It poured rain overnight in Digby, but there was a yellow sun shining through the clouds when we got up at 7:30. We spent the night at Harmony B & B in Digby. Wayne and Helen have run their B & B for 14 years, year-round. They have four bedrooms in their house and they are the B & B part, but Wayne figured that would not be a sufficient money-maker; they would have to do all the work themselves. They had a large lawn behind their house so they built four suites at the back. These are the money-maker units that provide the income to hire staff to clean the units. They rent the suites out all winter to people in town on business. In the summer all the B & B rooms in the house and the four suites are rented every day. Digby is a very popular place to visit. We had a lovely room with a comfortable bed and a good breakfast to start our day. I couldn’t imagine doing that all year-round for 14 years, but they like it. Wayne said they are on the “Freedom 85” plan.
Since we were unable to see all of the things that interested us in Annapolis-Royal yesterday we drove back up the road to see the Historic Garden and Fort Anne. The rain last night was hard on some of the plants and it being August many of the flowers in the garden had finished blooming but it was so nice to walk around a garden and see pretty flowers. I hate gardening (translate: I hate weeding the garden) but I love flowers and I love photographing flowers.
After we walked all the garden paths we drove into Annapolis-Royal and went to see Fort Anne, which is just a block away from the main street.
A Scot named Sir William Alexander was given a charter for New Scotland – Nova Scotia in Latin, the language in which the charter was written – in 1621 to establish a Scottish colony in North America. (There is one of the two surviving copies of the charter in the museum at Fort Anne.) Sir William built Charles Fort (in honour of King Charles 1) at the present Fort Anne Historic Site in 1629 and the ruins of Charles Fort have been found under Fort Anne.
The earthworks here are the earliest Canadian example of a Vauban-style fort (He is the French fellow that came up with the star-shaped fort) and were built by the French in 1702. Fort Anne is the oldest national historic site in Canada, designated in 1917. It also holds the title for most-contested piece of land in Canada having been the object of 13 battles and a change of hands 7 times (back and forth between the British and the French).
The gunpowder magazine built into the ground on the left is the only original structure of the fort.
After the defeat of the French with the fall of Quebec in 1751 the commander at Fort Anne surrendered to the British and handed over the key to the fort (300 ill-provisioned, weary French soldiers that had not been paid in a year facing 3500 fresh British troops). The honking-big original key is in the museum.
They also have 4 tapestry panels that depict major events in the life of the fort – 1 panel for each century in the history of the fort. They were made by over 120 volunteers in 1994 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada.
After we left Fort Anne we drove back to Digby to drive the spit of land that runs parallel to the coast for 35 km called the Digby Neck anticipating the advertised ‘breathtaking scenery.’ Not – 33 km of trees beside the road with the occasional glimpse of a bay. We did take a couple of photos on the way back, but that was an hour of my life I will never get back.
From there it was a meandering drive along the coast to Yarmouth on the SW end of Nova Scotia. Tomorrow we start our drive along the southern coast and up to Sydney for our ferry across to Newfoundland on August 18.