Breathtaking. Ethereal. Other-worldly and refreshing.
These were just some of the adjectives that kept coming to our minds on our family’s recent vacation adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Traveling through Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, we found the air to be crisp, the mountains to be grand, the people to be friendly, the views to be inspiring and the flowers so vibrant they’re almost effervescent.
We began in Portland, Oregon, known as “The City of Roses” and famous for its beautiful rose garden dotted with giant evergreen trees and overlooking a view of majestic Mt. Hood on the horizon.
We loved our time in Portland, a happy and friendly city where the air is spring-fresh and the vistas includes three majestic mountaintops: Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Below is Mt. Hood, which rises 11,235 feet above sea level.
This photo of Mt. Hood’s peak was taken in Hood River, Oregon, which is at the end of the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. This 70-mile parkway includes spectacular canyons, trails and waterfalls like the Multnomah Falls, the second-highest continually running waterfalls in the U.S.
From Portland, we took the Vashon Island Ferry to Seattle and spent a couple of days there before taking another ferry to our final, storybook destination: Victoria, Canada, the quintessentially British capital of British Columbia, Canada, where brilliant flowers and regal buildings surround a picturesque marina on the Pacific Ocean.
The Inner Harbour is surrounded on one side by the historic Parliament Buildings and on the other by the ivy-covered, Edwardian chateau-style Empress Hotel, an iconic symbol of Victoria since its opening in 1908. A frequent destination of British Royalty, Hollywood stars and even the writer Rudyard Kipling, high tea is still served daily in the 477-room Empress.
Victoria is named after Queen Victoria of England, one of the most influential and longest-reigning monarchs in history, who reigned over the United Kingdom 63 years, from 1837 until her death in 1901. Her statue, below, is just in front of the Parliament Building.
The looming influence of Queen Victoria through the centuries on this capital city is only the beginning of what we found to be major feminine forces at work in the region. Upon touring the Parliament Buildings, we learned that, for the first time in history, three women hold the most senior positions in the legislature. They are: Judith Gulchon, the 29th Lt. Governor of British Columbia; Christy Clark, the 35th Premier of British Columbia and Linda Reid, the 27th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
And of course, the region is also under the jurisdiction of Queen Elizabeth the II. At the Parliament, we saw an exquisite portrait of the Queen.
Among the most beautiful places in Victoria are the gardens at the Lt. Governor’s Residence, full of arbors and lush flowers.
Another woman’s passion and talent for creating beauty through gardening resulted in what is today an international destination and one of the world’s premier show gardens: The Butchart Gardens of Victoria.
These heaven-like gardens are enjoyed by thousands each year because Jennie Butchart had a vision over a century ago to transform an abandoned quarry into a lush paradise.
Truly, the feminine energy in these parts is palpable, and was punctuated during the end of our trip when the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup Championship in nearby Vancouver!
And as Leslie Hendrix Wood has so perceptively forecast in her role as a 2015 Style Spotter with the High Point Market, the feminine influence is also rising in design with what she describes as “The New Feminine,” a style “rooted in traditional but modern and relevant for today with a light, flirty femininity.” Early last month, the 2015 HPMKT Style Report came out, where Leslie and her fellow Style Spotters were featured on High Point Market’s website, some of the pieces each of them selected to illustrate their trends.
The beauty of the Pacific Northwest–often expressed in soft feminine forms, embellishments and colors and timeless florals–will forever linger and nourish our spirits.
Photo 2 and 20 from the Butchart Gardens website.
All other photos by Kim Darden Shaver or Ashley Caroline Shaver.
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Editor In Chief
Leslie Hendrix Wood Interiors
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.