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Archive for February, 2019

Nova Scotia

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Boston Commons

This past summer Linda and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary traveling 13 days to Nova Scotia.  We drove our car (Subaru Forrester) where we first stopped in Boston and visited our youngest son Forrest and his wife Laura for a couple of days before driving up to Portland, ME and taking the ferry to Yarmouth, NS.  In Portland, we did a little sightseeing by visiting galleries, donut and bakery shops and a local bank exchanging US currency for Canadian money.  After our 5 hour ferry ride, we arrived in Yarmouth that evening where we had reserved a lovely Airbnb only 5 minutes from the ferry. At first, we had a little trouble figuring out the lock box but after a short panic (knowing our cell phones wouldn’t work); it magically opened revealing the house key.  We had a nice rest that night and in the morning we took a walk on the historic trail in downtown Yarmouth (a small fishing village).  It was a quaint town with lots of little shops and we even saw a large yacht named “Georgia” moored at the docks.   After our morning jaunt, we checked out of our abode and began the drive up the eastern shore where we stopped at Kejimkujik National Park enjoying a spectacular seaside walk to the Atlantic Ocean.  We then drove to the town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we visited several art galleries.  We bought some bad coffee in one shop but nevertheless the town had been a wonderful experience.  We then drove to the famous picturesque lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove where it sits majestically on gray rounded rocks.  We took lots of photos before eating dinner at the Peggy’s Cove restaurant not 100 yards from the scenic lighthouse.  I ordered English fish and chips.

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Peggy’s Cove

By now it was around 6:30 so we headed up to Halifax, about an hour drive, where we had booked a hotel near the Halifax Citadel.  It was an older hotel with tiny rooms but the owners were quite friendly.  After a good night’s sleep, we got up, ate our complimentary breakfast, and then walked to the Citadel and a stroll through the lovely Halifax Public Gardens.   After this 2 hour walk we stopped at a Jewish Deli right across the street from our hotel where we got a “to go” meal to eat later.  We then drove to the nearby Halifax docks where we parked and walked along the nice boardwalk there. We stopped and visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which was quite educational with lots of boats, models of ocean liners, and the remnants of the tragic Halifax explosion of 1917 where two ships had collided, one of which was filled with ammunition for World War I.  They said it was one of the largest explosions in the world up to that time.  Before leaving Halifax, we stopped at a local park where there were lots of children playing and we ate our kosher deli goodies.  Our next adventure was to the tiny town of Englishtown, NS (on Cape Breton Island) about a 5 hour drive.  We had booked another Airbnb and after a lovely dinner at the nearby Cedar House Bakery and Restaurant (I had seafood stew) we settled in for the night at our Englishtown dwelling.  In the morning, we got up early to take the puffin tour with Donelda’s Puffin Tour.  It was a wonderful 3 hour tour to bird island where we saw thousands of birds frolicking in the water and cliff sides.  Of course we saw the cute little puffins and even a couple of bald eagles.

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After our 3 hour boat tour, we drove the Cabot Trail (famous and only road) through Cape Breton Highlands National Park stopping at the many beautiful places.  We did a few short hikes in this striking park seeing waterfalls, homesteads, bogs, and lots of rocky shoreline.  We exited the park at Cheticamp, NS where we stayed at an Airbnb on the shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.  We ate at a nice restaurant (suggested by our hosts) which featured live folk music; it was the perfect atmosphere for Celtic sounds.  When we awoke in the morning it was raining and we found out that our booked whale watching tour was cancelled due to high winds, so we packed up our belongings and headed to our next destination of Saint John, New Brunswick.  We arrived at Saint John around 5:00 staying at a hotel that was once a huge old historic home right downtown.  We settled in our luxurious room for a short time before heading out to walk through the historic downtown area.  We stopped at the old Saint John City Market and then walked around the docks examining the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy.  Afterwards, we found a nice little eclectic place for dinner before heading back to our room for the night.  In the morning we drove to the Reversing Falls Park (tide was going out), the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site, and the Irving Nature Park. At the nature park, we hiked a loop trail about 3 miles in length.  At one spot, we stopped and drew the mud-flats as the tide was starting to change.  As a side note, for our trip we had taken some watercolor paper and colored pencils and stopped to draw several times during our adventure.  After our pictorial hike in Irving Park, we decided to make a quick trip back to the Reversing Falls where we now saw the St. John River go backwards.  Watching the water rise was fascinating and there were lots of cormorants feeding in the rushing water. We then made a quick stop for lunch at Subway before starting our drive to the good ole USA in Maine.  At the US border, we stopped at a chocolate shop and spent all our remaining Canadian money on chocolate! Thankfully the border crossing was not that crowded, as we were only the fifth car in line.  The US border guard did ask us if we had any alcohol or tobacco, which we said, “no” but I must have looked guilty as he wanted to look in our cooler in the Forrester cargo space.  Of course, you have a quick panic inside wondering if they will find that rock you picked up along the way, ha!  Actually, for me, it was a little clay from the mudflats. Our next destination was a short drive to Deer Isle, ME where we stopped to visit with Linda’s sister Suzanne, staying a couple of days on the scenic island.  It was then back to Boston and back to the mountains of Southwest Virginia having driven 3156 miles where we both said it was time to take a rest from our vacation!

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Yarmough, NS Airbnb

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Halifax Public Gardens

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Englishtown, NS

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Replica Old Celtic House

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Waterfall in Cape Breton National Park

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Saint John Hotel Entrance

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Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NS

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Dinner in Saint John

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Reversing Falls (Tide Going Out)

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Mud Flats at Irving Park (Tide Coming In)

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Anniversary Toast at Forrest and Laura’s Home

 

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