Day #193 – Onward to the Northumberland Coast!

LOCATION:  Near Pictou, Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Coast
CAMPGROUND:  Caribou Monroe Island Provincial Park.  Beautiful setting right on water.  Spacious, level, gravel sites.  Very nice bathroom/showers.  Firepit and picnic table.  Electricity and water at site.  Central dump station.  Wifi at office.  1 TV station. $32US/night.  5 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Mostly sunny,  High 70
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  4 hours, plus stops

We left Old Shipyard Campground around 10:30.  We have really enjoyed our time on the Bay of Fundy. 

Our drive took us past trees that are turning quickly to red and gold.  I wish I could have taken a photo!

Our GPS took us a bit astray, but we were successful in avoiding the major highways.  Not being in any hurry, we decided to break up the trip with some stops.  First was a wine-tasting at a winery along the way. 

Then, we enjoyed a nice bowl of seafood chowder at the winery’s outdoor cafe.

On a few more kilometers to one of Nova Scotia’s most famous breweries.  As the DD, I passed on beer, but George said the double IPA was very good.

Our final stop was to stock up at the grocery store.  We bought some local littleneck clams to try as an appetizer.  First we soaked them in salt water so that they would expel their grit.

The campground is right on the Northumblerland Straits.  We can see across the way to Prince Edward Island.  The wind is quite strong off the water.  We watched some kite surfers take advantage of the waves and wind.

We settled in for our Sunday afternoon Bloody Mary, and I prepared the clams… I sauteed some garlic in butter, added a can of beer, and steamed the clams until they opened.  Very tasty!

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made some yummy turkey stroganoff and a salad.  We both enjoy cooking and coming up with new and interesting meals.  We also take turns with clean-up —-whoever cooks, also does all the dishes.  So, tonight was  my night off.  🙂 

After dinner was a few Rick Steves travel DVDs.  We are almost done with the entire set!

BOOK:  “Endangered Species” by Nevada Barr, author who writes who-done-its that take place in national parks.  This one’s backdrop is Cumberland Island.  Since we have visited the island, it was interesting.  4 stars out of 5

Day #192 – A Glorious Last Day on the Bay of Fundy

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard
WEATHER:  Milder.  Mix sun and clouds.  High 75

We took a hike around Cape d’Or (Golden Cape)  which got its name by French explorers when they discovered the cliffs with veins of copper.  Beautiful!

We hiked down to the lighthouse.  (Then had to hike back up!)

Our friend Tony hiked to the tip of the cape….

We stopped at the docks to watch a big scallop-fishing boat unload its bounty. They had been out all week and were loading hundreds of 40-pound bags of scallops onto a truck. They will turn around and go out again on Monday. A lot of work!

The afternoon was spent enjoying the sun and watching the tide come in and go out (50 feet difference!)

Then, we spiffed up a bit and went out to dinner at The Wild Caraway Restaurant, Nova Scotia’s most famous gourmet restaurant.

It is in an old house converted to a cute eatery.  It is by reservation only and a “fixed-price” menu, offering two appetizers, two main meals, and two desserts from which to chose.  Each couple had one of each so we could taste everything.  Tony and Jenny had discovered this last year, and were anxious to return. 

All of their food is local and fresh, much from their own garden.  First up was a complimentary appetizer plate with interesting things like artichoke foam. We paired that with some unusual cocktails. 

For the first couse, George and I shared 2 dishes:  1) local halibut/potato fritters with various sauces served in a ceramic egg carton.  All of the food was beautifully showcased.  2) an absolutely delicious wild mushroom soup with Parmesan cheese straws:

For the main course, our 2 dishes were:  1) steamed local halibut in a jalapeno/veg cream sauce and 2) duck breast steamed in Chai tea with vegetables, Swiss chard egg rolls, carrot miso cream, and blueberry jus.

Then, a palate cleanser….topped with a ground cherry.

Finally — two desserts – one was a chocolate/beet brownie with elderberry ice cream and the other a steamed pear served with an apple mousse.

All glorious!  What a fabulous way to finish up our time here on the Bay of Fundy.  Tomorrow we head to our next location! 

Day #191 – Visiting famous fossils

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard
WEATHER:  Mostly cloudy.  High 74

Another great day exploring this part of Nova Scotia.

We started the day with a vigorous walk, returning to watch the tide go out.

Then, George and I drove to Joggins, a site famous for its fossils.  The road there, about a 40-mile stretch, was full of potholes, so it was kind of fun zigzagging around them.  We were the only ones there – very remote.

We did the one-hour tour at the fossil site which was very informative.  Here our guide is showing us a fossilized tree.

Almost every rock you pick up has some kind of fossil.  We learned that this place was where the theory of evolution was solidified.

Joggins also used to be a big coal-mining site.  A beach-comber earlier today found this old hobnailed boot from an old miner,  probably more than 100 years old.

Back to civilization via a gravel road, we arrived in a cute little town called Parrsboro to get gas (a scarce commodity out here) and some groceries.  And, of course, a beer….

On our way out of Parrsboro, we stopped to watch some contestants of the town’s Plein Air Art Festival going on this week.

Our turn to cook dinner….

George made a nice fire and we enjoyed some smoked salmon appetizers on the beach.

DINNER:  Grilled porkchops, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes in aluminum foil cooked in the fire’s coals, and some zucchini, that someone had foisted on us (free)

Day #190 – Hiking in Chignecto Provincial Park

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard Campground
WEATHER:  Very nice.  Good for hiking.  High 72

I took an invigorating pre-breakfast hike with Tony and Jenny while George held the fort.  Then, we drove in to Advocate Harbor (about 5 miles away) to talk with some fishermen.  We wondered if they had any scallops or fish to sell.  (No).  The tide was going out.  These boats are in less a foot of water.  Soon, they will be completely in the mud.  The tide will come back this afternoon and then they willl be as high as the dock.  Amazing

Then, we were off for an afternoon of hiking in the Chignecto Provincial Park.  We had to drive about 15 miles on a one-lane gravel road (with 2-way traffic – but no other cars)  in order to get to the head of the hiking trail.  The trail, about 2 miles, followed the coast.  It is quite dramatic.  The land across the way is New Brunswick.

This is one of the interesting rock formations along the coast.

This area was once a thriving lumber and ship yard

On our way back, we found an area where boats are docked.  I think I have one that we can buy…..for a good price!

As we were driving home on a very remote road, we spotted this bear scat.  It looked very fresh, and full of berries!

Back home, it was time to relax.  Tony’s turn for dinner, so I goofed off.

DINNER:  Tony made a vegetarian pasta dish from the old recipe book “Diet for a Small Planet” .  Very tasty.  Side was a Caesar salad.

The sunset was beautiful.  This is the view from our trailer….

Day #189 – On the road again!

CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard Campground.  Commercial RV park with cabins and RV sites.  RIGHT on the Bay of Fundy.  Full hook-ups.  Fire pit and picnic table.  Laundry and showers/bathroom.  Very friendly manager.  Super quiet.  32US$/night.  4 stars out of 5.  (Would have been 5 if showers open)
LOCATION:  Spencer Island – on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.  Closest town is Advocate Harbor
WEATHER:  Mostly sunny.  High 70
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  5 hours (includes stops)

We hooked up Joy (our Airstream) and our friends’ Taj (short for Taj Ma Haul) and took off for our month’s camping trip.  Yay!

Our first stop was at a nice market where we bought some halibut and veg.  We had lunch in the trailer in the parking lot.  Next was a neat cheese shop – called the “The Damn Dutchman Cheese Shop”.  Really cute with a lot of good cheese.  We bought some Dragon’s Milk, their most famous — will let you know how it is when we eat it later.

On to the campground.  We are almost as far west as you can go, one of the most remote spots in Nova Scotia.

We are just steps from the water.  I will take photos later of the tide at its highest, and lowest.  The tides here are the highest in the world.  The campground was once an old shipyard.

DINNER:  Mexican theme.  We started with chips, salsa and margaritas out on the picnic table.

My turn to cook, and I made chimichangas.  Here is the recipe…

Day #188. Fall in the Annapolis Valley

LOCATION:  At our friends’ house in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  Nice and fall-like.  Sunny.  High 72

Tomorrow we leave for a month-long camping trip with Tony and Jenny, so they are busy preparing  – loading up their trailer and car. 

I did some laundry and hung up my clothes in the glorious sunshine.

Since we have everything we need already in Joy, our Airstream, we got out of their hair and went in to town.

On our way, we passed this terrific farm market.  Less than a mile down the road was another one, just like it!

In Berwick, the town closest to their house, we headed to their local nano-brewery.  We did a flight of IPAs – all with IBUs of 120-125!  That is what you call bitter!!!  The pourer was super friendly and we had a nice chat

I went to the bathroom (called washroom in Canada) and spotted this garbage area.  Canadians do a much better job at recycling than Americans do.

We strolled around the town, decorated for fall and with summer’s remaining flowers.  George took this photo to show my new haircut.

Lunch was at this cute restaurant in town where we were able to sit on the patio.  It was a bit chilly in the shade, but really pleasant in the sunshine.

As we sat there, a maple leaf fell exactly on top of George’s beer.  A real sign of autumn!!!

Back home, we went to our friends’ neighbors’ house for drinks around their lovely swimming pool.

They have befriended Chippy, the chipmunk, who came looking for a handout..

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made hotdogs over the campfire.  Getting into the camping mod! 

Day #187. On our own in the Annapolis Valley

LOCATION:  With our friends Tony and Jenny in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  Very nice.  High 75

Tony and Jenny had errands to run so we were on our own for part of the day.  First we went to a cheese shop near their house.  It is owned/run by a Greek immigrant who is a real hoot.  Anything/everything Greek that one would want is there.  We bought some interesting cheese, olives, and stuffed grape leaves.  How cool to have this in a rural, unpopulated area.  The milk truck was delivering milk while we shopped.  More cheese to come! 

Then, into the town of Berwick, the nearest large town.  It is called the Apple Capital of Nova Scotia.  Indeed, there are apples everywhere and the trees look ready to be picked.

We went in search of a brewery.    First was a cute place in the country with pretty landscaping.  There was a big field of white flowers next to the brewery.  We asked what it is….buckwheat.  Interesting!

In to the town of Wolfville, which is a really nice college town, for lunch.  We found a perfect place – our favorite Canadian show “Corner Gas” on TV,  nice coasters (which George likes), good beer, and great steamed mussels.

The four of us leave on Wednesday for a month-long trip around Nova Scotia, including the loop of Cape Breton. George and Tony went in to town to get the propane tanks filled up for the trip – Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear….all lined up!

Back home, George made a fire for dinner.  Bubba, the neighbors’ cat, came to visit.  He is very sociable and doesn’t want to miss any fun.  You can tell he doesn’t miss many meals!

DINNER:  My turn.  I had marinated chicken thighs in oregano and Greek herbs.  George grilled them on the fire.  Sides were a Greek-style green beans, sauteed in olive oil, seasoned with oregano, and served with sprinkled feta and green onions.  Served with stuffed grape leaves and kalamata olives.  All quite tasty.

Then in the evening, I went to my friend Jenny’s beauty shop for a much-needed haircut.  Getting a haircut while on the road is always frightening.  This lady did a great job. 

Day #186 – A day in lush Annapolis Valley

LOCATION:  At our friends’ house in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  Beautiful and sunny.  High 78

We were able to get back to our Sunday morning routine – George’s spectacular grits and eggs while watching “CBS Sunday Morning”.  As a special treat, Tony made us some Canadian bacon – called peameal bacon here.

Then, off for a day in the Valley.  We followed the Annapolis River west for about 75 miles, driving through nice towns and lush fields. 

Our first stop was a small, unpretentious brewery.  We were the only customers, and enjoyed the sunshine on their patio.

George had their house-made bratwurst.

This carved tree, carved like a tree, is the brewery’s emblem – on all their beer cans, too

Then, westward ho, with glimpses of the river now and then.  Our next stop was a winery perched high on a ridge. 

Our last stop was a winery whose grapes were the first to be grown in North America – in 1611.

It, too, is located high on a ridge overlooking the valley full of vineyards

The wine pourer gave us a very interesting tour of the winery.

Time to turn around and head east back toward home. 

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made home-made pizza with pesto (made by Jenny with their own basil) as a base.  Tony sauted mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers for toppings along with anchovies and cheese.  Yum, yum!

BOOK:  “Bad Boy” by Peter Robinson.  One in the series I like about a detective in the Yorkshire Dales, England.  4 stars out of 5

Day #185 – Enjoying the beauty and bounty of the Annapolis Valley.

LOCATION:  With our friends Tony and Jenny in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  A beautiful day – Fall is in the air!  High 76

I read the hundreds of notes from friends about the death of our daughter, and had a good cry.  Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, and for reaching out.

Although we are sad, life goes on and we want to do enjoy the beauty and bounty of the Annapolis Valley. 

The valley is full of apple trees, and they will be picking them soon. The corn is about ready to be harvested.  It is also the “cranberry capital of Nova Scotia”.  Pumpkins are starting to be seen and the trees are starting to turn.  Beautiful! 

We started the day with a stop at a local farmers’ market.  We stocked up on a LOT of vegetables and locally-grown peaches.

On to lunch.  We stumbled upon this beautiful winery/vineyard on a ridge overlooking vineyards and corn fields.  We grabbed a table on their patio in the full sun, and had a superb lunch….sharing a platter of raw oysters and a salmon board.

On our way home, we spotted another small winery and thought we would check it out.  What a find!  The owner/wine pourer is very gregarious, telling us his life story and about the winery.  With our wine tasting, he sliced up some delicious aged Cheddar cheese from a farm down the road, and provided this nice cheese board with some brioche bread …at no charge

This winery is perched on a ridge, too.

Like many wineries, he has a very good-natured “wine dog”

The owner is Dutch and has a love of bicycles, so vintage ones are showcased in the vineyard.

The engine in our pick-up truck has been making strange noises, like a high-pitched squeal.  We took it to a GM dealership in a nearby town the other day.  Today, after getting a part sent from Montreal, it was repaired and we picked it up.  We are so relieved that it didn’t break down on the road!  We did some grocery shopping while Tony and Jenny went on home.

DINNER:  My turn.  I made an Asian dish with pork/ginger meatballs and served it with a lot of Asian-style vegetables over ramen.  Side was a great salad – with tomatoes and lettuces from the market – with an Asian dressing.  All very “oishi” as they say in Japanese. 

Day #184 – A day of great food and company

LOCATION:  At our friends’ house in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  Overcast, humid, and warm.  High 73

Today was a big cooking day.  Our friends Tony and Jenny had invited neighbors over for BBQ ribs and baked beans.  Tony, the cook, started everything yesterday….  He made the baked beans and started marinating the ribs in a delicious rub.

Then, this afternoon, he started cooking the ribs very slowly.  Here they are after one hour….

After hour #2

And after hour #3 when they were ready to be eaten.

The baked beans cooked for several hours, and turned out great.  I normally think baked beans are too sweet, but these were spectacular.

When the neighbors arrived, we did a blind wine tasting with wine we had bought at a winery near here.  Tony em-ceed the evening by reading the descriptions of the 2 bottles (Marquette) and we chose our favorites, and guessed which was which.  Fun!

Then, Tony served the ribs, beans, and salad….

We had a great conversation and it was a lovely evening.  The neighbors are from Wales and have a lovely accent and a unique sense of humor.

I normally don’t write personal notes on this blog, as it is meant to be a travel and food blog.  However, I need to let readers/friends know that our lovely daughter Meredith died late last night.  She had struggled in the past few years.  It was not Covid, but mental and physical issues.  The Hospice informed us that she died peacefully and without pain.  Here is a photo of our beautiful first-born.  We will miss her. 

In the spirit of a day full of food-preparation and enjoyment, I am attaching a few photos of her dishes that she prepared while she was a caterer/private chef