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Ceilidh

2017-10-07 Westbound; Urban Rally in Carson City…

Saturday morning in Carson City dawned bright and clear.  We walked down Carson St. and went to Mom and Pops Diner for breakfast.  As we walked down the street we saw all the Airstreams that were parked along the street:

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After breakfast we returned to the Villa and prepared it for the Open House.  The local papers had advertised that all are welcome to see the Airstreams.  So we cleaned up, put away stuff, and made the Villa look as nice as possible… We were told to be available from 10:00 am to Noon.

People started arriving at 10:00 am.  They were still coming through at 6:00 pm.  Apparently the newspapers said “all day”… But we don’t mind…

We did sneak away for a few minutes in the afternoon to do the “Wine Walk”.  Downtown Carson City does this the first Saturday every month. (On the third Saturday they do a beer crawl…)

We signed up, paid our $15.00, and received our wrist bands and our glasses.  There were over 60 merchants pouring wine throughout the downtown district.

Some had set up tables on the sidewalk, others had you come into their stores.  Note that this wasn’t some delicate wine tasting with good wines and tiny pours.  These were fairly average wines with full glass pours.  Ant no one was keeping count on how many times you asked for a glass of wine…  Between stores, there were throngs of people, carrying and drinking glasses of wine, and walking along the sidewalk… We’re not in California anymore!

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Some places had entertainment: Irish music, similar to what we heard at the Ceilidhs in Nova Scotia…

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Our final wine stop was at the local Elks Lodge.  After drinking our wine, and enjoying some of the food they had set out, we sat at the bar and watched college football.  And, since the bar was open, we were allowed to order drinks.  Let me tell you, if you like to drink and have the opportunity to drink in an Elks Club bar, you are in heaven!!!

We made our way back to the Villa and fixed a quick dinner; lookieloos were still coming through…  We left and walked to see an outdoor concert put on by some local musicians:

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An added benefit of the concert was the ice cream store right there on the square:

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We had a nice time hanging out in Carson City.  It is a friendly, nice little town.  They have just spent a ton of money redoing their streets, curbs, and sidewalks.  Now they just need to get a few more upscale businesses and fill in the “missing teeth” of the storefronts along the street.

We started to return to the Villa, but were distracted by a casino bar that had both the CAL game and the Dodgers game on the TVs just above the bar.  Drinks ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all.

 

PS:  The Dodgers had a better night than CAL…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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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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.

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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…

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An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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