Monday, September 2, 2019

Afternoon Tea at the Empress, Victoria, BC

One of the highlights of a recent trip to Victoria, British Columbia, was afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Here are a few photos of that elegant experience.
(Click on photos to enlarge for a closer look.)

Opened in 1908, the Empress overlooks Victoria's Inner Harbor.

Just a few of the items included
in the tea service
My granddaughter was delighted with the selection of goodies
on the children's menu. Hourglasses let us know when our
tea had steeped to perfection.

Beautiful presentation and delicious, too.

Afternoon tea at the Empress was a delightful experience, especially fun since I shared it with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
For more information about tea at the Empress (history, menus, etc.) look HERE.
For a look at a similar feast much closer to my home, check out tea service at the Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop in Sumner, WA, HERE.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC, Canada

Recently I enjoyed three days and two nights with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Such a lovely place! One of our days was spent at Butchart Gardens.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

As the sign says, "Over 100 Years in Bloom." According to the garden's official website:
With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family--and visitors--for generations to come.

This is the classic view of the sunken garden. I'll wager that 99% of the garden's visitors take a photo from this overlook. 

Throughout the gardens, we did not see one drooping blossom or spent flower. The grounds are meticulously maintained.

The dahlia border dazzled. The website says: More than 200 varieties in 11 different forms, in all colours of the rainbow.  

Fountains, too!

And totem poles.

I can only imagine what this magnificent garden looks like in springtime when rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom. Autumn must be lovely, too, with the trees changing color. I've heard that the Christmas decorations are a treat to see. 

More information about the garden's history and plants, a map, and more: Butchart Gardens

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned - The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

Seattle PD Homicide Detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom are once again on the hunt for a killer in Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned. In this fourth book in the series, the victim is Father Michael Dunne. Who would want to murder the beloved priest? Could the killer be a former lover? A druggie? A sexual abuse victim? The search takes the detectives from Seattle's squalid homeless camps to Tacoma's Catholic sanctuaries in search of the killer.

Kelly Marshall sprinkles her mystery with humor--sometimes dark, often politically incorrect--and the ongoing banter between Winston and Strom provides a respite from the plot's tension. The strong friendship between the detectives shows their human side, too. Marshall kept me wondering whodunit until the story's end.

This book stands alone but once you've read it, you'll like the characters and plot so much you'll want to read all four Winston-Strom mysteries.

Book Beginning:
     Hunched in a pew outside the confessional, Cecilia Armstrong fingered her blue rosary beads as she whispered the well-known words, "Hail Mary, full of grace...." She completed the rosary and opened her eyes. What was taking Father Michael so long with the last penitent? She tried not to judge, but surely someone had confessed mortal sins. Otherwise, why would the priest have to counsel them so long?

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
     "He threatened Dunne on more than one occasion. We don't have a smoking gun yet but give us time. We'll find it because this creep murdered Dunne."

Genre:  Police Mystery
Length:   244 Pages
Amazon Link:   Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned
Author Website:   Kelly Marshall Books

Synopsis (from Amazon):
     A charismatic and popular priest, Father Michael Dunne is brutally stabbed to death in the confessional. The Seattle Catholic Community is stunned and in mourning for a cleric who served not only the people in his parish but many in the Northwest's burgeoning homeless and drug-addicted communities.
     Seattle homicide detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom find Father Mike face down in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds to his body. Because the attack was so savage, the police surmise the killer knew the pastor. What in his past could account for the highly personal nature of the crime? Was he murdered by a penitent scared that the priest would break the seal of the confessional? Or did an illicit love affair come back to haunt Michael Dunne?
     Everyone loved Father Mike...with one grave exception.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reads) 
Click HERE to join other Friday 56 bloggers (sponsored by Freda's Voice)

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Monday, August 12, 2019

Naches Peak Loop / Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

Each day hiking brings a new perspective. The last time I explored the Naches Peak Loop at Mount Rainier National Park, the day was sunny. Mount Rainier filled the horizon. On a recent visit, however, clouds shrouded the peak and it stayed hidden all day. The good news is that wildflowers lined the trail. On this hike my gaze focused on the beauty of the blooms and the path ahead.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

We walked over the Chinook Pass bridge. Wikipedia says: The Chinook Pass Entrance Arch marks the east entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. The rectangular log entry arch ... is one of several placed at the entrances to the park. It was designed in 1933 by the National Park Service Branch of Plans and Designs, and was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The arch consists of two stone abutments carrying horizontal logs over the road. The arch functions as a bridge, carrying a horse trail, which is now part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Into the mist, surrounded by wildflowers, evergreens, and rocks.

Beautiful alpine lake. Mount Rainier usually dominates the background, but not on this day.

To see this same hike on a sunny day, take a look at my blog post from three years ago: HERE.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Flowers, Berries, and More

When hiking or walking in the woods, it's fun to slow down and look at what's blooming on the side of the trail. Here's what I saw at Federation Forest State Park, Washington State, this past week. Sorry I can't identify all the plants. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The trails were wide and easy for the
walking group to traverse.
These tiny white flowers brightened the path.
Foxgloves bloomed near the visitors' center and all along the highway
These unusual plants go by several names:
Indian pipe, ghost plant, or corpse plant.
They were between 4 and 6 inches tall.
These berries glowed like rubies in the shade
beneath the tall trees.
We saw quite a few mushrooms and toadstools.
Cedar (left) and Douglas fir (right)
View from our picnic spot along the White River.
The river gets its milky color from glacial run-off from Mt. Rainier.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Carbon River Ramble - #MountRainier

Recently, a group of walkers from the Auburn Senior Activity Center bravely crossed a high one-lane bridge to explore the Carbon River Trail.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Our walk (only three miles, round trip) took us along a wide, gentle path that had been a road until the river washed it out and forced the forest service to close it to vehicles. Along the way we walked beneath towering old-growth trees, listened to bird serenades, and sampled red huckleberries. Tart and not quite ready for pies.

Huge old-growth trees provided shade. Some would make nice shelters.

Nurse logs provide the perfect habitat for nurturing young seedlings. This photo shows the roots of the "baby" tree growing out of the rotting nurse log.

After a beautiful and relaxing walk, we stopped at this wash and headed back.

If you continue farther on, the way becomes more rugged and leads to the base of the Carbon Glacier, which feeds the Carbon River. At 17.5 miles round trip from the parking lot, that's too long for me to cover in one day!

Lunch at Wally's in Buckley, our reward for all that walking.

An editorial comment: We have noticed that some of the national park facilities are not maintained as well as they have been in the past. We've seen restroom facilities where most of the toilets are out of order, structures that need refurbishing, etc. This must surely be due to lack of funding from the federal government. How sad it would be if our treasured national parks were not maintained for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. More info HERE.

For more information about this walk and the extended hike to the glacier, look HERE
For more of my photos from an earlier walk along this same path, look HERE

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Friday, July 12, 2019

More #MountRainier

Another great hike originating from Mount Rainier's Sunrise area. This trek started at the visitor center and connected with the Wonderland Trail...

skirted Shadow Lake ...

crossed a footbridge...

meandered along verdant meadows, most dotted with wildflowers...

and climbed toward Frozen Lake.

We decided not to cross a snowy patch to reach the overlook to Frozen Lake. Maybe later in the summer.

Nice spot for lunch!

Our route covered about five miles.

What's the weather on Mount Rainier right now? View webcams HERE
For more info about the Wonderland Trail, which encircles Mount Rainier, click HERE
To see posts about other hikes in Washington State, click on the Hikes/Walks tab above.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE