Thursday, 10 October 2013

Coast to coast and back in time too …

It had been my original intention to carry on around the coast of Nova Scotia by the shore of the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth and then return by the south shore to Halifax.  As it happened I hadn't booked accommodation beyond Allen's Motel at Kentville, I was going to so that during the trip, but my plans had now changed as I would be doing a return trip to the Gaelic College on Cape Breton Island.

Today I head off the travel more directly by driving almost coast to coast south on a relatively remote road to the south coast, bit like the Highlands of Scotland most of the population seems to be around the coast.

Around halfway I stopped off at a small cafe at New Ross called 'Vittles'.
Being a takeaway as well as a cafe there seemed to be more passing locals calling by that visitors, it's not really a main tourist area and those that do come this way are probably like me cutting across from one coast to the other.

Not far away was another place I came across by chance and glad I decided to stop there,  New Ross Farm Museum

This is a working farm estate, where cows are milked by hand and oxen pull the ploughs.  It was early when I arrived on a wet day, there wasn't much happening outside, but there are several old buildings worth a visit to see their contents.

My first stop was at the former school     (click on pictures to enlarge)

In the school room the teenage custodian in period costume told me how six schools had been amalgamated into one and this one was no longer used.  That's a similar situation to my home village Lochcarron I told her.

Asked if she was ever bored working there she told me there was always something to do, which was obvious as she was continually working wool between her hands whilst we were talking. Seems she also makes the period costumes as well as straw hats. This young lady was so enthusiastic about her area and its heritage, she was a credit to the museum.

What did she like about being in there?  She pointed across the room to a desk "My mother used to sit there".  I asked her if I could take a couple of pictures of her for the blog, she was happy to oblige.  Talking about being able to see them  I told her and she would see the link there.  Neither of us had any paper to hand, so she asked me to write it on a slate of the nearby desk, well that was a first for me writing a web address on a slate ! 

 Next building was a short walk away, a large barn full of old farming equipment

This hay press dominated the first space, a huge contraption, the next picture is looking the other way at the opposite end.

The implements gradually progressed from wooden ones made by the settlers,

to ones that also included metal parts, some imported from Scotland

As things progressed over time they were able to manufacture locally in 
Nova Scotia

Another walk to a workshop where I found a teenager making a wooden spoon, apparently that's the first task they have to perfect to work there.

The estate house is not far away and contains many of its original items. William Ross originated from Ireland, fought in the British Army in Canada, and 1816 along with 172 former soldiers given land rights.  He died six years later but his son ran the farm and kept a diary which helped significantly when it was set up as a museum.

The maple table was made from the first tree cut down clearing the area.

I was still raining when I went back outside, passing more farm machinery on the way.  There's a lot more to see at the farm on a better day, as all the work is carried out traditionally with horses, oxen and hand milking of the cows.

Now it was time to continue my journey from coast to coast, through Chester and to stay at Lunenburg for the next two nights.  The reception office and house of the owner is up the hill from the road and out of town.  

The Homeport Motel has three rows of units further up the hill, mine was in the second row, another splendid privately owned property.

My coast to coast, motel to motel, road trip for today on Google maps


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Hall's Harbour

Kentville was the first time on this road trip that I was staying two nights at the same accommodation, a welcome break after a week of one night stops.  It was certainly a good choice to do that at Allen's Motel in a residential road in Kentville.

I was impressed with the quality of accommodation that I had found in Nova Scotia.  The friendly welcome, the facilities provided and value for money too, so it was here at Allen's Motel, an extremely attractive and well run establishment. Since 1971 owned by the same family, initially 22 years by Jessie & Arthur Oakley, now by their son Michael and his wife Joan carrying on the family tradition, but who are near retiring.

The grounds and property are really well kept and the Innkeepers living on site ensures it stays that way, it really does have that family feel throughout.  It's interesting that I found travelling by myself that rooms, as here, were generally advertised at the price for one or two, with extra for three or four.

The basic units are in a line on the left, there's also suites, an upstairs room in the house and a cottage too.  Mine was a 'basic unit' …

 (Click to enlarge)

The room had windows to front and rear, with desk, wired internet, telephone
and separate bathroom.

On the other side of the main drive is the office and reception as well as the breakfast room.  It's been a tradition from the start that Allen's Motel serves a specific breakfast and it's only $3, the large tables are beautifully laid out with china in a very homely way.  It's cooked and served by the owners themselves, it's such a lovely atmosphere too.

Breakfast consists of a poached double-yolk egg on toast with local smoked back bacon.  To top off that homemade Texas-style toast is Michael's tasty strawberry and raspberry jams which he prepares from a recipe handed down from his father. A choice of juice and coffee, tea or milk rounds off the menu.

It really is quite an experience, it may be basic and limited in choice, but you really need to be there, I enjoyed the 'event' so much.

Now back to more mundane matters, right at the start of my road trip in Glenelg I was attacked on my arms by black flies, rather like small bluebottles.  I didn't think much of them, had similar in the centre of Australia, more of a nuisance and not like midges.  Well I was wrong, they had attacked the outside of my arms without me even aware of it until blood running down my arms was pointed out to me !  The irritation had been considerable, I had sought guidance at a pharmacy, but the spray and ointment had no effect and it seemed worse rather than better.  I photographed it in the bathroom mirror, not my easiest assignment! 
Decided to send it to my contact in Halifax to seek guidance as Helen is a retired nurse, we spoke by phone, "Kentville, now that would be Dr. X, I'll call you back." Few minutes later a call back to say he would see me in half an hour, which was great, although I didn't bargain for the one way system in Kentville on route.  I had to get from one lane across two others between two junctions, both with traffic lights. It took three times round the block before I made it across in time ! Seems strange to go into a large building, look at a long list of doctors to find the one you want, then try to find the reception, even finding stairs or lift wasn't easy.

Pleasant doctor whose family originated from Sutherland, I got a prescription as well as several free trial sprays that were stronger than the one I got over the counter. Pharmacy was on ground floor of the same building, extremely thorough in checking my current medication, explaining use of the new stuff too.  Then she gave me her card to call here 24/7 if I had a problem relating to this or any other medical issue while I was travelling there.  Great service, good to see how it works elsewhere, even if you have to pay for it unlike in Scotland.

With my change of plans mentioned earlier, I needed to do some research, organise a ticket for the play back in Cape Breton, also accommodation for the remaining section of the trip.  The good internet connection at the motel helped, not only could I work on the internet, but also use Skype to call landlines for bookings when it wasn't possible online.  With this work and the visit to the doctor it's maybe just as well the weather wasn't too good at this time, in fact I didn't venture far in the two days.

One place I did get to was Hall's Harbour, unlike many other places I stopped by chance, this was on my places to go, just a pity it was very overcast with some drizzle.  It is of course another place with the highest tides in the world, where the harbour totally dries out and the sea is out of sight at low tide.  Unfortunately once again I wasn't able to see this happen but here's the harbour, which is quite small with the road running around two sides and a walkway on the other side.

(Click photographs to enlarge)
The walkway was in the process of being replaced

The boat had a catch of lobsters

 The tide gauge

The harbour entrance is quite narrow

Cameron Seafoods Lobster Pound is one of the few buildings at the harbour, there's not much level space available, just to the left of it is a small seafood restaurant.  Below is looking across the wider part of the harbour entrance, it narrows considerably on the way in, before opening out again.

I would certainly like to return to Hall's Harbour in the right weather and tide conditions, in the meantime to see why I suggest you try these links:
Hall's Harbour
Hall's Harbour Webcam do give it time to load, it starts with a wave picture.
Hall's Harbour Tourism video Overview of the hamlet in just over a minute
Hall's Harbour Timelapse video from high tide to low tide in 30 seconds

This area also has several vineyards which I had intended to visit, but abandoned that idea because of the wet weather.  Here's one intended to go to, if only to see the red UK telephone box which does work, in the middle of the vineyard.  Let the slide show scroll through on the top picture and you will see what I mean !
Luckett Vineyards 

On the way back from Hall's Harbour I stopped at the Goodchild's Tea Room in Centreville, a striking 1890 Victorian property.

I actually arrived, unknown to me, after they had closed but a lady came out to greet me, wondering if I was for the B&B also within the property.  I asked about the Tea Room and she asked what I wanted and I suggested perhaps tea and a sandwich.  It was at that point she said they had closed 20 minutes ago, but there was still an elderly lady customer there reading a book, and didn't appear ready to go until she finished it !  

With that I was invited in, had tea and a freshly made sandwich. What a delightful staff they were, when I was offered choice of cakes they were all so very different with special names and a story about their history too.

On a nice day I'm sure it would be great sitting out on the verandah, amongst the hanging baskets of flowers.  I did make sure I finished before the elderly lady concluded her book!

The other entrance of the house is to the B&B, which wasn't where I was staying, but would certainly consider it on any future visit, which is why I included it here.

Check out the website Delft Haus B&B Inn

But for me it was back in the Jeep to drive a few miles further on to Allen's Motel for my second night there, but that's a great place too.

As mentioned I didn't go far that day after organising the remainder part of my trip and visiting the doctor.  The places are on this Google map, although I did wander a bit off the direct route, I haven't included the last leg back to the motel as that would have blocked out the start point.  Google Map


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Highest Tides in the World

My apologies in the long gap since the last blog update, unfortunately a failed computer hard drive, restoring files from backups, then the installation of a new computer took a while.  In the process a backlog of commercial work built up which had to take priority over this blog.

Last time I explained how unexpected news caused me to change my plans for the end of my trip, but Thursday, 27th June 2013, I head off on the road trip at least knowing that I will for the first time be staying at a motel for two nights.  If I was to plan a similar trip again I certainly would try to avoid a complete week of 'one night stands' when driving alone.

Leaving my B&B  'Sea Kindly' near Egerton, Nova Scotia, I'm aiming to keep near to the coast and avoid main roads as much as possible, this is a more populated area.  As has often happened on this trip I once again came across a place to visit  when least expecting it.

The Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre was just after the bridge crossing the Shubenacadie (shub-en-ack-a-dee) river. 
                                             (Click pictures to enlarge)

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tidal range in the world which I intended to check out, but coming across the centre entering the area was a bonus.  Alongside the new road bridge are the remains of the pillars of the old railway bridge, a line which was abandoned years ago.  

The Shubenacadie River also has a tidal bore and a short walk from the centre is a platform out to one of the old bridge supports that creates a viewing area.

Within the Interpretative centre there is a great display, these pictures are from that display:

The harbours around here totally dry out and the sea may be out of sight at low tide, unfortunately I wasn't able to see that or the tidal bore on my visit, my timing was out !

The new route of the road made areas that flood at high tide creating a unique area for plants and wildlife, this is the area looking from the centre towards the river and bridge.

Looking in the opposite direction are quite different areas, the old railway track area has been made into a path with lookout points, this is the area between that path and the road.

Whilst on the other side of the path it's quite different alongside an area of woodland.  It's a most interesting habitat making great use of the old railway as a path for some distance with contrasting areas on either side.

When I went into the centre I had asked the senior of the two staff on duty if there would be a chance to do an audio interview.  When I returned she told me Aurora would do it for me, I will add it to the blog soon.  What struck me is that teenager Aurora gave a splendid description of the tides and the tidal bore, and was so enthusiastic to be able to talk and her home area.  Her great delight was to talk to visitors and be with them to explain the tides and bore when it was happening.  You can check out the live webcam on the river but give it time to load, there is an initial wave picture, then it will start to appear.

Upon leaving the centre it was only a short drive of about a mile when I spotted the small community of South Maitland, which was further along the abandoned railway track. (Click on picture to enlarge)

That perhaps explains why in the rather neglected Village Park, there is a railway carriage right in the centre !  

Seems as though at some time there has been a small display relating to the railway inside the carriage, but I could only peer through the rather dirty windows 

Moving on from my brief stop at South Maitland I'm using a combination of map & satnav / GPS to navigate around the rural roads, entering in a location in the area I want to visit rather than the final destination.  

By chance I saw a sign to Walton Lighthouse. The square wooden Walton Harbour Lighthouse is 9.4 meters tall and a pepper shaker type tower. Built in 1872 by Timothy Parker at a cost of $620 and situated on a cliff at the mouth of the Walton River, the lighthouse guided ships into the Walton Dock on Pier Road, where ships were frequently loaded with gypsum and barite between tides.

It's certainly the smallest lighthouse I have seen, I climbed the ladder to the top by the light, the space is quite limited, and when it was time to go down again the descent was not easy !

There was another enthusiastic teenager looking after the lighthouse and small gift room on the other side of the car park. Bryony did an audio interview for me which I will add soon, she is another youngster so delighted to be able to tell you about the history of her home area.

My onward journey took me through Wolfville in the rush hour, rather more congested than I expected as the small towns are close together in that area.  My final destination of the day was Allen's Motel in Kentville where I was to glad to stay put for two nights.  A most attractive place in a good residential area.

The route and locations for the day on Google maps