2014 Sep 20 – Day 93 – Fredericton, NB to St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, NB

Today was an exciting day.  I found proof of my theory that rocks blow out the asphalt in roads just like the mushrooms blow out the asphalt on my driveway!


Almost ready to pop.  You can see the rise in the road made by the rock. IMG_0670 IMG_0668Also, with every day that passes we see more and more colour in the forests.  Things are starting to get very pretty.  The yellows will probably be the last colour to appear but even gold with the frequent orange and red will look very nice.

IMG_0673 IMG_0674 IMG_0675 IMG_0676We left Fredericton and drove 112 km west and north to the little town of Hartland.  We did this for only one reason; well, two reasons.  The number one reason was to see the longest covered bridge in the world.  Number two reason was to enjoy some more New Brunswick scenery, which we did by following the St. John River via Highways 102 and 105 rather than Route 2, the freeway.  We were displeased to find the bridge closed to traffic as we wanted to cross it.  John said he wanted to drive across so he could sneak a kiss.

IMG_0647 IMG_0649Covered bridges were called ‘kissing bridges’ because they were enclosed and young couples out for a drive could sneak a kiss without any parents or nosy neighbours as witnesses.  The bridges were really covered to protect the wood decks from rain, snow and ice.

IMG_0651 IMG_0652After photographing the bridge we crossed the St. John River on a longer newer bridge and drove back down the other side of the river on the freeway.  We had planned to turn off at the small town of Canterbury and follow route 630 south to Andersonville but the road turned to gravel within a couple of km.  We were not going to go 40 km on a gravel road so we retraced our route and picked up the freeway again as far as Longscreek which is only about 30 km from Fredericton!  Then we took Highway 3 to Highway 1 to St. George.

At St. George the Masgaguadavic River flows through a very narrow gorge.  This gorge has been dammed for hydroelectric power and the water just roars through it.  At the other end of the gorge the bridge has a pedestrian walkway with an opening on each side that allows you to cross to the gorge side and stand on a little jutting platform to take photos.  Rather nice of them I thought! (Of course it was probably done in self defence to prevent an accident caused by inattentive people walking on the narrow bridge.)

IMG_0677 IMG_0680 IMG_0684 We took a little drive around St. George before heading out.  St. George is called The Granite Town for their red granite quarry.  Stone from this quarry was used on many projects, such as the Parliament Building in Ottawa and a cathedral in Boston.


It was an 18 km drive west along the coast from St. George to St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea.  St. Andrew’s was settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1783 following the American Revolution.  Many of their houses were dismantled, barged across the river from Castine, Maine and reassembled.  More than 250 homes in the historic district are 100 to more than 200 years old.  Main Street is 8 -10 blocks long of beautiful buildings and the houses stretch back for 4 -5 more blocks.  Many of them have plaques telling when they were built and by whom.  Tomorrow we explore.

When we arrived in St. Andrew’s we chanced upon the West Point Blockhouse, one of the few remaining blockhouses in Canada.  It was damaged in a fire in 1993 but the citizens and Parks Canada (it is a National Historic Site) repaired it.  It  was built by the community to protect themselves from privateers during the War of 1812-14.

IMG_0700 IMG_0694 IMG_0695 IMG_0697 IMG_0701 IMG_0702John makes all our hotel reservations and I was wondering why he had booked us into a B & B when there were so many hotels available (St. Andrew’s has long been a holiday resort town).  When we located the Inn on Frederick and opened the door to our room I knew why.  Gorgeous place. It is huge with nine guest rooms.  The Inn is owned and run by a young Korean family who came to Canada 5 years ago and settled in St. Andrew’s after spending an hour having lunch here.  Jay would like to move west in about five years – for the fishing!

CAM00151 CAM00152 CAM00153 IMG_0703

2014 Sep 19 – Day 92 – Fredericton, NB

Today was just a wandering around day.  We are in the Capital city of New Brunswick so, of course, we had to go to see the Legislative Assembly Building.  The original Province House burned in 1880 and was replaced in 1882 with the current building.  They offer a self-guided tour, which means you can wander around all you like – which we did.

IMG_0549 IMG_0560 IMG_0569 IMG_0571This unsupported spiral staircase winds up three stories – which in reality is about five stories because all the ceilings are so high.IMG_0572 IMG_0578There was a group of women at work in the Council Chamber preparing papers for the upcoming Provincail election which will be held in New Brunswick on Monday.  Within the month they also will have a new Lieutenant Governor, the first aboriginal LG.  And the Anglican Church – Christ Church Cathedral – is installing a new bishop on Saturday.  Lots of changes in the next while here.

IMG_0600After we toured the Legislative Building we walked over to see Christ Church Cathedral.  We met a lady, originally from Toronto, who was putting new flower arrangements in the sanctuary for the Installation of the new Bishop.  She chatted to us for about 20 minutes.  It is a lovely Gothic church, a replica of St. Mary’s Church in Snettisham, Norfolk, England.  It has many stained glass windows, a pipe organ and the most beautiful dark wood ceiling.

IMG_0602 IMG_0603 IMG_0606 IMG_0608Then we wandered all around the riverfront Garrison Historic District.  Many of these heritage buildings are being used for other purposes than those for which they were built.  At the Officer’s Square  in front of the old barracks, now the city museum, there are changing of the guard parades all summer.




The Barracks, now the museumIMG_0614 IMG_0616  Sports Hall of FameIMG_0622  The Hall of JusticeIMG_0623  City HallIMG_0624 IMG_0626  The Former Armoury.

I wanted to go to the Beaverbrook Gallery.  I have heard of this art gallery and the large collection compiled by Lord Beaverbrook. They have a large collection of  the Canadian Group of Seven, and works by Gainsborough and Turner. Unfortunately none of them were on display right now.  They had several other artist’s work though so we wandered around all the rooms. Some we liked, some we didn’t.  But that is the way with art.  Some pieces make you shake your head and others touch your soul.  No photos allowed of course.

We drove to the edge of town to Government House, the home of the Lieutenant Governor but we arrived just when the last tour was coming out of the building.  It is supposed to be open until 5 and no explanation was given as to why they closed early today.  It was a lovely Palladian mansion built between  1826-28 as the vice-regal residence for New Brunswick.  It was later used as a veteran’s hospitial and also by the RCMP from 1934-1988 until it was restored as the LG’s residence.  I would love to have seen the inside.

IMG_0628 IMG_0632We drove back into down town to climb to the observation tower of the Lighthouse on the Green.  All of Fredericton is pay parking – meters or lots – and John had put most of his coins in the meter by the Legislative Building.  He fished out some nickels and dimes and brought the meter up to 20 minutes.  We just had to cross the street and climb the stairs to see the view so we thought that would give us enough time.  Well, we had lots of time because it was closed and the stairway access was boarded up.

IMG_0636Fredericton is not a large city, about 50,000.  St. John has always been the largest city due to it’s harbour.  It is over 70,000.  None of the cities in the Maritimes are large compared to Toronto, or Montreal or Vancouver.  Even Kelowna is larger than most of the biggest cities here.  This is fine for me as I dislike all the traffic and congestion in large cities.

And the people are so friendly.  They always seem to have the time to have a chat and ask where we are from and how long we are staying and to welcome us to their community.  I have really enjoyed the Maritimes; the scenery, the history, and the residents.

They always say in New Brunswick and Newfoundland, “Watch out for the moose, they are everywhere.”  Well we saw 7 of them but the thing that is everywhere in all four Maritime provinces are cemeteries.  They really are everywhere.  This makes sense since the area was ‘discovered’ by John Cabot in 1497 and seasonal fishing went on from then and settlement began in the mid-1600’s.  That is a lot of generations laid to rest by every community and homestead.

We have two more days in New Brunswick and then we cross over into Maine to make our way to Niagara Falls and then home.  Boo hoo.


2014 Sep 18 – Day 91 – St. John, NB to Fredericton, NB

Today we drove from here:IMG_0455

to here:     IMG_0540

IMG_0456 IMG_0457We drove the less traveled road, Route 102, paralleling the St. John River.  We stopped for ice cream at Gagetown where Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, one of the Father’s of Confederation was born.  We didn’t go through the house. We have toured quite a few houses this trip.  We are now at a point where we have almost seen as many lighthouses, heritage villages and Victorian houses as we need.  There may be a few left, but not many.

After Gagetown we arrived at Oromocto and the home of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, one of the largest military training areas in the British Commonwealth.  It is home to the New Brunswick Military Museum.  Unknowingly we entered the base through a secondary entrance and it took awhile to locate the museum. Once we did we had a very enjoyable 2 hours.  The museum has artifacts, uniforms, and memorabilia dating from the 1700’s to the present day.  Everything relates to military operations or engagements by New Brunswickers.  We were 2/3 around the main floor and a young soldier who is working on a WWI trench exhibit showed us that under many of the uniform display cases the drawers held items of interest as well.  That doubled our time at the museum as I had to go back to the beginning and check out all the drawers!IMG_0538 IMG_0461Everything that follows from this point on is military history and information.  You may want to skip it and go directly to the end.  We had a great time.  I have no idea if you will care.

The museum displays, funny enough, moved in chronological order counter-clockwise around the room.  I have only put in pics of the uniforms – mostly – as they tell the stories very well.  Here goes:IMG_0467 IMG_0468

Between 1717 and 1764 the 40th Regiment of Foot fought French Marine regulars, Maliceel warriors and Acadian Militiamen.


The brown uniform on the right is that of a French Marine soldier.

After the American Revolutionary War thousands of people still loyal to Britain (hence the name Loyalists) fled the US and came to Canada.  About 5,000 settled New Brunswick, including the New Jersey Volunteers.  They  fought with the British during the War of 1812 and most of the New Jersey Volunteers settled in the Fredericton area.  Others received land grants in Fundy and along the St. John River Valley.

IMG_0469 IMG_0470

50,000 British North Americans served in both Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War, including thousands of New Brunswickers – three of whom were awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor in the USA.




The most unique New Brunswick soldier was Sarah Emma Edmonds, who, posing as a man. and served in the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Regiment as Private Franklin Thompson!




Next was the Yukon Field Force. During the Yukon Gold Rush about 130 members of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry went to the gold fields to assist the Northwest Mountain Police maintain order and uphold the law from 1898-1900.


The second Anglo-Boer war took place in South Africa between 1898 and 1900 and Canadian troops were sent overseas.  Three New Brunswickers died in the Battle of Paardeburg, a major British victory.


During WWI a New Brunswick fellow served as an Observer with the Royal Flying Corp.  His uniform is on the left and a Midshipman’s Mess Dress uniform is on the right.  (Some of the uniforms in the cases were reproductions but it was surprising how many – even very old ones – were original and the owners known.


When Britain (and Canada) declared war on Germany in 1939 many Americans came across our border and enlisted, even though the USA was not involved in the war until after Pearl Harbour in 1941. Special uniform patches were made to acknowledge their nationality.  Many different patches were created for the different branches of the service and the different roles played by the Americans.


The museum also displayed German Infantry uniforms (21st Panzer Division and a Corporal in the Luftwaffe Field Division), guns, currency and field kits.

IMG_0498 IMG_0508

Also Japanese soldiers from the War in the Pacific.


These are airplane identification playing cards that an airman can keep in his kit for study and reference.  Pretty ingenious, I thought.



The Canadian Black Watch was created in 1953.  This is the tartan our son wore for his wedding in Scotland last year.

Canadians also served in the Vietnam War.  This I did not know.  Displayed was a Viet-cong pith helmet that was covered with bamboos stips.

IMG_0531Outside were quite a few armored vehicles and assorted types of tanks.  My favorite was nicknamed a ‘Ferret.’   It was a squat little thing that was used for reconnaisance.  It would be a fabulous off-road toy.

IMG_0534 IMG_0536 IMG_0537 IMG_0460

 This is the Ferret.

And that, my friends, is a VERY abbreviated look at the New Brunswick Military Museum.

Oh, one other thing – I spotted this in the lobby of our hotel in Fredericton:


I couldn’t agree more!

2014 Sep 17 – Day 90 – St. John, NB

Today was a total mixed bag.  We saw nature, history, and horticulture.  It was a full day, but a very enjoyable one.  And, as you can see from the photos, it was a lovely sunny day in St. John.

After breakfast we began to work through our list.  First – Fort Howe Lookout.  Since the sun was shining we decided to see the panoramic views of St. John in case clouds rolled in later.  There is a replicated wooden blockhouse at the site of Fort Howe and, yes, the view was pretty nice today.

IMG_0275 IMG_0283 IMG_0278 IMG_0279 IMG_0280 IMG_0282 IMG_0289We wanted to see the Firefighter’s Museum which is housed in an 1840 firestation downtown. They had artifacts and information about the Great Fire of St. John in 1877.  Unfortunately it was locked up.  There were no signs or anything on the door.  Too bad. it would have been interesting.  St. John has had about 4 devastating fires in it’s history.

IMG_0290Since we were downtown we decided to wander awhile.  We made our way down several blocks to the river pier where two cruise ships were berthed, then climbed the hilly streets up again. We rounded a corner and there was Barbour’s General Store.  This was a little museum set up like a nineteenth century general store.  It contains over 2000 artifacts.  My information said it would be closed so I was pleased to be able to go in and have a look.  After that we made our way back to King’s Square where Poppy was parked.

IMG_0304                                       Trinity Anglican Church  – 1783

IMG_0303 IMG_0307

IMG_0311IMG_0317 IMG_0315 IMG_0314Low tide at the Reversing Falls was at 1:27 pm so we had Stella take us back to the observation point in time to see the water run under the bridge in the other direction.  When Samuel Champlain arrived here with 100 settlers he was impressed with the deep harbour and surrounding area but the leader of the expedition and the others with Champlain feared the reversing falls (actually more like rushing white water, although there is a lot going on under the surface when the river and ocean water’s collide twice a day) and refused to settle here.

IMG_0323 IMG_0325IMG_0330 IMG_0335After watching the river empty into the bay we departed for the Carleton Martello Tower.  We had wanted to investigate one of these towers in Quebec City but they had an Ipad system you carried around and used to touch the bars and it would bring up the information. Supposedly.   Didn’t work worth a darn and I just gave up, looked around at stuff and left.  This National Historic Site had a good presentation of the various significant events in the life of the tower and a great 10 minute film.

Britain built over 200 Martello towers in England and many others in her various colonies.  The towers are round with a single solid column in the middle that supports the arched roof.  They are two stories and housed about 12 men.  Entry was gained through the second floor and the first floor, accessed only from inside, housed the magazine where the cannon balls and gun powder were stored.

IMG_0336 IMG_0344

IMG_0346 IMG_0348 IMG_0349 IMG_0350Most of the Martello towers were built near a coast to protect harbours but the St. John one and the Quebec City one were constructed to protect against invasion by land.  The construction design was ‘borrowed’ from the French after a similar tower in Martello, Corsica successfully resisted British attack: smooth round cannon balls just bounce off the thick round walls. (Martello Towers became obsolete in about 50 years once rifling the bore of cannons became commonplace.  This would cause the bullet-shaped shell to spin and it would subsequently cause tremendous damage)

During WWII when the Carleton Martello Tower was already designated a National Historic Site the army arrived one day and added two stories of concrete bunker on the top of the tower.  Needless to say Parks Canada was unimpressed but it was during a World War and the army had the authority.  The trouble is the army won’t remove it except by blowing the whole tower up so it is still there.  We were able to go to the top and there was a fabulous view.

IMG_0354 IMG_0365 IMG_0371 IMG_0378The final item on our list was The Public Garden.  I know it is getting late in the growing season to see many blooming flower beds but we had the time so I wanted to go see what I could see.  The Public Garden was opened in 1893 and is a lovely spot to sit and soak up the sun; which we did.

IMG_0398 IMG_0400 IMG_0382 IMG_0383 IMG_0384 IMG_0386 IMG_0390 IMG_0396 IMG_0405 IMG_0408 IMG_0410 IMG_0420 IMG_0424 IMG_0427 IMG_0428 IMG_0429After photographing the flowers we sat in Poppy for a bit to rest our feet.  John checked out the map for future routes and I read my book  then we drove back to the Reversing Falls to view the reversal of the water.   Between high tide and low, and low tide and high there is a point in time called the Slack when the water becomes still and quiet because it has all moved in the one direction or the other.  After that moment the tide shifts and the water moves the other direction.  It was pretty cool to see happen.

IMG_0437 IMG_0434

2014 Sep 16 – Day 89 – Moncton, NB to St. John, NB

We had a repreive from the 6 am wake up call.  Just as I was about to climb into bed last night I remembered that the sign at Hopewell Rocks said: Hours 9 am – 5 pm.  There was no point arriving  1 1/2 hours before the place opened.  We got up at 7:30 instead.  We knew the tide would have been going out for about 3 hours by 9 am so were prepared for low water around the Flowerpots.  Unfortunately there was even less water than we expected, but a lot of the ocean floor we walked on yesterday was still underwater this morning.  (Later in the day we found out that even with the place closed people still walk down to the viewpoints.  It is ‘at your own risk.’ but there is no problem. So we could have gone earlier after all.)

IMG_0015  Yesterday afternoonIMG_0119  9 am this morningIMG_0124

IMG_0102 IMG_0105  Daniels Flats yesterday afternoon IMG_0127  Daniels Flats this amIMG_0128 IMG_0129We were not long at the Flowerpots.  Just long enough to walk the kilometer down the steep hills and all the stairs, take a couple of pics and walk back up again.  And this was all before I had my breakfast!

We drove to Fundy National Park (after we had breakfast).  I have heard so much about the world’s highest tides at Fundy that I expected lots of viewpoints overlooking the water.  Not.  Access to the coast or to views of the coast are usually at the end of a 4-11 km hike.  We did do two short walks: the first was through lovely, mossy forest down many, many steps to Dickson Brook and Falls – and back up again.




We saw this ‘chain link’ cloud on the way to Fundy.IMG_0138 IMG_0141 IMG_0143 IMG_0148




I love, love, love the moss.IMG_0153 IMG_0158 IMG_0159 IMG_0161

This rock is completely underwater.  That is how clear the water is.IMG_0164 IMG_0168 IMG_0170


This large red rock is also part of the creek bed

IMG_0173The second was called Shiphaven and we walked through a covered bridge and along the trail, and down a bunch more steps, to the mouth of the Point Wolf river.

IMG_0175 IMG_0176 IMG_0184 IMG_0185

The mouth of the Point Wolf River – at lowering tideIMG_0188





I found my red chairs!



My advice to anyone travelling along the Bay of Fundy is to do the Flowerpots (at low tide), drive staight through Fundy National Park (unless you are an active hiker and want to wander through the Acadian Forest) – and then drive the Fundy Trail which begins at St. Martins on highway 111.

IMG_0191 IMG_0192

I have no idea what was covering this hill side but the colors were lovely.



Covered  bridge at St. Martins.IMG_0197 IMG_0204



The second covered bridge at St. Martins.IMG_0205




Tide is out at the boat basin. IMG_0207 IMG_0210 IMG_0211



The sea caves



The Fundy Trail is not a National Park nor a Provincial Park.  It is operated by a private company and you must pay to access it.  The Trail is 16 km long (they are busy expanding it) and you can drive, bike or hike.  There are numerous viewpoints for the car folks, short to long hikes for the actively fit crowd and 11 parking lots where you can leave your car to bike sections of the trail if you don’t want to do the entire distance in and out again.  And, trust me you would’t want to.  There are hills at 15%, 13% and 10% grade – with hairpin turns.

The sky clouded over as we began and then it started to lightly rain but the views of the Bay of Fundy were still pretty nice and would be fabulous on a sunny day.  We did a whole bunch more walking and ascending and descending flights of stairs.  We really got our exercise today!

IMG_0212 IMG_0219 IMG_0221 IMG_0224 IMG_0225 IMG_0227 IMG_0228 IMG_0232



Interpretive Center LookoutIMG_0241  Long  Beach LookoutIMG_0249


The sea caves on our return.  The tide is coming in.IMG_0251 IMG_0252 IMG_0255  Pretty, pretty rocks.




St. Martin’s boat basin has water now.IMG_0257 IMG_0258 IMG_0261St. Martins is only about 40 km for St. John so after we returned from the end of the Trail we drove into town to find the Reversing Falls.  Stella (our GPS) was programed with the Reversing Falls on Bridge Street.  We tried locating by address and by attraction name and both times Stella led us to the wrong place.  John asked a fellow how to get to the falls and we eventually arrived about 20 minutes before high tide.  There is a restaurant at the visitors center there (on Bridge Road) and we watched the water while we had dinner.  The amount of water and the speed that the tide flows into the St. John River is pretty amazing, but other than a lot of eddies and ripples there was nothing reversing that I could see.  My info said high tide and low tide.  We found out from our server that the water reverses at the ‘slack’ – mid-way between high tide and low, and low tide and high.  So….tomorrow we need to catch a low tide and a slack tide to really appreciate the effect.  We will be right at home too because the oberservation deck is on top of the restaurant so we can climb some more stairs!

IMG_0263 IMG_0264 IMG_0273


2014 Sep 15 – Day 88 – Moncton, NB

I had three things I wanted to do in Moncton today: The tidal bore, the magnetic hill and the Moncton Museum to see the old Meeting House.  We were one third (and a half) successful.

We drove to the museum.  It is closed on Mondays.  The Free Meeting House is on the grounds of the museum so we could see the building, just not go in.  It was built in 1821 and was the only building for worship in Moncton at the time.  It was built by the community and used by a variety of congregations: Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish until 1963. The Meeting House is the oldest building in Moncton and has the oldest cemetary out back.

IMG_9987 IMG_9989


A peek through the window at the boxed pews.IMG_9995 IMG_9994 Fancy script engraving

Second: We drove to the Magnetic Hill which is located 10 km out of town at the Zoo.  Normally it costs $5.00 to try it but there was no one in the kiosk.  We followed the instructions and John drove to the bottom of the hill, pulled over to the left and parked by the white post.  Then he put Poppy in neutral, took his foot of the brake and the truck reversed itself back up the hill.  It is some kind of optical illusion but you drove down the hill to the post and end up at the top of the hill – no idea how that happens.  An unusual sort of thing.

IMG_9999 IMG_9998The Tidal Bore was not due until the rising tide comes in.  The schedule posted said 3:42 pm – 15-20 minutes either way.  Since it was only late morning we drove 30 km down Route 114 to the Hopewell Rocks.

IMG_0007 The leaves are changing color.  I think we will be blessed with a taste of it by the time we leave the East.  Not the full glory, but a bit.IMG_0008 IMG_0009

We timed our arrival at The Flowerpots perfectly.  The tide was still out which allowed us to go out and walk on the ocean floor.  Everyone had to be back on the steps by 3:15 in order to not get trapped when the tide comes in.  John was way down the shore having just crossed a 6′ wide section of sand and one of the staff came along and said into his radio, “Should be about 38 seconds now.”  John said, “38 seconds?”  “Yep, 38 seconds.”  “I’m outa here,” says John.  And sure enough in seconds that 6′ section of land was under water.

IMG_0015 IMG_0017 IMG_0018 IMG_0022 IMG_0026 IMG_0027 IMG_0039 IMG_0040 IMG_0042



Knotted Wrack RockweedIMG_0044 IMG_0045 IMG_0050 IMG_0053 IMG_0073 IMG_0075 IMG_0078 IMG_0079 IMG_0080 IMG_0083 IMG_0086 IMG_0087 IMG_0090 IMG_0094 IMG_0098  The tide is coming in.IMG_0101


View at Diamond Rock.


We made our way back up to the top and stopped briefly at a couple of observations decks to see how fast the water rose.  Fast.  Then we headed for Moncton to see the Tidal Bore.  We arrived on time – even a few minutes to spare but today was one of the days it came early so we missed it.

IMG_0114 IMG_0115The Tidal Bore happens twice a day with the changing of the tide.  The water flowing out of the Petitcodiac River (nicknamed The Chocolate River because it is always brown from the mud getting stirred up twice a day) meets the water coming in with the rising tide (or vice versus when the tide is going out) and when the waters meet a single large wave is created that flows up the river until it dissipates.  It is sufficient to surf on. A fellow rode it today – but obviously we missed that too.

Still.  It was a lovely day at the Flowerpots and I am very happy we got there a few hours after low tide and were able to walk around. Now here is a shock for you all: we are going to get up early tomorrow – as in 6 am – check out of our hotel right away, and drive back down to see the flowerpot ‘islands’ with the water at high tide.

We planned this route to go to the Bay of Fundy National Park on our way to St. John so it works out well.  Except for the 6 am part.  We both got up early for so many years when we were working that we don’t like doing it now unless we absolutely have to.  We’re just a pair of lazy slackers and we make no apologies for it either!


2014 Sep 14 – Day 87 – Antigonish, NS to Moncton, NB

This was to mostly be a driving day but we did make a few stops along the way.  The weather was a total mixed bag; we woke to rain, which stopped and started again a few times throughout the day, and we also had some nice blue sky.  Weather predictions for the next four days are sun and cloud so if that works out it will be great.

IMG_9950 IMG_9951


An unusual shaped house in Pugwash, NSIMG_9952 IMG_9955 IMG_9960In a very short distance between Pictou and the next town of Caribou River we had 5 RCMP cars drive past in the other direction. We have only seen 2 or 3 cop cars on the roads so far this whole trip and here was one after another after another.  Then as we were driving to our hotel in Moncton we came across 4 more either side of one intersection.  Weird.  Well, weird enough that we noticed such a thing anyway.

We drove the coast road as is our custom.  Once out of Antigonish we headed north past New Glasgow on Highway 4 (the TCH) then turned east to the coast through Pictou.  We followed Highway 6 all the way into Amherst (the geographic center of the Maritimes) which has lots and lots of gorgeous old houses, and crossed the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick at 2 pm.




IMG_9963 IMG_9965


IMG_9967Once we were in New Brunswick we diverted from the main road near Sackville to see if the old Harness shop was open and we could check out the way they made tack in the old days.  Closed.

Near Dorchester we planned to drive 8 km out of town to see if any of the sandpipers were still summering at Johnson’s Mills – 95% of the world’s population of semipalmated sandpipers (25 million) summer there – mid-July to early September.  However….within a couple of km the road turned to gravel.  We felt we had subjected poor Poppy to enough gravel and rough roads for awhile so we turned around.

We were almost through Dorchester and I spotted the Keillor House.  This is a house built in 1813 by a stone mason/farmer.  I had picked up a brochure about it somewhere and was happy to see it was open.  In we went.  No photos were allowed inside but we enjoyed the stories.

Mr. Edward Keillor was the son of a farmer and he wanted to be more than just a farmer; he wanted to move up the social ladder.  He moved to the Dorchester area and applied for a land grant.  He recieved 250 acres.  He had his two brothers also apply for grants and they also each received 250 acres.  Then Mr. Keillor bought out his two brothers.  He was a successful farmer but also became Justice of the Peace and several other community honors.  He and his wife raised 8 children in a log house and when the youngest two were almost out of the nest he built Keillor house – the front is cut stone, the back is wood to save money.  He furnished it just grand enough to look prosperous.  He was never as rich as he liked to make out he was but the house remained in branches of his family until 1969.

IMG_9970 IMG_9973

IMG_9971 IMG_9972He also sold the lot next door to his house for a Provincial penitentiary (1880) and his brother was the first warden.  It was used until a new, much larger one was built a little further up the road – which is still in use.

In the town of Memramcook there is a National Historic Site called Monument Lefebvre to honor Father Camile Lefebvre who spent three decades of his life to the advancement of the Acadian people.  The building (built 1896-97) is still an education and cultural center for Acadians.  But, it was closed on Sunday.  We knew we would start to run into seasonal closures once Labour Day was passed.


We arrived in Moncton at 4:50 and checked into the Best Western we stayed in on our way down to tour Nova Scotia.  We are here for two nights.  We will then spend two nights each in St. John, Frederickton, and St. Andrew’s to finish our tour of New Brunswick before we cross the US border into Maine and make our way over to Niagara Falls.



2014 Sep 13 – Day 86 – Ingonish Beach, NS to Antigonish, NS

Cape Breton Highlands National Park – Part 2

We left Ingonish Beach a bit later than we planned.   We were going to be on the road at 10 but didn’t leave until 10:40.  Oh well.  We don’t exactly have a tight schedule!

We were blessed with a beautiful day once again and we drove straight into the Park and up to the northern end at North Cape where we left off our sightseeing yesterday.

A phenomenon we have encountered in the Maritimes, and no where else on all of our travels, is rocks erupting from the middle of the road.  We came across this several times in Newfoundland and again here in Cape Breton just outside of Ingonish Beach.  I don’t know how the rocks do this but perhaps they are like the mushrooms at the end of our paved driveway that just blew pieces of the asphalt out so they could reach the light.  Are rocks like that???

IMG_9765 IMG_9767From North Cape you leave the coast and go over the top of the mountainous center of Cape Breton Highlands – with a lovely twisty bit that made John wish he was on his motorcycle.  I was expecting to drive right to the western side of the peninsula through a hardwood forest and then have scenic things to look at again.

IMG_9769 IMG_9784 IMG_9786

Not so.  We were constantly pulling over for view points.  We even did a few short hikes.  My favorite I think was at Lone Shieling – a Scottish term for a stone shepherd’s hut.  Many Scottish immigrants settled in the Pleasant Valley area after being expelled from the Isle of Skye in the 1800’s.

To commemorate his Scottish roots Donald S. MacIntosh bequeathed 100 acres of his homestead in Grand Anse Valley for a park in 1934.  When the park land was incorporated into Cape Breton Highlands National Park the Lone Shieling was built to recognize his heritage and gift.

The hike was really a 15 minute stroll through towering sugar maple trees; some of which are 350 years old.  The light on the leaves was wonderful.

IMG_9792 IMG_9794 IMG_9799 IMG_9808 IMG_9809

The second thing that made the Lone Shieling stop memorable took place before we walked into the woods.  When we pulled into the parking lot a tour bus was also there and the folks were all sitting around the picnic tables having their lunch.  There was a group sitting right in front of where we parked.  Immediately heads were turning, elbows were nudging neighbours and everyone was looking at Poppy.  By the time I got out of the truck 3 men had walked over and began asking questions.  Within 15 minutes literally half of the tour bus occupants were standing around my truck.  10 minutes after that they were taking turns posing to have their photos taken with Poppy.  The bus was running and ready to go and people were still happily talking about the little red truck.  And….one fellow was from Chilliwack and a lady that came over right at the end was from Salmon Arm.  She had recently moved there.  What a hoot!  I wish I had taken a photo of all these people in a ring around my truck.

A few kilometers down the road and went on an actual hike – still an easy walk but it took an hour.  Again we walked through the forest along a stream to a small waterfall at the end – MacIntosh Falls.

IMG_9811 IMG_9812 IMG_9814 IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9819


The trees are growing out of the boulders!IMG_9821 IMG_9822 IMG_9823 IMG_9826


The light through the tree canopy made the ground look green.IMG_9833 It was a gloriously scenic day.

IMG_9834 IMG_9839



The MacKenzie River ValleyIMG_9854




The Bog – a nice little loop on a boardwalkIMG_9855 IMG_9857 IMG_9858 IMG_9859 IMG_9861 IMG_9865 IMG_9875


If you look closely you can see people standing on the crest of this cliff.IMG_9876




They are standing on the central grey ridge in this shot.IMG_9883  Cap Rouge LookoutIMG_9886



I found another Red Chair.IMG_9887 IMG_9894 IMG_9895 IMG_9905 IMG_9913We eventually made it to the other side and down to the end of Cape Breton Park at 3 pm.  IMG_9914



Pretty colored house at Margaree


And to top it off the clouds were wonderful shapes around the lowering sun.  I snapped well over a dozen photos out the window.

IMG_9916 IMG_9917 IMG_9919 IMG_9926 IMG_9928 IMG_9931 IMG_9937We arrived in Antigonish at 6:45 so it was a pretty full day today – even with the later start.

2014 Sep 12 – Day 85 – North Sydney, NS to Ingonish Beach, NS

Cape Breton Highlands National Park – Part 1

We had a very smooth ferry ride last night.  The ferry was so much like a cruise ship that John and I felt right at home.  We arrived in North Sydney at 8:30 am Atlantic time – now we are done with that silly extra 1/2 hour time difference in Newfoundland.  Our berth at the terminal was taken by the Port aux Basque ferry so we had to wait for it to move before we could dock at 9:30.  We drove off the boat at 10:18.

IMG_9630 IMG_9629The view from St. Ann’s Look Off at the summit of Kellys Mountain

We are spending the night at Ingonish Beach at the edge of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It is only  about 76 km from North Sydney harbour to Ingonish Beach so obviously it didn’t take us too long to get there – 11.55 to be precise.  However we did not stop.  We drove to the Park entrance, bought our pass and continued up the road.

The sun broke through the clouds and we had nice light for most of our drive today; which was really good as it was a scenery day all the way.  This side of the Cape Breton Peninsula is characterized by rocks, bluffs and beaches.  The other side is winding mountain roads with 300′ cliffs.  (That will be tomorrow’s fun)



Lovely reflections near North GutIMG_9637  Just past Wreck CoveIMG_9643 IMG_9646 IMG_9648 IMG_9649



Can you spot the two seals?




Climbing the Smokey to Ingonish FerryIMG_9659  Nice view at the topIMG_9660

IMG_9668  Ingonish BeachIMG_9670 IMG_9673 IMG_9674


The drive to Keltic LodgeIMG_9676




At Keltic Lodge




IMG_9690 IMG_9691 Lakies Head

IMG_9695  Green CoveIMG_9700 IMG_9701 IMG_9704 IMG_9706 IMG_9699 IMG_9708 IMG_9709  IMG_9717IMG_9712 IMG_9714 IMG_9710 IMG_9715

IMG_9721 IMG_9719McKinnons Cove

IMG_9722 Black Brook BeachIMG_9723 IMG_9724 IMG_9727 IMG_9726

There are 10 red chairs scattered in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We found one at least.IMG_9733

IMG_9734 IMG_9737 IMG_9741 Near Effies Brook

We only made one ‘historical stop’ and that was the presumed landing site of John Cabot, his son Sebastion and the 18 crew on “The Matthew” in 1497 (after they left Newfoundland’s coast).  The landing site is located outside the National Park beyond North Cape down a narrow, but paved, road to Sugar Loaf.   There is a Provincial Park located there and you can hike up the Sugar Loaf if you have very strong legs and a few hours.  We drove back to Ingonish Beach and checked into our snug little cabin for the night.

IMG_9743 IMG_9746 IMG_9749 IMG_9752 IMG_9755 IMG_9759 IMG_9760 IMG_9751  The Sugar LoafIMG_9763  An old cannon in a yard

2014 Sep 11 – Day 84 – Placentia, NL to ferry to Nova Scotia

We awoke to our fourth consecutive day of sunshine.  The ferry terminal is only about 10 km from Placentia and we didn’t have to be there until 3 pm.  When we drove down the Cape Shore to Cape St. Mary’s the other day we skipped a short detour into Cataracts Provincial Park (about 5 km west of Colinet), deciding it would give us something to do today until we had to be at the terminal.

We left Placentia after a really nice breakfast at Phil’s café and some great conversations with our fellow diners.  One fellow and his wife were taking his mother out for breakfast for her birthday (she had come over from St. John’s to visit them in Placentia).  He asked where we were from and I said BC.  “Where in BC?” he inquired.  “Salmon Arm.”  “Do you know Nel Peach?” he shot back immediately.  “Yes, I do.  We are Rottweiler buddies.  She and her husband adopt old Rotties from the SPCA and give them lots of love and care for their final years.  She is a marvelous lady.”  “Yes, she is.  I have been involved with the Canadian Diabetes Association for years and that is how I know Nel.”  Nel is a tireless worker and fund raiser for the Diabetes Assoc.  What a small world! I will call her when I get home and tell her we met her friend Jerry from Placentia.

Route 91 is a straight drive from Placentia across to Colinet at the beginning of the Cape Shore route we did yesterday to see the Gannets.  We needed to go about 35km to get to the park.  What we didn’t know was that 5 km out of Placentia the road turned to gravel.  Again!  And it stayed gravel –with the required gigantic pot holes and washboard – almost all the way to Colinet; about 5 km past the park we wanted to go to.

I was getting a bit concerned that when we got to Cataracts Park we would have to drive along another long gravel road to see the deep gorge and waterfall that we were wanting to see because nowhere around us were there hills or a significant rise in the land.  After an hour of bumping along at 15 kph we came to a bridge and John noticed a pull-out area at the same time I noticed a chain link fence and boardwalk going off into the trees.  No signs, no indication at all that here was something worth seeing.  We walked into the middle of the viewing platform and literally one step forward was a drop of well over 100’.  Fabulous waterfall to the bottom!  Amazing.  A huge deep cut in the middle of rolling bushland. We walked the boardwalk and down all the steep steps, across the foot bridge at the bottom (which was not actually the bottom of the chasm; but was the lowest part of the walkway) and up the steps on the other side.  Gorgeous gorge.  Almost made the gravel drive worth it.

IMG_9509 IMG_9510 IMG_9514 IMG_9515 IMG_9520We had already decided we weren’t going back along that road.  The only alternatives were to go up Route 81 from Colinet to the TCHwy and that wasn’t happening either after driving the rock course on that road yesterday.  That left option three:  Drive 14 km past Colinet and connect with Route 90 that we went down when we did the Irish Loop around Trepassey, then go 23 km up to the TCH and 30 km west to the turn-off to Route 100 and 38 km down again to Argentia – a 100+ km drive.  We had the time so that is what we did.

I noticed that on the ‘Welcome to Colinet’ sign there was a photo of a wide waterfall flowing under a bridge and sure enough right beside the road again was a path to steps to view the falls.  We also walked across what was a previous road bridge over the middle of the falls to see it from that angle.  There is a fish ladder there as well.  That second falls tipped the scale in favor of the drive on the gravel being worth it.  Not sure Poppy would agree though.IMG_9525 IMG_9529 IMG_9531 IMG_9532Also overheard at breakfast was the information that even though Castle Hill Historic Site was closed for the season you could walk up the driveway and see the view from the old fortifications on the hill.  We got back to Argentia at 1:30 and did just that.  Trust me, no one was going to sneak up on the French when they could see for miles in all directions.  After we wandered around up there for a while we walked back down had our sandwich lunch out of the back of Poppy and drove to the ferry terminal – arriving about 2:45.  Perfect.

IMG_9567 IMG_9570 IMG_9571 IMG_9568 IMG_9573 IMG_9577The ferry began boarding at 3 and left the terminal at 5.  This is a 15+ hour overnight trip so we booked a cabin.  I was not going to sit up in a chair in a lounge full of other people all night long and then drive the Cabot Trail tomorrow.

We climbed from car deck 3 to 5 then took the elevator to 10 where our cabin was located.  There are only 6 guest cabins on this deck; all the rest of the cabins are for the crew. There are cabins on decks 6 (not too many), all of deck 8 and over ½ of deck 9  – a lot of these cabins have drop down berth beds.  Our cabin was bigger than our deluxe veranda suite on the world cruise!

IMG_9592 IMG_9591 IMG_9593After we dropped off our stuff we went down to the main public area on deck 7.  Again – cruise ship.  There is a large guest services counter, a casino (slots), a games room/library, a couple of shops, two bars, a hot dog snack counter, a buffet restaurant and an a la carte restaurant (the steak was yummy).  This is the fanciest ferry I have ever seen.

IMG_9596 IMG_9600 IMG_9602 IMG_9604 IMG_9606 IMG_9624 IMG_9626Right now it is only making the run twice a week instead of every other day as it does all summer.  Next week the schedule drops to once a week until Sept 25 when it is berthed for the winter unless needed on the Port aux Basque run if one of their boats has some trouble and can’t go.

IMG_9595 IMG_9587John T.  has his very own rust-bucket freigher.

IMG_9611 IMG_9616 IMG_9621The sky is slightly cloudy, the seas are slightly choppy but I think there will be good sailing tonight.  There is no internet on board (no need to have satellites pointing at wide expanses of open water. We are used to that on the cruise ships) so this will have to get posted sometime on the other side.   Good night all – smooth sailing to you.