Ruby Beach 1

There is a whole style of travel adventure I’ve never indulged in: winter storm watching. A number of coastal resorts offer packages where guests can cozy up in a hotel room faced toward ocean waters and watch the beach (and, presumably, their window) take a pounding. I’m sure it provides a lot of drama, particularly for people who don’t often have view of big water. Getting caught in the rain on a beach is about as close as I’ve come.

Ruby Beach 2

These are views of Ruby Beach, located on the northwest coast of Washington. If you spend any time on the Olympic Peninsula you’ll know that this is a classic location for photographers. It lends itself to gorgeous, dramatic shots that find their way onto greeting cards, calendars, and photographic prints. I took these shots some time ago with a camera that has since bitten the dust. You could watch winter storms here but warm and cozy would not be part of the experience.

C elm fall 2

We were minutes away from the Camperdown elm tree in Port Gamble last week as we drove home from Portland. Ever hopeful to see it wreathed in glorious fall colors we raced against sunset to take a look. As you can see, luck wasn’t going our way. It’s an amazing tree but I’m beginning to think that winter is its finest hour. Click here for links to previous shots.

Museum Discovery

HMS Discovery was the lead ship used in Captain George Vancouver’s explorations of the West Coast of the U.S. in the late 1700s. There is a recreation of the Discovery’s captain’s cabin in the Royal B.C. Museum. While the office, shown here, looks somewhat spacious, the living quarters are tiny, with very spare looking bunks. This diorama has features that bring it to life. In addition to the sounds of seagulls there’s a strong scent of pine tar – used in waterproofing vessels. And the deck literally rocks beneath your feet.

BC museum cannery 1

A recreated cannery speaks to British Columbia’s fisheries, though visitor noses are spared a sensory tour here. Butchered fish lie at one end of an open room while a “running” faucet nearby pours into a sink.

BC museum cannery 2

At the other end of the room a cannery operation waits the arrival of workers to finish processing the day’s catch.

In addition to displays of artifacts other dioramas at the Royal B.C. Museum give a glimpse of farm life, mining, and logging. But there is more than simply the history of European settlers. The museum has a First Peoples gallery which explores the past of B.C.’s native peoples, including an impressive display of totem poles and a current exhibit exploring the native living languages.

Museum street

One of my favorite features of Victoria’s B.C. Museum’s is its “Old Town,” a recreation of the early days of Victoria. Old Town is a walk through time, one of several large and realistic dioramas of British Columbia history. Small shops and windows display merchandise that might have been available to the well-heeled. A tiny “Chinatown” includes an herbalist.

Museum kitchen

The curtain flutters in a light breeze and – really! – there’s the scent of apple pie in this kitchen.

BC museum bar

There’s a bar on the ground floor of a hotel. Upstairs you can gaze into a guest room with a small table set for tea while boots wait beside the bed. An office looks almost as if its occupant has stepped out for lunch.

I’ll show you two other favorite dioramas tomorrow.

Royal BC Museum

One of our favorite destinations in Victoria is the Royal B.C. Museum, a short walk from the ferry terminal. It is the building to the left behind the ornate 90 foot Netherlands Centennial Carillon tower. The Carillon is Canada’s largest and chimes short concerts hourly. Tomorrow I’ll give you views of a couple of the permanent exhibitions that we always enjoy.