West Coast Spring 2018 – Victoria, Part One

July 14 – 16

With a three hour drive ahead of us to clear customs and catch our 12:45 ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, we wanted to leave plenty of time for Jenny Manetta to bugger things up, we made sure we were out the door by 8:00am.  Just before hitting the road we stopped at a coffee joint, Gretchen’s Place, on Sand Pointe for a big coffee (and a little pastry) to get us going.

Gretchen's Place

Gretchen’s Place

Being Saturday morning, traffic was light as we made our way south to Tacoma and then back up through Bremerton.  We choose this route because though longer in miles, it eliminated having to take a ferry which was required for the other two options.  The drive went smoothly, and we arrived in Port Angeles not long after 11:00am, giving us time to grab some breakfast before boarding the boat.

Seattle to Port Angeles Options

Seattle to Port Angeles Options

We checked in at the ferry office and after parking and locking the car in the appointed row, walked a couple of blocks into Port Angeles for some food.  On the way into the dock we’d passed a local car show being set up and returned there to look at some of the vehicles, my favorite a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-396 (I owned a 1966 while in high school).

Port Angeles Car Show

Port Angeles Car Show

We ended up at the Cornerhouse restaurant, aptly named for its location, sat down and proceeded to have an excruciatingly long dining experience, one that almost made us late for the ferry.  Here is my review in Trip Advisor:

We drove up from Seattle to take the ferry to Victoria and with an hour or so to spare stopped in for a breakfast to fill us up for the balance of the day. The food was OK but as is mentioned in other reviews, why it took 40 minutes for our food to arrive after we ordered is beyond our imagination. And we had to ask our distracted server for it to boot. So, bottom line, don’t go unless you got all day.

Cornerhouse

The Cornerhouse

The ride to Victoria lasted roughly ninety-minutes and would be the first of five that we would take over the course of the next twelve days as we pushed on through the San Juan Islands.  As we found in Greece last year, traveling on ferries is a nice way to go, usually involving smooth sailing, comfortable surroundings, and with food and drink available.

First of Many Ferry Rides

The First of Many Ferry Rides

We landed in Victoria and set out almost immediately, clearing customs on the Canada side a simple process, and drove out of town twelve miles to our home for the next three nights, Gardenside Acres.

Victoria to Gardenside Acres

Victoria to Gardenside Acres

Our first impression was slightly less than enthusiastic when we discovered we’d be camping in an open field with primitive facilities, an chemical toilet (a clean one at least) and a shower in a small tent.

The Entire Site at Gardenside

The Entire Site at Gardenside

But over time the charms of the place, and its pricing, overcame our initial reservations and we grew to enjoy the ambience, its location and the genuine hospitality of our hosts.  Here is my review for Trip Advisor:

A Great Experience Except for that Shower and Toilet

Reviews for this place are generally excellent as the welcome you receive from the owners is warm and friendly throughout the visit. The breakfast you can order is fantastic and reasonably priced, most of the items on the plate grown in their own garden and hen house. I’d give this a five star rating but the bathroom facilities, while manageable may be less than appealing to the squeamish at heart. The only toilet is a chemical outhouse, clean and well maintained but an outhouse non-the-less and the shower is in a tent and unfortunately, my wife and I between the two of us could never quite figure out how to adjust the temperature, it was either scalding hot or ice cold. But that could have just been us. If we ever return to this area we’d stay here in a heartbeat.

Our Site at Gardenside Acres

Our Site at Gardenside Acres (Note the Outhouse)

The Tent Shower

The Tent Shower

It being later in the afternoon and not familiar with the area (we didn’t see any markets on the way in) we opted to drive a mile or so down to Brentwood Bay for dinner at a place with many good reviews, Blue’s Bayou Café.  We arrived early in the evening, but it was already crowded, and we felt lucky to get a table for two out on the deck overlooking the marina.

Seating at Blues Bayou

Seating at Blues Bayou

Starting off with a beer apiece, a bowl of the soup of the day, a potato corn chowder and the house Jambalaya as our entrée.  Portions were large enough to split and were true to the Cajun/Creole style of cooking, surprising to us that we would find it this good north of the border.

Thoroughly satisfied with our meal we returned to camp ready for the next day, one to be filled with as much exploring of Victoria as we could cram into it.  Despite our initial reservations about the campground, it was a nice place to stay, quiet in the evening, the only disturbance during our visit being the chickens in their coop raising a ruckus in the morning.  But that’s a small price to pay for fresh eggs.  More on that later.

I'll Take This One

I’ll Take This One

Links

Gretchen’s Place: https://www.yelp.com/biz/gretchens-place-seattle

Cornerhouse: https://www.cornerhouserestaurantpa.com/

Gardenside Acres: http://www.gardenside-acres.com/

Blue’s Bayou Café: https://www.bluesbayoucafe.com/

 

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