We drove to Vancouver Island for our family holiday this year. It took 2 days of driving each way, though it could have taken longer- accounting for construction, breaks, rest stops, and filling for gas, one day each direction was about 10.5 hours, and the other around 7. My general maximum time on the road is about 6 hours and then I get cranky.
But arriving on Vancouver Island and spending time soaking up the sun and inhaling the ocean breezes made the travel time worth it. We spent a lot of time on Mount Tolmie. The view was breathtaking all the time, even when it was foggy and grey. Sunsets there were incomparable. Morning coffee was even better with a view like that! Spending time with my brother and sister in law, getting to know my niece and nephew, and watching the kids enjoy the company of their cousins was the icing on the cake.
Unaccountably for me, the planner, we went without a plan. We woke up each morning and decided what we felt like doing that day. A couple of mornings we left the kids at my brother's home and wandered in downtown Victoria along the harbour or browsing shops for a couple of hours. We had coffee on Tolmie a few times. We took the boys to Port Angeles, WA for the day, and were gifted a Whale Watching tour for another. We saw 3 humpback whales, but no orcas.
We visited with old friends, enjoyed a meal and a few hours at and around Fisherman's Wharf, went fossil hunting, spent some time at Oak Bay Marina, and caught Pokemon everywhere we went. A few hours were spent at Beacon Hill Park, and while we ate our share of the usual fast food, we also enjoyed unique meals at places we haven't been before, such as West Coast Waffles.
I even shared an oyster with my husband at Smugglers Landing in Port Angeles. It wasn't as bad as I expected...but I'm not sure it's something I must eat again.
We earned our keep by helping out with groceries, cooking a few meals, giving my brother and his wife a couple of nights out by babysitting, and helping out with their dog. One morning we spent a couple of hours blackberry picking- that was an eye-opening experience. Those bushes are deadly! But it gave me an opportunity to do some #testkitchen #recipedevelopment while I was gone, and I developed a blackberry and maple pudding recipe just for my newsletter subscribers. I recreated it at home with raspberries, because I couldn't find blackberries. At least it's versatile! If you want in on that, I'd be happy to share that recipe with you! Sign up here :)
Our last day away we spent a few hours in Sooke honouring my dad in a ceremony off of Whiffen Spit. He passed away late November of last year and my step mom took the opportunity of all of us being together to set up a really lovely ceremony to say good bye. My dad had always loved the ocean, and it was the perfect place to honour his memory. Whiffen Spit was one of his favourite places to go,and while I'd never been there, I can see why. The kids all enjoyed looking out over the water and tossing stones into the ocean, and it was a really nice walk to get there. I enjoyed meeting family I hadn't met before. It was so good to see my stepbrother and my sister in law, and my stepmom was really happy to have us all together.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into our family holiday! How did you spend your summer vacation?
All the best, friends.
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