Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 16

Today D & R took us to Canterbury Shaker Village. It is a lovely place, which D took me and H to when we visited some years ago. It was founded in 1792 and at one time supported 300 people. Our guide was very informative and pointed out all the innovations developed by the Shakers. Ideas from the women had to travel up to the highest level where certain women were allowed to talk to other senior men and then the idea was communicated down to the relevant men. This way washing machines were made, drying racks for clothes were installed and so on. Everything made with such skill and ingenuity. They also embraced 'modernity', having cars, electricity, telephones and so on, no living in the dark ages for them, just no sex!
Dinner was at The Corner House Inn where D&R are well known and the food was good and the hospitality second to none. The log fire was burning warmly to welcome us and we had a very pleasant evening.

Canterbury Shaker Village
The Corner House Inn

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 15

A driving day in the main as we had to get from Bar Harbour to North Sandwich, New Hampshire. Our friends recommended we take a detour to L L Bean to get A some shirts at outlet prices, so Newport was our first stop. We found the car park and boggled at the size of the outlet - three large buildings of stuff, where to start. Well, that's easy, where are the loos. We eventually found them, thank goodness. Shirts bought, we looked around the rest of the town dedicated to outlet shopping, and found one of the smallest Starbucks ever with only a couple of tables and a long queue of folk, nearly all getting stuff to go. We shared a table with some other people before going back to the car and driving to NH.
It was lovely to arrive at their beautiful house and settle in to the comforts of home. D really liked her Cape Breton Clay bowl.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 14

Mark's breakfast was amazing and with an infinite selection. We 'made do' with fruit yoghurt, cereal and rolls with coffee and tea. Then it was time to drive all the way around the whole of Mount Desert Island. The '3' took us across to the turning for Northeast Harbour where we turned in to take a look at the village and have a coffee break. It is a very pretty place and coffee was good, just down from a little garden with two white Adirondack chairs that looked very cute. We followed the road along the coast up Somes Sound and down the opposite side. We had to stop when a loon was spotted and although photos were taken, the loon is very small - much better in the binos. The coastline is very picturesque and we enjoyed seeing all the different types; rocky headlands, secluded sandy coves, marinas that must be very busy in the summer season' and fishing harbours. Lunch was at Pretty Marsh outside on a veranda overlooking the bay with jetties and piers. Some people were in for serious lunch of lobster platters, we just stuck to a sandwich and coffee.
We wanted to see the view from Cadillac Mt. so now drove back to the Cadillac Mt Park entrance. The weather was glorious, so when we got to the summit it was very busy. The coaches were there again and hundreds of other cars, too. Nevertheless, we could walk on the designated paths to see the 360 view over the island which is breathtaking.

Back at Bar Harbour, we parked the car at Maple Inn and walked in to the town. Its a very pretty place and we took the path along the waterfront. A four masted schooner was out on the water just putting up its sails, then it sailed across the side of the cruise ship moored off shore - great for the photos. The sun was slipping away, the cruise people were being ferried back to their ship and the lights were coming on in the hotels, bars and shops along the front. We walked along a pier where the schooner comes in. It is the Margaret Todd and people go out on cruises, apparently helping to hoist the sails. They have a Newfie called Maggie on board. By the time we got up the main street it was quite dark and also time for dinner, so we looked for Mark's other recommendation, Café This Way. This was fabulous, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner in a warm, happy atmosphere.

The Margaret Todd
Cafe This Way

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 13

We had a cup of tea in our room, then set off after clearing the frost off the car. Before we got to border at St Stephens we had breakfast in Carmen's diner. At Customs we had to fill in extra forms for $6 each with fingerprints and photos! They seemed to be having a training exercise as lots of burly young men watched intently as we and everyone else went through procedures.
We took the coastal drive down to Acadia National Park and checked in for the next couple of days. We have to hang a card in the windscreen to show we're legal. Now we could take the scenic drive around the park and eventually tried the Cadillac Mountain road. We had to turn round due to the low cloud, hardly any view at all and all the vehicles were coming down from the summit - coaches full of passengers from the cruise ship, too. Time to head off to Bar Harbour. We arrived at Maples Inn, were greeted by our lovely host Mark, and found our room very comfortable. He recommended dinner at McKay's Pub just down the main street in Bar Harbour. The food was good and we sat awhile planning tomorrow.

Maples Inn
Mckay's Pub

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 12

Fredericton have a Saturday Farmers' Market (W.W.Boyce) established in 1951, so we decided to start our day here. The concierge recommended Cora's for breakfast and we indulged in loads of fruit and yoghurt before walking down the road to the market. It was buzzing and there was lots of food; some crafts for sale; lots of autumn decorations; and pumpkins. After a good look round we walked through to the historic garrison area then drove to Kings Landing.

Kings Landing is an open air museum showing what life was like in New Brunswick in the 19th century. When a valley would be flooded by a dam project, it was decided to move the historic houses to save them for posterity and Kings Landing was created. It has been added to over the years. Very informative people dressed in period costume live the contemporary life during opening times, farming, cooking, sewing, serving in the cafés, etc. All aspects of 19th century life seem to be covered.

The history of the buildings is incorporated into the stories the people tell; for example, Grant's Store was occupied by a family that left Scotland from Strathspey. The miller was very interesting, with a whole story about his sawmill and his colleague across the other side of the river with the grain mill. We took lots of photos.

We had dinner at Beaverbrook Holiday Inn's Maverick Room - quite casually posh! Nice 'Gnarly Head' zin to drink.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 11

We had breakfast with friends and said goodbye until we see them in NH. Even though there was a bit of a storm, we went off to visit the St Andrews Block House and Celtic Cross, both of which we hadn't managed to walk to yesterday. Then we decided on a warming coffee, so parked in town and walked to The Sweet Harvest cafe. Surprise! Our friends crossed the road to find us there and we all enjoyed coffee and cinnamon buns together. They had visited the Ross Museum, about the family of the hotel. It was time for us to head off to Federicton, our plan to 'spot' several covered bridges on the way. One of these was Hartland, the longest in the world. We found a little cafe in Hartland where the owner chatted to us about the bridge. She had lots of old photos of bridge on the walls as well as a large tile mural forming a picture of the bridge. We are staying at the Riverside resort , about 10km from centre of Fredericton. It's OK, but its a greasyspoon cafe for dinner with coach parties and noisy kids. We're not spending much time in the place as there's plenty to see in the area.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 10

This morning we drove down into St Andrews for a stroll around Kingsbrae Gardens. This is a beautiful garden and listed as one of the 100 gardens to visit in your lifetime. I wonder where RHS Garden Wisley comes in that list. We ended our visit with coffee at their restaurant and a look around their shop where they are selling tiffins - stainless steel ones. These are the stacking containers that are used all over the Far East for people to either carry or have their lunch delivered in.
Then we had to visit to PO for stamps and A checked in with the whale watch company, Fundy Tide Runners.
We visited the small market, walked down to lighthouse - under repair, and looked at the lovely clapboard houses down the main street, one of which was called Salty Towers.
Whale watching was booked for 2pm and we had to struggle into orange suits and walk down to the pier to get into a zodiac boat. There were six passengers and a rough ride out to the ocean. That was fine. Soon we spotted whale 'plumes', and saw several humpbacks and finbacks. Humpbacks gave us the tail lots of times. Then E felt seasick, so A had to take the pics. It's that wallowing up and down the waves when the boat is not moving that does me in! There were also Jaegers and Sooty shearwaters all around us. At the end of a couple of hours we had to get back, so we left at high speed for the harbour. A cup of tea was in order so we stopped at Sweet Harvest Cafe which has the best cinnamon buns in the world (or so they say and they were pretty good!).
So back at Rossmount, we changed and waited for the friends from Charlottetown to arrive. They drove down from Charlottetown in one go today.

Fabulous dinner again, then a relatively early night.
Kingsbrae Gardens
Fundy Tide Runners

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 9

We made an early start to get down to the Hopewell Rocks when it opened at nine. On the way we looked for an unimpressive covered bridge, but saw lots of Canada geese in a field. There was a queue to get into rocks area before nine, so we headed straight to beach when it opened to walk around the rocks - amazing stuff.
Then we were off to Cape Enrage with the best view in Canada according to Frommers, but the low cloud came in and we were soon driving through thick mist and Cape Enrage was all but invisible. The best view in Canada, but we didn't see it!
So we moved on through Fundy National Park to St Martins and the caves. On the way we passed another covered bridge - a much better one. St Martins has the same rock as at Hopewell, but had formed caves in the sandstone. High tide cuts them off so no viewing, but we sat and had a sandwich looking out at them, the waves and the gulls. On the way back we stopped to see the two covered bridges and a lighthouse at St Martins.
Next stop St John to see the market. This was very interesting, but the rest was a bit disappointing. The preservation area seemed very run down and mostly unattractive - all needing a huge amount of renovation to be pleasing to the cruise ship passengers who stop here by the boat load. Two cruise ships left when we were walking about. They come to see the reversing falls, but we weren't there when they were 'reversing', so no photos of that!
Now we had a long drive down to St Andrews by the Sea along the '1'. We are staying at an historic hotel, Rossmount, with an award winning restaurant. We arrived at about 7pm, and we could have dinner at 8. That was good, as it looked pretty packed with diners. Our dinner was excellent and our bedroom beautiful, but a bit warm.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 8

We first went looking for Borden lighthouse, near to Confederation bridge that takes us off the Island. We found it in a mussel-packing yard, behind the warehouse, (passed the signs 'Beware of the leopard'!). There it was, stuck at the end of the pier (where else) and a mackerel fisherman was trying his luck over the side. There were little plovers running all along the edge of the path looking for tasty morsels.
We took the Confederation Bridge -Ca$42.50 across to Nova Scotia again, stopping at the Interpretation Centre to collect information about the next attractions.
The first of these was Joggins fossil cliffs where it was windy and we had to watch the tide as it rushes in and you could get cut off. We found fossil trees, peat, coal etc., so interesting and reminding us of our own Jurassic Coast.
Then we were due in Moncton, New Brunswick. We walked around their historic area, before going to Le Chateau a Pape, for an amazing dinner. We chose our meal - lobster gratin, garlic shrimps; then were invited down into the wine cellar to choose some wine. A found a Trivento Viognier, then 'ordered' it from the sommelier. We realised later that everyone else just helped themselves to whatever they had chosen and brought it up to their table. A couple of chaps sitting opposite us brought up several bottles and proposed working their way through them. We don't know how they got on as we left before even the second bottle was opened.

Le Chateau a Pape

Monday, September 21, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 7

The search for more lighthouses took us to West Point, the furthest we could go in the time we have, so we will have to come back for the ones on the north coast. It has been another lovely day with perfect skies and a fresh warmth. We stopped for coffee at Island Chocolates in Victoria, where the lady very kindly served us even tho' she was really closed as her mother was visiting her for the day. Lunch was at West Point Inn at bottom of the lighthouse, and our furthest point. We could have stayed here as they have rooms, some in the tower of the lighthouse - what fun. But we had to be back to meet friends at 'Off Broadway' for dinner. Its been four years since we have seen them. Luckily 'Off Broadway' was just as good the second time around and we had a lovely evening. They walked back to their gorgeous B&B and we drove up to our airport hotel!

West Point Inn
'Off Broadway'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 6

We got up early and drove straight to ferry for breakfast and a good crossing to Prince Edward Island, with gannets but no dolphins around the boat. Wood Island lighthouse started us on a trail around east part of island to see many lighthouses as we could. More beautiful weather and the trees here are turning.
We are staying in Charlottetown for a couple of nights and eventually found our hotel - not exactly down town, but out near airport. So we had to drive into town to 'Off Broadway' for dinner of Lobster. Fabulous.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 5

What a stormy day. The sea is crashing into the rocks and the rain almost horizontal as we drive south out of Cheticamp. Our aim is to visit Joe's Scarecrow Village that featured in Billy Connolly's Journey to the Edge of the World series. Even in the rain, we enjoyed the humour in the jolly scarecrows. We dived back into the dry of the car and just drove on to Baddeck for coffee and cranberry scones. Alexander Graham Bell was an illustrious resident of the area and we went off to visit the museum that honours him. When we arrived and were buying our tickets they told us that for first visit in 100 years the general public were invited up to the Bell estate, just to visit the gardens around his house. You can imagine that you don't pass up an opportunity like that, and we joined the bus out to the estate. Here we were taken on a haywagon up through the estate to the gardens where they were celebrating Harvest Home 1900s style. Then, back at the museum we saw the Silver Dart, HD 4, lots of propeller designs etc. and lots about AGB's life, even buying his biography. We needed to get to Antigonish for the night, but were very disappointed in our accommodation in a downmarket motel on main road, with a 'Greasy spoon' over road for a fish supper and breakfast tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 4

We took the Cabot Trail back across the top of Cape Breton, to take a proper look at the area. Our first stop was to make the Skyline walk along which we spotted Black capped Chicadees and hawks - rough legged, possibly. There is a board walk down to an outlook in order to save the fragile environment. The views are spectacular. Back up to the top again and round the second half of the loop, taking us a little in from the cliff edge. Here we almost stood on a garter snake on path.
The next stop was to make the Bog walk for pitcher plants, sundews, dragonflies and tadpoles. And we saw plenty, even pointing the sundews out to some visitors who hadn't managed to spot the sundews. The weather is very pleasant.
As it was getting round to lunchtime, we stopped at the Rusty Anchor. Before lunch we walked across to the sea wall to look at the East coast - an impressive series of cliffs ranging away into the distance. Then A looked the other way and just by us in a tree an immature bald eagle was watching us! We got some great photos, and by then, everyone wanted a look and people were climbing over themselves to see. We went into the café for wraps and sarnies.

Neil's Harbour and lighthouse beckoned down a side road with more wonderful views and a pretty harbour and lighthouse at the end.And now we had to turn for Cheticamp, back over Cabot Trail. Amazingly, we had been talking about moose and how people were sceptical about any even being on Cape Breton, when I spotted one in the bushes by the road. We stopped and walked back, and there she was - a mother and baby. More photos and almost a traffic jam of sightseers. Lovely! We were going to be late for dinner again, so bashing on back to Cheticamp we only stopped to see the stacks on the west side, then into dinner at La Gabriel again - scallops St. Jacques and sole fillets.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 3

A beautiful early autumn day. It was a long drive to Louisburg Fort, the historic French fort, but worth every mile. We loved walking round and talking with the 'guides', dressed in costume and very much in character. Lots of photos were taken as everything is very picturesque. Ham sarnies for lunch in the old inn, and eventually we had to tear ourselves away.
The second part of the day was to drive the Cabot Trail all the way to Chetticamp. This really was a long drive, but we had a fabulous sunset to spur us on. Our late arrival at Laurie's motor inn was no problem and they phoned ahead to make sure we would get some dinner in the 'lighthouse' that is Le Gabriel, an Acadian restaurant.

Louisburg Fort
Le Gabriel

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 2

Started by driving up to Willie Krauch's smokery and sent our friends some smoked salmon. Then on the friends' recommendation we visited Liscomb Lodge for lunch with the birds. Our next stop was to Sherbrooke Village, an open air museum, where we visited various houses and spoke with becostumed people about life in Sherbrooke last century. It was a delightful stop. Now another long drive to the Dundee Resort,West Bay on Lake Bras d'Or. This is popular with the coach tours, but we did get some tasty seafood pasta for dinner.

Willie Krauch's Smokery
Sherbrooke Village

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Canadian Maritimes 1

Good flight, but very wet in Halifax. The hire car had to be changed as we couldn't move the driver's seat. Met up with Doug and Anne who took us on a whirlwind tour of Old Halifax, complete with a visit to Anne's family's chandlers from days gone by, now a museum. It was lovely to catch up and we enjoyed dinner at their place before the jet lag overtook us and they drove us back to the hotel. The concierge, in his kilt, informed us we had a new hire car in the car park and handed over the keys. So we are all set for our tour.