Category Archives: Travel

Victoria Gardens

Apparently we have been busy in the last week, but see the exciting conclusion of our Victoria wanderings below!

One of the aspects of wandering around Victoria that Jasmine and I like the most is all of the various gardens that are open for the public to wander through. This time, the big ticket find was Government House, the residence for the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The grounds are full of a surprisingly large number of sub-gardens with multiple rose gardens, a wilderness area, and an obligatory herb garden. It was a very pleasant place to wander around for an hour or so in the morning.

One day we will run out of things to find in Victoria, but not this visit.

A water feature is key for Pacific Northwest gardens.

A water feature is key for Pacific Northwest gardens.

The rose garden.

The rose garden.

Manicured English garden

Manicured English garden.

Lavender everywhere in the herb garden! It is almost a weed around here.

Lavender everywhere in the herb garden! It is almost a weed around here.

There was a heraldry exhibit apparently? I took a picture of the cutest coat of arms.

There was a heraldry exhibit apparently? I took a picture of the cutest coat of arms.

Victoria Wanderings

We took a long weekend and went up to Victoria. Having been there and blogged about it before, we spent most of our time wandering around the city, checking out the gardens, and having some coffee and nice food. We did things a little differently this time and stayed at a bed and breakfast – which unfortunately stopped doing breakfast.

We had a great time. I think that there is a bit more of the city to explore so we will be going up there again.

Getting some coffee at our favorite so far in Victoria, Hey Happy.

Getting some coffee at our favorite cafe so far in Victoria: Hey Happy.

They have pianos distributed all over Victoria. I like to think the seals enjoy it.

They have pianos distributed all over Victoria. I like to think the seals enjoy it.

Oak Bay is a pleasant place to sit around.

Oak Bay is a pleasant place to sit around.

Art!

Art!

Victoria may need more real wolves instead of steel wolves.

Victoria may need more real wolves instead of steel wolves.

New York City Waterways

On the second half of the trip, we decided to do some things that were new to us and explore the various water options available. Stop one was Rockaway Beach out in Queens, which we were told was one of the few beaches accessible by public transit. We took the “A” train and headed on out for a pleasant day at the beach. The water was, to our West Coast feelings, very warm even though it was only June. The beach is a very weird thing for the two of us as we are so used to short days with foggy, rocky beaches and cold, wavy water that the warm, calm water, sandy beaches, and 100% sun was pleasant but felt weird.

When we got back to Manhattan, we proceeded to spend a day taking ferries up and down the East River and hanging out in Brooklyn for a while as well. I think that a combo of walking and ferry transit with some good food, cafe stops, and great views is my perfect vacation, so I give the East River ferry an A+ and the same grade to NYC Ferries for graphic design.

The beach was pretty empty until noonish.

The beach was pretty empty until noonish.

Chilling between dipping in. The waves were just large enough to body surf, so that is what I spent a solid 3 hours doing.

Chilling between dipping in. The waves were just large enough to body surf, so that is what I spent a solid 3 hours doing.

Double bridge!

Double bridge!

A bit of a funhouse maze area on the Brooklyn Bridge Park was a cute change of pace.

A bit of a fun-house maze area on the Brooklyn Bridge Park was a cute change of pace.

This is cover of our upcoming LP "Futures"

This is cover of our upcoming LP “Futures”.

New York, New York

Is everything they say, and no place that I’d rather be. Where else can you do a half a million things all at a quarter to three. In somewhat recent news, Jasmine and I were in New York for a family wedding and it is about time it showed up on the blog. The wedding was fun and went off with only a single hitch so you, gentle reader, get to hear about about the rest of the trip.

We got a hotel in FiDi so, in the standard Lloyd and Jasmine fashion, we proceeded to walk every block of lower and midtown Manhattan from Battery Park through Central Park. Two major complaints: first where do you keep your chill cafes? That, more than anything else, we missed from the West Coast. And second, our favorite park during the last visit was the Highline, but holy crap is it a tourist mecca now! We could barely find standing room much less enjoy the park.

Now onto the good things – like ICE CREAM!!! Our favorite was Van Leeuwen’s, but there were so many awesome options. I think Seattle has something to learn here. Food was also consistently good; it is one of those things you forget occasionally when you don’t live in a major city, but city restaurants are miles better than rural ones on average. This is one of the reasons we are keen on the move from Renton to W. Seattle.

Finally, we spent a lot of time walking the paths and parks on both the East River and the Hudson. These are both much nicer than I remember from last time I was in New York and quite pleasant to walk on. Whereas three years ago I said don’t miss out on the Highline, I would revise that to walk the Hudson from Battery to Pier 51 on the Greenway.

Goodbye West Seattle.

Goodbye West Seattle.

Hello East River.

Hello East River.

This is a rooftop park in the Financial District, I love the concept of public rooftop parks in cities.

This is a rooftop park in the Financial District. I love the concept of public rooftop parks in cities.

And the Hudson in the morning. It was very picturesque with just the right lighting.

And the Hudson in the morning. It was very picturesque with just the right lighting.

Some yatching in central park.

Some yachting in Central Park.

Olympic Peninsula (Dungeness Pt.)

We only stayed on the Olympic Peninsula for two days and one night so we decided to splurge and stay at a nice B&B in Dungeness. It was quite pleasant and a bit different than our usual hotel or hired house experience. Major upsides include: B&B was a converted barn, nice in-bloom flower garden, and an magnificent sunset over the beach.

On day 2 we decided to check out the water rather than the mountains. There is a large spit out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca called the Dungeness Spit that is both a wildlife refuge for waterfowl and a long hike on the beach. We had a very pleasant hike, but I suppose it was a bit nondescript, just a long sandy walk with gorgeous views.

Overall, it was a fun trip and we will certainly go out to the Olympics again. Next time, maybe even go deep into the rain forest.

As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.

As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.

Garden views.

Garden views.

This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around...

This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around…

My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.

My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.

We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!

We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!

Farewell to Renton

We missed  “the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of pattens” and all of the other good that comes out of living close in to a city so we have given up the suburbs for a house in West Seattle. I’m sure one day both of us are more suited for the country, but not while we have to commute into jobs. Suburbia is full of compromises I would rather not make.

To say goodbye to the old house we went for a walk on our favorite circuit: down the Ceder River Trail to Lake Washington, then back through Renton with proper zigzagging through suburbs and parks. It is a nice 10 mile walk that we would do every other week or so, so I wanted to temporarily immortalize it through a blog post. For you, Renton, “Let us say not farewell, but as the French have it, au revoir!”

The Ceder River trail is very nice for the three quarters not on the highway.

The Ceder River Trail is very nice for the three quarters not on the highway.

This bridge is a library! I would put King Country up for best library system.

This bridge is a library! I would put King Country up for best library system.

And finally Lake Washington with that damn interloper Mercer Island.

And, finally, Lake Washington with that damn interloper Mercer Island.

Boeing lines up all the 737's like ducks in a row by the water. The awesome turquoise color is the coating before paining.

Boeing lines up all the 737’s like ducks in a row by the water. The awesome turquoise color is the coating before painting.

There are some surprisingly nice vista's in Renton.

There are some surprisingly nice vistas in Renton.

Halifax, or The End of This Trip

Our tour of eastern Canada ended up with a two day stay in Halifax. We had some weather troubles with Halifax in that it was cold, rainy, and windy most of the time we were there. That being said, it was part of the risk of an autumn trip to Canada and there were some cool coffee shops and museums to check out. We spent a good portion of a day at the Citadel (i.e. the fort in the middle of the city) and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, both of which were quite fun.

The weather turned nicer the second day so we went out to the water and took a nice long walk through in the city.  On the third day, we were flying out later in the afternoon so we took the car and went out into more rural Nova Scotia and ended up in the UNESCO heritage site of Grand-Pre with a large landscape of dikes and farmland. It was very pretty and calm and we both rather enjoyed it.

Overall, we had a nice time and I would rate Nova Scotia 9/10, would visit again.

You can tell that we are in Halifax because it is written on the seaway.

You can tell that we are on the Seabridge because it is written on the eabridge.

Got to check out dem small boats.

Got to check out dem small boats.

Pt. Pleasent park had a fair share of fortifications, the best way to keep the french away.

Pt. Pleasant Park had a fair share of fortifications, the best way to keep the French away.

A picture of Lloyd and Jasmine, looking out over the Atlantic instead of the Pacific for a change of pace.

A picture of Lloyd and Jasmine, looking out over the Atlantic instead of the Pacific for a change of pace.

Grand Pre had some pretty rural sites.

Grand Pre had some pretty rural sites.

PEI

And, now, continuing our Canada Adventure, with only a slight delay based on house purchasing. After Quebec, we took a road trip all the way to Prince Edward Island. I think of our whole trip, this was probably the only mistake as it was around a 12 hour drive with touch and go snow and rain that had pretty much nothing on it. And 12 hours is more time than I want to spend driving in one go on holiday.

That being said, we also arrived a bit late in PEI for tourist season, so most things outside of Charlottetown were closed. But we stayed at an acceptable, if a bit poorly built, modern cabin and drove around the bucolic country side – which is what we wanted out of PEI in any case. So I rate it a 6 out of 10: PEI was fine.

Even though restaurants and cafes were not open, all of the parks were!

Even though restaurants and cafes were not open, all of the parks were!

And now the sea with Jasmine and me.

And now the sea with Jasmine and me.

Charlottetown, home of the commonwealth.

Charlottetown, home of the commonwealth.

This was a sweet hotel/B&B right next to the ocean on the North side of PEI. I want to stay here some day.

This was a sweet hotel/B&B right next to the ocean on the North side of PEI. I want to stay here some day.

The North Atlantic was very pretty if a bit on the frigid side.

The North Atlantic was very pretty if a bit on the frigid side.

Quebec City

Of course, while in the Provence of Quebec, we had to go to Quebec City. First off, it is extremely pretty in old town Quebec and inside the walled part of the city. We also had an awesome artist loft that we rented for a couple of days. But I think Quebec City wasn’t for us; it was very touristy and, other than walk around a square mile of city and look at old buildings, there wasn’t much to do. And we didn’t find any great restaurants or cafes – it was just mediocre tourist fare. The one time we branched out of Old Quebec with a walk by the St. Lawrence and St. Charles river, we were rewarded by a nice coffee shop, which just goes to show what we want out of a vacation.

So Quebec gets a C: worth travelling to for a day from Montreal, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to get there again.

Obligatory Chateau Frontenac. Got to take a picture of the fancy Canadian railroad hotel.

Obligatory Chateau Frontenac. Got to take a picture of the fancy Canadian railroad hotel.

The best part of Quebec was how pleasant and walkable the streets were.

The best part of Quebec was how pleasant and walkable the streets were.

The weather was delightful the whole time we were in Quebec.

The weather was delightful the whole time we were in Quebec.

There is a couple small parks around Quebec City, so we went leaf peeping!

There are a couple small parks around Quebec City so we went leaf peeping!

Montreal!

Jasmine and I just got back from our larger vacation of the year: a trip out to eastern Canada! Jasmine had never been and I had only been to the Maritimes, not to Quebec Province. So in an attempt to remedy this, we flew out to Montreal and then drove from there to Quebec City, PEI, and Halifax before flying home. So prepare for slightly more pictures than usual.

I really liked Montreal; it wasn’t anything crazy or fancy, just it was a pleasant place to hang out. The very tasty pastry shop that we found by the B&B certainly didn’t hurt, though. Overall, I give it a B+, would be happy to visit again or even live there – though I would have to improve my impressively rusty french.

Indoor shopping mall, check! Fancy reflecting pools and marble statues, sure why not.

Indoor shopping mall? Check! Fancy reflecting pools and marble statues? Sure why not.

We took a trip out to the Botanical Gardens which were a little out of season,huge, and beautiful.

We took a trip out to the Botanical Gardens which were a little out of season, but still huge and beautiful.

At least the indoor of the Botanical Garden was still in bloom behind the waterfall.

At least the indoor portion of the Botanical Garden was still in bloom behind the waterfall.

Dark dinner = fancy dinner.

Dark dinner = fancy dinner.

The old city on the St. Lawrence has some very pretty river-walk sections.

The old city on the St. Lawrence has some very pretty river-walk sections.

Insert obligatory basilica picture here.

Insert obligatory basilica picture here.