Victoria B.C. is known for its pedestrian friendliness. We were reminded of that fact last week during a quick two-day getaway to our neighbor to the north. We hopped the Victoria Clipper (www.clippervacations.com) in Seattle and less than three hours later were tucked away in our hotel overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbor.
By taking an early boat up and a late boat back, using a AAA travel rate, booking over the internet we got a rate of $80 per person (small fuel charge was tacked on - no changes or cancellations allowed).
Exploring the Inner Harbor Neighborhood
A easy walk – one that we do each trip – takes us two blocks behind the Empress Hotel to 835 Humbolt Street where the one-time convent and girl’s school. St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site, (http://www.stannsacademy.com/, 250-953-8829) is located. Level pathways bisect the 6.3-acre heritage garden and orchards with 100-year-old cherry trees. Grounds are open to the public free of charge from dawn to dusk. The interpretive center has seasonal hours, self-guided tours are free, donations encouraged.
Café Mela, on the street level of the Belvedere condos, 784 Humbolt St. (250-383-0288) a European-style Café, has become a favorite coffee and pastry stop. Next time we’ll try its Mela’s Tearoom, next door at 792 Humboldt St.,(reservations, 250-382-8528), an off-shoot of the café. Afternoon Tea featuring tall towers of pastries, sandwiches and fruit is served inside an art gallery (Winchester Galleries). During this visit, sidewalk tables at both the tea room and café were busy.