During our last visit to this area, we wanted to visit Victoria and Vancouver Island, British Columbia but COVID put a stop to that. So during this visit we decided to try again. The base area we picked was the town of Sequim, pronounced “skwim”, halfway between Port Townsend and Port Angeles, two of the principal ports of the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. We decided on a few days to not only be able to visit Victoria, but also to explore this area a bit more.
Sequim is a nice little town with modern conveniences and proved to be a great base for our adventures during the week. We stayed in a small, 34 spots, RV park just off the main street, Gilgal Oasis. Though the spots were fairly close together, it was quiet, very clean and handy for our trips.
The first big adventure of the trip was the ferry ride from Coupeville on Whidbey Island to Port Townsend on the Peninsula. This was the quickest and easiest route for us to take. It also required us to put the motorhome on the ferry. A couple years ago, we did this in reverse and Jennifer was not real excited. They parked us in the very front with nothing in front of us but a great view. So, for this year’s event, she knew what to expect, having done it before, which I am not sure made things better. After getting there in good time, waiting in line and eating our lunch in the RV, they started to load us, and guess what, we were in the front again! Jennifer sat in the back this time. It was a short smooth ride and a very nice day. That was boat ride number three so far, if you’re counting.
We took a day to explore some of the eastern side of the peninsula visiting the Kitsap Peninsula. Port Gamble, our first stop, is an old mill town. They have restored most of the original old buildings and homes. The main attraction in the town is a large general store with a local history museum and the largest seashell collection we have ever seen. There was also an old original Masonic Lodge building, which is still in active use today.
Our next stop on the Kitsap tour was Poulsbo. Dubbed “Little Norway” It is an old Norwegian town with lots of historic and picturesque buildings, shops and restaurants. We walked the shops and main street, enjoyed the large marina, and had lunch.
The highlight of our trip was our trip to Victoria. Yes, another boat trip. This time we were walk-on passengers. No vehicle, just us and our back packs. It was a very foggy morning to start and we were in the fog most of the entire trip, with the exception of the last half-hour coming into Victoria. Jennifer did fine, it was a little more motion than the previous ferry rides, but not rough. It was also a damp and cold outside, so we stayed inside most of the trip till we got to Victoria Bay.
Our stay is Victoria was planned as an overnight stay and exploring the city. We walked up and down most of the avenues, visited a lot of the unique stores, enjoyed some fabulous views, and found some fun places to eat. The harbor is full of boat traffic, a seaplane base, ships in and out, and little, tiny harbor taxi boats.
We found a fun bookstore, Munros. It is in an old bank building with a beautiful coffered 24 ft. ceiling, and eight large fabric banners depicting the four seasons. We stopped in at a giant tea store, Murchie’s, which has been in the tea business since 1894. It is Canada’s oldest tea company.
We also explored some of the “off-the-beaten-path” areas. Fisherman’s Wharf is a floating houseboat area with all the houses painted different bright colors with a lot of fun small local places to eat. They are like food trucks, but they are boats. We also stopped into Christ Church Cathedral. It looks a lot like the old cathedrals and churches we saw in England, only it is “new” and smaller. Some beautiful stained glass and a giant pipe organ.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia Province and home to the capital. It is open for visiting, so we stopped in for a self-guided tour. Very neat. A smallish assembly room and wonderful rotunda. There are also two unique stained-glass windows. One commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the other commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. It is also spectacularly lit up at night.
We stayed at the Empress Hotel right on the harbor. It dates back to 1908 and has been the host of many famous guests. Edward Prince of Wales stayed and danced night after night. Queen Elizabeth II visited every decade of her reign. Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, Will and Kate and numerous other royals. John Wayne got behind the bar and served cocktails. Celebraties like Ginger Rodgers, Douglas Fairbanks, Katharine Hepburn, John Travolta, Rod Stewart and Barbara Streisand. Bob Hope putted on the carpet outside his door. And us, Craig and Jennifer 😊. We had drinks on the veranda and a great view of the harbor from our room.
The ferry ride back was better than the way there, though we did sail through some fog mid-way back. The water was smooth as glass and the views of the approaching Olympic Peninsula were spectacular. By now Jennifer had chocked up five boat rides on this trip, in the last 2 weeks alone! I told her if we go again, we will go via seaplane!
We also took a side trip to Dungeness Spit, a five mile sand bar that leads out to Dungeness Lighthouse. We did not walk out to the lighthouse, but the views were incredible. It is still an active lighthouse. You can see all the way over to Vancouver Island and Victoria. We capped the trip with an early dinner at Dockside Grill in John Wayne Marina. John Wayne used to come to the area often in his yacht, the Wild Goose. When he passed away his family donated a bunch of land to build the marina as a memorial to how much he loved the area.
We also had fun exploring Sequim. We did a farmer’s market one morning and came home with fresh tomatoes for BLTs, some beet relish, and fresh berries. We ate at probably our favorite seafood restaurant of the entire trip, Salty Girls, twice. Steamed mussels and clams were to die for, and the clam chowder was the best of the trip. They also have a wonderful railroad park. It is a rails-to-trails on the Olympic Discovery Trail connecting the Port Angeles and Port Townsend areas,
We are so glad we chose Sequim as a base for our north Olympic Peninsula visit. Our trip to Victoria was truly a highlight of the trip, even if it did involve a boat ride. Though we were not parked “on the water” this was our last big water stop. Next up, an off-the-path stop on the