The Rock – Hello and Goodbye Newfoundland, and a wee bit of Labrador

Hello folks. As of yesterday, all the Highway signs on the roads we travelled said Trans Canada Hwy West. Yes, yesterday morning we left Twillingate on the eastern shore of Newfoundland and started heading west. Tomorrow, August 23d, we take the ferry back across Cabot Strait (a 6-hour trip) to North Sydney. The next day we are headed to Fredericton, then Montreal, Ottawa, and Prince Edward County in Ontario, then 3 days across Ontario and the Great Lakes, then to Estevan and Dilke Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Jasper, the Okanogan if smoke is ok, and then back down to the coast. Estimated ETA to Gibsons, September 7th.

Well, I’m three weeks behind in my blog. But that’s the time we have been in Newfoundland. Finding adequate cell and internet service especially up north was impossible. I decided I would cover this wonderful land all in one go when I had access to adequate internet access. Today, we are at JT Cheeseman Provincial Park campsite at Cape Ray near Port Aux Basques on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. As I said, tomorrow we leave Newfoundland. Today we have set aside for me to catch up on the blog and for Guy to finish off his paintings. Later we will have a hike through the tucamore  forest here and up to a viewpoint that overlooks the sea.

We have done and seen so much here since we arrived on August 1st. I am not doing my typical day by day entries in this blog post.  I’m  just going to write and let the pictures do the talking. This great land needs a more general and generous overview.

My last blog entry left off on July 30, 2018 with us sitting by the fire with Guy’s son Brenden on our last night together before he flew back with his aunt and uncle to Vancouver. With a little sadness, the next day, we dropped Brenden, Caroline and Alex off at the airport. After saying goodbye, we set off to North Sydney where we were staying the night before we caught the ferry the next day to Newfoundland.

The trip across the Cabot Strait was uneventful. The ocean was as flat as a pancake the day we sailed. On the ferry, I occupied myself with writing while Guy started and finished his painting “Joy of Green Gables”.


This painting is inspired by a photo of me walking in the Haunted Woods wearing my orange sari when suddenly I felt the need to lift it up behind me and let it blow in the wind.  When we looked at the picture later, we realized that would have been something the dramatic Anne would have done.   Guy superimposed the image of me onto a painting with Green Gables in the corner.

On the Marine Atlantic Ferry, we also occupied ourselves with talking to the people who stopped by to see what Guy was painting.  He had literally taken over a table in the little cafe and sat there all day.  People did rounds of the ferry and often came back to see how his progress was.  It was a lot of fun.



When we saw the shores of Newfoundland in the distance for the first time, we were gobsmacked. We couldn’t believe we had made it this far. The harbor welcomed us, much like we imagined it. Small colorful houses dotted the cliffs as we came into the misty port.


As we drove the short distance to our campsite, Guy and I couldn’t stop saying to each other “Wow, I can’t believe we are in Newfoundland”. We spent the first night at JT Cheeseman Provincial Park near Port Aux Basques. The next morning, we had beach time before heading north with our friends Bill and Joka. Guy and Joka braved the cold Cabot Strait for a swim. This would be one of the few swims in this part of the country. The water is just to cold and wild most of the time.



We spent the next three weeks traversing the island, up to the northern peninsula and across to Labrador, then over to St. Anthony on the northeast tip, back down to Gros Morne, then southeast to St. Johns, back the same way but east,  and then south to Port Aux Basques. I’ve attached a picture of our route on a map below.


A highlight of our three weeks on Newfoundland was our time at Blow Me Down Provincial Park, not an hour away from the pleasant town of Cornerbrook. What a gem out on the Humber Arm. The campsite itself had wonderful trails and a nice beach where we had a very quick and cold swim the first afternoon.


The next day, we hiked the Cedar Grove trail nearby that took us through an enchanting forest and down to a beautiful cove. It felt like you were millions of miles away from everything.  Guy was inspired by my random yoga pose near the cliffs on our trek.  He took a photo and planned to do a painting based on it later.


One of the small seaside fishing villages near Blow Me Down Provincial Park was Lark Harbor. This town and the area around it felt like the true Newfoundland; fishing boats, little houses, lobster traps, friendly folk.



We really enjoyed our couple of days here. We met tons of great people travelling around the Maritimes too at our campsite including some from Canada and the States.  The general greeting when someone introduced themselves from the states was “Don’t hold it against me”.  They were fed up generally with “Orangy” and couldn’t wait for change.   We plan to keep in touch with a few folks. While we were at Blow Me Down, Guy finished his painting, “Moon, Man and Mist”.



This painting is a tribute to the 3 or 4  moose we’ve seen on our journey.   Apparently there are 10, 000 moose on Newfoundland.  Moose were introduced to Newfoundland in the 1950’s.  Four moose were brought over from New Brunswick and the rest is history.

We ultimately made our way further up the coast and by August 6th, our 2nd wedding anniversary, we were on the ferry crossing the Strait of Belle Isle from St. Barbe to Labrador. Going to Labrador was on Guy’s bucket list and I was along for the ride.  I’m so glad we went. What an incredible place.  You get of the ferry at Blanc Sablon in Quebec and drive the short distance into Labrador.  As soon as we got off the ferry on to the pot hole laden roads, with the big barren landscape cradling us, we knew we had arrived somewhere very different and special.



Enroute to our campsite at Pinware Provincial Park, we stopped at a historic site of the gravesite of a young child from 7500 years ago from the Maritime Archaic peoples.   The child was laid under a round stone burial mound 1.5 metres below the surface.  It raises the question, are there more undiscovered burial sites nearby?  And why was this girl special?



Then we went on to Point Amour Lighthouse, operating since the 1850’s and still operating to this day.  It is the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada and the second tallest in Canada.   We got a tour all the way up the 132 steps to an incredible view of the Strait of Belle Island and across back to Newfoundland.  As we made our way up, our guide  also gave us some history about the lighthouse keepers and their lives that involved contending with the harsh conditions of this lighthouse on the Strait of Belle Isle.




Then we made our way to our campsite where we toasted our anniversary with a bottle of champagne on the beach.  It was lovely.



After dinner, the fellow in the campsite next to us,  from Ontario, invited us over for some planet viewing.  He had the big telescopes for looking at the  sky. That night we saw Mars, Saturn and Venus.

The next day, we drove up to Red Bay, the farthest you can go apparently before the roads really deteriorate. The landscape enroute was awe inspiring, rockscapes with mini trees, actual subarctic terrain.  In Red Bay, we saw around a Whaling Museum and then were dropped off by boat across the harbor to look around Saddle Island, an old Basque Whaling Station. It was an incredibly interesting spot and we could have stayed there for hours.



In the evening, Guy finished his painting “Confederation Bridge”.


This is based picture of Guy and I taken the day we left PEI on the New Brunswick side of the bridge.  Here we are wearing our hats, a very integral part of our travelling uniform this summer.

After a wild weather night of wind and rain, we awoke on August 8th, our travelling companion Joka’s birthday, and headed back to Blanc Sablon to the ferry along the pot hole filled, foggy and rainy roads and got a true taste of Labrador weather after two lucky days of sunshine.

Once off the ferry, we headed directly up the Northern Peninsula to L’Anse Aux Meadows and the St. Anthony Area. We had a terrific day at L’Anse Aux Meadows which is an archaeological site of a Viking Settlement from the year 1000, predating Christopher Columbus,  and discovered in the 1960’s.  One of the first artifacts found was a small bronze cloak pin indicative of Greenland and Iceland people at that time.   It should be noted too that the native peoples of the area occupied, at least part of the time, the same subarctic terrain on the Strait of Belle Isle dating back to 6,000 years ago.   It looks as though this group of Norse/sVikings were there for 3-10 years, some call a failed Viking Settlement.  Hundreds of small artifacts were found but so were the actual foundations of longhouses and other buildings.  The Vikings came to this foreboding land likely to repair boats, do some trade, and look for other resources.  Much of the impetus to find the settlement and others like it in the region were based on Sagas passed down orally and then written down that spoke of travels to this land.   We went through the museum and then on a tour which was very informative.   L’Anse Aux Meadows was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1978.



Afterwards, we walked along the ocean path and met a woman named Mandy and she walked with us. She was very interested in the plants and berries in the area. We had lunch with her later and found out she was thinking about moving to Newfoundland from Quebec. We said goodbye to her after lunch but would ultimately meet up with her later in St. John’s.



That night it poured. It was actually torrential. We could not leave our popup the next morning until after 9am. The rain was too intense and wouldn’t stop. We spent a couple of hours that day in a museum to stay out of the weather.  The museum featured Dr. Grenfell, a doctor who travelled the coast by boat around the Northern Peninsula and Labrador beginning in 1892.  He administered medical care to isolated communities and set up nursing stations in different communities.  He was truly a champion of the people and did a lot to buoy people up in the fishing communities where life was extremely tough.  It was interesting to learn about Dr. Grenfell because his history is so wrapped up in the History of  Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula and Labrador.

Later in the day when the sun came out, we had a walk up to a point with a lighthouse and a nice walk at St. Anthony.



That night Guy finished his painting “Exuberance”. I maintain that it looks like a porcupine attacked my head, but the “artiste” sees differently.



We spent the next couple of days in the Gros Morne National Park area.  We camped for two nights at Shallow Bay Provincial Park near a town called Cows Head on the west coast.  That first afternoon, we had a fantastic hike out to the lighthouse at Cows Head and then further out to the head of the bay.


The next day we went for a walk out to Western Brook Pond and the fjords.  That night, we went for dinner and to a play in Cows Head at their community theatre.  The play was about 17 men in the area who were in the first world war.  Some of them died and some of them made it back to Newfoundland to live out there lives there.  The four male actors portrayed each of the 17 men’s experiences in little vignettes.  It was very moving.

The next morning we wandered the gorgeous beach and sand dunes before we set out for Tablelands.




Later, we had lunch at a place in Woody Point. I was glad to go to Woody Point because it has a writer’s festival there every year that Shelagh Rogers hosts. I would have liked to have stay the week and joined in on the writer’s festival but we couldn’t afford the time. After lunch, Guy had a nap underneath Woody Point lighthouse and I read.  A tour boat came across the bay toward the lighthouse.   I stood up and waved and the whole boat of people started waving at me. A ferry funny moment.

Guy and I pushed on that day and drove late until we reached Gander. The next day, we pushed on to St. Johns. Our plan with our last week, until the ferry back to Nova Scotia, was to make it to St. John’s and tour around and then stop off at points of interest on our way back to the west coast.

St. John’s was great. We stayed at Pippy Municipal Park in the city. It was a reasonably nice campground and was near all the sights. Mandy, our new friend who we had met up on the Northern Peninsula, was there and acted as our tour guide for a couple of days. She had been to Newfoundland and St. John’s 10 years ago so she knew her way around. She took us up to Cape Spear Lighthouse, the most eastern point in Canada.  Did you know Portugal is due east from Cape Spear right across the Atlantic?



Then Mandy showed us around St. John’s and Guy was able to get his Atlantic water off the shores of St. John’s. The bottle is now full!!!   We also got to say hello to the big Newfoundland and Labrador dog statues in the harbor.  Such good boys!!!  Back at the campsite, we had dinner and a very fun evening of crib in our camper.   Guy won.



The next day we went to Signal Hill and spent a few hours there hiking around and seeing the sights. Yikes. There are lots of steep hills and cliffs at Signal Hill.  Signal Hill, “With its summit 167 metres above sea level …….. offers a commanding view of the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s, and the Narrows, a channel through which all ships must pass when entering St. John’s Harbour. This site was important for communications and defence. Its fortifications defended St. John’s harbour for centuries and it was at the summit of Signal Hill on December 12th, 1901 that Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission ushering in the era of wireless communications” (Wikipaedia”).  The views there and the trails are really tremendous.  Yikes, height phobia pushed to the limit!!!!!!




We continued our day out on a little excursion to the quaint little village of Quidi Vidi.  We looked around and saw some Artisans at work in a local gallery and then took a few photo opps.


We topped the day off with dinner out to a restaurant in Peddy Harbor called Chafe’s Landing.  In Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown”, he highlighted this area in his episode on Newfoundland.  Its a very popular place with great affordable food in a great setting.  Even before Anthony Bourdain’s nod to Chafe’s Landing, it was very popular and doing a booming business.   I had the codcakes and they were to die for.  Just an aside, Alan Doyle from the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea is from Peddy Harbor.



What a lovely city St. John’s is. It’s pretty with the Jelly Bean colored houses and the seascapes. It looks to be a very liveable city with lots of art and culture and an active citizenry.   And  the Battery Café owned by an Australian guy from Melbourne, makes a great Americano.



After St. Johns, Guy and I headed up to Bonavista Peninsula just  4 hours north of St. Johns.  Mandy decided to join us. We were going to see the sights and look for Puffins. What a beautiful part of the world. More potholes of course off the main highways but the most precious little fishing villages dotted the landscape all the way out to Bonavista which is a bigger picturesque old fishing village sitting on the Atlantic.



We stopped in Bonavista at the info centre and then hit a sweet little bakery and picked up Bakeapple Cheesecake and Coconut Cream Pie. Bakeapples are a small berry found in Newfoundland that are delicious and are used in preserves and baking.  Their  latin name, if anyone is interested, is Rubus chamaemorus and they are native to cooler climates.  It has an incredibly different flavor to other berries.  Partridge berry or lignon berry is another berry I enjoyed while in Newfoundland.  It is similar to a small cranberry and is tart.  Yum.  Newfoundlanders are big on foraging berries just like we are on the west coast.  Hope the blackberries wait for me!!!!

We found our very basic campsite at Elliston Municipal Campsite with the most beautiful view of the Atlantic and the cliffs.  It was $15.00 for the night for the 3 of us including two vehicles.  Once we set up, we headed a mile down the road to the cliffs where the puffins hang out. It’s a very pretty walk over huge rocks out to ocean. We sat on one of the rocks and looked across to where the puffins were living on another big rock island. It was so cool to be able to watch these cute little orange footed birds hunt.  Life is tough for them though. As they hunt, they have to fight off the seagulls to keep their catch. The seagulls just sit there lazily on the rocks waiting for the puffins to come in with their catch so they can steal it.



The next day we went and saw our puffin buddies again and then saw around Bonavista and went up to the lighthouse at the point. We had no idea it was International Lighthouse Day so getting in the lighthouse was free. Bonavista is the spot on Newfoundland where Giovanni Cabato (John Cabot) first hit land in 1497 and name it Bonavista, “beautiful view”. We walked out to the statue of John Cabot and then had a quick picnic nearby.



Afterwards, Mandy took us to the Dungeons, some huge rock structures along the ocean worn away over time. They and the landscape around them were striking.  On the way, we said hi to some cows.


Afterwards, we walked around Bonavista.  We were just walking along the ocean and a guy yelled at us from his boat if we wanted to go cod fishing.  We declined but asked him where we could get some cod and he said he’d bring some back to us if he caught anything.  Of course, by the time he came back we had moved on but this just demonstrates how friendly the Newfoundland people are.  We ended up back at the tea house in town, our new favorite spot only how many miles away from Gibsons, where we had an afternoon snack of coconut cream pie as the bakeapple cheesecake was sadly sold out.

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Aftetwards, we hunted down some cod and I made curried cod and rice for dinner.   While I was cooking, Guy finished his painting “Sand Eagle”.


Then after dinner, the cribbage match continued.

Mandy set off back to St. Johns the next morning. We headed up the east coast further, a 4 hour drive again,  to Twillingate.   Before we left the Elliston area, we drove a mile or two down the way from Elliston to the little hamlet of Maberly.  Maberly used to be a busy little fishing village back in the day with fishing and gardening.    People occupy the houses that are left but it is quiet.   Maberly is so typical of many little towns in Newfoundland that have seen their ultimate demise after the end of the cod fishery.



Its so pretty here on the wild Atlantic. You can almost feel the ghosts of the people of the past.

Oh, I forgot to say that Elliston advertises itself as the root cellar capital.  Even Maberly has some decent root cellars.   When I first read that before coming, I laughed. But it’s true. Everywhere in the hills, you see little doors to root cellars.



At Twillingate we stayed at Dildo Run Provincial Park. They  might think about changing the name.  It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous place in spite of the name.



The next day we toured around Twillingate including the local lighthouse.  We also were treated to a humpback whale display, 6 of them,  just off some random cliffs we walked up.  In the second picture on the right, you can see the spray.



That night Guy finished his painting “Ellliston” based on a picture of a simple little white house with a colorful door and window panes.  In front was a puffin inspired outdoor chair.    The painting is a tribute to these most interesting birds prolific in this area.




The next day,  we had an early morning and were on the road by 7am.  We stopped in Cornerbrook for groceries and some more canvasses for Guy. We got to the campsite about 5pm, set up and went on a nice one hour hike on some trails near the campsite with some incredible views of Cabot Strait and the coastline.



When we got back, we had dinner and a fire and Guy finished his painting called “Tabletop” based on our hike around Tabletop in Gros Morne.




This morning Guy painted and I blogged. Then this afternoon, we had a gorgeous hike through the magical hills around here that ended up at the beautiful sandy beach. We had a swim in Cabot Strait and dried off in the sun on the beach. We both felt like we properly said goodbye today to this incredible place called Newfoundland.



These are the words that in my mind remind me of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Mysterious, Daunting, Desolate, Beautiful, Isolated, Lonely, Wild, Moose, Whales, Puffins, Foggy, Woodpiles, Lobster Traps, Tucamoor Forests, Sand Dunes, Erratics ( big rocks left over from when the ice receded), Mist, Wind, Waves, Friendly, Welcoming,, Laughter, Lightheartedness, Rocky, Hilly, Cliffs, Graveyards, Cod, Wild blueberries, Bakeapples, Fish and Chips, Pea Soup.


Bye Bye Newfoundland!!!!  May we see your shores again!!

The Land of Anne and Sand, Prince Edward Island

July 25, 2018 – Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island

Before we left Cape Breton Island for PEI,  we made a quick trip down to the docks in Louisburg and walked the decks of the Bluenose II. The original Bluenose has an interesting history. It was launched in 1921 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  It was originally a fishing boat and also used for racing in fishermen’s’ sailing races.  The captain of this schooner had a competitive spirit and won many international races.    In 1946, the vessel hit a reef and the Bluenose 1 was lost.  In 1963. the pride for the original Bluenose propelled the original shipyard to build Bluenose II.  It now sails around the Maritimes and beyond serving as an ambassador and educating people on Nova Scotia’s sailing and racing history.

The boat was incredibly beautiful and well kept.  A work of art.



After seeing the Bluenose II, we pointed ourselves in the direction of the PEI ferry that leaves Nova Scotia at Caribou. We had a quick picnic before we got on the ferry. During the ride over, we were entertained by an talented twin sister duo Ava and Lily Rashed.  With lovely, strong voices and great musicianship, I’m sure that won’t be the last time we here of these two.

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We finally arrived at Greens Roofs Cottage in Mt. Stewart just east of Charlottetown. It was lovely to have a break from the camper. But boy was that old house hot inside. Thankfully here was a screened porch with a big dining table.  We were able to have all our meals out there and Guy could paint happily without being massacred by the mosquitos. Even so, the mosquitos and the no see ems got in somehow.  They were ruthless.



July 26, 2018 – Prince Edward Island

In the morning, Brenden, Phil and I had a bike ride along the red roads near the Cottage. PEI is known for its clay roads which are full of iron oxide.




Shortly after getting back, the rains came on intensely and they stayed for most of the day. Brenden, Guy and I took it easy until early afternoon. Guy painted, and I did some writing and caught up on our laundry. Then we met Heather in Charlottetown and had a walk around downtown and a cup of tea.

Unfortunately Guy’s sister Caroline had to go to emergency that day. She hadn’t been feeling well for some time and things progressed so that she needed to see a doctor on PEI.   It turned out she had pneumonia. She stayed in the hospital all day and was given antibiotics. We were all happy to see her at the musical that night, “Anne and Gilbert”.

The musical was based on Anne of Green Gables and the time from when Anne goes off to college to become a teacher, to the time she and Gilbert finally mend fences and become a couple. It was a touching look at love, sacrifice and forgiveness with excellent singing and dancing. There were a couple of times where I could bet there wasn’t a totally dry eye in the audience, myself included. It was very well done.


July 27, 2018 – Prince Edward Island

Guess we hadn’t had enough Anne yet. We visited all things Anne this day. First, we started at Green Gables, the house near where Lucy Maude Montgomery grew up that inspired the Anne books. We walked through Green Gables, then walked the Haunted Woods.  Then we had a picnic and finished off with a walk down Lovers’ Lane. Even though it was all quite touristy, we had a lot of fun.


We topped off the day with a terrific swim at Cavendish Beach.  It is a very popular beach near all the Anne of Green Gables tourist attractions.  PEI has the most wonderful beaches with incredible sand dunes everywhere that they are working to protect.   It’s great if you have little kids because there are so many sandbars and the bottom is sandy.  It is hard though to get a swim in any deep water.



July 28, 2018 – Prince Edward Island

We journeyed out to Basin Provincial Park on the most northeastern tip of Prince Edward Island.  We had a great day swimming in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Then we had a potluck picnic followed by a visit to the Lighthouse.  We have seen so many lighthouses.



In the later afternoon, Guy, Brenden and I went for another swim at Blooming Pt. Rd. Beach near where we were staying.  What a gem of a beach.  It was like the other wonderful beaches but without all the crowds.  It was glorious and the water was so warm.  We enjoyed it so much, we were almost late for dinner.



July 29, 2018 – Prince Edward Island

This was our final full day before leaving the island.  It was time to learn a little bit about Confederation since Charlottetown was the place where the original talks regarding Confederation, referred to as the Charlottetown Conference,  occurred for a week in 1864. We went downtown and saw a very informative film that covered the history of Confederation.  Then we had lunch out and then walk around the old town and down to the water where there was lots of information along the way on the history of the harbor.  In the afternoon we went to a Ceilidh at a local pub.  We ordered some pints and spent a couple of hours listening to the fine traditional music of some local artists.  It was a blast.



July 30, 2018 – Prince Edward Island back to Halifax, Nova Scotia
We lollygagged our way off of the Island that day. We really didn’t want to leave after such a great few days with everyone including great swimming. We were up early to pack up and then tidy the B and B. Then Guy, Brenden and I headed to the South Shore of PEI to Argyle Provincial Park, positioning ourselves for the trip over the Confederation Bridge later.  The rest of the group headed back into Charlottetown for some more sightseeing and to pick up some PEI swag. They would meet us later. By 10 am, the 3 of us were bobbing around in Northumberland Strait. It was a very picturesque spot with the dramatic red cliffs, red sand and even reddish tinted ocean.  I noticed that it seemed easier to float in this water.  Maybe it was something in the water or maybe just something in my imagination.   The rest of the gang joined us later for a swim and a picnic.



Afterwards, we headed over the Confederation Bridge and bid PEI adieu.  It was exciting to go over this 12.9 mile “feat of engineering”.  It takes about 12 minutes to cross the tolled bridge depending on weather conditions.  The period of construction of the bridge was from October 1993 to May 1997, at a cost of  1.3 billion dollars.  The bridge is curved and is 40 metres (131 ft) above water except for a 60 m (197 ft) navigation span for ship traffic (Wikipedia).



Some feel the bridge has affected the slower pace way of life. But, apparently, it has also helped the economy on PEI. They are selling more potatoes!!! Seems change is inevitable, for better or for worse……………..

And what about the abundance on PEI of those gems of goodness that we all so love. The iron in the soil that gives it its color is great to grow potatoes in and “….it retains just the right amount of moisture during the growing season but is then effectively cleansed over the winter. Warm summers, cold winters and adequate annual rainfall result in excellent growing conditions with the right balance of heat, light, and water to maximize yields and tuber quality. Additionally, being an island provides a distinct advantage to PEI when it comes to growing potatoes. The ocean acts as a natural barrier against airborne or insect-borne diseases. As well, this easy access to the ocean facilitates transportation of the crop, while limited points of entry allow us to control the movement of potatoes into and out of the province. Island growers also practice environmentally sustainable farming practices and follow the most stringent environmental standards in Canada” (Wikipedia). Just a little tater info for you readers.

We topped off the afternoon with a visit to an old French Fort just over the border from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia and then we all had dinner together in Truro.

We went back to Schubie Campground in Dartmouth for another night with Brenden.  The rest of the gang went and booked into their respective B and B’s for the night near the airport. They were all leaving the next day after spending 2 weeks with us in Nova Scotia and PEI.

Back at the campsite, we set up camp, lit a fire, roasted some marshmallows and had a few s’mores and a cup of tea. It was good to just sit around and talk and be together in the quiet of the evening of our last night together.



More Nova Scotia Fun

July 21, 2018 – Fun near Halifax

Guy,  Brenden and I arrived at Hope for Wildlife a little earlier than Caroline and Alex so we had a quick tail gate lunch and then ventured onto the shores of  the Atlantic across the street. Guy was able to add some Atlantic water to the Tim Hortons bottle that was 1/2 full of Pacific Ocean water.  He left it ¼ empty for the Atlantic water that he will get at Cape Spear near St. John’s.  Cape Spear is the most easternmost point in Canada so it was important to get that water!!

We spent a couple of hours at Hope for Wildlife, a rescue centre for all variety of  animals. Caroline is a fan of the TV show , as is my mom I recently found out, and Brenden and Guy and I  too love animals.  We saw all varieties of animals there and got to touch a few of them. The workers were extremely  knowledgeable and informative and super kind to the animals that they take care of.  It was a lovely couple of hours. My favorites were the snowy owl and the seal pup.



After Hope for Wildlife, we went into Halifax to get more canvasses for Guy.  Then we hiked up Citadel Hill and explored it for an hour or so before it closed. Citadel Hill is a fortress that was erected in 1749 to protect Halifax during the warring and building of Canada.  It was never attacked but was always an important part of Halifax harbor’s defense operations.



July 22, 2018 – Dartmouoth, NS to Cape Breton Island, NS

We left Schubie campground in Dartmouth early in the morning and drove the Trans Canada through the fog and rain. Our first stop enroute was Antigonish where I went to school 12 years ago. We visited Saint Francis Xavier University (STFX) and took some photos. I loved my few weeks at STFX and wanted to visit the beautiful grounds of the university again.



We also visited a drug store where we got a new epi pin. Guy was stung at the campsite the evening before and I wanted to be armed with a nice fresh epi kit in case we needed it. We didn’t.

We met the rest of the gang at Antigonish and then convoyed out together to Cape Breton Island over the Canso Causeway.  This piece of road connecting the main part of Nova Scotia to the Island of Cape Breton was built in the 1950’s.  Before that, people got to the island by ferry.


We stopped for a late lunch at a cute farmhouse café and then went to the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck. That was a fascinating stop. After Bell invented the telephone and became quite famous in the States, he desired a refuge, a place where he could go away from the hurly burly of city life. He chose Baddeck and bought a huge acreage, the tip of peninsula really.  Much of his creativity was inspired by the landscape and quiet of the area. It was interesting to learn about the man who was Alexander Graham Bell.  He was prolific in his inventions, and loved children, the land and nature and his wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard who was a deaf person.

Afterward, we found our campsite at Mira River Provincial Campground. We set up camp and then Guy and Brenden went for a swim while I got dinner together.  Those two love swimming together. They wrestle and have handstand competitions. It’s wonderful to watch and listen to them having a great time in the water.


July 23, 2018 – Cape Breton Island, NS

We got up and it was so hot already. Brenden was cooking in his tent. The three of us went for an early swim and it was glorious, It was just us, the lake, and the ducks.

Then we went back to the campsite, had breakfast, and made our way to meet the rest of the clan at Fort Louisberg. We had a great few hours there. What a historical gem. Fort Louisburg was a French Fortress that was ultimately lost to the British in 1756.  1/5 of the Fort was rebuilt 20 years ago by unemployed miners who were retrained in construction skills and then involved in the rebuilding of the fort. Wow, you would swear you were walking into a town in the 1700’s. It was so well done. The workers in costume were all so friendly and informative. Visiting Fort Louisburg was truly a highlight for us.




When you are in downtown Louisberg away from the Fort full of tourists, you can see the old fort off in the distance and can imagine what the whole area looked like back in the 1700’s.



After the Fort, we took a drive to Sydney to the Miner’s Museum. The museum gave us a look at the mining in Nova Scotia through the years. Guy, Brenden, Alex and Phil went on a tour underground.


Caroline and I went around the museum and saw a good little film about Cape Breton mining history. All I can say is, those men who went underground were tough and courageous and self sacrificing.  Imagine living most of your life underground. But this was a main form of employment on the island, next to fishing.

After our visit to the miner’s museum, we all had dinner together in Sydney.  Lobster was at the top of the menu for a few at our table.


July 24, 2018 – The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

We were on the road by about 7:30 am to meet the rest of the gang in Sydney at their B and B. We left in convoy by 8:30am. Our goal this day was to get around the entire Cabot Trail.  It is a very scenic coastal route around Cape Breton Island.   If you are doing the Cabot Trail, it is best to have a few days for it, that way you can stop along the way at all the viewpoints and campsites in the most gorgeous spots on the ocean and do some of the many hiking trails available. But we only had the day so we made the most of it. We travelled the trail counter clockwise, which is advised by most books, the idea being that this direction puts you on the cliff side and offers better views.  It is likely written by a person not scared to death of heights.  The road is very hilly, incredibly steep in spots but yes, with some really spectacular views.



At the top end of the Island on the east side in the Highlands, we picnicked at Pleasant Bay on a beautiful sandy beach. Brenden and Phil were able to get in an epic swim in some wild Gulf of St. Lawrence water. The rest of us beachcombed and enjoy some time out of our vehicles.



The best part of the Cabot Trail was the West Coast. Any commercials or adds you see about the Cabot Trail are likely taken or inspired by this side of the island. We took advantage of the photo opportunities here too.


We were back at the campsite about 6pm. We went for a swim and were in bed early.  The next day, we were going to see the Bluenose II that had just sailed in to Louisburg Harbor.  Then we were off to get the ferry to PEI.


New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Bound

 July 13 = Perce Provincial Park, Quebec to Campbellton, New Brunswick

We had breakfast out on the main strip in Perce then we headed out together in the direction of New Brunswick.  We stopped in the town of  Bonaventure on Chaleur Bay and visited their Acadian Museum.  It was really interesting learning about the plight of the Acadians in the 1700’s in this area and through the Maritimes.  The first settlers of this town were Acadian refugees who avoided the expulsion of Acadians.  If you don’t know, “Acadians are the descendants of French Colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descended from the Indigenous peoples of the region”.   Acadia, was basically a colony of New France that included Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, and a portion of Maine.  The Acadians faced much persecution and expulsion as the British and French and other European countries and their Native allies duked it out for territory in eastern Canada and beyond.

One observation we had while travelling along the coast was the propensity of the locals especially in the south part of the Gaspe Peninsula to use beautiful waterfront property to erect gas stations, industry and whatever else is needed right along the St. Lawrence.  We guess that there is so much waterfront here that there is  not yet the market needed to push the prices up high like on the Sunshine Coast.  We wonder too if the weather along the coast here is prohibitive in the winter.  The price of land and houses are so cheap here.  As we made our way down, we saw some old heritage houses for sale and googled the listings  to see what places were going for.  A three bedroom, two bathroom old timer was going for an unbelievable price of $140,000.00.

In the later part of the day, we said goodbye to the Gaspe Bay Peninsula as we drove over the bridge that was on one side still Quebec and mid-span turned to New Brunswick.  The interesting part here is that in the middle of the bridge, the time moved ahead by one hour.  A while before we hit the bridge and still in Quebec, I checked the time.  Then we went over the bridge, excited to be in the Maritimes,  and did some shopping before we set up at our campsite.  A little bit later I checked the time and a couple of hours had flown by.  I commented to Guy that this day was going really fast.  I didn’t know about the time change and our I phones had changed automatically when we went over into a new zone.

We got into our campsite at Campbelltown, ate dinner and then made our way over to hear some music at the campfire.  What a treat.  A duo from across the river Sammy and Nadine treated us to an evening of Acadian/Cajun music.



July 14 – Campbellton, New Brunswick to Richibutco, New Brunswick
I got up early and had an hour walk along the Restigouche River trail near our campsite.  Then Guy and I drove to the Miscou Lighthouse on the top North east end of New Brunswick.  On the way, we saw a moose on the side of the road.  That was exciting.  I fumbled to get the camera out in time and take a shot but missed it.

Miscou lighthouse was on a really interesting beach on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  We took artistic photos of lobster traps in the sand and interesting cloud formations.


After a quick picnic,  we made our way down the east coast of New Brunswick to our campsite in Richibutco.  After a simple dinner of beans on toast, I attempted to give Guy a haircut.  I pretended I was a hair stylist and we ended up having a good laugh.




July 15 – Richibutco, New Brunswick to Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
In the morning we drove south to and through Moncton to the Bay of Fundy.  What a lovely pastoral area along the Bay.   We bee lined to Hopewell Rocks.  We wanted to see the tide change which was said to be spectacular.  We arrived when the tide was out and watched it come in filling the bay with water quite quickly.  The tidal range for this area was approximately 48ft between low tide and high tide.   They had people patrolling the beach who made sure everyone was out before the tide came in.  The Hopewell flowerpots as they call them were very much like the hoodoos in the badlands but on the water and made out of different material.  There were so many people there to see the rocks.  We decided we would come back in the morning and play on the flats before the tide came in including getting Guy set up for his next painting.



After Hopewell Rocks, we drove along the water up to Cape Enrage too see the lighthouse and then that evening, Guy finished his painting, “New Hat, Old City”.


It’s a painting of of me in Quebec City with my new hat on.  I like it.


July 16 – Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick to Halifax, Nova Scotia

We got up early that day to make our way back to Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy to beat the crowds.  Our other goal was to get Guy started on his painting “Muddy Fundy”.  They let us down to the rocks at 8am.  We were some of the first people there.  Then we hiked down with Guy’s easel, brushes and paints.  He set up his easel on the flats and started a painting of them with the actual mud from the Bay of Fundy.  My job was to shoot pictures of this and then he would choose a picture and paint from it later.



Guy and his sisters were born in a small town close to the Bay of Fundy called Middletown in Nova Scotia.  Guy’s parents, Anne and Hugh, came from England to Nova Scotia as Hugh was working for the Royal Canadian Air Force at Greenwood.  It was significant for Guy to come back to the region of his birth and to the area from his parents first started their family.

We spent the morning and early afternoon making our way to Halifax.  Our first stop that day was the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.  I wanted to see the Maud Lewis exhibition again and I knew Guy would enjoy it.  I visited the gallery 12 years ago but wanted to refamiliarize myself with her work after seeing the movie “Maudie”.  Maud Lewis was a Nova Scotian folk artist from the Digby area.  She had a tough life between losing her mother early and having to deal with tremendous physical difficulties herself.  What everyone notes about Maud’s art is that even through all the physical pain and heartache in her life, her paintings are colorful, playful and hopeful.  Art obviously transported her to another lovely world of birds, flowers, seashores, fishing boats, pastures and cozy farmhouses and churches in the snow.


Afterwards, we had a walk around Halifax and had a meal before we headed to our Bed and Breakfast.  This was our first night out of the camper in weeks since staying with our friends in Calgary.  Joan, our host, was amazing.  As soon as we arrived, she invited us into her living room for tea.  We chatted for a couple of hours with her.  She was a very interesting person.  The old heritage house she lived in and owned had be in her Irish family for over a hundred years.  Her mother had it in later years as a B and B and Joan has carried on the tradition of lovely hospitality.     She was also a painter so she and Guy had lots to talk about.


July 17 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

We woke up in the morning and were treated to a most incredible and fortifying breakfast and the best part, good coffee.  We chatted more with Joan and then off we went to see more of  Halifax before meeting family arriving later in the day.  We took a photo with Joan and promised we would come back if ever in Halifax.


Guy wanted to work on the painting “Muddy Fundy” and I hoped to work on the blog and catch up on some correspondence.  So we went to Halifax Municipal Gardens downtown and sat there for hours on a park bench near a pond and a fountain.  People kept stopping by to look at Guy’s work and soon realized he wasn’t painting pleine air of the scene in front of him but working on a painting from a photograph of the Bay of Fundy.


In the afternoon, we met family who had flew in to spend a couple of weeks with us in the Maritimes.  We were happy to see Guy’s youngest Brenden, his sister Caroline and brother in law Alex, and Alex’s brother Phil and wife Heather.  They were all exhausted from a long flight so we took Brenden with us and headed to our campsite in Dartmouth and set up camp, had dinner and an early night.


July 18 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

The next morning, we met up with the rellies who were staying in a B and B in Halifax.  We started our day out at Pier 21.  It was my second time there but fascinating to learn about the people that came through the port to start new lives in Canada from all parts of this big, big world.

Afterwards, we walked the Harbor to a pub near Alexander Keiths and lunched then spent the afternoon at the Maritime Museum learning about the Halifax Explosion and the Titanic Disaster. It was a great day hanging out with the family.



July 19 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Daytrip to Peggys Cove,  Malone Bay and Lunenberg

We set off early to Halifax and made our way to Peggy’s Cove.  It is a major tourist stop and it was full of people when we got there.  But we still enjoyed walking the rocks around the lighthouse close to the Atlantic.  The ocean was a little wild that day but maybe that’s the way it always is???  We got some great family photos.




Afterwards, we drove along the coast a ways and stopped at a memorial for the Swiss Air disaster, flight 111.  It went down off of Peggy’s Cove on Sept 2nd, 1998 at 10:30 in the evening.  229 people died, including the crew, in the disaster.   People from Peggy’s Cove were involved in the recovery and support of family members who came to the site.  The memorial is beautiful.

Afterwards, we picnicked at Malone Bay, a small town near Lunenburg.   Then we saw around the seaside town of Lunenberg and headed back to the campsite for a swim and dinner.  It was a full day.


July 20 –  Halifax Nova Scotia – Daytrip to Middleton and Lawrenceton

We were up early for a trip down memory lane for Guy and his sister.  We headed up to the North coast of Nova Scotia in the direction of Middleton and Lawrenceton.  Enroute, we made a pit stop at CFB Greenwood to see where Guy and Caroline’s dad worked for 5 years as an aircraft technician.  They had a air force museum to look around and outside there were old planes that people could walk around.  One of the planes was similar to one Hugh worked on.  A highlight for us was a little plane with a flight simulator that you could play at landing the plane.  I crashed it!!!

We picnicked at the CFB Greenwood in one of their mess rooms.  Then we headed on to Middleton and visited the old Soldiers Memorial Hospital (that is now an apartment) where Guy was born.


When we were taking pictures of Guy outside the hospital (apartment), there were some women sitting outside smoking and keeping cool.  Guy chatted them up and it turned out one of the ladies was born the same year as Guy at that hospital and she now lives there in the apartment.

Then we went on and took a look at the newer hospital where Caroline and her younger sisters Diana and Christine were born.


Afterward we spent a long time trying to find the swimming hole at Trout Lake where Guy first swam and almost drowned.  We couldn’t find public beach access so we sadly gave up.  Then we followed the crew to Digby where we were all treated to a wonderful dinner by our friend Phil.  Then we made the long drive home back to the campsite.


Making our way along the Gaspe Peninsula

July 10 – Levis, Quebec to Bic Provincial Park, Bas Saint-Laurent, Quebec

This morning we headed out along the familiar 132 Hwy.  Our destination that day was Bic Provincial Park with stops along the way.  This intriguing landscape along the south shore of the St. Lawrence scattered with simple weather worn houses was starting to foreshadow the Maritimes.

En route, we picked up some local cheese and then had a windy picnic on  the shores of the St. Lawrence.  We stayed the night at Bic Provincial Park.  I had a wonderful walk along one of the parks many trails and Guy worked on a painting .



July 11, Bic Provincial Park, Bas Saint Laurent,  Quebec to Perce, Gaspésie, Quebec

We started this day off with a walk on the beach near the campsite at Bic.  It was a great way to start the day.



Then we made a trip to the Metis Gardens in the Quebec Region of Gaspésie.  The gardens were beautiful and the horticultural therapy was welcome since I personally have been missing my garden this year.   The Gardens were created in the early 1900’s by a lady named Elsie Redford.  She was a Montreal woman who inherited her uncles fishing lodge and at the age of 54 began turning the acres of property into gorgeous gardens.  The property was inherited by one of Elsie son’s while she was still alive but he could not take care of it properly.  After many transitions in stewardship, the gardens are now taken care of by  the Quebec Government and are designated a National Historic Site.



We topped our little visit to the gardens with a picnic in a meadow on the garden property.  It was lovely and included Quebec brie, crackers, pickles, salami, baguette, olives, avocado, cucumber and homous.  Wonderful!!  Then Guy had a wee nap while I just rested under the trees.



We had a long but most picturesque drive along the Gaspésie that afternoon and early evening.  Every turn uncovered the most breathtaking landscape along the shores of the St. Lawrence.  We kept to the ocean road instead of the highway.  We didn’t want to miss this coast and it didn’t disappoint.



July 12 – Perce, Gaspésie, Quebec

This sunny day was one of the highlights of the trip.  We got a boat out to Bonaventure Island to the migratory bird sanctuary and spent the day walking the trails and viewing over 200,000 gannuts, the largest sea birds in the North Atlantic.  We also got a chance to view Perce Rock up close too.  The pictures really do say more than I could describe.



We topped off the day with a trip to the local pub for some local beer.  Awesome!!!  One of the beers on my flight tasted like jujubes.  Really, it did.



Beautiful Quebec City

July 9th – Longueil, Quebec (near Montreal) to Levis, Quebec (near Quebec City)  

It was a lovely drive along the south side of the  St. Lawrence on Highway 132, a  charming pastoral landscape of corn fields and farm houses.  We stopped enroute for a picnic at a park on the river straight across from Trois Rivieres.  Trois Rivieres was founded in 1634 by French colonists.  It was the second permanent French Settlement after Quebec City.

It was a long day of driving.  We made it to our campsite “Camping du fort de la  Martiniere” just outside of Levis in the early evening.   This campsite turned out to be a great spot with a really wonderful view up the St. Lawrence.


It was also close to Levis, the town where the ferry is, so we planned to take the boat back and forth to Quebec City.

July 10th – Quebec City, Quebec

We had a terrific day in Quebec City with our friends Joka and Bill.  We took the 10 am ferry to Old Quebec  from Levis.   We walked around and saw the sights.  The crowds were heavy.  It is tourist season afterall.  We had a great lunch of crepes at an outdoor café.  We were serenaded by a fellow with a French accent who knew tunes from Neil Young, the Mamas and the Papas and other musicians of that era.  We all enjoyed the music.  The next day I walked by the café and he was there playing the same set.




After lunch, we parted with Bill and Joka.  We visited the Chateau Frontenac and walked into the front doors “like we owned the place” (a term one of my good friends likes to use), and we proceeded to visit their toilets.  They were some of the most beautiful washrooms I have seen.   I say this with a smirk as this is the closest we will ever get to staying at the Chateau Frontenac.  Rooms per night start at about $600.00.  We wandered around the reception area and looked at the architecture and caught the vibe of the grand old hotel, built by the CPR in in 1893.  We also spent some time browsing the photo collection they had on the walls on the lower floor of the hotel which chronicled the history of the Frontenac.

Then we headed up to visit the Plains of Abraham and the Fine Art Gallery.  We had to curtail our mission after Guy realized he was missing his cell phone.  Well,  to cut a long story short, it turns out he left it in the restaurant we ate at.  Someone picked it up there and since they were staying at the Frotenac, they took the phone back there.  So Forrest received a call as he said,  “from some French guy” from the Frontenac saying they had Guy’s phone.   I think Forrest was the last person Guy had talked to so that’s why they contacted him.  We got the phone back thankfully.  It’s the third scare Guy has had with his phone.  The first time he lost it was in Banff.  The second time was on the ferry going across from Longueil to Montreal, and then in Quebec City.    I wonder where the 4th phone misplacement will occur.  Exciting times.  🙂

We walked around for a couple of hours and then got the ferry back to Levis and the bus back to Longueil.  Guy can tell you a story about that.  In essence, my French is not that great but I try constantly to communicate in French.  And sometimes I get a little passionate and embarrass Guy.  Well, when the bus came, I had notes written out with the question I wanted to ask in French.  So I read it and I got passionate and I embarrassed Guy.  He couldn’t stop laughing.  But the bus driver did understand and he let us off at our stop.

Old Quebec City is beautiful. You can imagine that you are in Europe when you traipse around the cobblestone streets lined with wonderful old buildings, some painted in delightful colors with flower boxes hanging under the brightly colored window panes. It is a feast for the eyes. But it is definitely another world, a world of people with money and time, enjoying the old buildings and views and sites and sounds and nice food. But it is not really where the Quebecers are, except for all the nice people serving the hoards.  Likely, one needs to go out of the gates of the old city to get a more accurate impression of Quebec City and Quebecers.

July 11th – Quebec City, Quebec

Guy and I walked to the bus stop and took the bus to Levis to the ferry and then over to Quebec City.  We knew the route so there was no speaking broken bad French to the bus driver.  We had a wonderful day together wandering the city.  We meandered the streets near the St. Lawrence then up the hill and had a late breakfast at a sweet café.


Then we wandered the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham.


We ultimately made our way to the Fine Arts Museum featuring some modern art of early to mid 20th century Quebecois artists. The Art Museum was in an old jail, a beautiful old brick building with lots of atmosphere.

Afterwards, we headed out to find the Bed and Breakfast  I had stayed at years ago.  We tried to get in for a night this trip but they had no availabilities.  I have fond memories of my 3 nights at B and B  l ‘Augustine in 2006.  It’s the building with the red awning below.  Afterwards, we took a recommendation from a woman we queried on the street as to the best Lebanese Restaurant around.  She directed us to a great place with great food.

Then we walked back to the Old City, spent a little time looking out to the St. Lawrence, took lots of pics, and said our goodbye to Quebec City.


July 2 – July 8 – Heat Wave Burning Ottawa to Montreal

Monday July 2, 2018 – Recovery and Heat Wave Avoidance Day 

Guy and I decided to lie low on Monday after our wonderful Canada Day in the city.  Another very hot day was predicted and we just couldn’t face the long walk to the bus stop and hanging out downtown in the heat again.  So we stayed at the campsite.  Guy of course painted and I did laundry and worked on the blog.


So we rode the heat out under the trees in our campsite. We were having truck problems again. This time the starter was beginning to go and Guy thought it best that we get it fixed before we carry on with the trip. We had to wait until Tuesday.

Tuesday July 3 – Ottawa Cousins – we spent the day with cousin Nelson and his wife Karen.  They kindly picked us up at the campsite in their air conditioned vehicle for a day out.  We started off with coffee and chatting at a coffee shop over town. Guy and Nelson really hit it off. They are both interested in painting and art It was nice to get to know Nelson better as we didn’t see him much growing up. He’s actually my mom’s cousin.  My great grandmother Campbell had 10 kids.  His mom Jean and my mom’s mom Vel were sisters.  Everyone from my grandmothers generation is gone now except for the youngest sister Anna.

Karen and Nelsons’ plan was to give us a tour around the Governor General’s neighborhood including her house and gardens and then get on to the Musee de Civilzation but we run out of time for the museum.  The photos below are outside the Governor General’s residence.   The middle photo on the right in the group below is the room that you see used for swearing in ceremonies and Canadian citizenship ceremonies that are often on the news.  That was cool to see.  And the pink room is the reception room that is decked out for ceremonies with food and beverage and a place for people to mingle.  I love that room.  It is so French!!!  But back in the early days, the pink stripe walls used to be draperies and would be rolled up when functions were not on and the room would be made into a tennis court.