ferry ride, we arrived in Victoria!


We found our lodgings, fed ourselves, and headed out to see the sights. Our first stop was Miniature World, which has an amazing website, you should really go check it out. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area, too; the projects in here are impressive in scope and detail. There are reenactments of several wars…


…as well as some fairy tales.

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After that, the main event. The Empress Tea Room is the reason we chose Victora for our destination in the first place. We had even packed some extra-dressy clothes for the occasion.

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We would have been happy with just the tea, but unfortunately you aren’t allowed to just stop there. Our server brought us this heaping tray of goodies, each of which was 90% made from things we usually don’t eat. For politeness’ (and adventures’) sake we ate them, and they were tasty, and we paid the price the next day.

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Well, the tea pretty much knocked us out for the rest of the day. The following day we started on a rambling walk around the city, which led us down around scenic Beacon Hill Park, through Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, and back to our lodgings through the old town. It ended up being 6 miles, and took us all day, and it was glorious.

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Then it was time to head home. We stepped off the ferry and had one last picnic lunch overlooking the Strait.


And managed to stop in at Hurricane Ridge. It was windy and cold, so we didn’t stay long, but it was worth the drive for the view.

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We also spotted this on the side of the road. We played our usual strategy: only play the nickel slots, only spend $20, and switch machines and players when you’ve gained or lost $2. We walked out an hour later, having swapped that $20 with this $20. Pretty cheap entertainment.


And then we drove home. As we’ve written before, we find that deliberately lengthening the time spent in between activities helps us calm our minds and think. I guess this is how we do meditation. Anyways, it was great, and we’ll be doing it again.

2 thoughts on “#38: Road Trip with a Destination – Afternoon Tea at the Empress

  1. Pingback: #74: Heathman Hotel High Tea | Band of Charac­ters

  2. Pingback: #6: Explore a New Beach Town | Band of Charac­ters

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