Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We were hit with torrential rain when we left Moncton and headed towards Maine. At times we could not see the Bennett's trailer that was only 200 feet ahead of us! Although we were going to stay one more day in New Brunswick as Lana still had pork chops and we understood that all meat, fruit and vegetables had to be thrown out at the border, we decided to risk it and cross into the US. The customs officer was very pleasant and when we declared everything we had (even Lana's pork chops!), he welcomed us into the US. We were fortunate to drive into sunny weather. The gas is cheaper ($2.55 a gallon) but the KOA was $42 US which we thought was a bit high however we did get cable access and were happy to watch Dancing with the Stars after a delicious pork chop dinner at the Bennett's. The only one disappointed was Rudy as Barry had promised him the pork chops if they had to to be thrown out at the border.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Barry, Lana and I went to Sackville while Mike stayed back with a cold. It is a sweet little town of 12,000 that has the Tantramar Marshes where you can view waterfowl and songbirds at the Waterfowl Park. Sackville also has Mount Allison University which increases their population by 2,000 each year and are clearly embraced by the community. When we went to the Bridge Street Cafe for lunch, we enjoyed being surrounded by students working on their laptops and practising lines from a play.
There are over 3 km of winding boardwalks and trails that allow close-up viewing of the wetland habitat.
As you can see, the trees are starting to turn crimson. While we were walking by, hundreds of red-winged blackbirds flew in to nestle into this marsh.

Can't resist a picture of a covered bridge - they are so cute.
I could not believe the beauty of these birch trees, that grow wild everywhere, framing the boardwalk. What a great walk!
We visited the Campbell Carriage Factory Museum and from 1855 to 1951 the Campbell family of Sackville produced top quality buggies, wagons and sleighs for generations of Maritimers. It was interesting to see authentic patterns, tools and hardware on display.
This piano box carriage with spindle seat was built here.
This 1870's hearse was used for decades on Prince Edward Island.

The winter hearse on bobbed sleds was also used for decades on PEI.
This wicker coffin was used to transport bodies to funeral homes. Brings new meaning to "he's a basket case".

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Mike and me at Peggy's Cove. I can see why it is one of the most photographed places in Canada. This small picturesque fishing town has a population of only 120 around this small ocean inlet. We were lucky to have a sunny day and that there were few tourists around (a bus group had just left) so we were able to get photos without having people included.
The beautiful smooth granite rocks are remnants of the last ice age and well washed by the ocean. There is a plaque on the lighthouse that says "Warning - Injury and death have rewarded careless sight-seerers. The ocean and rocks are treacherous, savour the sea from a distance."
Although it is no longer in use as a lighthouse, it does house a post office in the summer months. According to legend, Peggy's Cove was named after the only survivor of a schooner that ran aground and sank in 1800, a woman named Margret and local folk called her Peggy.
Bruce, a local who takes photos with the lighthouse in the background, chatted with Lana and was so impressed with our cross-country trip, insisted on taking our photos for free and offered us gingerbread men cookies. He is holding the postcard pic of the 4 of us.
Bruce then took our photos with our cameras.
East coasters are such a friendly bunch!
Lana and I took tons of photos of the colourful fishing boats, weather-beaten boat houses and piers, and stacks of lobster traps.

The front boat is "Miss Peggy's Cove" and we stopped and talked to the owner of the boat. They catch lobster and mackeral. He said they do not have to go out overnight to fish as they catch both lobster and mackeral close to shore. The other fisherman on the pier said that his family had lived at Peggy's Cove for 5 generations.

Leaving Peggy's Cove, Barry pointed out this sculpture (thanks Barry, you know we never take enough photos!) that was carved into the granite on the side of a hill as a memorial "To the fishermen of Peggy's Cove who harvest our oceans". From L to R it depicts fisherman's family, Peggy of the Cove and fishermen at work.

Friday, September 25, 2009


We braved rainy weather to visit Nunenburg, about 80 km from Halifax along the coast and we were thrilled when we saw it. Established in 1753 by Protestant immigrants from Germany, Switzerland and France, there was an abundance of charming European styled homes from the late 1700's and early 1800's that are still being used today.
One of the unique features of these homes is the "Nunenburg bump", the pop-out on the front of many of the homes.
Vibrant colours on the homes and businesses make this town perfectly adorable - even on a dreary rainy day.
The town slopes down to the wharfs on the working waterfront where their fishing and shipbuilding industries are still vital.
Lunenburg is also birthplace of the Bluenose which is depicted on our dime. The Bluenose II (also built here) was in port and we were able to walk the decks of this famous sailing ship. Mike had also sailed on it one day when he was in the Navy when it visited Victoria.

What a beautiful wooden sailing ship!
We wandered through the town and took many photos of the pretty houses. The town was also being used to film a TV movie remake of Mobey Dick, starring William Hurt but they were filming inside houses.
This is St. John's Anglican Church which was founded in 1756 and is Carpenter Gothic (the architecture was styled by wood instead of stone) and was very unique. It was designated a national historic site but in 2001 the building was all but destroyed by fire. Because they had photos and records of the historic building, they were able to reconstruct it.
George, an elderly volunteer, cheerfully gave us the history of the church. He told us the pews had been saved after the fire and pointed out burn marks that you could occasionally see. He also said that while the church was burning, 6 firefighters went in and carried out the alter; when the building was reconstructed, the same 6 carried it back in. The 700 gold stars that are on the sky blue chancel ceiling were determined to be what the Lunenburg sky would have appeared on Dec 24 in 1 BC, the traditional birthdate of Christ.
The chimes were originally from Quebec and I noticed the fleurs-de-lis lis on them. The stained glass was beautful and was all replaced after the fire. We were able to view some orginal stained glass windows on display downstairs where we also viewed the crypt where 17 burials are recorded.
Hard to believe, but this Lunenburg Academy built in 1895 now is their elementary school.
Another charming Lunenburg bump house. Thank goodness they made this a National Historic site and were able to preserve so many lovely homes and buildings.


Halifax, founded in 1749, left us underwhelmed. We were surprised at the poor condition of the downtown roads and the agressive pan-handlers.Mural shows history of Halifax from 1700's to present (click on it to enlarge). The fire in 1917 is shown which started on a French cargo ship filled with ammunitions for WW1 when it collided with a Norweigen vessel. 25 minutes later the explosion obliterated all buildings within 2 km with 2,000 people dead and 9,000 injuried. Windows throughout the city and as far away at Dartmouth were shattered.
Looking up Carmichael Street to Citadel Hill, you can see the Old Town Clock, one of Halifax's most famous landmarks. The turret clock was made for the Halifax garrison in 1803 and in its early years was also used as a guardroom and residence for the caretaker.
Main courtyard of Historic Properties. The Privateers Wharf was the centre of activity on the Halifax waterfront, welcoming trading vessels and privateers from ports around the world. It was from Halifax that many of the privateers (licensed by the British crown to raid enemy vessels) set sail and returned with their bountry.
One of the most successful privateers, Enos Collins, started the first bank in Nova Scotia (the Halifax Banking Co) in this ironstone building.
The convoy escort corvette HMCS Sacksville is the only surviving corvette of more than 100 built in Canada during WW2 and has been restored to her wartime configuration. I was very pleased to tour it as my dad had served on one during the war. The Canadian Navy escorted more than 25,000 merchant ships, carrying 180 million tons of cargo across the Atlantic during the war which was crucial to the eventual outcome of the war.
Here I am at the helm of the HMCS Sackville - good thing we are anchored!
I remember dad telling us that they slept in hammocks; these ships were small and space definitely was at a premium.
Visited a pub after our walkaround historic Halifax and had a pint of Alexander Keith. It's Nova Scotia Brewery was just down the block. We had a fun waitress who so reminded me of Laura (Kathleen and Tanya's BFF) who also felt Halifax was not a favorite place. She was very funny and said they did not "get her" in Halifax and we said she should come to the other coast.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Fortress of Louisbourg is an amazing historic site that was funded by Diefenbaker's government in the 60's to create employment for out of work miner's. Over twenty years, they were able to reconstruct 1/5th of the fortress on the exact site, as they had over 750,000 pages of documentation, 500 maps and plans and excavated thousands of artifacts. This created an exact replica and the costumed interpreters now paint the picture of life as it happened in 1744. Before we could enter the gate to the fortress, we were stopped by a French sentry who let Mike in as he spoke French. The rest of us were asked for a password - having none, we were told to bring back a shot of rum for letting us in. Lana was considered very suspicious by the sentry and was told she would be watched closely (an English spy perhaps?).
We were amazed at the size of the buildings (high ceilings, decent size rooms). Here are some of the original foundations and the replica buildings are exactly as they appeared in the 1700's.
Louisbourg was a garrison town, naval port and stronghold. It was named after Louis XIV and was capital of Ile Royale. The French came here in 1713 following territorial losses to the English in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. With a thriving fishing (cod) industry and trade, it quickly became France's most important stronghold and seaport. The port gate is at the end of this road. Louisbourg was attacked and under 6 weeks of seige by the English in 1745 then was returned by treaty to the French only to be attacked again in 1758 and under seige for 6 weeks, each time the French were deported back to France or one of its colonies. When the English abandoned the Fortress years later, they blew up the walls to prevent it from becoming a fortified city again.
The King's Bastion Barracks housed the Governor's apartments on the left, which were very elegant. Military personnel were housed on the right and 3 would have to share a wooden bed with straw mats working shifts.
This is at the back of the King's Bastion Barracks, with cannons on the walls.
All artifacts are exact replicas that were created. The company that orginally made the rolled glass in the windows was still in business and contacted to produce the glass for the reconstruction.
Here is the inside of the "Magazin General", with earth floor and stone and brick walls. We enjoyed lunch in a replica 18th century restaurant, eating soup served in pewter bowls, using heavy pewter spoons while wearing large cloth bibs (to keep our clothes clean, as washing of both clothes and people did not occur often). Hence perfume was used to mask BO and wigs were worn due to lice problems. Interesting that with parental permission, girls could marry at age 13 and boys at 15; however, without permission age to marry was 26 and 29 respectively. Also, males outnumbered females 8 to 1.
Driving by the town of Louisbourg, noticed that many fishermen had boats docked by their homes.
Drove to the Louisbourg lighthouse, site of the first lighthouse in Canada and second oldest lighthouse in North America (you can see the original foundations beside it). The original lighthouse burned cod liver oil and the light could be seen at sea for 18 miles.