Nova Scotia/Cape Breton/ P.E.I//New Brunswick
First Stop -Nova Scotia
Anne's Place in Springhill
Rating - 4 paw prints
("There sure are a lot of dead people here!")
Things to do: The Halifax Citadel is well worth a look. This fortification was so strong no one even attempted an attack. Great city views, great displays and a loud cannon that goes off at noon every day. Then why not "do" the waterfront and visit the market for a bite of lunch. You could take a harbour cruise and there is Pier 21 where so many immigrants arrived. Especially after WWII.
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so:
Don't miss theMaritime Museum of the Atlantic. Inside is a large Titanic display along with a 3D movie filmed on the ocean floor. There are many artifacts. Then carry on and learn about the Halifax Explosion of 1917. This was the largest man made explosion until Hiroshima. The shock was felt 250 miles away. Some 1963 people were killed and 9000 injured. If you can find it (I did after many wrong turns) go to Fairview Cemetery and visit the Titanic graves. Feel free to bring flowers or small stuffed toys to leave behind.
(Alistair's favourite day trips)
Peggy's Cove- Take your film, lots of great shots. Take your postcards and mail them from the only post office located in a lighthouse in the world. Don't miss the very tasteful memorial for Swissair Flight 111 (crashed 1998). It's just a little south of Peggy's Cove. The Sou-Wester Restaurant is a good place for a meal or snacks but the gift shop is cheap and nasty, unfortunately.
Mahone Bay- Picturesque little bay with beautiful churches, lovely shops and Amos Pewter. Read how Pewter is made, it's history and then watch the workers make the many fine creations. Beautiful one of a kind gifts. This ain't an ad, I bought lots of pretty things here.
Lunenburg- Step back in time and wander the wonderful old streets with homes dating back to the 1700's. Don't miss the "cod" on top of the church. Visit the Bluenose and take a boat tour, horse and buggy tour or a foot tour. If you see Clem say hello. Clem is the only person still living to have worked aboard the original Bluenose. He is 91 years old (2002) and just bought himself a brand new car in October this year. He's a colourful character. Don't miss ice-cream at Sweet Treat Confectionery (125 Montague St). Winner of Alistair's "Best Ice-Cream in Canada" award.
Sherbrooke Village- Historical village where people still live and work. The interpreters in the village are easily the most knowledgeable I have ever met, there was not one question they couldn't answer. Sherbrooke Village win's Alistair Bears "Best Historical Interpreters" award. That's in the whole world and Alistair has been around.
Springhill- Some say Captain Kidd's treasure is buried on a small island in Mahone Bay. Alistair found it in Springhill. The Anne Murray Centre is so incredibly well done that we stayed 3 hours, and Alistair is not an Anne Murray fan. Extremely high quality, well laid out, interesting and it has all the glamour of Hollywood. Not to be missed!
Pictou- Visit the new replica of the Hector. This is the ship that brought all the Scots to Canada in 1773. They are still working on the ship but it's coming along nicely. Wonderful interpretative display, blacksmith, woodworking and gift shops.
Next Stop -Cape Breton
(Rating - 3 1/2 prints)
Things to do:
Well you got the Cabot Trail. Maybe I went the wrong way around or maybe I've seen more spectacular scenery but I just wasn't that excited about the drive around. Of course I drove an Echo and the hills on the Cheticamp side were a bit much for my tin can on wheels. Still there were some surprises that I wouldn't have missed (see things you must do).
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so:
Baddeck- I love this little place. Beautiful inn's and resorts but we stayed at the Lynwood Inn. The new building opened in May of 2002 and the rooms are lovely and the restaurant was excellent. It's right across from the Tourist Information so you can walk to everything. It's a nice place to spend a day just walking down by the water and checking out the shops. Don't miss the old library building, now housing a small interpretative centre. Of course, you must visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. You can see a replica of his hydrofoil along with displays and films. I suggest you buy the book about his wife Mabel as it is full of letters from him to her and vice versa. It's amazingly interesting and will also give you a great laugh.
Cheticamp - More treasure as Alistair slipped inside Saint Peter's Church. Built in 1893 it certainly equals many great churches of Europe. When you walk inside it is not a little town church you expect to find. Then just down the road not too far from Cheticamp in Cap Le Moine you will find Joe's Scarecrow Village. It's off to your left, silly but hey....it's by donation. Throw in a toonie so he can keep expanding.
Lucy M. Montgomery's Birthplace in New London
Next Stop -P.E.I. (I think I saw a potato, or two, or three, or....)
Alistair of Green Gables (Lucy Montgomery's birthplace)
Rating:4 1/2 paw prints
Charlottetown- Okay bit of a lack of parking but Visitor's Centre is all day parking and off-season it's free. Otherwise, just 2 hours are free. Don't miss Founders' Hall with great displays and films. The earphones are a pain because the display triggers the audio track so everytime you move it triggers. You keep having to take if off. Oh yeah and the end film sucks....other than that it's excellent. Then on Queen St you have a great shop and Anne of Green Gable's chocolates. I might have stopped for one or two. Then carry on to Province House where this whole country started with the Charottetown Accord in 1864. The upper floor has all been restored to look exactly as it did in 1864. Downstairs there is a film worth watching. Across the street is an amazing cathedral built in 1913. It certainly rivals in cathedral in Europe so by all means go check it out.
Anne's Cavendish Area- I hope you got a whole day. Start at New London (formerly Clifton) at the house where Lucy M. Montgomery was born. Then carry on up to Cavendish area and if the Anne of Green Gables Village is open check it out (best gift shop is here). Then head next door to Green Gables itself. Stop at the barn for a look and then grab a cookie and some Raspberry Cordial and enjoy it at a picnic table overlooking Green Gables. Start with a walk through the "Haunted Woods" and listen to the trees creek in the wind (very scary). Pop out when you see the cemetery and follow the road to the entrance where a path will take you to Lucy's gravesite. Back into the Haunted Woods to the house and do the tour through. Then turn left and go down Lover's Lane it is very romantic. It doesn't take long they are just little walks. After Green Gables carry on just up the road to your right and check out the grounds of Lucy's grandparents home, the foundations and even the old apple tree (lot's of worms hanging from it when I was there....yucky!). Okay back to your car and head back to New London and turn right at her birthplace. Follow the little road all the way to Park's Corner where Lucy spent many wonderful times with her cousins and it was here she was married. It is on the Lake of Shining Waters. Did you buy your Anne doll yet? Hopefully you did that at the good gift shop. You can also buy a special "Anne of Green Gables" book at Green Gables, which is sold only if you visit Anne's home.
Gateway Village- Okay it's just shops but they are great. If you haven't got your P.E.I. mud shirt this is the place. There is also an interpretative centre here. It's great on a rainy day of if you are crossing the bridge and have some spare time. Hint.....don't rent an Echo and cross Confederation Bridge on a windy day.....it ain't fun.
O'Leary- What's here you ask? None other than the P.E.I. Potato Museum. Everything you ever wanted to know about potatoes and more. Did you know they started in South America? Well I didn't. Of course they show you all the insects, worms, and disease that can inflict a potato but that's all part of the fun. The museum also is home to their village museum and they have a display all on medical equipment. I saw my first iron lung up close. How would you like to be in one of those for a few years? Alistair Bear sure didn't think it would be very nice at all. Lousy gift shop, where were the potato mashers? Only one potato cookbook? Come on guys you can do better than this. You could sell those beautifully handcarved potato mashers made in Sherbrooke Village for a start.
Cape North- Way up to the north end of P.E.I. is this little treasure. Watch the Northumberland Straight and the Gulf of St. Lawrence come together. Watch the horses gather seaweed (they use to make ice-cream and many other things). There are windmills and an interpretative centre about the lighthouse. The sandstone cliffs wash away into the sea and the lighthouse has been moved back 3 times in the last 100 years. Nice restaurant upstairs to enjoy a bite and watch the water.
Next Stop -New Brunswick
Rating - 3 paw prints
"Rex"of course the shadow looks like a poodle!
Things to do:
Well there's Moncton (nothing to do there, skip it). You can go to Magnetic Hill. If it's not busy ignore the sign (because everyone does anyway). Now the first time when you get to the white pole you simply put your car in neutral, no brake, and you will coast backwards up the hill behind you. Look in your rear-view mirror or you will wind up in the ditch silly. Then if no one is around you drive back down to the white post, turn your car around, put it in neutral and coast forward up the hill (more fun if you can actually see it). I tried rolling a bottle uphill but it doesn't work (so don't bother). Maybe try a marble or ball or something. Then I tried walking to see if you could "feel" downhill while going uphill. You can't. The little village is cute and then if it's summer they have a water park and all sorts of other activities.
Things you must do because Alistair Bear says so:
I liked Hopewell Rocks (as long as you don't all flush the toilets at the same time but that's a different story). Do the walk to the beach and go as far as you can (tides permitting). I named a few rocks myself but my Mom says I can't put the names here. I think if you see them you'll know the one's I'm talking about. I called one "Rex" because it looks like the head of a dinosaur. Another one I called "Alistair" after me because it looks like a bear. Then stay right near by at a little B&B called Innisfree (nice place......if you don't like a giant greasy fry up let her know in advance). They have TV's with video players attached and a fantastic collection of videos to watch. Just down the road is an Irving gas station with the nicest most jolly man running it. I went there for all my gas and chocolate bars because I liked him. If you stay here then the next day you can drive to St. Martins (two covered bridges here) and then to theFundy Trail (hike it, bike it, drive it or shuttle bus it). Now this is far more impressive than the Cabot Trail as far as I'm concerned. Did you know William Randolph Hearst built a wilderness cabin here? You can visit it in the summer and eat your packed lunch there. It's 2.7 km from the suspension bridge to hike in. Nice interpretative centre at Salmon River at the end of the trail. Hey walk down the cable ladder, it was kind of fun (right before the suspension bridge).
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