Blog Update June 23, 2009
As I start to write this update, we are parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Port Hawkesbury, across the Canso Causeway in Nova Scotia. That is the waterway which separates Cape Breton Island from the mainland. It was raining so hard yesterday afternoon when we arrived here that we decided to stop even though it was early. And it has been raining hard ever since. No surprise, because this is the fourth straight day of this. Our friends, Mick & Ann Mielike, traveled to Newfoundland last summer and in reading their blog, we were surprised that they weren’t washed away because of all the rain they had. In fact, we laughed out loud when we read Ann’s quote: “I’m never going east of the Mississippi again!” We are hoping that better weather will be arriving soon.
In the meantime, we are proceeding slowly towards the ferry terminal in North Sydney where we are due to leave tomorrow evening. After checking the schedule for festivals and events, and taking a good hard look at the map, we decided the long ferry which lands us near St. John’s would be the best, and then we can return on the short ferry in a few months. So we changed our reservation. This will also put us over there in time for Canada Day celebrations on July 1.
When I last wrote, we were driving through New Brunswick and having some nice sunny weather. Everywhere we have been in Canada we have noticed that there are extensive and well maintained trail systems, and we have been trying to take advantage of this whenever the weather allows. One place we quite enjoyed was Edmunston, which has a lovely riverside park area and marina, and extensive trails along the river. Not far from there, we stopped at Grand Falls, where again we took a walk on the riverside trail, only this time there were falls and gorges, right in the town. The surprising fact we learned here was that 9/10ths of the water that flows over Niagara Falls passes through these falls. I’m sure it looks quite different in the early Spring, because right now it doesn’t look like that could even be possible.
Fredericton, which is the capitol of New Brunswick, was our next stop. It has quite a few old buildings and has a charming and walkable downtown and historic area. The tourist info office is in the old City Hall with a whimsical fountain in front and very helpful and friendly staff.
They not only gave us maps and info but also parking passes for the city lot, and a three day pass to park our RV in the large vehicle lot just down the street and near the river. Rain was threatening the entire time we explored the historic area and did a walk along the hiking trail and old railroad bridge over the river.
So we decided to move on and didn’t take advantage of their offer of parking hospitality.
Many of the old buildings here are from the times of conflict between the French and English in the 1700’s, and they have lasted because they were built of stone. These buildings from that time are the old enlisted men’s barracks, which have been converted to a crafts studio and stalls to sell them, and the officer’s quarters, which has become a museum. There is also a huge cathedral with a spire that towers over everything, even the trees.
One of the old houses was also being restored:
Our time in Moncton was very much affected by the constant rain. There is a beautiful walking trail along the river, which even has a small grandstand built there so people can watch the tidal bore. This area is not far from the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world. As we walked along the river here there was no river – the tide was out and all we could see was muddy river bottom. However, the walk didn’t last long because the rain returned. Moncton has free wireless internet coverage all over the downtown area so we took advantage of that instead of sightseeing.
One thing Elaine had been greatly looking forward to ever since our last visit to these parts 11 years ago, was the availability and affordability of lobster. She has not been disappointed. If memory serves me well, I believe we paid $5 to $5.50 per pound for lobster on our last visit. This visit we have hit a sale at the Atlantic Market Superstores and managed to have lobster for dinner twice already, and maybe tonight too, because the sale price is $5.77 a pound. Not much inflation has hit the lobster market, apparently.
Upon entering Nova Scotia, there is a large, well-staffed and well-equipped tourist info center. They have wonderful printed materials and go out of their way to give help and advice about your every interest. The grounds are beautiful with a lovely picnic area which we would have enjoyed if the weather had been better.
They had a girl playing bagpipes, so I spoke with her a bit.
Since I started this update, the rain has stopped and we have headed north towards Sydney on the Bras d’Or Scenic highway. The countryside here is very lush and green and there are lots of cute villages and lakes scattered along the roadside. Our next update will be from Newfoundland!