Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Occasion for Tea

Last week, my May 24th and 25th blog posts featured my 2003 trip to Victoria, British Columbia.  I returned in August 2008 to attend "An Occasion for Tea" sponsored by Tea Time Magazine and Victoria Magazine published by Hoffman Media.

I've decided to feature that trip before concluding my current Victoria series.  Friend and blogger, Tea Lover Denise, asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, Uniquely Tea, to share hightlights of An Occasion for Tea with her readers, found here and here.  

Before I begin writing about my 2008 trip to Victoria, I have some great news to tell you!  To refresh my memory about what I had written at Uniquely Tea, I re-visited the blog that has been dormant for quite awhile.   I found a new post from Denise  stating she will soon be writing a new blog from England.  Uniquely Tea was one of my favorite blogs, so I'll be anxiously waiting to become a follower of her new blog.

My first trip to Victoria was via a flight to Seattle, Washington and then a second flight [on a small plane] to Victoria.   In 2008, my girlfriend and I flew to Seattle, then took the 2 hour 45 minute Victoria Clipper ferry ride to Victoria.   I much preferred the ferry  to the airplane.

After a five year time lapse, I was back at the Empress again... this time for a three night stay!

Sandy, the Bellman, and Me

We stayed in room #315 and I was so impressed with the electric kettle and selection of signature Empress tea bags that were provided in our room.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if U.S. hotels would be that considerate of tea drinkers?

Event registration was throughout the afternoon of August 8th.  Dinner - the first activity of An Occasion for Tea - was at 6:30 p.m. 

Mandy Kray, the Empress historian, and lady who took my hubby and I on a tour of the hotel in 2003, was one of the opening speakers.

On Saturday, Aug. 9th, Sandy and I signed up for the last Afternoon Tea seating [3:00-4:00 p.m.]  in the Empress Tea Lobby so we'd have most of the day for sightseeing and shopping.   The day started with breakfast at Murchie's.

Beautiful flowers in Victoria...

And the picturesque Inner Harbor...

Then it was time to head back to the Empress for our Afternoon Tea reservation.   Pictured below are two lovely sisters from San Diego, California that we met on the ferry.   We sat with them at all the event activities.

The Empress Afternoon Tea Tray

After Afternoon Tea, there was dinner at 6:00 p.m.!   I was too full to eat dinner, but I did take this chocolate teacup back to my room for later.

We met in the conference center for breakfast on Sunday morning, August 10th for the last session of An Occasion for Tea.  Etiquette Expert, Dorothea Johnson was one of the speakers, and Designer April Cornell did a fabulous tablescape presentation.   An Occasion for Tea concluded at 12:30 p.m., and we all dispersed to go our various ways. What a wonderful event we were privileged to be a part of!

Sandy and I still had an Afternoon Tea to experience at the Gatsby Mansion before taking the ferry back to Seattle.  It's one of the places I didn't make it to during my 2003 visit.

The Gatsby didn't used three-tiered servers.  They brought each course out separately, and as you can see in the photos below, it was not only a feast for the eyes, but a delight to the palate as well. 

It was the perfect ending to our Victoria "tea trip."


  1. I remember when you posted this on Uniquely Tea, but seeing it again today was like reading about your trip for the first time. What a delightful experience for you and Sandy! My only trip to Victoria was a one day bus tour on the way to Alaska. Due to the travel agent's mix-up, we almost didn't have tea at the Empress. But, it worked out that we did and it made my entire trip!

  2. I also remember your post on Uniquely Tea. I am also looking forward to Denise's new blog. Oh how I would have loved being at this event, I remember knowing about it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. The Gatsby is one of my favorites too, and once I'd gotten my need to go to the Empress out of the way, Gatsby has become one I've returned to. Since I'm heading up to see my Mom again later this year, we may have to go there again.

  4. This is so interesting to me. Thank you for posting your vacation and the teas you attended. Have a wonderful week.

  5. I remember reading about that event in those very magazines and thinking how wonderful it would be to attend. I see I was right! (I'm so glad you've been documenting all these great trips even before you became a blogger, Phyllis!)


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