Maritimes 2003

đź“· Photographs

Wednesday, 14 May 2003

We’re on our way this morning, bright and early, just a few minutes late (9:15am, ADT). This was just a long day driving, but we made it to St. LĂ©onard, New Brunswick this evening in just under 11 hours – door to door (1058 km). Driving conditions were good – a mix of sun and cloud, with the odd sprinkle. Traffic was fairly light the entire way. We lunched (picnic) just east of Montreal at one of Quebec’s nice reststops.

We have a reservation at Daigle’s Motel, which is most suitable. We had a surprisingly good meal in the motel restaurant (fish of course!). Tomorrow we go to Charlottetown, which will be the first visit to PEI for Steve.

Thursday, 15 May 2003

Today dawned crisp and clear, which augers well for today’s drive to Charlottetown. Breakfast from Tim’s (common practice while driving in Canada!). Our drive to Charlottetown was uneventful – some sun, some cloud, some showers. And, it was colder than yesterday. It was a leisurely drive, and we spent about seven hours on the road, including lobster rolls for lunch at Fred’s Restaurant in Cap PelĂ©, New Brunswick. C’est bon! Both Susan and I loved the lobster, but disagreed about the cole slaw (Susan liked it, Steve did not).

Then, across Confederation Bridge (very cool!) and a short scenic drive on our way to Charlottetown. We checked in at Heritage Harbour House Inn, and are very pleased with our room/suite. Dinner tonight was a short walk away at the Lucy Maud Dining Room, which is a training restaurant for students of The Culinary Institute of Canada. It was excellent – we split an appetizer of Moroccan calamari with sweet tomato pickle … absolutely delicious! Steve’s main course was arctic char in citrus butter with julienned vegetables and basmati rice, while Susan had penne with roasted garlic and smokey, grilled tomatoes. Steve ordered dessert, which was an amazing combination of apples in a phyllo pastry cup accompanied by cinnamon ice cream, all with a thin drizzle of caramel sauce. Susan had two (or was it three?) bites. Not only was the food good, but our server Brechan was too. A very enjoyable meal.

Tomorrow, we plan to explore Charlottetown.

Friday, 16 May 2003

Today was lovely and so is Charlottetown. We spent the morning walking around – just exploring in general and also scouting out restaurants for dinner! One of our first stops was Province House which contains the provincial legislature as well as the former Executive Chamber where the Fathers of Confederation met in 1864. We also sat in the visitor’s gallery for part of Question Period which was fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that there is only one member of the opposition! Needless to say, there is a lot of pressure on him.

One of the things that interested us about Province House is that in preparation for our trip, we’ve been checking out a webcam which is in one of the upper windows and looks out on the corner of University and Grafton Streets (we are staying just three blocks west of that corner on Grafton).

After wandering around most of the morning (including dui cappuciani at Beanz) and early afternoon, we returned to the Heritage Harbour House Inn, where we had our usual lunch. In the late afternoon, we drove up to the eastern end of PEI National Park, which is near Stanhope. Dinner was at Ristorante Sirenella, with an Antipasto di Mare(shared) followed by Ravioli della Duchessa di Parma for Steve and Spaghetti Boscaiollo for Susan. Everything was great!

Saturday, 17 May 2003

Another gorgeous day in PEI – not a cloud to be seen; and it reached 21°. Today we explored the western part of the island/province at a leisurely pace. Leaving Charlottetown (heading west on highway 225) took us through rolling hills with potato fields to the left – potato fields to the right. Quite lovely. Leaving Queens County for Prince County (there are only three counties in PEI – can you guess what the third one is?), the scenery was somewhat boring for awhile. But, as we skirted Malpeque Bay, things picked up. We found ourselves at Green Park Provincial Park, which was quite an experience – we had an entire park to ourselves! The gate was open, but the park really wasn’t (some things don’t get going in PEI until June!). So, we found a hiking trail and got in a good walk in the woods, all the way to the water. No sound except the songbirds and the waves – quite amazing.

Then, we headed north toward North Cape, the furthest point from Charlottetown in the province. Along the way, we stopped near Jacques Cartier Provincial Park and had lunch (sitting on a small bluff on the beach, watching the fishing boats ply their trade). Beautiful! Then we finally made it to North Cape, where there is a lighthouse and an experimental windmill farm (see photo).

We had hoped to go all the way to West Point from North Cape on highway 14, but ran out of time (sometimes we are just too slow). So, we went just over half-way down the west coast (which is a lovely drive), turning east at Campbelton, eventually linking up with highway 2 (the ‘spine’ of PEI). But, we needed ingredients for tonight’s dinner and had determined that Arsenault’s Fish Mart in Wellington was the place to find them. However, there was no such establishment in Wellington, but we were told that we could find Arsenault’s in Abram-Village. Again, no joy, but eventually we were directed to a wharf just north of Maximeville, where we found what we were looking for – fresh scallops and salmon (at a very good price) for dinner at Chez Knowmark (i.e., we ate in!). Susan prepared a wonderful meal (with a little – very little – assistance from Steve).

Tomorrow we head east …

Sunday, 18 May 2003

Yet another beautiful PEI day – we’ve been really lucky with the weather here. We set out to look for beaches and lighthouses today. Our first stop was Lord Selkirk Provincial Park which wasn’t quite what we were looking for so we headed on over to Northhumberland Provincial Park where we had the gorgeous beach all to ourselves. In the distance, we were able to see the 11:30 am ferry heading out to Nova Scotia.

After a while we continued our journey towards the the southeastern tip of PEI at the Cape Bear Lighthouse where we had our lunch and just hung around for a while climbing on big red rocks. We would like to see all the extreme corners of the island while we’re here, but probably won’t make it at the rate (slow!) we’re going.

We had another wonderful meal (fish, of course! – salmon for Steve, scallops for Susan) tonight at Mexico Lindo, an authentic Mexican restaurant in Charlottetown.

Monday, 19 May 2003

Yet another lovely day on Spud Island. Our last full day here found us travelling northwest from Charlottetown to the western part of PEI National Park. There we embarked on a 6km hike that touched on farm fields, forest paths and seaside vistas – a wonderful collage. We both got a little sunburned!

We then moved eastward through the park and spent a little time at Stanhope Beach (see photos). It is quite stunning. By that time we had worked up an appetite and our plan (such at it is – we don’t do a lot of planning!) entailed finding The Dunes Studio Gallery and Cafe, which has a very good reputation. However, the cafe was not yet open (although the Gallery) was. But, their loss (of our business) was our gain, as we found the Lobster Claw (near Brackley) was open and had a great meal – the cold lobster platter (complete with cole slaw, potato salad and wonderful biscuits).

Tuesday, 20 May 2003

Today was mostly a travel day, as we left beautiful PEI for our next venue – a cottage at Bayport on Lower South Cove, just a few kilometres from Lunenburg.

It was a fairly long drive but the day was beautiful and we got a particularly good view of the bridge on our way off the island. For lunch we stopped at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park which was very nice. Apparently, the town of Shubenacadie is referred to locally as ‘Shubie’ (as in ‘Shubie Pizza’, ‘Shubie Deli’, etc.) We have since seen a tourism ad for it with the motto “Do Shubie!” which we thought was pretty good.

The Niedermayers’ cottage at Bayport is even nicer than it looked in the photos that we saw ahead of time. (Their Web site is linked to the top of this narrative.) Our friend Suzanne Woods (joining us for a few days at the cottage) arrived shortly after we did and brought supper with her. She had stopped in at an Italian deli and a specialty wine shop before leaving Halifax and then augmented those purchases with a stop at a fish market on her way down. Dinner was various cheeses and olives for antipasti followed by grilled salmon with pistacchio-basil butter and fresh asparagus. The evening was topped off with vin santo and limoncello accompanied by cantuccini (yummy Italian biscotti).

Wednesday, 21 May 2003

We spent today wandering through Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Lunenburg was as lovely as ever; we got to see the Bluenose II which was in port and also found the Web cam that we’ve been checking out for the past few months.

The Lunenburg webcam is in the offices of Tradewinds realty. Margaret Murray, who was in the office at the time, was kind enough to let us take a photo of the camera itself as well as the view from the window that it normally shows. We’ve really enjoyed checking out the weather in the area this way, and it was fun to see the actual camera.

Since we have cooking facilities at the cottage, we have decided to eat lunch out. Today’s was at Mimi’s Ocean Grill in Mahone Bay. We started with a shared batch of yummy mussels followed by fish cakes (for Susan and Suzanne) and pan-fried halibut for Steve. Wonderful meals all around, particularly the halibut! Both towns have lovely waterfronts and are a pleasure to wander through.

We bought various fish at The Fish Store in Gold River for dinner tonight. Menu a lĂ  Susannas: rotini con pignoli, basilico e parmigiana; cioppino!; arugula salad; vin santo, limoncello and cantuccini.

Thursday, 22 May 2003

Thursday’s main project was to visit the Lordly House Museum in Chester – this was a genealogically-related visit as Suzanne is descended from the Lordly’s! Absolutely fascinating – we spent a couple of hours there. The house was built in 1806 and is particularly interesting because by the time it left the Lordly family in 1956, no (or very little) modernization had occurred. There are a great many old features such as hooks in the ceilings for chandeliers (the original kind with candles!), original door hinges, etc. We also found some family history information for Suzanne who is particularly interested in a possible Italian connection.

For lunch, we headed back to Lunenburg and ate at The Old Fish Factory (which is attached to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic) which had been recommended to Suzanne by someone in Peteroborough. All three meals were superb: salt cod cakes for Steve, fish chowder for Susan and the most amazing fried clams and chips for Suzanne.

On the way back, we decided to go past the cottage and visit Hirtle’s beach which isn’t too far away. It’s a fabulous, rocky beach … very lovely.

Once again, we bought fish at The Fish Store in Gold River for tonight’s dinner. Menu a lĂ  Susannas: mussels; mixed seafood grill (halibut, salmon, and scallops); tomato and basil salad; vin santo, limoncello, and cantuccini.

Friday, 23 May 2003

Suzanne left (for Peterborough) at the crack of dawn today. As it turns out, she drove straight through (about 18 hours!). We went in to Halifax and had lunch (at the Birmingham Bar and Grill) with Joan Moran, whom we had not seen for over six years! It was great. Then, some shopping at The Italian Gourmet (bocconcini, cantuccini, and some nice Italian bread – biove). Finally, back to our lovely cottage – dinner was leftovers from the previous two evenings, which was not too hard to take!

Saturday, 24 May 2003

A very lazy morning, particularly since the weather was only a 1 (on the Knowmark Weather Scale). After lunch, we ventured out for some hiking at Rissers Beach Provincial Park and the Green Bay Trail, which is absolutely stunning. The trail was along the shore, which varied from rocky to stretches of sandy beaches. The most amazing thing about the walk was our chance to observe eider ducks courting; the males are very beautiful and put on quite a show – puffing their necks out, throwing their heads back and making an amazing sound! We cut it a little short, since a light rain began to fall.

To get to Risser’s we took the cable ferry across the LaHave River; but on the way back we decided to drive up the west side of the river to Bridgewater to pick up some ingredients for dinner and the next few days’ lunches. On the way Steve spotted three blue herons at the same time (we’ve seen quite a few around here). Can you spot them in the photo?

Dinner tonight – Menu a lĂ  Susan: mussels (they are incredibly good and incredibly cheap); pan fried haddock – amazing!; salad (of course); the usual digestif. If you like fish and shellfish, it’s awfully easy to cook well down here!

Sunday, 25 May 2003

This is a travel today, as we leave our cottage on the South Shore and move north. It’s just as well that we don’t have any major touring planned, since the weather rating is 0 – very unusual for us. Our ‘weather luck’ is usually excellent.

We made our way to the Delft House in Centreville where we have a beautiful room. Our hosts – Dan and Lesley Richards are very pleasant and gave us some good pointers on eating and hiking in the area. We followed one of their suggestions for dinner and ate at Paddy and Rosie’s in Kentville. Pan-fried haddock for Steve and pan-fried scallops for Susan. Both renditions of the fish were superb – the accompaniments (rice and vegetables) less so.

Monday, 26 May 2003

Today we meandered around the Annapolis Valley region, just orienting ourselves and having a good look around. When we were here five years ago, the area impressed itself on us, which is one reason we returned. We took in Hall’s Harbour, Harbourville, Berwick, Kentville, Wolfville, Canning (to name a few). Stopped at the Blomidon Look-Off, which provides a spectacular view of both the Valley and the Minas Basin. We had a picnic lunch in Scots Bay Provincial Park – the tide was out, so after lunch we were able to walk way out on the ocean floor which is very rocky at this point. This area is actually a favourite with rockhounds and apparently it is possible to find amethysts on the beach here, although we weren’t lucky! And, since it’s early in the season, we had the entire area to ourselves.

We decided to go to Union Street CafĂ© in Berwick tonight for dinner. Pan-fried haddock again for Steve (quickly becoming his favourite), while Susan had a shrimp/scallop concoction with penne (except they ran out of penne, which was too bad). The haddock was indifferent (actually, quite disappointing), but the shrimp/scallop combination was a winner (despite the pasta switch) according to Susan. The mussels that we had for an appetizer were plump and fresh, although the preparation and presentation were not the best we’ve had. All-in-all, a somewhat disappointing meal. And the weather only rated a 1 today on the Knowmark Weather Scale.

Nonetheless, we had quite an enjoyable day!

Tuesday, 27 May 2003

Although today started out as a 1 on our weather scale, by late morning it was a 2.5, no rain, reasonable temperature and partly sunny. We took advantage of the improved weather by going for a hike in Blomidon Provincial Park which is mostly located along the top of Cape Blomidon.

We started out partway along the Jodrey Trail, avoiding the steepest climb! The trail is named after the late Roy Jodrey who donated 400 acres to the park. Much of the trail runs along the edge of the cliffs and there are several look-offs with views of the Minas Basin and surrounding countryside. At one of the look-offs we stopped for lunch – delicious sandwiches that we picked up at the Fireside CafĂ© in Canning. They came with fresh veggies and dip and we washed it all down with some red wine, as usual.

At the end of the Jodrey Trail, we decided to walk back south along the Woodland Trail, which was also very nice although somewhat different. Along the way, we saw dark red trilliums, some very pretty tiny white flowers with lavender stripes (they look familiar, but we’re not sure what they are), some Solomon seal, and many ferns that were just finishing the process of opening. We figure we walked about 7 km altogether – a very enjoyable hike.

Tonight drove into Wolfville for dinner at the Ivy Deck Garden Bistro. We each had a bowl of fish chowder and then split an order of pasta shells stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, accompanied by a decent Valpolicella. We also ordered a couple of their yummy desserts although we couldn’t finish them all. It was a good meal.

Wednesday, 28 May 2003

We wandered far and wide today:

  • Evangeline Beach near Grand PrĂ©
  • Hantsport – we had hoped to see them loading gypsum on boats here, but instead watched as they ripped out part of the old dock as part of a major waterfront renovation
  • lunch in Halifax (at il Mercato)
  • Peggy’s Cove

Finally, back to our place in Centreville. We went to the Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound (which is only about 11 km from where we’re staying) for supper. While the dinner was disappointing, the lobster rolls we bought for our journey home proved to be an excellent investment!

Friday, 30 May 2003

We spent two full days on the journey home (nearly 1800 km; about 18 hours driving time). We had pretty good weather for the most part, other then a few showers on Thursday afternoon and some rain on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, the day had turned bright and sunny. Thursday night found us in Montmagny, Quebec, where we had a very nice meal at an Italian restaurant – L’Olivier. The accommodations were nothing special (at Manoir des Érables).

We lunched on lobster sandwiches both days – at a Big Stop in Frederickton, NB on Thursday; and a very nice picnic area in eastern Ontario on Friday. The lobster sandwiches had been purchased in advance (see the report for Wednesday, 28 May).