Hope your holiday was lovely. I'm finding it hard to believe another year is upon us. I know it's said all the time, but the days truly seem to go faster and faster and I'd really like to hold onto each of them (well, most of them at least) a bit longer. Just hold the moments, please.
The three of us took off for a quick getaway just a few days before Christmas. It was quite possibly the silliest time to go - there were gifts yet to be bought, packages yet to be wrapped, holiday dishes yet to be planned - but oh, how magical it sounded to go somewhere new at Christmastime! With its enchanting downtown, full of twinkly lights and cobblestone streets, Victoria seemed like just the place.
We packed up the car and drove along the eastern edge of Washington's peninsula, stopping up in Port Angeles to catch the ferry to British Columbia. The Olympic mountains, snow-capped and glistening in the late afternoon sun, left us lingering at the back of the boat for awhile as it pulled away from the dock.
We'll skip over the part where I got a little seasick (eye roll: I am seriously the queasiest) and move onto the carriage house we stayed in on the north end of the city - a splendid find on Airbnb. It had a loft for sleeping, a charming kitchen with white subway tiles, a festive wreath on the door and a subtle twiggy one inside. It was likely the coziest place I've ever been in - perfect for Christmas.
The days were sunny and cold and we bundled until we could bundle no more as we strolled through the sidewalks and alleys of Old Town. Crew fell asleep in the carrier on the husband's back one afternoon, granting us a rare treat to take our time in the shops and pick out a few last gifts.
We huddled into bakeries and coffee shops here and there to warm up a bit - the fogged up windows always a good sign - and I tried my first mince tart. We climbed to the top of Mount Douglas and Christmas Hill for views of the city and the sea that stretched beyond. Our eyes watered as the wind whipped at our faces, but we burrowed into each other's coats and braved it as long as we could (some of us better than others).
Here, a list of recommendations and my notes alongside for a quick trip you might like to take yourself.
This carriage house on Airbnb / Incredibly charming. A lovely stay. Best if you've got a car for driving into town.
to eat + drink
OLO / Have dinner here, or perhaps a drink at the bar. On the edge of Chinatown, which is sensational to see at night with its lanterns lit up and hanging overhead.
Agrius / Perfect for brunch.
Fol Epi / A bakery, patisserie, and coffee shop. I think you'll want to try just about everything, but do be sure to pick up the mince tart if you're there at Christmastime.
Butchart Gardens / The Magic of Christmas display was absolutely brilliant. We were lucky enough to have a bit of snow to scuffle through and it covered the bushes and trees, making it all the more wintery and festive.
Mount Douglas Park / Cold at the top. But the views!
Christmas Hill / How fitting for Christmastime. A quick climb for a stunning view of the city. Close to the carriage house where we stayed.
Inner Harbour / Wander along the paths here at nighttime to admire all the twinkly lights - particularly on the masts and sails of the sailboats at the dock, the Parliament Building (so regal!), and the fancy Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Take a stroll through Old Town, tucking into shop after shop and admiring the well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Be sure to pop through the narrow passageway of Fan Tan Alley.
Rook & Rose / A boutique flower shop. You'll want to take it all home and possibly fixate on the idea to open up a shop of your own just like it.
Open House / I've been looking for a good soft linen apron for quite awhile now, and found just the one here. The husband swooped in to get it for me (!) and stuffed it into my stocking for Christmas.
Amelia Lee / Stop in here for all sorts of lovely gifts or things for your home.
So there you have it! Wishing you a cozy winter. We had a snowy Christmas this year and I'm decidedly hoping a bit more comes our way. And leave a comment or drop me a note to tell me what you've been baking lately. I just made the banana cardamom cake from The Christmas Chronicles yesterday afternoon - divine!