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August 2017

2017-08-11 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Airstreams on the Ferry!

Yes! You can take Airstreams onto a ferry:

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 02

Our tin cans are packed into a bigger tin can like sardines!

We are traveling from Caribou, NS, to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island.  This will be the final campground location on the caravan…

We left the campground in Baddeck, along the shores of Bras d’ Or Lake, at about 6:00 am, to catch the 8:30 am ferry.  We found a few other folks who had the same idea:

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 05

Soon the ferry arrived:

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When the ferry arrived, and had discharged its load of cars and trucks, it started loading for the trip back to PEI. Cars first. Cars, cars, and more cars went into the ferry.  When all the cars were on board, they started loading trucks, and more trucks. Then trailers, including about 10 Airstreams.  The ferry seemed “bottomless” – it just kept loading in more vehicles. Once on board, it looked like this:

 

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 04

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 03

Once on board we found that there is a lower deck where all the cars were parked; trailers and trucks filled the main level. Upstairs were lounges, a cafeteria, and outdoor areas to experience the fresh air.

It was a fun ferry ride. We had breakfast in the cafeteria, watched the opposite ferry pass by, and enjoyed time with friends.

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 07

2017-08-11 PEI Ferry 06

When the ferry landed at Wood Islands, PEI, we were one of the first off. We had researched the area before hand, and we knew there was a Visitors Center where we could gather information on the island.  Others had the same idea… (Maybe because there is a Provincial liquor store there as well…):

2017-08-11 Visitors Center

Our campground is on the northern end of PEI, just north of Charlottetown; Wood Islands in on the south end. However, we were too early to arrive at the campground, lest we annoy the parking crew.  So we just headed south, not knowing (and not caring) where we were going; it was beautiful!

2017-08-11 Rosignol Winery 03

And when you wander around an unknown area, pulling your Airstream trailer, this is what you find:

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We found a winery!  Rossignol Winery… Of course, it was a beautiful place, right on the ocean:

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2017-08-11 Rosignol Winery 04

We parked the rig and went inside to taste what we could taste:

2017-08-11 Rosignol Winery 02

We only tasted the wines made from grapes; it wasn’t bad.  We also tasted their Creme d’ Cassis, a black current wine (or liqueur) ; it was great!  We bought a few bottles to supplement our “cellar”.  We also admired the various sand sculptures on the property:

2017-08-11 Rosignol Winery 06

Moving on, we continued around the southern end of the island.  We finally stopped for lunch in the town of Montague; Windows on the Water was a delightful spot to enjoy the early afternoon.

2017-08-11 Montague 01

The town of Montague is located on the water, and once was a lively port city…

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After killing enough time, we headed north towards Charlottetown, and to our campground a few miles north of there.  We settled in and readied ourselves for happy hours…

That evening, we joined two other California caravanners – Larry and Kathy plus Phil and Donna – in a bizarre game called Joker.  It is an Airstream tradition.  It is basically Parcheesi, but playing cards are used in lieu of a spinner or dice, making it even quirkier. Since I despise games of chance, I try to avoid Joker at all costs, but Larry and Kathy had done us many favors, so Lynda volunteered us to play with them…

Boys won. I pulled the winning card.  An enjoyable time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-10 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – More Lobster!

Today we had another day on our own; we spent the day planning the remainder of the trip and enjoyed some quiet time.  We need to rest up, because tonight is: More Lobster!

2017-08-10 Lobster Dinner 03

Once the caravan ends (in five days) we have about 2 months to get home; we will travel back through Canada, through New Brunswick and Ontario, stopping off to see the 1000 Islands; we will stop at CanAm RV in London, ON, then meet up with the McAnoys and see our Grandchildren on Boblo Island, located between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. After that interlude, we head north, over the top of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, through Thunder Bay, and back into the USA in Minnesota, all by September 1… After that, we’ll go through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota, checking out all the Frank Lloyd Wright and Laura Ingalls Wilder sites we can manage.

But tonight we have a dinner at St. Ann’s Lobster Galley. This is a very nice restaurant set on a lovely lake.  Once again we enjoyed time eating together; meals like this create opportunities to get to know the other caravanners and enjoy a stress-free time together.

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2017-08-10 Lobster Dinner 05

We had a Drivers Meeting to discuss our last travel day within the caravan; tomorrow we take a ferry from Caribou, NS to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-09 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – North and East coasts of Cape Breton Island

This was a free day to explore Cape Breton on our own.

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Specifically, we were going to explore the Cabot Trail, a highway and scenic roadway that forms a loop around the northern tip of the island, passing along and through the scenic Cape Breton Highlands.  It is named after the explorer John Cabot who supposedly landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497, although most historians agree his landfall likely took place in Newfoundland. Construction of the initial route was completed in 1932.

The northern section of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  The western and eastern sections follow the rugged coastline, providing spectacular views of the ocean.  The southwestern section passes through the Margaree River valley before passing along Bras d’Or Lake.

We headed north from the campground.  We traveled through beautiful, seemingly empty countryside.  After about 30 miles or so we came to the Larch Wood Enterprises, Inc. factory and showroom:

2017-08-09 Cape Breton Seaside 23

They produce beautiful cutting boards and other wood products.  After hearing their story and seeing their work, we had to buy just one…

2017-08-08 Cape Breton - Larch Wood

Moving on, we continued north, and traveled along the beautiful shoreline…

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At another stop, we found a rocky bluff:

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These folks were sitting on the furthest rock; now they are trying to figure out how to get back up:

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After this much beauty we had to stop for lunch; we were in the town of Cheticamp; we stopped at the Happy Clam:

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Driving back south we had more vistas of the rugged coast and grassy knolls:

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We stopped to inspect the beach a little closer; the weather was warm and sunny, and Lynda declares that the water is relatively warm:

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We stopped in the town of Inverness (to get some espresso to keep us awake after lunch…); we walked from the town down to the water; again, we are astounded at the open space surrounding such beautiful oceanfront property:

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There was a nice boardwalk to protect the fragile dunes, grasses, and wildflowers:

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There was even an oceanfront golf course:

2017-08-09 Cape Breton Seaside 01

Walking along the golf course we came to some houses that looked strikingly similar to Shobac and the “Sliding Down House” we saw south of Halifax:

2017-08-09 Cape Breton Houses 02

It turned out that they were quite different; we also discovered that they part of a condominium development of vacation homes as part of the golf course and country club:

2017-08-09 Cape Breton Houses 01

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Of course, not all the houses in the neighborhood are this nice:

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Our final destination of the day was a tour and tasting at the Glenora Distillery:

2017-08-09 Distillery 01

They produce a single malt whisky which would be called Scotch if it were produced in Scotland.  They make their whisky using traditional methods and only three ingredients: barley, yeast, and water.  They claim it is the quality of the water on the property that produces the fine quality whisky.

As we waited for the tour we wandered over to the on-site inn and pub, and enjoyed another ceilidg.  These things are everywhere – they take their Gaelic music seriously here…

I was looking forward to finding a great whisky at a reasonable price.  I was disappointed on both counts…

We returned to the Villa in time for happy hours:

2017-08-07 Baddeck Happy Hours

That evening, all the caravanners gathered in the Rec Room for an ice cream social. An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-08 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Alexander Graham Bell and the Gaelic College

Today we learned about Alexander Graham Bell and his life in the town of Baddeck.

2017-08-08 Baddeck Alex Bell Museum 04

We visited the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, which commemorates the genius and compassion of renowned inventor Alexander Graham Bell.  Exhibits here show how he and his associates achieved Canada’s first powered flight with their airplane Silver Dart, produced the world’s fastest boat, advanced recording technology, designed giant kites and, of course, invented the telephone. Original artifacts, films, and family photographs highlight his scientific and humanitarian work.  Situated adjacent to downtown Baddeck, with a superb view of the Bras d’Or Lake, the Site overlooks Bell’s summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, still privately owned by his descendants.

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.

Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work.  His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876.  Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunicationshydrofoils, and aeronautics.  Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

After he gained wealth and fame through the invention of the telephone, Bell and his wife lived in Washington, D.C.  In 1885 the Bells vacationed on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, spending time right here in the small village of Baddeck.  Returning in 1886, Bell started building a summer retreat on a point across from Baddeck, overlooking Bras d’Or Lake.  By 1889, a large house, christened The Lodge was completed and two years later, a larger complex of buildings, including a new laboratory, were begun that the Bells would name Beinn Bhreagh (Gaelic: beautiful mountain) after Bell’s ancestral Scottish highlands. Bell also built the Bell Boatyard on the estate, employing up to 40 people building experimental craft as well as wartime lifeboats and workboats for the Royal Canadian Navy and pleasure craft for the Bell family.  He was an enthusiastic boater, and Bell and his family sailed or rowed a long series of vessels on Bras d’Or Lake. 

Until the end of his life, Bell and his family would alternate between their two homes, but Beinn Bhreagh would, over the next 30 years, become more than a summer home as Bell became so absorbed in his experiments that his annual stays lengthened. Both Bell and his wife became immersed in the Baddeck community and were accepted by the villagers as “one of their own”.  The Bells were still in residence at Beinn Bhreagh when the Halifax Explosion occurred on December 6, 1917 (see my blog dated 8/1/17).  Bell and his wife mobilized the community to help victims in Halifax.

I had read a lot as a child about Alexander Graham Bell, but most of the books I read stopped at the invention of the telephone.  Today we learned about the hydrofoil boats and airplanes he was working on throughout his life.  He loved triangles and tetrahedrons, so these are represented in the architecture of the Museum.

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2017-08-08 Baddeck Alex Bell Museum 02

After we finished enjoying the museum we drove a few miles south to the Royal Cape Breton Gaelic College (in Scottish Gaelic: Colaisde Rìoghail na Gàidhlig).  It is a non-profit educational institution located in the community of St. Ann’s, along the Cabot Trail. Founded in 1938, its focus has been on the perpetuation of Highland Scottish Gaelic culture.

We went for a lunch time ceilidh (pronounced,”Kalie”).  A ceilidh is a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.  The college also has lots of public programs; Lynda spent time learning about the Gaelic language. I considered sticking needles in my eyes to avoid going to this presentation, but instead I escaped to the exhibit hall and spent time learning of the Gaelic culture and history.   Then on to lunch and the ceilidh. (By the way, if anyone reading this is considering naming their precious baby girl Ceilidh, be aware that once she is in school she will be forever known as “See-Lid”…)

We enjoyed the music. It was similar to what we heard at the Louisbourg Playhouse and still a lot of fun.

2017-08-08 Gailic College Ceilidh 02

 

2017-08-08 Gailic College Ceilidh 01

This evening, back at the campground, it started raining. And raining hard.  Some of the caravanners gathered in the Rec Room for games.  Several folks played Mexican Train dominoes; I joined in a rousing game of Spoons, except that we didn’t have spoons, only knives… Hilarity (and torn table clothes and other things) ensued…

2017-08-08 Baddeck Game Night 01

An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-07 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving Louisbourg

Today we are leaving Louisbourg, and we are heading to our final campground in Nova Scotia. We are again part of the parking crew, so we are able to leave early.  In this tight campground the hitching-up is like a delicate ballet…

2017-08-07 Louisbourg Airstreams 01

We were soon on the road, along with two other Airstreamers; we stopped to catch a view at a convenient look-out point:

Our drive was uneventful, and we arrived in Baddeck, on the west coast of a large inland lake (technically a river…), called Bras d’Or Lake.

We performed our parking duties, and soon were able to relax. Lynda took in the view of the water, and even tested its temperature:

2017-08-07 Baddeck Campground 13

2017-08-07 Baddeck Campground 12

This evening there is a festival or street fair in the nearby town of Baddeck; we went to see what small Nova Scotia towns do for fun.  It seems that they do about what all towns do: eat junk food, listen to local musicians, and wander about Main Street.

2017-08-07 Baddeck Festival 11

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And, being on the water, we can see the lovely shoreline:

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We didn’t hang around very long. We went back to the Villa and enjoyed the sunset:

2017-08-11 Cape Breton 02

Tomorrow we go see the Alexander Graham Bell museum…

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-06 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Louisbourg Lighthouse and the Louisbourg Playhouse

Today we drove along the coast to the Louisbourg Lighthouse:

2017-08-06 Louisbourg Lighthouse Walk 01

The lighthouse is not unlike hundreds of others along the Atlantic coast, but this one seems more remote than most. It faces the open Atlantic along a very rocky and rugged coastline.  We walked along the “hiking” path:

2017-08-06 Louisbourg Lighthouse Walk 02We took hundreds of photos – every turn revealed another remarkable vista:

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As we watched the waves crash and the tides swell, I was struck by the thought that we are enjoying a few minutes of this awesome beauty, yet it has been going on like this 24 hours a day for millions of years… Very awe inspiring!

The hiking path followed the coast for about one mile; it was then interrupted by a stone beach; the sign said, “Path resumes beyond the stone beach”.  We walked a few hundred yards across the stone beach – it was very difficult – 5″ and larger sharp stones – not much smaller. I’m sure Mr. Rainbow didn’t anticipate this when he designed and made my flip-flops…

When we reached the other end of the stone beach we discovered that the hiking path turned into a very small trail through the woods, away from the coast, and it was labeled “only for serious hikers”, which we are not.  We are trekkers and walkers, not hikers, and we have the shoes to prove it.  So we turned around and hobbled across the stone beach again, and returned to the lighthouse along the shore path.  We ran into some of our caravanners, who are braver than we are:

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It was an exiting morning.  Unspeakable beauty.  It seemed to us like we were standing at the end of the world…

We returned to the Villa, after stopping off to see the tall ships again.  We found out that you can book a 2-3 week tour with these ships, to be part of the amateur crew.  Pay big money and work really hard…  Such a deal!

Back at the Villa we relaxed for the rest of the day… Most caravanners were out on various activities:

2017-08-06 Louisbourg Airstreams 01

This evening was another new treat: We attended a show of local musicians playing Nova Scotia music.  This music is a variation of Irish and Scottish folk music, but is a distinct version of it.  Violin, keyboard, guitar, drums, and base, plus vocals.  The Louisbourg Playhouse is quite an interesting place.

Based on London’s 1599 Globe Theatre, an open-air playhouse was constructed at the Fortress of Louisbourg by Walt Disney Studios for the motion picture “Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale”.  The Fortress stood in for the village of Plymouth, MA.  After filming wrapped up, the structure was donated to the city of Louisbourg and relocated to its current location, just off the main street of the town.  Subsequently, the structure was remodeled, with a roof being added, along with back stage facilities.  For such a small town it is quite an impressive facility.  It is booked with shows all Spring, Summer, and Fall.  This particular group was doing six weeks, six nights per week.

It was a fun time.  Lots of toe-tapping.  Best of all, afterwards, we could walk back to the campground; it had been raining, but the rain had died down by the time we left after the show.  But it was foggy, and dark; we realized that we had not been out after dark for many weeks now…

So another day is done; an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the Louisbourg Playhouse

2017-08-05 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Louisbourg Fortress and the Beggars’ Banquet

What is a Fortress? How is it different from a Fort?

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A Fortress is a fortified town.  A Fort is a military-only defensive structure.  A Fortress contains both the military and civilians. All the essential operations are of a town – the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker – are within the fortress, as well as government and military operations.

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The Fortress of Louisbourg was a French fortress on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what eventually became Canada.  

The original settlement was made in 1713, and initially called Havre à l’Anglois. Subsequently, the fishing port grew to become a major commercial port and a strongly defended fortress.  The fortifications eventually surrounded the town.  The walls were constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740.  By the mid-1740s, Louisbourg was one of the most extensive (and expensive) European fortifications constructed in North America.  The Fortress of Louisbourg suffered key weaknesses, since it was erected on low-lying ground commanded by nearby hills and its design was directed mainly toward sea-based assaults, leaving the land-facing defenses relatively weak.  A third weakness was that it was a long way from France or Quebec, from which reinforcements might be sent.

Louisbourg was captured by British colonists in 1745, and was a major bargaining chip in the negotiations leading to the 1748 treaty ending the War of the Austrian Succession. It was returned to the French in exchange for border towns in what is today Belgium.  It was captured again in 1758 by British forces in the French and Indian War, after which its fortifications were systematically destroyed by British engineers.  The British continued to have a garrison at Louisbourg until 1768, when it was again returned to the French.

The fortress and town were partially reconstructed in the 1960s and 1970s, using some of the original stonework, which provided jobs for unemployed coal miners.  The site is operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum, much like Williamsburg, VA and the Plimoth Colony in Plymouth, MA.

We were able to walk from the RV park to the Visitors Center, whereupon we were bused over to the Fortress.  We entered through the original gates, where we were met by a “guard” who demanded to know our business here.  We wandered the town, hearing some of the history from our guide. They have a bakery operating in the old bakery building, making fresh bread daily using centuries-old recipes and methods. They also have a few restaurants, serving food of the era… we passed on the opportunity to eat centuries-old food…

They also have daily recreations of various milirary operations… After our tour we walked all the way back to the Villa…

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That evening, we were introduced to another fascinating feature of the modern day town of Louisbourg: we learned about what they call “The Beggars’ Banquet”.  We were told nothing about this event, other than we had to pre-select our entree for the dinner – lobster or steak.  This didn’t sound like what beggars normally ate, but we went along with it.  Also, we were told that we would have to dress in period costume, something that always freaks me out…

We arrived at the location of the Beggars Banquet about 30 minutes early, and we were not the first ones there.  This proclivity of being chronically early for all events is an Airstream Club tradition (and curse…).  We were immediately re-dressed in what we assume are “beggars clothes”.  Luckily for me, this consisted of an oversized shirt and a 3-corner hat.  We then were shown to our dining room and invited to buy drinks at the bar.  So far, so good.

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The dinner was quite good, considering the buffet banquet-style operation. There was musical entertainment all through the evening.  One of our members even helped-out at one point in time:

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Other members of our group:

The “fun” began about halfway through the evening: A bizarre-looking caricature of a women joined the group and set about selecting men from our group to dance with.  I almost ran screaming running from the room… I vowed to do just that if she approached me… Luckily, she did not…  I must have looked as scary to her as she looked to me…!  (We later found out that she actually is the owner of the place, and this is just her shtick for the evening…)

We again walked back to the Villa.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-04 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Cape Breton Island

Today we traveled off the mainland of Nova Scotia onto Cape Breton Island.  Cape Breton Island makes up about 1/3 of the province of Nova Scotia. Our first stop:  Louisbourg. I’ve seen pictures of California beach towns taken in the 1920s or 1930s; they look similar to Louisbourg today:

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We left Hammond Plains and the Halifax area and arrived at the appointed time at the campground in Louisbourg.  Parking was in turmoil; the park was very tight.  The parking crew did a great job keeping things in order and eventually everyone was parked successfully.  While the park was tight and it is small, it is located within walking distance of just about everything we need to see here in Louisbourg.

We set up the Villa, and walked about the town; it is very quaint and quiet; there is some fishing industry, but, again, tourism seems to be the mainstay of the town.  We walked towards the docks, and found that the Tall Ships had arrived:

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Also on our walk we spotted this place across the bay:

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It is the Louisbourg Fortress; we are going there tomorrow.

The bay was another Nova Scotia wonder:

2017-08-04 Louisbourg - 01

 

We walked back to the Villa and prepared for Happy Hours. An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-03 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Nova Scotia Wine Country!

Yes, there really is Wine Country in Nova Scotia, and, like all Wine Countries, it is beautiful:

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Today we explore the Nova Scotia Wine Country. Or I should say: “Wine” Country. We will be exploring and enjoying the countryside, not so much the “Wine”.  From what we hear, grapes are pretty scarce in Nova Scotia “Wine”…

But first, we stopped off in the town of Windsor. As usual, there was a great church:

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We walked around the lake adjacent to the town. It was a good path and the views were great:

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Our wine destination for today is Luckett Vineyards.  We did the wine tasting, avoiding the wines that were made from something other than grapes. I know – this is a little narrow minded of me, but I’m sort of picky this way…

They have something here called Tidal Bay. It is a wine unique to Nova Scotia.  Many wineries make Tidal Bay, but it must be approved by the “wine police” before it can be sold under the name Tidal Bay.  It is a white wine, good with seafood, sort of like a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.  There are rules about what goes into it, and it is limited to no more than 11% alcohol.  It was probably the best wine they had… We also somewhat liked their Triumphe – a red wine made of 100% Triumphe grapes, whatever they are.

After our tasting we quickly made our way to their outdoor restaurant.  We had heard that they fill up quickly, even though it is a very large area, under a big white tent.  We ordered a glass each of the Tidal Bay and the Triumphe, and we were pleasantly surprised that they tasted better at lunch than in the tasting room. The restaurant was packed withing 10 minutes of our seating, and when we left there were 50 people waiting for tables.

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We had been invited by our tasting server to spend some time “frolicking about” in the vineyards. So we frolicked:

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We came upon a red, London phone booth.  We were invited to make a free call to anywhere in North America; unfortunately, the booth was occupied, or I would have called YOU!

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Our next stop was the town of Wolfville; this turned out to be another wonderful town, with many restaurants and coffee shops. This must be the tourist center of the North Shore, because no small town like this could possibly support this many restaurants… We walked the streets, and stopped for coffee; we returned to the Villa, and prepared for Happy Hours. We had a Drivers’ Meeting to discuss tomorrow’s move to Cape Breton Island.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

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