This mansion in Victoria was completed in 1890. It was built by Robert Dunsmuir, the richest man in British Columbia. Dunsmuir, a coal baron who began his career as a coal miner, died before the castle was completed. It was occupied by his wife and other family members until 1908.

Craigdarroch Castle is stunning, with spectacular oak paneling and some of the most beautiful stained glass I’ve ever seen. If you’re day tripping from the Olympic Peninsula or making a longer trek to Victoria it’s well worth a visit. This time of year it’s decorated as if for a Victorian era Christmas and it’s lovely.

Victoria, B.C. is an hour and a half ferry ride from the Olympic Peninsula. The Inner Harbor area of the city is walking distance from the ferry and Parliament, above, is across the street from the harbor. The less we like the long haul to Seattle and city driving, the more appealing Victoria is. Our overnight stay last week was a package offered through Black Ball Ferry. It was the second time we’ve done this and we’ve loved it both times.

I was startled to read this week that engineers are warning that the Parliament Building urgently needs upgrades. Built in 1898, the entire complex shows its age and lacks many current safety amenities, such as masonry reinforcement, fire sprinklers, and emergency exits. The gorgeous dome is actually beginning to twist. I’ve not been inside. And I can’t say this news makes me eager to tour.

We went to Victoria, B.C. late last week. They’re sharing our current cold weather with a notable exception: We’ve not (yet) had snow – they did, a good part of the day we arrived, Thursday. It was enough to thoroughly dust our Thursday night destination, Butchart Gardens, with a magical, seasonal white shroud. I’ll share some shots of our Victoria travels from time to time in the coming days.

A recent trip to Port Townsend included a mandatory stop at Elevated Ice Cream for a scoop of their handmade yumness. These “clothes lines” on the wall were a bonus.

This display is a collection shared by a woman from Forks with wonderful examples of “personality by apron.” Patchwork, vintage fabrics, lace, and ruffles. They all were represented.

It’s wonderful to see the variety, creativity, and even beauty in a simple utility garment like an apron. What a fun exhibit!

Here’s a tiny splash of fall colors as seen at Gig Harbor last week. Gig Harbor is a pretty town located on the Kitsap Peninsula, not far from Tacoma.

Early rains and occasional wind has beaten up some of the native trees around Sequim and I haven’t had a lot of time lately for picture scouting. There’s color to be found, but it seems like it’s always been in the rearview mirror these days.

It’s nestled off the main road into town, but you can see the Port Townsend Paper Corporation facility from Old Fort Townsend State Park. After Port Townsend’s economic boom and bust cycles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the mill’s arrival saved the local economy and provided needed jobs. This facility produces kraft and containerboard papers. I know there are scrubbers and various controls to protect the environment, but sometimes you can really smell this place as you drive by, as we did just yesterday. If you’ve never smelled a pulp mill, count yourself lucky.