(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)
The Cabot Trail
Hi there –
Well, it’s been a busy couple of days!
On Thursday we managed to get fairly good weather to travel the Cabot Trail – a bit misty but no rain or fog. The topography was incredible with high cliffs going right down into the sea. The foliage on the tree covered hills/mountains was so dense it almost looked like a tropical rain forest. There were places where we climbed from sea level to over 1,640 feet (500 metres) in little less than 10 minutes. Lots of viewpoints and a great place to explore. The Man even got a picture of the rear end of a moose!
Some other photos the Man got were in a field that we just happened upon. In it were more than one hundred full sized scarecrows in all manner of dress. The field belongs to Joe Delaney who a number of years ago decided to plant a garden. His neighbours told him he was crazy because all the deer and moose would eat it. So he built a 7 foot (2 metre) scarecrow and then added another. People started to stop in their cars to take a look so he just kept making them. When we were there a tour bus of German tourists came by to take a look. The scarecrows are in groups – a wedding party, famous politicians, school kids, etc. All very weird and wonderful.
Joe Delaney’s Scarecrows
It took us most of the day to do the whole route and we would have been even longer if the weather was clearer. We had fun going to the very most northern point of Cape Breton Island down a road definitely less travelled. At the end was the very small community of Meat Cove that consisted of a campground, an iffy looking lodge and a teahouse in a small shed.
That night we stayed in Baddeck which was the home of Alexander Graham Bell for over 40 years. Yesterday morning we went to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum which is beautifully done with slide shows, videos, artifacts and great displays.
Bell was quite an amazing man and was always working on something. His wife, Mabel was also quite the woman. Deaf from the age of five, Mabel never let her disability hold her back. She was very supportive of Alexander and often helped him in his experiments. I was thrilled to hear of his interest in genetics. Bell kept a flock of blessèd sheep and he decided it would help the local farmers if he could develop a flock where the mothers produced only twins. He spent many years studying the flock with limited success. His ewe mothers did improve in their twin output but more importantly they developed six to eight nipples rather than four. I’ve been counting mine and I only come up with three so I guess my mom wasn’t from these parts.
We thoroughly enjoyed the museum. We had bought a Canada Parks pass in Ontario so we can go into any Canada Park and museum for free which is great because we can come and go at will.
After the museum, Man and Lady had to make some decisions on their next move. They spent a bit of time debating whether or not to do the Newfoundland portion of their trip. They had a couple of bad night sleeps so weren’t thinking clearly. Fortunately their thinking cleared and they booked the ferry to Newfoundland for Sunday at 9:00 am. We’re taking the shorter route from Sidney to Port aux Basques which will be about a 6 hour ferry trip. The Man and Lady are now trying to decide how to handle Newfoundland. There is basically one highway across the island which is about 560 miles (900 kilometres) and one highway on the west coast that is 472 miles (761 kilometres). There are also some side trips that we want to make so it’s a bit of a long haul. We could do our touring across the island and then take the ferry from Argentia which is a 14 hour ferry trip at about twice the cost. The other option is to get to the East coast and then boot it back over the same road. More driving – less ferry – less ferry costs – more accommodation expenses, hmmmm. Perhaps some of the Man and Lady’s friends could give us some input.
The Man did mention that there are 110,000 moose in Newfoundland and by driving the highway twice it increases the odds of some good moose interaction. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he’s attracted to such goofy looking animals.
After making reservations yesterday we headed to the town of Louisbourg which is renown for it’s restored French fort.
Last night we went to the Louisbourg Playhouse for an evening of Celtic music. The theatre itself was an interesting building. In 1993, Walt Disney Productions were filming a movie in Louisbourg called “Squanto: A Warrior Tale.” The filming required the construction of a 17th century timber framed Shakespearean theatre modelled after the Globe theatre in London. After the filming, Disney donated the theatre to the community.
The group we saw were three guys and two girls. Each played multiple instruments including fiddle, piano, flute, guitar, mandolin, banjo, drums and button accordion. Both girls did step dancing and it was two hours of great music and entertainment.
The Fortress of Louisbourg
First thing this morning we headed out to the Fortress of Louisbourg. The site of the fort was first settled by the French in 1713 and became the busiest port in New France and reached a population of 3200. In 1744, France and Britain went to war and after a six-week siege, the British took over the fort and sent the French home. In 1748-9 the French got the fort back by treaty. In 1758, the British once more took the fort and again deported the French. In 1760, the British decided the fort was not viable and blew up the entire structure leaving a pile of rubble. It stayed that way until 1961 when the Canadian Government decided to reconstruct 1/5 of the fort using archaeological and documented information. Utilizing unemployed miners and craftsmen, a faithful re-creation of a town 250 years ago with inns, taverns, barracks, outhouses, etc was constructed. The staff dress in 18th century dress and take on the identity of someone living in those times. The whole thing is quite amazing to experience and see.
Tonight we are in North Sidney overlooking the ferry terminal. Even though we have reservations, we have to be at the terminal at least an hour before the sailing to assure our reservation.
So . . . the next time you hear from me I will be looking for blessèd sheep on the shores of Newfoundland – I hope there are some!
Don’t know what the Internet will be like out there but I’ll be in touch.