Our trip August to November 2012 (September 21-25)

September 25

A “Barry” Good Buggy Ride and The Attack of the Killer Picnic Table

We went back into Peggy’s Cove (35 permanent residents) for breakfast under a cloudless blue sky.

Peggy’s Cove

Here is our Indian Harbour campsite from last night:

King Neptune Campground

The drive to Lunenburg is along a road that hugs the coastline, and runs past one picturesque little harbour community after another. In Lunenburg (the only town in North America to have a Unesco Heritage Site designation), we took a horse and buggy ride around the town. Meet Barry, who has phobias about street sewer grates and garbage trucks:

Barry

It was a lovely and informative tour. Before leaving town, we went to see the newly renovated Bluenose II, a project 3 years and many millions of $ in the making. She will be launched this Saturday, with 50,000 people expected to descend on this lovely little town. Her masts will be installed once she is in the water.

Bluenose II

We drove across to Digby and checked into the Digby campground. Once in the site, we decided to sit at the picnic table, side by each, to look at a map. The picnic table took exception to the seating arrangement, and promptly turned over on us, pinning us underneath. Fortunatley, no serious injuries were sustained, other than to our collective dignity. We made ourselves feel better by going into town for a burger and beer, counted ourselves luckier than this fellow:

Up early tomorrow to catch the 8:00 ferry to Saint John, then on to Bar Harbor.

September 24

Nightmare on Water Street (You can’t get there from here)

The sun actually returned for about half the day today, as we headed for Peggy’s Cove via Halifax. We wanted to visit the Marine Museum of the Atlantic down on Water Street by the port, but it turned into a bit of an adventure. When we reached Water Street, the GPS tried to have me turn right, not recognizing that it is a one-way street going the other way. After turning left to take another run at it, we had to navigate construction, tour buses (a cruise ship had just docked), pedestrians and bicycles, all on an already narrow street that nonetheless still allows parking on one side. We finally managed to park and spent a couple of hours visiting the museum, focusing mainly on the Halifax Explosion and Titanic exhibits:

Original deck chair from Titanic (seat has been re-caned)

Only complete piece of cabinetry saved from Titanic

“Unknown Child” story

Shoes of the” Unknown Child”

Before leaving Halifax, we visited the Titanic section of the Fairview Cemetery:

Burial site of some of the bodies recovered the night of the sinking

“Unknown Child” Memorial

We carried on to Peggy’s Cove, where Jeannine enjoyed (sort of) her first lobster dinner:

“Claws; just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water”

We stayed to watch the most spectacular sunset we have seen yet:

Peggy’s Cove Sunset

We stopped to visit the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, which is quite moving.

Swissair Memorial

We carried on to Indian Harbour and established camp next to the water just as darkness and rain fell. We plan to go back to Peggy’s Cove tomorrow, then on to Digby.

September 23

A “Reel” Good Time and Following The Trail

We greatly enjoyed the Ceilidh at the St. Mark’s Parish Hall last night:

St. Mark’s Parish Hall, Baddeck NS

Gabrielle on fiddle, and her husband Tom provided two hours of toe-tapping local music, including a number of jigs and reels. Our hostess Nancy (who is involved with the local l’Arche community), then solicited 4 couples from the audience to learn a couple of reels. We volunteered and managed not to screw up too badly; it was actually a lot of fun.

Gabrielle and Tom

Today dawned cloudy, rainy and foggy, so we made ourselves feel better by making our first stop at a Tim Horton’s since we left over a month ago; hard to believe it has been that long already!

Before joining the actual Cabot Trail, we took the Englishtown cable ferry. As you can see, it crosses a large body of water. Crossing time 2 minutes:

(Why don’t they just build a bridge? – is anybody listening?)

The first hour or so on the Cabot Trail produced spectacular views like this:

There is ocean out there somewhere

Gulf of St. Lawrence side, looking towards Cheticamp

We stopped for lunch at Cheticamp in a nice little seaside restaurant, then returned to the campsite. We will be heading for Peggy’s Cove tomorrow.

September 22

A Little Tea with Rita and Calling on Mr. Bell

Weather today is not much better than yesterday; we have simply traded less fog for more rain. However this is September and this is Cape Breton, so we go with what we’ve got. We bid farewell to Marilyn this morning and headed for Baddeck.

Jeannine and Marilyn

A beautiful drive, notwithstanding the weather. We made a stop at Big Pond and had tea at Rita McNeil’s Teahouse:

Teahouse from outside

Teahouse from inside

It’s a lovely little place, originally a one-room school. It is full of memorabilia, including copies of all of her platinum album awards, Gemini awards, and even her Order of Nova Scotia and Order of Canada. She has a home right above the teahouse, and a house down below on Bras d’Or Lake. She grew up in Big Pond, and spends as much time here as she can when not touring.

When we arrived in Baddeck, we stopped in at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. It is an impressive showcase of his life and inventions, very well organized and with lots of films and video clips covering all aspects of his life. Like most people, I knew he invented the telephone, but was astounded by the sheer range of his other inventions and interests. He is described as an “amateur inventor”, meaning that unlike Edison, he tended to lose interest in his inventions once they reached the stage of commercialization. What we also liked about the museum was that there is a lot of attention paid to the lifelong love story between he and his wife, despite their significant age difference (she being much younger), accentuated by the fact that she survived him by only 5 months. This was definitely worth the visit.

View of Baddeck Bay and St. Patrick’s Channel from above the museum

We are going to a Ceilidh at the Baddeck Community Hall tonight, then attempting to follow the entire Cabot Trail tomorrow, returning to Baddeck tomorrow night. For now, we’re going to try a Rain Dance in hopes of better weather!

September 21

The Long and Winding Road

Woke up this morning to fairly thick fog. After breakfast, we headed for Fort Louisbourg, the biggest restoration of a historic site ever undertaken in North America. We followed the Fleur de Lis Trail, aptly named because it really is more of a trail than a road, badly maintained, full of curves and one lane bridges which occur without warning. The 80 kilometre per hour speed signs are for the terminally suicidal. It winds through the Cape Breton wilderness, with the odd village appearing and disappearing before you can blink. The fog persisted throughout our visit to the fort, but it didn’t interfere with our thorough enjoyment of the three hours we spent there. Some buildings and activities were closed, as it is after the tourist season, but it was still a very worthwhile visit.

Some of the cannon used in the defence of Fort Louisbourg

Jeannine buying a loaf of “Soldiers’ Bread”, baked in the original way in stone ovens

Of course, the fog lifted just as we were leaving. We took the same long and winding road back to Marilyn’s, then took her for dinner in a nice hotel restaurant in St. Peters. Tomorrow we leave Back-Ass-End-Of-Beyond, (Lordways), for Baddeck, which will serve as our base campground while we attempt the Cabot Trail on Sunday.

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