Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer at the Dallas Road bluffs

When the high pressure system lingers here in July causing warm and still air in Victoria, it's a pleasure to spend time walking along the bluffs at Dallas Road.

I've been down there in the early morning and this is the scene....

Wild peas blooming along the split rail fence at the top of the bluff with the shingle beach below.

The birds on the left are Great Blue Herons fishing in the calm ocean. And on the right, two seagulls feeding on the seaweed left at low tide.

On the right a pair of crows decorating a sign. Beach fires used to be a thing down there but no more--too dangerous. Here's an early morning walker along the path that runs just above the beach. It's a lovely place to wander in the morning.

The other good time to visit the bluffs is in the evening. A couple of nights ago Harry and I rode down there on his motor scooter and took a lovely walk as the sun was setting.  This time we went in the other direction, toward Clover Point, which you can see in this image.

At this time of year the grass is left unmowed behind the fences except in places where dogs are allowed to play.

There are lots of dogs at Dallas Road because part of it is designated off-leash. We love to visit with the dogs there.
They have as much fun--or more--than the people.

At a few points along the upper path you can head down to a lower path and then to the beach itself.

Dogs swim in the surf and people build structures of logs, picnic, sunbathe, impress their friends, and just enjoy the beauty.

Back above again we watched the last rays of the sun illuminate the yellow grass and took a last look at ocean.

It's such a beautiful place to enjoy the summer weather.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pippa the puppy

We've been home for a week and find ourselves immersed in home related tasks as well as keeping up with short-term rentals at the Janion. We got back just in time to miss all the terrible wild fires that have sprung up in the interior of the province. The people there are having a very rough time with hundreds or thousands being evacuated and many people losing their homes. Fires happen every summer but this one is particularly bad.

On a lighter note, my sister's dog Toby now has a cousin, or is it a half-sister?

Not sure of how it works with doggie connections but Harry's son Ben and his partner have brought home a little female Havanese puppy.

She has the same father as Toby so they are related. She is very sweet and we even get to take care of her from time to time. I can't wait for the two pups to get together.

Here's Harry looking somewhat besotted holding little Pippa at nine weeks.  Joy!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The City of Nelson

We've spent the last five days in Nelson and kind of fell in love with this small city tucked into the Selkirk Mountains on the shores of Kootenay Lake.  Here are some of the things we liked....

1.   It has 350 heritage buildings and a thriving downtown.

This photo is from the City of Nelson's website and shows the dozens of lovely old buildings climbing up the hill from the lake. Like many of the places we've been visiting, Nelson boomed in the late 1800s with the discovery of silver. Its location on the west arm of Kootenay lake enabled it to become a supply and distribution centre for the area. The town council decreed that downtown buildings must not be built from wood because of the danger of fire and so many fine granite buildings were constructed, including some by Francis Rattenbury, designer of Victoria's Parliament Buildings. The town prospered and never succumbed to fire as so many other towns in the area did.

2.   It's right on the lake.

From many of the streets and buildings you can look down to the lake. And the city has developed a big recreational area with sports fields and a beach. We saw kayakers, people on paddle boards and in canoes as well as lots of boats  on this beautiful afternoon.

And this area is served by a restored street car that runs back and forth from the downtown to the beach area.

3. There are lots of trees and gardens.

And because it's hilly you get to see a lot of flowers in people's front yards.

The main streets are lined with full-grown trees and even the parking meters are surrounded with flowers in spots.

4.  It has really great restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

We only went to few of them but it seems there's a big choice for a town of 10,000 people.

This is Oso Negro, maybe the nicest coffee ship we've ever experienced, with a gorgeous garden with outdoor seating.

Here are a few others we sampled....

This one had live music on a platform built out over the sidewalk. Lots of places had outdoor patios, which were fabulous in the warm days and evenings.

5. There are lots of old wooden houses built up the hillsides.

Some are large like this one, which used to belong to the CPR, but most are modest and some even tiny, and I think affordable.

The little house below is just three blocks above Nelson's main street.

This is the house we stayed in on a home exchange. It is within walking distance of downtown and has a view of the lake from the porch.

6.  There are many, many young people living here and most of them seem to be employed or in business and active in the community.

We saw a lot of people in their thirties, many with babies or young children walking by the house we stayed in. And it seems that it's possible for people to create their own jobs or start businesses here. I think affordability of rentals is a big factor.

This young woman has a little store on the main street selling special paints for crafts. There are at least four bookstores downtown, each with a different vibe. 

There are craft stores, antique/junk stores, T-shirt stores, home decor stores, and clothing stores, health food stores, a co-op store, plus of course coffee shops and eateries. There is no McDonalds and no Costco. And it has a friendly, small-town feeling. People stop and chat in a relaxed way in the neighbourhood and downtown. 

Some of the vibrancy and youthfulness may come from Nelson's legacy from the 60s and 70s when American draft dodgers and the back-to-the-land folk arrived and settled here. There's still a hip feeling here that's quite different from other small cities we've passed through.

You can see that we are enamoured of Nelson. And of course we considered what it would be like to sell our house and move here. But there are a few negatives for us, aside from the fact that we don't really want to leave our friends and family.  The hills are extremely steep and it would be brutal walking up and down in the heat of summer or in the snows of winter.  And it's really quite isolated. It's an eight hour drive from Vancouver over mountain roads. So, once again we've decided that it's not in the cards for us to move away from Victoria.  But we really, really liked Nelson.