Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baxter State Park

We were done traveling in PEI, Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. We decided to see a part of Maine that we've wanted to see for quite a while. We stayed overnight in Fredericton, New Brunswick and crossed the border the next morning. Baxter State Park is in Millonocket, Maine and has quite a few mountains. Mt. Katahdin is the highest and it is the beginning or terminus of the Appalacian Trail that starts in Georgia. Most people start to hike the trail in Georgia around March so they can summit 2000 miles later at Mt. Katahdin in October before the park closes.

Driving through the park takes 4-6 hours so we only did half the park and then came back out. It was raining by the time we left and we saw a beautiful rainbow that was trying to be a double rainbow coming out. We also saw another moose.

We had a great vacation and now its time to head home.

Nova Scotia

We came across the Canso causeway from Cape Breton and decided to drive the Eastern shoreline. Although it is less than 2 hours by highway to Halifax, we decided to drive along the coast which took about 6 hours. The coast winds around many harbors and coves. It is beautiful, remote, and unspoiled. The villages along the coast and harbors usually had less than 100 people. We decided to stay in the Salsman Provincial Park which was situated in a picturesque place called Country Harbor. Country Harbor is an inlet and the campground was right on the water.
We finally got to Halifax the next day. We were trying to get to Peggy's Cove but I didn't have a good map to get us through Halifax so we stopped at the highest point in the city. The highest point in Halifax is the Citadel. The Citadel was built by the Loyalists that came to Nova Scotia from America. They were afraid that the Americans were going to try to take this area as well so they built a fort on the top of a mountain in the city. It is a place that you can tour now. I stopped to look at the map and then ask for directions. When I got out, there was a Royal Mounted Police Officer there dressed like they looked in the late 1700's. I told Amanda about the police and she wanted to see him of course. When she did see him, she was quite freaked out by his feathered hat. She still says, I've never seen someone who looks like that! The citadel area has a nice overview of the city harbor.

Cape Breton Sunset

When we were in Cape Breton, we saw the most gorgeous sunsets. Below are some pictures of God's creation!

Tides in the Bay of Fundy

We have heard that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. The highest tides were actually recorded in Burncoat in the Minas Basin. We decided to stay at one of the provincial parks that overlooked the Basin in the north part of the island. We decided this because we were meeting up with a friend who lives near there for breakfast the next morning. The Blomdin Provincial Park was on a mountain cliff that overlooked the Basin.

We knew that the tides came in and receeded 40 feet. But you don't get a really good idea of this until you see these pictures. The people at the campground told me that when it is dead low tide, you have to walk for 20 minutes to get to the water. When it comes in, it comes fast and you have to run to get back or you will get caught. As we were driving in, it was low tide and we saw the evidence of how far these tides really come in.

The picture below is when the tide is 2 hours from being high.
We loved this area of Nova Scotia. It has alot of farms and vineyards. It is a really nice area. The next day, we met up with our friend from Camp Allen Meghan Dunham. Meghan worked with me at Camp Allen for at least 3 years. She lives in Kentville which is near the Basin. She has a baby named Layla that is 7 months old now. It was really good to see her.

Peggy's Cove

Nova Scotia has about 4600 miles of coast line. Peggy's Cove is a popular tourist stop south of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia right on the coast. Peggy's Cove is also the place where Swiss Air 111 crashed in the late 90's. We drove down to the cove and the first thing we saw was the quaint fishing village shot with the boats and the lobster traps.
Also in the background was the lighthouse and the open rock that we scrambled over to watch the waves.
Peggy's Cove had a monument for the Swiss Air flight that killed everyone on it but I didn't see it. I did see the Fisherman's Monument that was quite impressive.

We thought Peggy's Cove was really nice although touristy. We ate a wonderful dinner at their restuarant the Sou'Wester before we travelled north.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cape Breton... How much beautiful can one take?

Cape Breton is on the northwestern side of Nova Scotia. They call it Canada's best kept secret and I understand why. The Cabot trail encircles the northwest side of Cape Breton. The Cabot trail winds around the coast and mountains in the north and near Lake Bras d'Or (said Bra-dor) in the south. The lake is a massive salt water lake with very long channels that feed into it. The most famous picture of Cape Breton is the one pictured above.
We came from PEI and boarded a ferry to come over. It landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia and then we drove 4 hours to get to Che'ticamp where we stayed. The ferry was huge and held 250 cars.
The first night we were there, we set up camp in the National Park in Che'ticamp. Che'ticamp is Acadian and they have a thick French accent. What was weird was across the bridge, they sounded Scottish. We also didn't realize it but Che'ticamp also has alot of winds. We had a rain storm with high winds during the night and I thought our tent was going to fly away with us in it. Someone told us in the winter they can have 200 km/hr winds... translated ... that is 120 mph winds. (we have learned to do the conversions well since we've been here) Che'ticamp is on the western side of the island on the Cabot trail. That night, we went out and looked at our surroundings. We saw a bull moose in the swamp near the ocean. We have never seen a bull moose this large and we were able to see him 2 nights in a row.
The next day, we traveled the Cabot trail. We enjoyed the scenery very much. The rugged coastal cliffs that drop right into the ocean were beautiful.

The lake was around Baddeck at the south end of the trail. It is a cute little community and reminds me of Meredith, NH.

On our way back around, we came across another moose (female) that was only 10 feet from the car. Sure wish Ben and Carly could have been with us.
The Cabot trail took us 6 hours to travel with only a few stops. It was well worth the journey... WE LOVED CAPE BRETON!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prince Edward Island

Well, I have to say that Prince Edward Island was very different than I imagined. We are staying in North Rustico right next to Cavendish (and a nudist colony as we found out tonight!). We weren't able to get into the Canadian national campgrounds but we found one just down the street. We are actually camping in a field right next to some people from Montreal who we have enjoyed very much. I have found that we have gotten our best travel tips from people that we meet while traveling and they have not disappointed us. Anyway, we decided to write down things that we discovered about PEI. This is the top five:

1. Agricultural Farm Land. We have never seen so many HUGE fields (I mean like 50 acres per field) of hay, barley, potatoes, and clover. PEI is known for its potatoes. One fourth of the island is agricultural. (2300 farmers)

2. Big Island needs a big bridge! It is 120 miles from tip to tip and I think at least 60 wide. Until 1997, the ferries brought people over but now, the Confederation Bridge does. The bridge is 9 miles long and it is free to come over, but $47 Canadian dollars to leave (right now American money is .97 to 1.00 Canadian). The ferry to Nova Scotia is alot more than that!
3. Cow's Ice Cream has made the list as the #1 ice cream in the world. The jury is still out because I thought Israeli ice cream was delish! But here is Tim enjoying it.

4. There are over 50 lighthouses on this island. We got to tour the West Point Lighthouse today and the stairs were straight up. But we could see the whole point as we stood up on the top right by the light. This is where the Northumberland Straight meets the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Number 4 deserves 2 pictures so this picture is of the lighthouse on Baie New London Bay.
5. The coasts are rugged with red rock cliffs! And the red dirt gets every where as evidenced by my car! (Many of the traveling roads are dirt roads here).

There were a few disappointments:

1. Very few places to eat and small portions for a big price. Example: scallop dinner was $17 for 6 scallops.

2. Cavendish. We are staying right next to where Anne of Green Gables was centered. Lucy Maud Montgomery is hailed as a hero here but Cavendish is a huge disappointment. There is Green Gables but very little else to do here. AND I found out from the visitors center this a.m. that alot of Anne of Green Gables was filmed in Ontario. But just for posterity... and Ryan... here is a picture of Green Gables.

Headed out on the Woods Island Ferry tomorrow to Pictau, Nova Scotia and then up to Cape Breton Island.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homeport Inn "Breakfast in Bed"

We are not big Bed & Breakfast people. As a matter of a fact, I think the only time I have been to a B & B is when I traveled to Savannah with my sisters and mother. But I was looking for a nice place to stay in St. John and this one had REALLY good reviews and was suggested by Frommer. It is a BIG house... Actually 2 big houses owned by brothers who were sea faring captains. I think the house is 170 years old. They bought the two and put them together. There are 4 suites and 6 regular rooms. We got one of the suites called the Crows Nest Suite.

Amanda was pretty upset when I woke her up for breakfast this a.m. She said, "I thought we were having breakfast in bed." We had to explain to her that it was "bed and breakfast" not "breakfast in bed". I still don't think she got it. We had wild blueberry pancakes, juice, yogurt, blueberry muffins, and ham for breakfast. YUM!

Here are a few pictures from our room which overlooked the Bay of Fundy by the way:



I was really excited to see that I actually captured 2 whales in my pictures so I wanted to share them with you. I think they are pilot whales.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Campobello Island

/>We traveled from Bangor to Lubec, Maine (eastern most city in the US) and crossed the border into New Brunswick by way of Campobello Island. Campobello Island is famously known as the place where FDR had his summer cottage. The "cottage" has a mere 18 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. They had a bell system to call the kitchen. It is located on the Passomoquaddy Bay at the beginning of the Bay of Fundy. Some of FDR's children were born here, and this is where he contracted polio. This is a picture of the living room and the window that overlooks the bay.

Campobello Island is also known for the Quoddy Head Lighthouse. We stood right here and watched about 4 whales breech. We also saw pods of porpoise and we saw 2 eagles. We forgot to turn our clocks ahead because New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia are on Atlantic time which is one hour ahead. We were lucky enough to meet a woman from St. John who became our tour guide and lead us right to the Bed & Breakfast. You have to get on a ferry from Campobello Island to Deer Island, travel the length of Deer Island, and board a Canadian ferry for L'Etete on the mainland. From there, it is 50 minutes to get to downtown St. John where we are staying. It was quite tricky to maneuver around town. We were so thankful that she was willing to bring us right to this spot. It was a wonderful day. Campobello is beautiful and as far as I'm concerned, well worth the trip. And Jen, it was very much like Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park. It also reminded me a little of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in different ways. I'll talk about St. John tomorrow.