MY FAVORITE PLACES – A REVIEW – PART 3

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Our seven-week tour of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada included so much, such variety and so many memories that, if I told you about each and every place, each would lose its significance.  Therefore, I’m going to give you a brief synopsis of a few places that, in my opinion, you won’t want to miss while you’re there.  I’m sure all of these I’ve written about in past episodes, but I’m looking back in retrospect at the ones that stand out the most in my memory.

At the sea, at the sea, at the bottom of the sea -- The Bay of Fundy provides a low-tide spectacle

At the sea, at the sea, at the bottom of the sea — The Bay of Fundy provides a low-tide spectacle

FLOWERPOTS – We were able to see many views of the world-famous Bay of Fundy – this was the “fundiest.” Located at Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, the Hopewell Rocks, also known at “the flowerpots,” are

interesting monolithic outcroppings visible in their entirety at low tide.  Six hours later when the water rises more than 40 feet they become tiny offshore islands.  The Bay of Fundy is probably the most famous attraction of the Maritimes, but there is so much more to experience.

THE TATTOO – I was expecting an evening watching a conglomeration of bodies

The Tattoo -- SPECTACULAR!

The Tattoo — SPECTACULAR!

marching around an arena.  Nothing more.  Those expectations fell far short of the spectacular show we witnessed.  Yes, the ranks-and-files did their thing, several times, and each time was a bit of a thrill with marchers wearing traditional uniforms.  There were enjoyable circus acts; vocal numbers by rich-voiced singers (both individually and in choirs); competition among military units; performing police groups, several thousand participants, lights, noises, music, and other sensory sensations to keep everyone entertained.  Officially named the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo held annually in a modern arena in Halifax, the 2014 edition will be July 1-8.  Better get your tickets early.

Dennis is definitely enjoying the fun. That's me at right, and I'm less joyful. I think the cod, center, is taking it all in stride.

Dennis is definitely enjoying the fun. That’s me at right, and I’m less joyful. I think the cod, center, is taking it all in stride.

SCREECHING IN — If you’re a C.F.A., you will become a Newfie when you kiss the cod at a Screech In.  Our caravan of 45 people whose backgrounds span the gamut from technology to farming, all sorts of folks with different assessments of what is fun – and yet, I doubt if any of them didn’t think the Screech In was A BLAST! Giving you the specifics of the ceremony would diminish the excitement, so I’ll just say that changing from a C.F.A. (we “Come From Away”) to a Newfie (Newfoundlander) is filed in our memory banks forever.

UGLY STICK CONCERTS — As we walked into the Prime Berth Fishing Museum, I glanced at the collection of broomsticks with tin cans on top and boots at the base.  An

I wasn't prepared to see Ugly Sticks at the center of the entertainment, so I shot this scene with my IPhone camera.

I wasn’t prepared to see Ugly Sticks at the center of the entertainment, so I shot this scene with my IPhone camera.

hour later when I saw the sheer joy in Monique’s eyes as she banged out an Ugly Stick percussion accompaniment to local Bill’s guitar-playing, I suggested that we buy one.  And when fellow-traveler Ron bought one, Monique proposed that they play a concert at that evening’s Fantasy Tours caravan barbeque and potluck. That was the start of something big and spontaneous.  We took turns thumping the Ugly Sticks, with even the most laid-back of the group movin’ his feet when forced to join the music-making.

After five more members of the troupe bought Ugly Sticks, the ensemble performed several times after that, including with a band that was playing at an RV park days later on Prince Edward Island, wishing that they had discovered this homiest of rhythm instruments earlier.  The band had never heard of Ugly Sticks, but I’m certain that by now it’s part of their selection of instruments.

Elizabeth LaFort's hook rug work is a delight.

Elizabeth LaFort’s hook rug work is a delight.

THE CABOT TRAIL – This two-lane road undulates as it plies its way on Cape Breton Island, on the northeastern part of Nova Scotia.  It goes on and on, embracing the coastline for mile after mile, and cuts across the interior.  We were aboard a tour bus, appreciative that our driver was contending with the steep grades and narrow highway.  We stopped at a shop in Cheticamp, where they make and sell masks.  It was much more interesting that we expected – Monique bought two to decorate for our Mardi Gras in California celebration.  The next stop was up the road at a museum featuring hook rugs and tapestries in the Elizabeth LeFort Gallery. Impressive!  Honestly, the ride was long and the scenery repetitive, but it’s worth devoting a few miles to the historic section of the island.

I NEEDED HER! — I’ve been an Anne Murray fan since the ‘80s.  Apparently she has

A few of Anne Murray's Platinum Records - Quite a collection

A few of Anne Murray’s Platinum Records – Quite a collection

other fans, too, based on the exhibition of her numerous platinum albums, as displayed in the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia.  I was absolutely amazed realizing the scope of her success, as shown by decades in the twisting galleries.

ANOTHER TIME IN ANOTHER PLACE — A Newfoundlandism of interest:  this province, which includes Labrador, is a half-hour ahead of Atlantic Time, which is an hour ahead of Eastern Time.  What I haven’t mentioned in this synopsis is the beauty, wildlife and history elements of what we experienced.  The Atlantic Provinces are much more than attractions, as I’ll try to convey in the next edition.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

GETTING TO KNOW THE LOCALS

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

 

The famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, sitting atop "erratic" rock formations

The famous lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, sitting atop “erratic” rock formations

I’m not much for giving you statistics, but here are two about the “Never-Boreds::  1) we have gone more than 10,000 miles since beginning this trip in California on March 19, and

Monique's photo in Lunenburg

Monique’s photo in Lunenburg

2) we have stopped for at least one night in 450 places since 2006 – ranging from National Parks and private campgrounds to Walmarts and friends’ driveways.

Now for some additional Canadian phenomena. We use diesel in our truck, so I rarely pay much attention to the gas prices, but my recent research indicates that diesel is running 1 cent less per liter than gasoline.  What does that mean to 10-gallon-hat wearing Americans?  3.8 liters equals a gallon, so it means if you buy 3.8 liters of gas or diesel at $1.285 per liter, you’re paying about $4.88 per gallon.  But what the heck, it’s beautiful up here in Nova Scotia.  Oh, incidentally, the Canadian and U.S. dollars are about the same right now.

When Monique’s brother from France traveled with us in the American West, he noted how many places flew the Stars & Stripes … “You don’t see that many flags in France,” he told us.  In these Atlantic provinces of Canada, I think we see more red maple leaf flags and symbols fluttering in the breeze than stars and bars in America.  HOWEVER, go to New Orleans and you’ll see Saints emblems everywhere; in Beantown, it’s “Boston Strong”; in Big D, it’s that dark blue star of the Cowboys; and in small towns, it’s the local Mustangs or Bulldogs.  Since entering Canada two weeks ago, I can’t recall any team flags or banners flying.

And now Monique’s favorite. Thanks to the mighty glaciers of the Ice Age, Nova Scotia is a land of coves, beautiful inlets surrounded by spruce, fir, maple and alder trees and colorful little houses with piers stretching into the water. Boats, too, are colorful, with glistening reds, blues and greens.  In every cove and every harbor are sailboats and fishing boats, plus a few pleasure craft and speed hulls.  And most scenic of all are the small islands in the water.  Some are wooded or at least bushy; others are rocks piled high with seagulls atop scanning the waves for the day’s lunch.

Before moving on to the travelogue part of today’s article, I have to mention the enjoyment we have gotten from chatting with … more often listening to … the locals.  These folks have opinions, which they are more than willing to share with us once we’ve become very close friends, a process that seems to take about two minutes.  Without dwelling on their diatribes, I’ll just mention that I can usually bond with the locals by just suggesting that because we are paying 13 percent sales tax to support their government, that entitles us to complain about road bumps.  It’s like saying among a bunch of RVers, “You’ll never guess what our GPS did to us today!”  Immediately the stories roll off the tongue.

Now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, let’s talk about the coastal towns we’ve visited in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

We spent one day at the village of Peggy’s Cove, which consists of a lighthouse towering above huge white rocks, a restaurant, several houses and shanties, and a memorial to Swissair 111 that crashed off the shore in 1998, all framed by massive boulders.  Most of all, it is a cove with a spectacular view – made even better by the first sunny weather we’ve seen in a week.  One day at our bayside campground was not enough, but the caravan moved on to Halifax Saturday morning.

Soon after we pulled into our RV site, we realized another rig would back up behind us in the long pull-through.  First thing I said to Chet when he descended from his Southwind

At left, the view of Peggy's Cove from our rear window; at right, the view of Chet's pictures.

At left, the view of Peggy’s Cove from our rear window; at right, the view of Chet’s pictures.

was “We were hoping for a rig with a painting of Peggy’s Cove on the back.  We left for a few minutes and when we returned, what we saw through our rear window was six of his photos from Peggy’s Cove.  Very cool!

Ah, fond memories.  Prior to Peggy’s Cove, we spent three days in Lunenburg, a neat little seaside town, famous as the home of the “Bluenose,” which was the most famous racing fishing boat, whose glorious deeds we learned about at the local fisheries museum.  Then we wandered down the street to the wharf where the Bluenose II is being built.  I suggest that if you don’t have Lunenburg on your list of “must see” places, you take a few minutes to look up the Bluenose online.  Not the same as being there, but you can’t see everything.

The serenity of Blue Rocks

The serenity of Blue Rocks

Blue Rocks near Lunenburg was a highlight.  We looked forward to seeing rocks that were blue, which they are if your have a strong imagination, but the boulders and outcroppings weren’t the feature that made it memorable.  It’s an area of peacefulness where water lapped gently up against the rocks during our exploration.  The cottages are colorful and interesting.  The people we spoke with very welcoming to visitors.

Our knowledge of the history and culture of the area continues to expand.  When people ask if I’ve gotten any good photos, my response is often, “How can you miss around here?”

Sunset at Peggy's Cove. Note the lighthouse at right.

Sunset at Peggy’s Cove. Note the lighthouse at right.

While at Peggy’s Cove, 90-year-old Kay Richardson, our hostess at the campground, told us of the heroic efforts of the fishermen and Coast Guard after the crash of Swissair 111.  She then invited us into her house so she could to get to know “her guests” better.  There, we saw paintings by some of her often-returning campers that depicted scenes along shorelines surrounding the campground in a special quiet beauty.

The colorful view at Lunenburg harbor

The colorful view at Lunenburg harbor

A few days earlier, Monique and I turned into “Ketchy” National Park [that’s my pronunciation of “Kejimkuji’jk”] – and what an unexpected stopover that turned out to be.  After walking through the visitors center, we wandered out the back door toward a bridge and a woodland trail.   The trail, only one kilometer long (about two-thirds of a mile), took us to Mills Falls.  There we were awed by the torrents of whitewater cascading over and around boulders in a wilderness setting.  It was another highlight that we couldn’t convey adequately to our fellow travelers, who had sped by the park entrance without realizing what lay beyond its guardhouse.

What we’ve seen of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces in the past three weeks since the start of the caravan is not what I would call exciting in an active sense.  Yet, in the passive sense of seeing scenery of constant beauty, it’s been a worthy adventure.

And finally, reader David Violette trued my compass when he noted that New Brunswick is

Getting a view from the bridge used in the Jesse Stone TV series are Mary and John Rohde. (The bridge is on public land, but the island is private property.)

Getting a view from the bridge used in the Jesse Stone TV series are Mary and John Rohde. (The bridge is on public land, but the island is private property.)

east of Maine, not north.  And I found it totally confusing when the direction indicator in our truck said we were going southeast from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia … and yet, it’s true.  Quite a revelation to someone who has always thought of Canada as our northern neighbor.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” Well see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved