A weekend in Victoria

It’s impossible to say which season is loveliest in Victoria where flowers bloom at Christmas and salmon spawn nearby in fall and cool breezes off the Strait of Juan de Fuca make walks along Dallas Road a pleasure in high summer. And May! The streets of the Rockland neighbourhood are leafy, tables are out on the sidewalks on Cook Street, the English daisies are a thick Botticelli carpet in Ross Bay Cemetery. And if you’re lucky enough to be at the Beacon Hill Park petting zoo at 5 on a Friday afternoon, you can see the running of the goats, the mothers and their babies (including a black rabble-rouser called Forrest) racing from their pen to their barn for the night while peacocks languish in high trees and the surrounding meadows are blue with camas.

The running of the goats

We went to Victoria this past weekend for the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Book Prizes Gala at Government House. It was a gracious event, more formal than the galas I’ve been to in the past. It was fun to see some old friends and to make a few new ones too. The last time I was at Government House was in grade two when my Brownie pack went for a garden party and where George Pearkes made us feel very welcome. Our current L-G, Judith Guichon from the Nicola Valley, has the same gift.

We stayed across the road from Government House at Abbeymoore Manor B&B. We’ve stayed there before and this time we had the iris roomIris Room looking out over Rockland Avenue. We had our own deck up in the trees where hummingbirds paused and the scent of wisteria drifted up from the vines around the lower porch. Ian, Anne, and Michelle take good care of their guests. The beds are dressed with fine linens, the towels are big, and the breakfasts are spectacular. We love the breakfast room which has wonderful old tiles on the floor

breakfast room

and a view of the garden but most guests on Saturday morning were eating on the sunny porch. That first morning – fruit platter with banana bread, followed by a perfectly poached egg on a cheese scone with hollandaise sauce, crisp bacon, and a pretty salad of greens, tiny white asparagus, pickled beets, and feta cheese. The coffee is dark and rich. Second morning we had the luxury of breakfast on our own deck where we feasted on Caribbean bananas with a ginger scone followed by an omelette stuffed with chicken, cheese, peppers, and topped with a spicy salsa and slices of avocado. A small salad of baby greens. Mimosas in tall glasses. That coffee…

We came home the long way, up Island to Comox and across Georgia Strait to Powell River, then down to Saltery Bay for the final ferry down Jervis Inlet to Earls Cove. We drove up our driveway around 6:30 to see that the lilacs had come into blossom while we were away and the tomato plants have grown to small trees.