It seems that Mother Nature is doling out the sunshine one eye-dropper-full at a time so far this year.
So! That means when we DO get some decent weather AND we are able to (read Tom has the day off) we’re bound and determined to take advantage of these little weather giftlets and go do something outside.
Our latest little foray into “our town tourism” was a little jaunt out to Minter Gardens, just outside Chilliwack BC. It is an easy drive along Highway #1 to get there and as it turned out, we felt like we had the entire gardens to ourselves most likely because; (A) it was a weekday and (B) it was later in the afternoon. It isn’t as big as Vancouver Island’s Butchart Gardens but in all honesty I liked Minter Gardens better. That may be coloured slightly by the lack of crowds the day we went to Minter vs. the crazy of Butchart in high tourist season but I think I would still lean towards Minter. It has a more, oh I dunno, intimate feeling in the way it is laid out in my ever so humble opinion.
As usual we came armed with our cameras. This was the first trial run of a couple of new pieces of gear for me, my Kelly Moore camera bag (B-Hobo style)
Which by the way I loooooove. I have an Epiphanie “Belle” bag in brown which while great for travel and for hoisting A LOT of gear, this little bag is a lot more purse-like and holds just enough for a walk-about without dragging the kitchen sink along. Another huge plus was that I could buy it in Canada so no import/duty crap to deal with and less of a processing delay other than having to wait on back-order for a particular colour which I had to do. The site in Canada to order through is called Lovethosebags.ca and I highly recommend. Liz was great to deal with and kept me informed at all stages of my pre-order to any delay in her receiving the bags to shipping. You can order direct from Kelly Moore’s site as well.
The other was the first outdoor trial of the “Flip” camera I picked up discounted through Chapters.ca as Cisco who bought the Flip brand is closing it down. Yes it is a little hipster camera and YES not the most practical as it has a fixed amount of memory etc but hell, it cost me $79 bucks and has a much smaller profile and a wider lens than my old Kodak zi6. This little sucker can literally slip into a jeans pocket, love it!
Wow, see what happens there? I geeked out and hijacked my own post about a day trip to Minter Gardens and turned it into a “HEY LOOK AT MY NEW COOL STUFF!!!” post. So, geekery over and done with I head back to the original subject matter.
The weather was lovely! It started to look like the clouds would shut out the sun when we left but that never came to be, just sun and some white puffy clouds. Well I should clarify what I meant by left, cos we actually left more than one time. We were a ways away from our place when that little niggling thought that I may have left my steam curler thingie (which I use when I go out sometimes to control my crazy hair) plugged in. I did remember turning it OFF but I had left it out in a place where the cats could easily knock it over and what if it spontaneously turned on again? It had puffed steam out before when in the off position when I plugged it in. A little peek into my mind and my obsessive compulsive ways. Something like this can totally RUIN a day for me. Once I voiced it Tom (who knows me and my OCD very well) asked if we should just turn around and head back. We’d sat for a little while working our way through a construction delay not far from our place and at first I said it was okay but then, well, I knew I wouldn’t feel right about not checking to see if I had unplugged it.
So! Back we went. I ran back into our place and sure enough it was plugged in… bah! I am so absent-minded lately it isn’t even funny. Safely unplugged and after stalking around to make sure everything else was as it should be we left once again.
Traffic wasn’t an issue and we got to Minter Gardens in good time. There were some cars in the lot but we could see right away that it wasn’t going to be busy. Not so good for them perhaps but GREAT for us. I had a coupon from a Tourism Vancouver promo for a 2 for the price of one entrance fee (saved us $17 bucks!) but it behooves me to point out that you could buy a season’s pass for another 8 bucks per person and you can go as often as you like from March to early October.
Garden Pano with my other new toy the Sony Cybershot with sweep panorama woot! (click to embiggen it)
The gardens themselves are lovely and there was plenty of flowers in bloom, great for a hobbyist shutter-bug like us. Plenty of subjects for beauty shots of flowers. I gave my 50mm lens a real workout (I love that thing!)
There are plenty of little paths to follow, some paved some not, some leading to little tucked away benches that overlooked the gardens and some just to sit and admire a particular patch. I have always loved gardens and gardening. One of the many drawbacks to condo living is no garden. In our place even the patio is no use as it leads from the second bedroom (WTF?) and it spitting distance to the front entry so everyone and their dog would see us, no privacy at all. I wish this garden was closer because I would probably just go there and sit for ages and let my mind wander. It doesn’t have the same mind clearing power as staring at the ocean does for me but it comes in second, especially if there is a water feature.
There are PLENTY of those in the gardens as well, from burbling streams to little waterfalls and fountains. My favourite water feature is the curtain-like one that looks like a downpour of rain through a window when you sit behind it. Very relaxing.
Here is us relaxing behind it (trying to cool off a little but with no luck, it was warm!)
The gardens are extremely well-groomed and obviously meticulously cared for. Even the little buckets to hold the dead-headed flowers were cute and colourful.
From one part of the gardens we had a clear view of people who were parasailing near Bridal Falls. Um no thanks, but fun to watch them. Some of them really caught some air and were floating high above the mountains.
Here is a little video I shot while we watched those crazy kids up there.
There are a fair number of statues and critters tucked away here and there. I’m not a huge fan of people using these in their own gardens unless they use a very light touch (I’ve seen people who have every type of statue under the sun in their front yards blech!)
They are very tastefully placed in Minter Gardens though, and have that lovely “weathered” look to them.
And then of course there were handsome garden husbands too *grin*
When we reached the end of the self-tour, we used the facilities (TMI?), got some bottled water (man I was THIRSTY) AND of course checked out the gift shop. They had some really nice stuff there, along with the prefab gardeny stuff they had some artisan type jewellery, nothing super expensive. I picked up a cute pair of earrings and a “Bee” beaded wire key-chain. I couldn’t resist it.
After we had our fill of the gardens it was time to fill our bellies. We headed to the nearest Red Robin, yum! California Chicken Burger! I’d been on a Bellini kick lately so I tried theirs (as Tom was driving ‘n all) and …meh. Not the best and if there was actually booze in that drink I would have been surprised.
Another great day oot and aboot together, as they all are.
Here is a slide-show of the rest of my pics from the day.