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Adventures in the Villa

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Wally Byam

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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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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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…

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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…

 

 

2017-08-02 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Nova Scotia House Hunt!

We now have two free days to explore Nova Scotia on our own.  Today we return to the South Shore…

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We began with a drive around the other side of St Margaret’s Bay; as we continued southeast, we came to Cleveland Beach. Here, at the height of summer, on this beautiful day, was a beach, crowded with 2 small families… It is amazing that this unspoiled paradise is so sparsely inhabited:

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As we drove along we came to a small sign announcing Graves Island.  Being a sucker for islands, we turned off and drove across a Ted Kennedy-worth causeway onto the island. We found a campground and a park. We stopped and took a 2 mile “hike” on a path around the tip of the island. It was a nice morning break.

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2017-08-02 Graves Island 02

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Moving on, we arrived at our first goal for the day, Mahone Bay:

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Our next destination was Lunenburg, an UNESCO Heritage site; this little village is a mix of fisher-folk, artists, and summer visitors. It is lovely. We walked the streets of the town, and eventually found ourselves settling in for lunch at the Magnolia Grill.  Lynda had fish cakes, and I opted for seared scallops (or fried scallops, as they say here…)  Food was excellent and the tiny place was delightful.  We noticed a large, ceremonial check, made out to “Magnolia’s Girls”, from the Nova Scotia Lottery Office, for $493,000.  When we asked our waitress about it, she seemed a little upset: apparently, she worked here for 18 years, playing the lottery with the other “girls” every week. Three weeks after she quit, the other 4 girls win $493,000. Two of them quit, and 2 are still working there. But since Magnolia Grill is now short handed, our waitress came back to work.  Sour grapes? Maybe…

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More Lunnenburg:

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But we move on, now to Rose Bay.

In the March edition of Dwell Magazine, they featured the “Sliding Down House”, located in Upper Kingsburg, outside Rose Bay, Nova Scotia.  Well, since I was going to be in Nova Scotia, I had to try to find it!

We drove to Rose Bay. We stopped at the General Store:

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First off, we were impressed with the General Store. It had everything a summer (or winter) resident could need. (Remember, we are a long ways from Halifax here…) There were canned soups, frozen pizzas, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also, milk and eggs and cheese.  PLUS:  they are an agent of the Nova Scotia Provincial Liquor Store! After we perused the store, and Lynda bought some of her “Ice” water, I approached the counter.  The sweet young lady at the counter asked, “May I help you?”  I presented the picture of the house in Dwell, and asked, “Can you tell me where this is?”  She immediately answered, “Turn left here, take your first right, and go to the end of the road. You can’t miss it. And, there are other buildings in the area by the same architect – it’s called Shobac.”

After paying for Lynda’s drinks, we set out, and there it was, atop the hill:

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We drove around the corner and saw it from another angle.  But wait! it’s different!  It must be a different house!

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It turns out that after the first house (the one that was published), he built 2 more on the hillside, and another one in the valley near the water, along with several other buildings clustered in the little community of Shobac.  However, we couldn’t quite find the original house…

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But we had an amazing time. All of the houses were occupied, so we tread carefully, respecting their privacy, but we took many photos and saw many great things. It was exhilarating!

Finally, as we were leaving, we found the original, published house:

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Or:

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No. It’s an amazingly simple house, sited and designed to fit the site and the extreme weather.  As we left the area, we saw what the boats in the harbor can see:

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Excited as we were (or, I should say, as I was…) we departed to return to the Villa. We again had Happy Hours and enjoyed hearing what everyone had done with their day… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

2017-08-01 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Peggy’s Cove, Halifax, Tall Ships, and Four Tragedies…

Most of Nova Scotia is a large peninsula, attached to New Brunswick by a 12 mile wide isthmus. In addition, to the northeast is a huge island, Cape Breton Island. Halifax is on the South Shore of the peninsula; this is where we are going today.

2017-08-01 Halifax Bus

The bus picked us up at the campground at 8:15 this morning. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide, a native of Halifax and a former school teacher.  Shortly we were cruising along St. Margaret’s Bay, a lovely bay on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, lined with picturesque coves.  Unfortunately, we were sitting on the wrong side of the bus, so we have no drive-by photos to show you…

But then we arrived at Peggy’s Cove.  It has picturesque written all over it.  The hamlet of Peggy’s Cove is home to a few hearty lobster fishermen and the required number of down home artists. There are a few shops selling trinkets and puffin-watching boat tours, and a HUGE restaurant, packed on this morning with tourists having breakfast. Oh yes – there is also a lighthouse…

Our bus driver parked our huge bus amongst the other huge tour buses:

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We clamored over the rocks to see the lighthouse up close and personal.  It is a marvelous sight – perched out there on the open Atlantic, anchored into the rock…

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Signs everywhere warn you to stay off the black rocks – they are submerged at high tide, and thus are wet and slimy and slippery.  So far two people have died this year slipping and falling into the water. Due to rough waves and cold water, rescue is virtually impossible…

Here I am, safely on the white rocks:

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The rocky shore is a sight to behold:

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We also walked through the town and found interesting sights:

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And, of course, the church:

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There is a Fishermen’s Memorial, carved by a long time local artist into a wall of solid granite in the side yard of his house:

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One more selfie at the lighthouse:

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After 1 1/2 hour, our tour continued as we drove into Halifax. Along the way we heard of the history of the town, and about it’s renowned hospitality to those in need.  We arrived at the Maritime Museum, but we opted not to go in at this time; we walked down to the waterfront to see the Tall Ships parading about the harbor, under full sail.

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Halifax has a HUGE harbor – most of it is beyond what we see at this waterfront location. We found a restaurant for lunch and were blessed with a water-front table. As we ate our lunch we could see the ships sail by. They sailed out of the harbor, then back in, getting themselves arranged in some semblance of order, then they circled the harbor once again. On the final trip around, they headed out to sea; they are going to Louisbourg, NS, which is our next stop on this caravan.

They have a lot of construction going on here on the waterfront, so they built a temporary floating boardwalk to keep the waterfront path continuous.  It is a real challenge, especially when a big ship goes by, and its wake hits the floating boardwalk, then everyone sees another Tall Ship and rushes to one side… It feels like it is going to tip over:

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Our lunch at Murphy’s:

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And being photo-bombed by Kathy:

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So after a pleasant lunch and more big sailboats that anyone can handle, we went back into town and toured the Maritime Museum, which was interesting… maybe they should have named it the Disaster Museum…?

Several disasters have impacted the hearts and souls of the residents of Halifax.  In addition to the requisite shipwrecks and fishermen who were lost at sea, in 1912 Halifax was the best port into which to bring both the survivors and the victims of the sinking of the Titanic.  Halifax was chosen because, being on the mainland, it has a direct railroad connection to the rest of North America. (Newfoundland was closer, but, because it is an island, logistics would be a problem…)

The doctors and other personnel devised a system of numbering the victims via toe-tags and keeping records of their statistics and personal effects that is still used today. Because of this, MOST of the victims have been identified; some research with DNA is going on today to identify the few remaining unknowns.  The most remarkable:

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Sidney Leslie Goodwin (9 September 1910 – 15 April 1912) was a 19-month-old English boy who died during the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His unidentified body was recovered by the ship Mackay-Bennett after the sinking, and for decades was referred to as The Unknown Child. His headstone read “Erected to the memory of an unknown child whose remains were recovered after the disaster to the Titanic April 15th 1912”.  Previously, the remains of two other children were tentatively identified, but these proved to be false.  In 2008, mitochondrial DNA testing by the Armed Forces lab revealed his identity. Baby Goodwin is the only member of his family whose body has been recovered and subsequently identified.

Where did we learn all this?  At the Fairview Cemetery, where 121 victims of the Titanic are buried:

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While many of the bodies were shipped home to their families, many were buried here. In addition to the grave of the “unknown child”, here is the grave of J. Dawson:

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No, this isn’t Jack Dawson from the Titanic movie – he is fictional.  This is Joseph Dawson, a crew member who worked below decks as a coal trimmer, about the most lowly shipboard job there is – raking the burning coal that provided the steam to power the engines…

Want more?

On the morning of 6 December 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin.  It was a simple fender-bender, but fire broke out on board the French ship; the French crew immediately ran (and rowed) for cover, as the ship drifted towards the docks of Halifax.  The fire ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by blast, debris, fires and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.  The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT.  Many of the injured were blinded by shards of flying glass, moving with such force that the victims were unable to blink.  In addition to the blast, the air was now filled with oil, gunpowder residue, and other chemicals; if you were injured by flying glass or other cuts and abrasions, your wound was infused with this blueish melange; as a result, as the wound healed, the scars took on a blue tint. From then on, victims of the Halifax Explosion were easily identified by their “blue tattoos”…

Once again, the citizens of Halifax responded, caring for the wounded and identifying the dead, using systems devised for the Titanic.  Relief efforts began almost immediately, and hospitals quickly became full. Emergency shelters were erected, but an unexpected blizzard claimed many more lives, adding insult to injury… Many victims of the Halifax Explosion are buried in a mass grave at the Fairview Cemetery.

But wait! There’s more!

Swissair Flight 111 was a scheduled international passenger flight from New York City, to Geneva, Switzerland.  On September 2, 1998, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax International Airport at the entrance to St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia. The crash site was five miles from shore, roughly equidistant from the tiny fishing and tourist communities of Peggys Cove and Bayswater.  All 229 passengers and crew aboard the MD-11 died.  The ground search and rescue operation was handled by teams from Halifax.  There is a memorial to Swissair Flight 111 near Peggy’s Cove. However, it is intended only for family members, so no parking facilities are provided for tour buses…

And, finally:

After the 911 attacks, the US halted all air traffic over the USA.  Inbound flights needed to land, and over 60 jets filled with passengers landed at Halifax airport.  12,000 passengers were now on the ground; this is over 3 1/2 percent of the population of Halifax.  As all the hotels and motels quickly filled, and as emergency shelters in high school gymnasiums were overwhelmed, Halifax residents opened their doors, inviting the “plane people” to stay in their homes.  Similar situations occurred all over Newfoundland and other parts of Eastern Canada, but we’re in Halifax, so we point out and appreciate their hospitality.

After a moving afternoon in the cemetery, toured the Public Gardens:

2017-08-01 Halifax - Public Gardens

Very formal, very symmetrical, and very Victorian…

We finally returned to campground; Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

2017-07-31 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving New Brunswick and on to Nova Scotia

We left early, along with Trevor and Gale, our leaders, and Skip and Kathy, our other parking crew members. It was a relatively long drive – about 3 1/2 hours. But the road was smooth and we discovered some of the beauty of Nova Scotia. We are staying about 15 miles outside of Halifax, which will give us a base from which to explore the mainland of Nova Scotia.

About 1/4 mile from the entrance to the campground we approached a flagger, stopping traffic.  We sat for 20 minutes, while opposing traffic came through. They were repaving this 2 lane road, and so we waited… Taking advantage of this long wait, Kathy went back to the Airstream to avail herself of the sanitary facilities. When she exited the trailer, she opened the door and just about knocked over a guy on a moped, curb-sneaking along the right side of the road.  While he didn’t hit the door, he had to take evasive action and a string of French swear words emanated from the mouth of this very irritated man…

Upon arrival at the campground the manager showed the three of us where to park. He also wanted to assign all of the other sites as well. The park is a little oddly laid out (aren’t they all?) In any case, our work was limited.  Skip and Trevor stayed back among our allotted sites, whilst I stayed by the office, passing out campground information and telling each Airstreamer what to expect when the manager led them back to their site.

The first caravanners pulled in about 1/2 hour later than we expected because, duh! they were sitting in the stopped traffic out front. By the time the last folks arrived their wait had been over 45 minutes… Anyway, in the mean time, Lynda didn’t really have any assigned duties, and all I had to do in between arrivals of Airstreams was to sit in the shade and watch the 3 teenage girls in the pool across the way…

That evening we had a tourism meeting, explaining our options for exploring the area, and we again hosted Happy Hours, with about 15 people attending.  Several folks drove into Halifax to see the Tall Ships up close… Tomorrow we take a bus tour around the area.

2017-07-31 Halifax - Woodhaven RV Park 03

2017-07-31 Halifax - Woodhaven RV Park 02

2017-07-31 Halifax - Woodhaven RV Park 01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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