If you were following our stay in Victoria, British Columbia on Instagram, you may have seen our amazing Bike Tour around the city. On Friday morning of our trip, we borrowed bikes from The Magnolia Hotel where we stayed (more on its fabulousness below). They outfitted us with bicycles, helmets, and a selection of maps to take in the city as best suited us. We opted for the Bikes, Beans, and Blooms tour since we couldn’t get enough of the gardens and of course needed to check out some coffee and tea offerings in the city…
After stopping at Picnic for coffee and breakfast, we headed up to Government House. Rather unassuming from the entry gate, the property is loaded with gardens, a waterfall, and meandering paths that bring breathtaking views at every turn. I fell in love with this structure below. Doesn’t it just scream garden party in all the best ways? Straight ahead was the rose garden, so it really was ideal!
The temperatures in Victoria were high 60s with practically clear skies. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. I opted for button down tops and jeans everyday we were there, throwing on a sweater at night when we went out for dinner. The city is fairly casual, so you can wear comfortably, chic outfits morning to night.
Our next stop was Afternoon Tea at the Teahouse at Abkhazi Gardens. You can see the amazing array of goodies offered. The savory cheddar scones were my favorite, but it was all delicious. My husband particularly enjoyed the salmon profiterole bites – so cute!
There are more famous high teas in Victoria, but the one at the Abkhazi Gardens was delicious, comfortable, and much more reasonable at $30 per person. We heartily recommend it.
I loved the teacups and teapots – a variety of patterns and prints. The afternoon tea left us quite satisfied and ready to continue on our trek through the city on our bikes.
Sometimes you see the darndest things when you don’t expect it. We took an extra turn around the block to see a bit more of the neighborhood. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two deer enjoying lunch at a garden in the middle of an intersection. I pulled over and started snapping photos. Before I knew it, the mom and baby deer proceeded to cross the street… in the crosswalk! I’m from a place with deer and I live in a place with crosswalks, but seeing the two together like this was a highly entertaining. I took so, so many photos!
My mom decided to walk while my husband and I rode bikes. Because her pace was obviously a bit slower than ours, she was able to catch a bit more of the beauty than we were. She noted these perfect apple trees she saw in a number of yards. I tried looking up a bit more often after she noted all the great sights she was seeing. Next time, I’ll have to give her the camera!
At this point, we took our own detour from the map to climb the hill back to Craigdarroch Castle. The castle was actually a home of a wealthy coal entrepreneur. The richest man in western Canada, he had the four story home built on a hilltop in Victoria with an astounding 360 degree view. The castle is interesting with historical signs that share all kinds of drama about who married who and then who remarried who. A lot of fun shenanigans! Be sure to make it to the top, so you can see the wonderful views of the city and the straight.
After all the fun of the bike tour and our other daily adventures, we found ourselves yearning to go back to the hotel before dinner. Yes, we wanted to rest our legs, but the rooms at The Magnolia Hotel were just so nice. We tried to grab a bit of time each day in these chairs by the windows. I caught up on emails and read my book, enjoying the Nespresso I made in our room. I did find myself distracted by the view, however. The British Parliament Building was beautiful day and night. And it was so much fun to watch the coming and going of traffic around the harbor.
When the time for dinner finally came, the walk was never too far. The main shopping street and a great selection of coffee and food were all within a short walking distance. And the restaurant in the hotel – Catalano was also delicious. We enjoyed dessert and breakfast there on a few occasions. See where we ate in Victoria for full details and photos.
We didn’t have time to take advantage of their spa, but we certainly will next time.
Thank you to The Magnolia Hotel for a wonderful stay and to the Abkhazi Gardens for our delightful tea.