Enchantment in Victoria’s Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens

There’s a particular kind of enchantment in Victoria’s Butchart Gardens. Maybe it’s the vastness of such a cultured space, a certain grandeur. Perhaps an audacity of vision that it takes to create something so lovely that it matters deeply to thousands of visitors over many decades. The feeling that nothing in nature could really be […]

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Visit Utah’s Unique Pando Forest in September

Pando Forest

For patrons of the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City who want to explore the state a little between performances, be sure to visit Utah’s unique Pando Forest in September while the aspens are displaying fall colors. I’ve enjoyed the beautiful aspen groves throughout the Inter-mountain West for years, not realizing what singular organisms they are. […]

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Stolid Forbearance as a National Quality


I hadn’t recognized stolid forbearance as a national quality until I waited in a silent line of passengers that snaked back and forth over a concrete floor for over three hours at US Customs in Washington-Dulles International Airport. Date: Tuesday, 18 September 2018. We arrived at IAD on a two-level Airbus A380-800, which can accommodate […]

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Ferry to Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island

Pat Webber tea service

If you take the Crofton ferry to Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island for the day, the only thing more fun would be if you never had to go home. We just missed the 8:45, so we parked our car in the line-up and took a stroll along the boardwalk adjacent to the wharf. We passed […]

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Capture the Wild Notes in Photos and Perfumes

Amphitrite Lighthouse 1915

Capture the wild notes in photos and perfumes from Cowichan Bay to Tofino and Ucluelet, so you can always remember Vancouver Island. That’s my advice. The drive south from Chemainus through Crofton to Cowichan Bay is lovely, with glimpses of the Salish Sea through the trees. When you arrive, be sure to look up the […]

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Mystique of Seafood, Marinas, and Totem Poles


If you, too, are a landlubber from the interior of the continent you may understand the mystique of seafood, marinas, and totem poles on Vancouver Island. Boats sat in the marina at Genoa Bay in North Cowichan awaiting the weekend, I suppose. Hard to resist the idea of hopping into one and speeding off. The […]

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Artists Created the Phoenix of Chemainus’ Rebirth

Douglas Fir pole

After the lumber mills closed in 1983 and the spectre of Chemainus becoming a ghost town loomed, outdoor mural artists created the phoenix of Chemainus’ rebirth. Some towns view the arts as an after-thought, something you do when you have too much time or money on your hands. Chemainus sees them as the life-blood of […]

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Dark Sky and Scavenger Hunt in Canmore

I learned via a dark sky and scavenger hunt in Canmore that there’s no quicker way to learn the secrets of a town. In all the years I lived in Alberta, Canmore was merely a road sign on the way from Calgary to Banff National Park. Never once had it been a place to stop. […]

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From Goats on the Roof to Afternoon Tea

Two goats on the roof!

The cultural dimensions of our first day on Vancouver Island ranged from goats on the roof to afternoon tea. Why are goats grazing on the turf roof of a retail establishment, you ask? Well, probably for the same reason the store is located in a great big yurt. The Old Country Market in Coombs, B.C., otherwise […]

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Thrill of Serendipitous Discovery

Lavender and poppies

Detailed travel plans have the advantage of efficiency, but less often do they encompass the thrill of serendipitous discovery. If you turn down one road and not another as a spur-of-the-moment choice, and then discover unexpected loveliness, your most rational self knows that ordinary people make their homes there, work there, die there. Yet, unanticipated […]

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