Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farewell Canada

What did I miss most while I was gone?

This little one. I was happy to babysit first thing when I got home and get put her down for a nap. "Down for a nap" literally means face down at the moment.

Here is the last part of our time on Prince Edward Island. We didn't have a particular plan for our days on PEI, other than our ukulele day. So each morning we asked at the hotel "what should we see." Fiona at The Great George was wonderful at giving suggestions and directions. It was nice to have time to see things leisurely. And to enjoy some unexpected stops that we found when I missed a couple of turns along the way. It's a small island, so you couldn't be too lost. 

We rode to the tiny village of Victoria-By-The-Sea one day and then took the scenic route back to Charlottetown.

We saw the red sand on the shore at Victoria.

I was amazed that farms and sea sat side by side.

We had lunch at an honest-to-goodness tea room.

It was as lovely to look at as it was delicious. The entire tea room held about 12 people.

Bright colors were the norm everywhere we went. Maybe in winter's gloom, it cheers everyone up.

And a trip to Green Gables  at Cavendish is a must for all visitors. We love Anne of Green Gables--the movies and the books, so it was fun to see the farm that inspired author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The farm belonged to cousins of her grandparents with whom she lived as she was growing up. It was located nearby the grandparents, so she would have spent time here. It is now a national park.

I had heard about the red sand beaches and we saw a little of that in Victoria, but there are real beaches--the wide kind we have here in SC--at Brackley Beach and up that shore. The sand felt just like our beaches but it really is red.

We wish that our PEI friends could see the land near our farm. It is as red as this road here on PEI, but ours is red clay instead of red sand. Maybe this is one reason I felt so at home.

David and Diane took us to Summerside one evening to see Highland Storm, an evening of Celtic music and dance. But the surprise was a stop at Frosty Treat on the way to enjoy the best fried clams on the island.

The soloist in Highland Storm is a member is the ukulele group, SMUG, on PEI. We had met her the day I played with their group. This was a wonderful show. I discovered in the gift shop adjacent to the theater, where all things Scottish were sold, that the names on the mugs, plaques, etc. sounded just like the names in my community--Armstrong, Campbell, Robertson. Those are names of our neighbors!

As we rambled around we ended up back at the beach. Glad we did because the first time we did not see Dalvay By The Sea, a beach resort where Prince William and his new bride Kate stayed just weeks ago.

And we just couldn't leave without saying goodbye to our new friends, David and Diane. A visit with them the night before we left gave us one more opportunity to play a little music. Music just makes for instant friendship.

We will forever be grateful for their hospitality. It was a wonderful adventure. Maybe they can come visit us in the South one day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Great George! Great Trip!

When I got to see Baby Sister this weekend, she literally leapt into my arms! Now that makes a grandmother feel terrific. Only problem was it was Granddaddy's arms she was leaping out of. Her hair had  grown about an inch in the two weeks I was gone.

I'm still enjoying going back through vacation photos. Here are more from our trip...the part of the trip where we reached Prince Edward Island, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

We stayed at The Great George, a small hotel but a beautiful one. It's actually a collection of buildings surrounding the main part of the hotel shown here.

The piano in the lobby had photos of their famous guests. We didn't see anyone famous while we were there, but we did find surprise guests in the lobby one evening. When we heard the strong Southern drawl, it was a sure thing that these folks were from home. A tour group from South Carolina were staying here for a couple of days during our visit. We had fun talking to everyone in the group and discussing a little Gamecock football!

Charlottetown is a lovely small town. Great restaurants everywhere. We went to the Confederation Center one evening to see Anne Of Green Gables--The Musical, an excellent production that has played for 40 years.

And I've never eaten so much seafood! But in this part of the country shrimp, crab and flounder are not on the menu. It's lobster, mussels, clams, fish & chips, etc.--all delicious. (McDonald's in Nova Scotia even has a McLobster sandwich on the menu.)

As beautiful as everything was, what actually brought us to Canada and Prince Edward Island was a ukulele group. I am the leader of the Yesterukes, an all-ukulele band here in South Carolina. And a few years ago, the leader of SMUG, a similar band on PEI found us online and we started emailing and exchanging ideas. So one day was devoted to ukuleles. These folks were nice as could be and we enjoyed our time with them.

And then the best part of the trip...  The SMUG leader invited us to his home for dinner. It's hard for me to imagine living where you run down to the corner store to buy lobsters, but on PEI, that's what you do.
It was THE best food of the trip. Thank you, David and Diane!

And as I posted this last photo, the phone rings with a "Mom, can you come keep Baby Sister while I go to the dentist?" It's good to be back and be needed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Darlin', It's Your Lucky Day!"

I will baby sit tonight and get to see Baby Sister for the first time in a couple of weeks. I hear that instead of crawling now, she zooms! Better put on my running shoes. But before I completely return to grandmother mode, I want to post more vacation pictures. For you it might be like friends who want to show you slides of their trip, but for me it's a great way to put the photos where I can find them later.

We spent one day enjoying the waterfront area in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The city is very old and reminded me a bit of Charleston as I drove around lots of one-way streets but Halifax sits on a hill.

The Maritime Museum was wonderful--large enough to tell the story of Halifax but small enough that I didn't get tired of looking at exhibits. I had no clue that Halifax was so tied to the history of the Titanic disaster. The people of Halifax were the ones to respond to the event. Hundreds of Titanic victims are buried in Halifax, pulled from the sea by Halifax sailors.

We also toured the Alexander Keith Brewery and learned more about the city's history.  I learned that Nova Scotia means "new Scotland." There was also singing and dancing involved in this tour. Fun!

Jessica had booked a harbor sail on a tall ship. This was great way to see the city from the water. The weather was perfect for it.

Then we enjoyed one of the best meals of the trip at McKelvie's, just across from the waterfront. A 30-year-old restaurant in a 100-year-old building.

The next day we traveled to Prince Edward Island, our actual destination. Charlottetown, PEI is about three hours from Halifax. We planned to take the 1:00 PM ferry over to the island. We got to the ferry site at 12:30 thinking that was plenty of time. We were in one of about 8 lines of vehicles and watched as cars and trucks from each line were directed onto the ferry. Our line started to move, a few cars at a time and we inched forward, waiting for our turn to board. You could tell the ferry was nearly full because they started measuring trucks to see which ones might fit.

They came back to our line of cars finally, now loading them one at a time as they figured out the jigsaw puzzle of vehicles. It looked like the car ahead of us was not going to make it on board but they figured out how to add just one more car--the car AHEAD of us! Someone shouted that was the last car. Oh no! I asked how long it was until the next crossing. One hour and 45 minutes!

Then a walkie talkie crackled and the man directing the cars waved at me and said, "Darlin', it's your lucky day!" They squeezed just one more car--OUR car--on at the very end. Had to park almost sideways so they could close the gate. It WAS our lucky day. This is the end of our rental car, about 20 inches from the gate...

An hour ride on the ferry, carrying its four decks of filled with cars, trucks, RVs and people and we landed on Prince Edward Island. Yep, it was my lucky day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Peggy's Cove And The South Shore

This was a different kind of vacation for me. Jessica and I flew to Nova Scotia and rented a car and rambled around on our own. I was worried about driving in an unfamiliar place. Jessica reminded me that If I can drive in Atlanta, I could drive anywhere. True.

She was the navigator, armed with a GPS and multiple maps. And with only a few wrong turns, we were fine. My only rule was that we were back "home" before dark. Jessica had done some research ahead of time to see what we needed to not miss. And we stayed the first few nights at Blue Forest B&B near Halifax and the host suggested things, too.

Jessica wanted to find local places to eat and on our first night, after a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in Bedford, she spotted the Chicken Burger--the oldest drive-in in Canada--which had the Chicken Little ice cream bar in the back. And of course we had to stop. Little did we know that we would see more ice cream shops in Canada than we ever see at home.

Before we got to Peggy's Cove, we stopped at a memorial for the Swissair 111 crash of 1998. So many lives lost. I wonder how hard it was to respond to a disaster on this small winding road, miles from a town.

Peggy's Cove is definitely a "can't miss this" location. Truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. Just a tiny village in a fairly remote location. 

I had to stop and chat with a lady selling handknit caps and scarves. I'm thinking if I lived there I would have enough to sell, too. It's so far from anything else, I think there would be ample knitting time.

The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove is the main attraction here. And worth the effort to get here.

We then wound all around the shore line passing through tiny towns like Chester, stopping for lunch in Mahone Bay and then ending in Lunenburg, a beautiful town, popular with painters. We, on the other hand, found more ice cream. And another monument to lives lost at sea. This time it was ships that had gone down at different times over the years.

The entire day was a feast for the eyes. Everything was in bright colors. We saw so many homes in every color of the rainbow. My favorite were the ones painted bright purple. A beautiful drive all day.