Nova Scotia

Go West Young Sheep – July 22, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Well . . . here I am back again after being in an Internet vacuum for the past few days.

Cormorant colony near Pictou

Cormorant colony near Pictou

We got off the ferry from Newfoundland on Wednesday and made our way up the Northumberland Strait and stayed a night in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Pictou managed to get the Man’s Scottish blood boiling as the town is the “Birthplace of New Scotland.”

Pictou Waterfront

Pictou Waterfront

In 1773, the first boatload of Scottish Highlanders – 33 families and 25 unmarried men – arrived on the sailing ship, Hector. The families had been promised free passage and free supplies and shelter upon arrival in Canada by a group in Scotland that wanted to see Canada opened up.

When the families arrived at the ship they found a rather aged and well used 24 metre (80 foot) boat. 200 family members were loaded below decks where they had to partition off bunks with old canvas. There were no windows, the only light coming from seal oil lamps and small deck grates. Right from the start conditions were not good.

The Captain wrote in his log how concerned he was for the passengers. He mentions how some of the passengers were so excited upon reaching Ireland, they thought they had already arrived at the new colony. The ship set off in July and didn’t reach Newfoundland until the beginning of September. A gale blew up and the ship was blown out to sea and it took a further two weeks to arrive at the same spot.

Food was deplorable, mouldy and rancid. The ship arrived in mid September – eighteen children had died on board as a result of smallpox and dysentery. The settlers found that no provisions had actually been supplied and there were no shelters so they had to spend their first winter in great hardship. They were a hardy bunch and their success encouraged other Scots to emigrate also, eventually populating the coastline and PEI.

Tomorrow we are going to see where the Man’s family arrived in 1829 in New Brunswick.

The Hector

In the 1970’s, the town of Pictou realized they needed to revive their decaying waterfront and started a rebuilding program. The centerpiece of the plan was to build a full size replica of the Hector.

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Pictou Building

Around it they built new wharves, boardwalks and traditional buildings. Still lots of the original buildings around for the Man and Lady to drool over. We had a great time there.

Cousins at Lismore Sheep Farm

Cousins at Lismore Sheep Farm

The next day we continued west. I had a wonderful day when I spotted a sheep farm and convinced the Man to stop. It was a great experience for all of us! The Man was thrilled when he opened the car door and three border collies came leaping towards the car. Two tried to crawl in the car but I baaaed that I wouldn’t be driving with two stinky dogs. The Lady was excited to go through the wool store onsite and I had an emotional time when I met a 4th cousin, 10 times removed. The Man took a picture of her and her new daughter.

Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge

Later that afternoon we crossed the Confederation Bridge into Prince Edward Island. The bridge is amazing. Over 8 miles (13 kilometres) long and 600 feet (180 metres) high, it took 15 minutes to cross the Northumberland Strait. Our alternative access would have been a 1½ hour ferry trip but we see enough ferries in our lives so we took the driving route. The bridge is free to get onto the island and $40 to get off.

Well . . . I must say that our first impression of PEI wasn’t good. When you first get off the bridge there is large area called the Gateway Village which, among other things, has the tourist information centre. The village was packed with tourists, RV’s, trailers and every type of Anne of Green Gables knickknacks for sale – very crowded and commercial – yuck. The Man and Lady were quite put off with it all but then the Man managed to find an obscure little road which took us to a mussel plant that had fifty years of mussel stink oozing from it and it picked the Man’s spirit right up. No wonder he likes dogs, he’s just like one!

PEI

PEI

We took a scenic route along the coast and the Man managed to find a motel with three dogs and two cats (one white with three legs and one black with one eye) affectionately known by the neighbours as Cyclops and Tripod.

PEI is an interesting island historically with a strong French (Acadian), Scotch and Irish presence. Originally mainly settled by the Acadians, they were soon removed by the British. In order to encourage development in the late 1700’s the British government divided the island into seventy, 20,000 acre lots and put them up for lottery. Naturally, it seems, they were won by governmental friends who acquired them for speculation purposes. They did nothing with the land until the policy was reviewed and absentee landlords were dissolved. The land was then made available to the local settlers.

East Coast, PEI

East Coast, PEI

It is very pretty farmland with lovely fields of potatoes, corn and grains running down to the sea. The soil is an unusual red colour – quite stunning. The beaches on the north and west coast are white sand, the beaches on the south and east coast are red sand. You can drive from one end to the other (quickly) in four hours. The highest point of the island is 600 feet (180 metres) and no moose!

 

We found, that while pretty, it just didn’t knock us out. We explored the east end of the island but it seemed like a long drive with little return. We decided we didn’t want to fight the crowds at all the tourist spots and since heavy rains were forecasted, we would head back to New Brunswick.

Boat Sheds

Boat Sheds

This morning we once more drove the Confederation Bridge and then went to search out the birthplace of one of our Sechelt friends in the very small community of Springhill Junction. We’re not too sure how successful we were yet. We also popped into Springhill and visited Anne Murray’s birthplace and watched a Anne Murray Day parade through town.

Tomorrow we will head up the east coast of New Brunswick to the New Mills area. We’re not sure what is left of McMillan information but it should be an interesting time.

So, after tomorrow we really will be turning our noses west though from the sounds of the weather reports we are best to stay here in rainy 73º F (23º C) weather!

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Newfie Eve – July 8, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

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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.

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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.

Bras d'Or Bridge

Bras d’Or Bridge

 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.

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

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.

Louisberg

Louisbourg Playhouse

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.

Lyrics & Laughter

Lyrics & Laughter

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.

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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.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Creeping to the Cape – July 6, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Well . . . we’re finding it a little harder to find Internet connections so I’m a little behind here.

A couple of days ago we left Shelburne and headed east along the south coast. It took a while to leave Shelburne because there was a dog in the room next to us. The Man kept peeking out the window so he could ‘accidentally’ bump into it and when the chance finally came he flew out the door and did his embarrassing dog thing. The dog’s owners (from Toronto) had just spent a month in Newfoundland and gave the Man lots of travel advice.

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Blue Rocks

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Dublin Shore

Once we hit the road we found there are lots of little towns and some beautiful scenery. The coastline along this portion of Nova Scotia is laced with little bays and sheltering islands therefore the shoreline has the look of a lakeshore with salt grasses and reeds. Most of the villages have some semblance of a fishing industry – lobster, mussels or scallops. We whipped along at a pleasant pace again taking scenic loops whenever possible.

Vogler's Cove

Vogler’s Cove

There are beautiful white sandy beaches here and in combination with the bright blue skies, it looks almost tropical. We found a great little cable ferry close to Lunenburg that took us across a long inlet near Bridgewater.

LaHave Ferry

LaHave Ferry

We stopped for the afternoon at Lunenburg and had a great time eating MORE lobster (and garnish) on the waterfront overlooking ‘Bluenose II”. Lunenburg was amazing with more beautiful old architecture, a working harbour and a wonderful location. Lots of people though!

 

We stayed the night in Chester in preparation for an interesting adventure the next day.

Our good friend Rob asked if we could go by New Ross and check out an old legend/folklore tale. Rob appealed to the Man’s Scottish heritage to motivate him.

In 1972, Joan Hope and her husband Ron rented a house in New Ross. While exploring the property Joan discovered, what she believed to be, the foundations of a castle. The Hopes eventually bought the property and started to excavate the ruins. They came to believe the castle dates back to Prince Henry Sinclair’s historic voyage of 1398 to North America and that he built the castle – pre-dating Columbus.

It turns out that the story was very hard to verify. Whenever we asked about the location of the castle the locals were very evasive and at times dismissive. We finally talked to people at the local heritage society and all they would say is that they knew where it was but it was on private land and we wouldn’t be able to see it anyway. We searched around and couldn’t find any sign of it. So . . . we had to give up the hunt.

In the same town was the New Ross Farm Museum which is located on an old farm belonging to the Ross family. Mr. Ross received the 121 hectare (300 acre) property after serving with the military in the late 1700’s. The government at the time wanted to keep ex militia in the area because of the close proximity to America and the French faction. The land they gave to Mr. Ross was right in between the fort at Halifax and the fort at Annapolis Royal. One of the conditions for obtaining the land was to build a road linking the two forts which he did. He was then free to develop his farm.

Most of the buildings on the farm are original and it is still a working farm using the original 1800’s methods – no power machinery or tools. All the staff are in 1800’s dress doing what they would have been doing in that time. The buildings include a barn, a sawmill, cooperage (barrel making), blacksmith and the original farmhouse. The farmhouse had actually been lived in by five generations of Ross’s, the last moving out in 1969 when they turned the farm over to the heritage society. The interior is quite amazing with most of the original woodwork and furniture. Much ‘cruder’ than the Victorian houses that we have been looking at recently. Lots of sloping floors and walls. We had fresh nutmeg cookies just baked in the old woodstove in the Summer kitchen.

We went into the barns where there are many heritage animals – those of the same lineage as those from the 1790’s – Berkshire pigs (with piglets), Canadian horses, oxen, cows and blessèd sheep. The Man went all weirdo when he found two un-heritage kittens and the Lady and I had to ask for help to get him away from them. Unfortunately we should have stuck to the kittens after what happened next.

As I said, the farm is a working farm and the local farmers bring their horses in to be shod. Somehow the Man found that we were in for a great treat as a farmer was going to bring in his ox to be shod. So…down to the blacksmith shop we headed just in time to see ‘Lion’ the huge ox being pushed into a little raised corral.

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The two blacksmiths then ran a sling and ropes around Lion’s belly so he wouldn’t fall down. They then tied his left front and back legs and pulled them up and rested them on a leg rest exposing the hooves. ‘Lion’ was looking very leery by this time and obviously didn’t like standing on just two legs. I must admit, being a hoofed animal, I was starting to get a little queasy myself. THEN . . . they started pulling off the old shoes with pry bars and nail pullers – gag me with a spoon – I tied my socks up tight and ran out with the Lady right behind me. We’d rather have watched a wisdom tooth extraction! Naturally, the Man stayed to the bitter end and said it wasn’t too bad though ‘Lion’ definitely didn’t like having the shoes (two per hoof) nailed on.

After we did the tour we headed east once more driving through Halifax in rush hour. Unfortunately nobody told us about the toll bridge until we had crossed it. We had a moment of panic as cars piled up behind us and we dug through everything trying to find three quarters. The automated machine didn’t take dimes, nickels or pennies. We came up with two quarters and finally the Man threw in a loonie and the gate opened. Of course, through all the confusion, once we got moving the Man immediately got lost. We consulted our street maps and eventually found our way – the Man is convinced we actually found a shortcut!

The Man and Lady are confirmed rural tourists and didn’t like the busyness of Halifax so we continued on and stayed in Oyster Pond, Nova Scotia. The Man was thrilled that we had a very wild thunderstorm last night but I noticed not so thrilled as to get out of bed to watch it – more of a passive storm chaser.

Today we continued East under quite thick fog which didn’t do anything for the view. I got quite excited at one point when I thought I saw a blessèd sheep on the side of the road but when we stopped it turned out to be a piece of folk art which seems to be very common in this neck of the woods. The towns here are more utilitarian and don’t seem to have the quaintness as the rest of the coastline.

At Sheet Harbour we stopped at the site of an old riverside pulp and paper mill. It had shut down in the early 1970’s and the whole thing was disassembled. In it’s place was a pleasant park and boardwalk following the river. Across the river, the Man noticed an old bulk oil tank about 30,000 gallons in size left over from the mill. It was painted bright blue with “MOM’S” written on it.

Looking closer we saw a door cut in the side and a long chimney running up the side. It turns out that it has been converted into a bar and grill. We went in and it looked pretty good though dark and windowless. It has only been developed on the floor level but apparently the new owner has great plans for further development – a very unique building.

From there we headed north to Antigonish and then across the causeway to Cape Breton Island. We are staying in Port Hawkesbury tonight ready to travel the Cabot Trail tomorrow IF there is no fog.

Our Internet is very iffy tonight and the Man will have to go stand in the parking lot to try and send this wirelessly – not sure what the future holds but we’ll try to send updates when we can.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

p.s. The Man couldn’t get through last night so we’re sitting in the parking lot of another motel at 7:00 am sending this!

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Frantic in the Atlantic – July 2, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hi there –

Well, I’m not really frantic, just excited because we finally rounded the corner in west Nova Scotia and we are now on the Atlantic Ocean!

We headed out of Annapolis Royal ready to make great progress along the coast. But . . . being Saturday and July 1st, there seemed to be a garage sale every 30 feet (10 metres). The Lady started getting all twitchy again and the Man KNEW he was going to have to stop at least once.

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Bear River, NS

We took a little diversion up to Bear River because the Man heard that the town was quite unusual. It has been called the Switzerland of Nova Scotia because of the farms built on very hilly land. The town is more than 2 miles (3 kilometres) up the Bear River and yet is still very much influenced by the Fundy tides. Originally a shipbuilding town in the early 1800’s, many of the houses on the main street are built on stilts over the river. When we were there the tide was out so the buildings were standing about 20 feet (6 metres) above the ground. At the info center the girl there showed us photos taken last week during a very high tide and the water was right at the floorboards of the same buildings.

In its heyday more than 150 ships including one tall ship was built at the town. Now all you can see is crumbling wharves.

The other thing we saw there was the Legion Garage Sale so guess where the Lady headed. It filled the street in front of the building and two rooms inside! The Man was pretty patient except he kept mumbling words like “ticky-tacky, junk, mothballs, etc. . . “. He told me that he has come to realize that garage sale treasures look just the same on the East Coast as they do on the West Coast as they do in the middle of the country. The Lady was thrilled to bits though and bought a few lovely knick-knacks.

We left there and made it about 3 miles (5 kilometres) when the Lady decided she was feeling peckish and sure enough she spotted another garage sale, this time with a Strawberry Tea attached. So . . . we stopped again and dug through more stuff and then tried to get into the Tea but found the whole town (all thirty of them) was also trying to do the same so we couldn’t get in.

The Man had to admit that garage sales are great places to meet the locals and get advice on sights to see.

We were told we MUST see Digby Neck which is a thin 37 mile (60 kilometre) spit with two small islands at the end which are reached by a ferry to each. The drive was very beautiful, mostly through scrubby spruce and bog land. On one side of us was the Bay of Fundy and on the other the Annapolis Basin. All along the coast were very small fishing villages. The sky was cloudless but with a strong wind so the colours were crisp and clear.

Looking across to Long Island.  Note the tidal currents in the channel.

At the end of the spit we could look across at Long Island, a 15 minute ferry ride. An incredible current was flowing through the channel making the ferry work hard with each crossing.

Long Island has a couple of small towns and the last island, Brier Island, has one town. All of them are very non-commercial, ‘untouched’ working fishing towns. At the very end of Brier Island you can see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bay of Fundy. After a week of seeing the red murky waters of the Bay of Fundy it was good to see the clear blue Atlantic waters.

Digby Sunset

Digby Sunset

We had to backtrack the 37 miles (60 kilometres) back to Digby but it was worth the extra time we took. Digby is another well preserved fishing town and we enjoyed walking the waterfront there.

This morning we headed out on a very rainy day. We were in an area of many small towns with not a lot of highlights so we actually made some progress. The first stop was at Church Point where between 1903 and 1905 the largest wooden church in Canada was built, 190 feet (58 metres) long and 134 feet (41 metres) wide with a 184 foot (56 metre) spire.

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The local priest hired an illiterate local parishioner to do the building. Because of the large size of the church and the high winds in the area it was necessary to overbuild the structure using massive timbers and masses of rocks to anchor the steeple. It was an amazing engineering feat and quite an impressive sight.

The day before, someone told us about the man hired to paint the ceiling. He just arrived at the church and told the priest that he was an artist. Though he had some talent, he needed a drink or two to give him courage to go up the very high scaffold. While some of the paintings had a religious theme, others really didn’t and it seems he just painted what he wanted.

We left there and lo and behold – the Lady spotted ANOTHER garage sale. Not only that, she found ANOTHER old travelling trunk that she couldn’t live without. So now I’m sharing the supposedly ’empty’ back seat with the trunk. It’s not too bad though cause I’m turning it into my bedroom for the motels with a ‘NO SHEEP’ policy. The Man is really hoping that the Lady is shopped out.

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Shelburne, Nova Scotia

After that we made it safety to Shelburne on the south coast with a strong gale blowing off the Atlantic. Shelburne is another amazing old town. Settled in 1778 by Loyalists from New York, it is a beautiful natural harbour. Many, many restored buildings. More drooling going on – disgusting!

Well, it’s getting late here so that’s it for tonight.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Hapless in Annapolis – June 30, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hi there,

Today we continued west along the coast taking Highway 1 which is the original highway, smaller than the new 101. We entered into the Annapolis Valley which is the apple and fruit growing region of Nova Scotia. The thing that we noticed the most was town after town were now bustling and looking prosperous. Beautifully restored houses and storefronts replace the rundown buildings of the now defunct shipbuilding towns.

The first stop was the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford that works with conservation groups to help endangered animals mainly through its breeding program. The Man went all weirdo making monkey and growling noises so the Lady and I went our own way and he went and grovelled with the baby pigs. We had quite a lot of fun cause there were lots of baby animals – llamas, pygmy goats, donkeys and ostriches. Saw a few of my relatives there too.

The next stop was the town of Annapolis Royal where we went to the Historic Gardens that are located on a 7 hectare (17 acre) estate dating back to the 1800’s. I hear the gardens are beautiful – I wouldn’t know because they took one look at me smacking my lips and wouldn’t let me in – another nasty ‘no sheep’ site.

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The Lady told me that there were beautiful formal rose and herb gardens, a Victorian garden, heritage garden, ponds, a wonderful reconstructed Acadian house (based on 1600’s design) and rock gardens. The Man and Lady were gone a long time looking through the place.

Because it was getting on we decided to stay in Annapolis Royal. The town is incredible with over 150 beautiful heritage houses including the oldest wooden house in Canada dating back to 1708.

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The town itself dates back to the mid 1600’s and has a fort also built in 1708. It is one of the most attractive towns the Man and Lady have seen yet and it’s making me nervous because they’re reading real estate papers!

Not sure what tomorrow will bring but I suspect we’ll head west and then south around the coast.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Heading for Annapolis – June 30, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hi there – well, here I am again!

We started out from Truro a couple of days ago and have been poking along the coastline having a good time. The area west of Truro has quite an interesting history and we found out quite a bit about it at the old home of W.D. Lawrence which is now a museum. The house is a beautiful 26 room Victorian home built by Mr. Lawrence in Maitland, NS.

Mr. Lawrence’s father arrived in Canada from Ireland in the very early 1800’s and built up a farm near Maitland. William Lawrence decided very early that he didn’t want to be a farmer like his dad and decided that he was going to build ships, a very lucrative business at the time. The problem was, he had never built a ship so he went to Dartmouth and apprenticed in the shipbuilding trade. He started right from the bottom and managed to apprentice two years later. He came back to Maitland because he needed to earn some money and in the meantime started building two ships on his uncle’s farm that was close to the Bay of Fundy. The boats were a success and he started a trading/shipping business. He took his ships and headed down to South America and loaded them up with pelican guano (bird poo) which was there in abundance and highly sought after by farmers back in Canada and the US. In a short time he had made his fortune. Over time he built six more ships, the last one being the fourth largest wooden ship built in North America.

All this was done in a shipyard right across the road from his home in Maitland. His was one of many shipyards in the area that were building Canada’s shipping fleet making this area very prosperous.

Mr. Lawrence entered politics and was strong in his belief that Nova Scotia shouldn’t join Canada as a province. It was felt at the time that the Canadian government (in Ontario) was not doing a very good job handling their finances. Britain, who was still overseeing the doings told the powers that be that they needed to get their finances in order. They could do that by going to the United States for help or find the needed money elsewhere. So they turned their eyes East to the very lucrative shipbuilding and trading center in Nova Scotia and handed them an invitation to join Canada.

Mr. Lawrence feared that the government would drain Nova Scotia’s prosperity away in order to shore up it’s draining purse. Unfortunately it seems that is exactly what happened.

The house was beautiful with four stories of rooms. Most of the furnishings were original as the family passed it on generation to generation until they sold it to the historical society. The tour guide kept a close watch on us, especially after the Lady kept asking to go into all the forbidden places. One highlight of the house was the outdoor outhouse connected to the house by a covered walkway. It was a two room – four holer model!

Eventually iron ships started to be built and the shipyards in that area fell to ruin. Now when you see the area there is hardly a trace of its former industry. What still does remain are the wonderful old houses though many of them could use some TLC.

Selma Church

Selma Church

Selma Church and Titanic Artifacts

Selma Church and Titanic Artifacts

 Our next stop was a small church, now museum, near Selma. What caught the Man’s eye was a sign mentioning Titanic artifacts. The Man has always had quite an obsession with things to do with the Titanic so we had to stop. The church itself was built in 1865 and was Presbyterian by nature. In 1881, the church hired Lewis Baille to paint the interior white plaster walls and ceiling. He painted the whole thing by using feathers with tempera base paint. It gave the walls a marble like look that has drawn visitors for more than 125 years.

Autopsy Table

Autopsy Table

John Jacob Astor

John Jacob Astor

The one artifact they had from (though not quite from) the Titanic was the autopsy table they used to perform the autopsy on John Jacob Astor. All the bodies found from the sinking were taken to Halifax where autopsies were performed. Somehow the museum got hold of this interesting piece of furniture!

From there we enjoyed the scenery until we made it just past Wolfville (the home of Acadia University) and checked into a motel.

The Man and the Lady took me to a restaurant within sight of the motel. The Man watched as two teenage boys walked along trying all the motel room doors. When we returned to our room we found that a long, thin piece of metal had been pushed through the screen of the bathroom window and a beer can, pine cones and a few pieces of broken glass thrown in. The Lady phoned the manager who phoned the RCMP. Meanwhile the two boys were hanging around at the far end of the motel. When the police car showed up, they took off with the police in chase. They caught the boys at one of their homes. The RCMP came back and put the Man in the police car so he could give them a report. The Lady and I were afraid the Man was going to turn on the lights or siren or something but he managed to control himself. As the boys hadn’t taken anything, it became an issue between the owners and the boys so the Man and the Lady and I finished off with a quiet evening in a new room.

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That Dutchman’s Farm – June 29, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hi again,

Two Island Mile Road

Two Island Road

Our first stop was Five Island Park which is a beautiful park/beach on the way to Truro. Once again we encountered high cliffs, though this time made of red sandstone. Jutting into the bay were incredible rock formations of black basalt creating a wonderful colour palette with the aqua water and blue sky. The tide was quite far out when we arrived and the lower beach was made up of flat hard red sandstone and oozy muddy sand.

Five Island Park

As we watched, the tide came in about 3 metres or more in less than a minute. There are many warning signs about the rapidity of the flow and we could easily see how people could get in trouble if not watching the water. We are near the eastern extremity of Minas Basin which is part of the Bay of Fundy and because it narrows so much the water is compressed into a very small channel creating these extremes in tides.

Dutchman Cheese Factory

Dutchman Cheese Factory

From there we continued east and stopped at a wonderful farm in Upper Economy called “That Dutchman’s Farm.” In 1980 Willem and Maja van den Hoek started making cheese from a small herd of cows they had. From there the business progressed and they became a family owned (six kids) and operated Gouda cheese factory. The factory is part of the house and it is a beautiful timber framed building with a modern glass enclosed (so we could watch) cheese making facility. They also had a dining area where we had lunch and a large cheese shop where you can buy cheese by the piece or by the wheel. The real thrill for me though (and the Man too I think) was that they had a whole bunch of animals that we could go look at. While the Man and Lady were munching their lunch, I went out and made some friends with some white Walking Ducks.

Looking at my socks

Looking at my socks

We got along really well and they were really impressed with my socks. It was a good time but one of them kept biting my knees which wasn’t very funny. The Man and Lady soon came by so we went and talked to the donkeys, pot bellied pigs, emus, blessèd sheep, pygmy goats and lots of different kinds of chickens. A fun time but lots of black flies that kept us on the move.

Tonight we ended up in Truro which is known for the tidal bore that rushes up from the Minas Basin to fill the basin of the Salmon River in minutes. Unfortunately we missed it by a couple of hours this afternoon and the next high tide is 3:00 a.m. so I don’t think I can talk the Man into jumping into his car and taking me to see it. Sometime tomorrow we will visit a place where the highest recorded tides have occurred. On October 5, 1869 the highest high/low range was 16½ metres (54 feet) coincided with a violent storm causing extensive flooding and damage.

Nova Scotia Woodpile

Nova Scotia Woodpiles

Tomorrow we follow the coastal route west on what is called the Evangeline Trail that will take us halfway around the western part of Nova Scotia before turning into the Lighthouse Route. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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New Brunswick/Nova Scotia – June 28, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Hi there,

Well, we made it to Nova Scotia after an interesting day yesterday though not quite what we expected.

We left Moncton and headed to Hopewell Cape to the south of Moncton. Hopewell Cape is known for its massive rock formations that are carved out of the coastal cliffs by the strong Fundy Tides and strong storm waves. We were hoping to either hike or kayak around them but arrived at the wrong time for both due to the tides. Unfortunately the fog also drifted in at the same time so we decided to explore elsewhere. We headed further down the coast to Cape Enrage which has a large bay and above it high cliffs and a lighthouse.

Cape Enrage

The bay is sandwiched by high shale cliffs at either end. The shale is layered like sheaves of paper, all very loose and slowly eroding into the bay. As a consequence, years of strong tidal action and waves have polished the beach stone into flat round rocks. Wave action has created a very steep beach at about 30º. On the high side of the beach the rocks are about the size of basketballs though flat. As you progress towards the water the stones get progressively smaller until they are about the size of peas, still flat and round. I had to convince the Lady not to load up her pockets and the car with stones. She thought that they would look great on her path at home!

111-Alma NB (02)_watermarked

Waiting for the Tide

From there we went to an attractive seaside town of Alma and watched the fishermen waiting for the tide to come in so that they could get their boats out of the harbour. Throughout this area the harbours go dry when the tide is out so the boats have to be tied up securely so they won’t tip. The tides will rise and fall 14 metres (45 feet) here, the equivalent of a five storey building, twice a day. It takes 6 hours and 13 minutes for the tide to go out and the same time coming in so a complete cycle takes 12 hours and 25 minutes.

Harvey Bank Park

Harvey Bank Park

After leaving Alma we backtracked a bit to a place called Harvey Bank. Harvey Bank is at the mouth of a one-time river that used to be wide enough to allow wooden ships to go upriver to the town of Riverside-Albert (2 kilometres). In the early 1800’s at the site of Harvey Bank, a Mr. Harvey started a wooden ship building business and built many of Canada’s wooden trading ships. His shipyard was very successful until the advent of steel ships. Acadian farmers were living in the area and they had slowly been building dikes and reclaiming the land from the sea and tide. When the shipyard eventually closed the river was dammed and that dramatically changed the flow of the river, turning it almost creek-like.

127-Donkey_watermarked

Again, throughout this area you can see acres and acres of land that had been reclaimed by the Acadians. The land that still remains as farmland seems marginal and mostly used for grazing. Over the many years, the dikes have deteriorated and the farmlands have reverted back to marshland. Conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited have been working to get these marshlands back to their healthy state in order to become wetland homes for waterfowl.

Nova Scotia House

Nova Scotia House

Old House

Old House

We then made our way back to Sackville, New Brunswick (after a brief period of the Man getting lost in Moncton) and stayed on the edge of the 15 hectare Tantramar/Sackville Marshlands. The town of Sackville was first laid out in 1762-63 and once again the Man and Lady were drooling over the beautiful old buildings. I can tell you, it is NOT pleasant riding in a hot muggy car with 2 drooling humans. They keep trying to use me as a wipe up rag!

Joggins, Nova Scotia

Today we made our way into Nova Scotia. The Man & Lady are planning to stay on the coast as much as possible no matter how small the road. Again the weather wasn’t too cooperative this morning with showers and some fog. The first stop was Joggins. The claim to fame for Joggins is the discovery in 1851 of a very rich fossil bed. The discovery was made by Sir Charles Lyell (a friend of Darwin) and Sir William Dawson, a famous Canadian geologist.

We parked on top of a small bank and walked down about 30 steps to the beach. All along the beach eroded sedimentary cliffs line the shoreline. The strong tides are constantly breaking the rock apart revealing coal seams and fossilized plants and animals. The beach is littered with broken rock which the Man and Lady picked through while I tried eating the seaweed – YUCK. It seems that seaweed, in particular dulse, is a favourite of the locals. You can buy bags of dulse in most stores right along side the potato chips. The Lady tried some and said that although quite salty, she liked it.

The hunt for fossils wasn’t too successful though the Lady may have found a little plant fossil. The two of them seemed to have fun pretending they were archaeologists while I decided that I will definitely stay away from seafood. From there we drove west along Chignecto Bay to Apple River then south to Advocate Harbour for lunch. Advocate is one of the oldest villages in Atlantic Canada being settled by the Acadians who again reclaimed many hectares surrounding the town using dykes.

From there we headed up a very rough, steep dirt road to the top of Cape d’Or which was supposed to have a spectacular view but once again the fog moved in and so the Man took pictures of white fluffy clouds which I liked a lot cause they looked like me. Unfortunately he didn’t keep any of the pictures.

Late this afternoon we arrived in a very picturesque town of Parrsboro which is considered one of the hottest fossil spots in North America. In 1984, Eldon George was seeking shelter under a rock outcropping when he noticed a shallow pool of water. In the bottom he found 28 perfect footprints of the world’s smallest dinosaur. In 1986, a biologist and a geologist discovered more than 100,000 pieces of fossilized bones from various species.

Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbour. Inside the very large breakwater was all dry with the tide still going out so we may take a look tomorrow afternoon to see how it looks at high tide.

We’re also hoping to go to a provincial park called Five Island Park which is supposed to have some dramatic scenery. Hopefully the fog won’t be a problem!

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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