Friday, September 22, 2017

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

It's called PEI by everyone I've talked to – Prince Edward Island is just too cumbersome to say, so from here on, PEI it is!  And what a place it is, too!  I spent yesterday driving around the Eastern part of the island, taking many small gravel roads that led to the beach (although I didn't know that when I took the first two or three), meandering along the roadway, sometimes stopping in the middle of the road to take photos (nobody was coming either way!).
Flowers in the ditches.

Birdhouse on a power pole!

Birds on the beach.

I am enchanted with this island.  It is peaceful, quiet, unhurried, and just really laid back, if I can use that phrase. As I was driving yesterday, I kept thinking how tidy it all was. The fields are neat, the homes are well kept, and the yards are mowed and nicely landscaped. The beaches are clean. The roads were sometimes not so great, but not as bad as some other places I've been on this trip (Newfoundland, I'm thinking of you!!). Even the roadsides are mowed!
Hay bales on a farm. 

The north shore, where I camped the first night (in wind so fierce I couldn't cook because the stove wouldn't stay lit) is the center for mussel farming, and I saw a number of those farms in St. Peter's Bay.  The lady at the visitor center was very informative when I went in to ask what all those buoys were in the water. The mussel farmers put very small mussels in what they call socks, which are long pieces of netting, and they hang them from the buoys. The mussels grow over the next 18-24 months, and when the farmer pulls up the sock, it is encrusted with mussels ready to eat!  I haven't had any yet, but I'm not finished with PEI yet either…

Today was devoted to Green Gables, of Lucy Maud Montgomery fame.  The house about which she wrote is now a national historic site, and the north shore where it lies is a national park. Since the morning was sunny and warm, I decided to drive along the shore road first (just in case it got nasty). It was breathtaking – the cliffs are red sandstone, and there were lots of pull offs so that I didn't run the risk of getting run over.  This part of the island had more people, tourists mainly, but still it was not very crowded.  I imagine that in the summer it might be quite different.

After the shore drive, I went to the house, which is open for tours and photographs are permitted.  Yippee!  I wanted to share the house with two of my daughters-in-law, both who love the Anne of Green Gables stories, so I can do that with pictures. It was fun to see how the house was furnished (with period pieces) and to imagine how it might have functioned back in the day.  The guidebook I'm using for this trip said that the whole thing was very much a tourist trap, but I found it very interesting and not as touristy as I expected.  Yes there was a gift shop, but it was away from the main part of the site, and it was easy to skip it if you wanted to (I didn't skip it!).
Green Gables

The dining room.

Anne's bedroom

Even some of the pathways that are described in the books were now made into walking trails, and I did one of them.
Lover's Lane trail. 

The sun stayed out, and it made for a very enjoyable day!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

High Tide

The Bay of Fundy

View from my campsite at sunset. 

The whole inspiration for this trip was to see the tidal change in the Bay of Fundy.  I've been gone almost 2 months, and finally got to see it yesterday.  After an afternoon spent touring a couple of historic forts (Fort Anne and Port Royal) I followed the suggestion of a Visitor Information Center person and camped last night in Parker's Cove campground. I managed to get a site right where the grass becomes the rocky beach, and I'm sitting there right now watching the tide come in.  I decided to stay here an extra day so that I could watch the tide go from lowest to high. I'll be here all day taking pictures as it fills up the cove and comes almost up to my campsite. My heart is full!  Another bucket list item achieved!
Not quite low tide

High tide, the rocks have disappeared! 

Halifax and the South Shore

I'm not much for touring in cities – I prefer the national parks and other outdoor kinds of attractions. But Halifax seemed like a city I should at least take a look at, and I'm glad I did.  One of my best friends has a cousin who lives here.  She put us in contact, which made Halifax even more important.

The first day, though, I went into the city on my own.  First I did a city/harbor tour with a company that has amphibious vehicles that go from land to water and back. Kind of a fun concept, and it was a fun tour, which gave me an idea of where I wanted to go next and how to get there! The guide was a young college boy who knew his Halifax history, and shared some great stories while we were riding around. 
Harbor hopper
After lunch at a fish and chips stand along the waterfront, I decided that the main thing I had to see was the Citadel – the fort defending the city and harbor of Halifax. It was another beautiful day, and I spent the whole afternoon at the fort, talking to the interpreters, looking at the armaments, peeking into the various rooms, and admiring the view from the top of the fort.

Inside the Citadel

City View

The next day I met up with my friend's cousin, Frances, and after a stop at the memorial to the Swissair plane that crashed there, we went to Peggy's Cove – a fishing village south of Halifax, and apparently the #1 photographed town in Nova Scotia.  It was very pretty, the boats were lined up in the little harbor, the houses clung to the shores (some of them by the skin of their teeth!) and the lighthouse stood on the point.  What amazed me there was that the coast was smooth worn rocks – not small ones, or even medium size ones, but huge, bigger than house sized.  More like factory sized!  It was certainly a different kind of shore than I had seen before.

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Rocky beach

After a lovely lunch (lobster roll!) we headed along the coast, stopping whenever I saw something pretty I wanted a photo of, and ended up in Lunenburg, a UNESCO heritage site. The town was built on a hill, and the streets were narrow, the houses an amazing array of bright colors, and there were all kinds of different fish sculptures hanging from the light posts.  Everywhere you turned your head there was something fun to look at.
Squid on the lamppost
Very colorful houses. 
The next day I was on my own and went back to Lunenburg to see the Marine museum there.  It also had some fish tanks, and a touch tank – one of my favorite things in a museum/aquarium. There was also a program going on about lobster fishing which proved to be quite interesting. They had preserved lobsters that were so huge I could hardly believe it – one that they said weighed about 40 pounds and was over 100 years old.

One HUGE lobster!

After a night in Yarmouth, and a shore drive up the Fundy coast in the fog (couldn't see a thing) I ended up in Digby for lunch.  A high school friend had told me that they have the best scallops in the world in Digby, and she was right! Thanks for that tip, Linda!
Scallops for lunch

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fortress of Louisbourg

The Fortress at Louisbourg

A member of my church family (thanks Lorrie Stepetic!) recommended that I not miss the Fortress at Louisbourg while in Nova Scotia, and on Cape Breton Island. She was so right – it was a fascinating place, and what really made it great was the number of interpreters in costume who were there on the day I was. I made it a point to talk to as many of them as I could, and had some great conversations!
The entrance gate.

The chapel.
Barracks -- imagine sleeping on a slant like that!

The fortress was a French stronghold in the New World in the mid-1700's and  has been restored and/or rebuilt as a national historic site. It sits on one side of a small harbor with one side going right along the water. Inside are restored/rebuilt (some of each) houses, military barracks and offices and ordnance rooms, etc. The houses were the most interesting to me, especially the ones with gardens in the back. The gardens were planted with vegetables and herbs, and as I was talking to one of the interperters, she was harvesting yellow beans and then she showed me a different kind of beet – one that is shaped more like a carrot.  She even pulled one up so I could see!
In another part of the garden one of the volunteer "servants" was taking a break with some stitching in a garden shed. And in the kitchen of one of the houses, two "servants" were preparing a meal and told us all about what they were cooking and how they were doing it. 
Cooking dinner
One of the upper class homes had several "servants" demonstrating household tasks that they would normally be occupied with on a Sunday (I was there on a Sunday), such as spinning and embroidery. These were considered leisurely tasks, not the usual laborious tasks they normally did.
Later on as I was sitting on a bench resting my feet, two more interpreters came and sat down on the bench next to me. My usual question for them was something like "Where are you going?" (they were supposed to answer according to the historical time) or "What are you doing?", or my favorite one, "What do you have in your basket?"  So many great conversations started that way!  They all showed me what they were carrying, and the one interpreter was very proud to show me her sewing kit and the special needle and thread holder that someone had made for her. She also had examples of toys that children would play with (dolls, a button on a string, a wooden spinning top) that she showed us all, because by that time there was a small crowd gathered around.
Button game for kids

Her sewing kit!

The day was beautiful, sunny and warm, which was quite a treat as the weather has not been exactly ideal, but somehow we muddle through!

That night I went to a performance of a fiddler and a keyboardist at the local theater.  It was very scantily attended, but there was another family from Albuquerque there!  How amazing was that. Even the fiddler remarked as she was asking where folks were from. When we both said New Mexico, she asked if we knew each other and we both answered No!  Talk about a small world!