Thursday, 6 November 2014

Back to the Mainland

We drove through Argentia
Abandoned Naval site

to the Ferry, Atlantic Vision,

Atlantic Vision from Argentia
about 3:30 to board. John had not been on a ship of this size, except on the trip over. He really enjoyed it!  We wandered the ship,

and took lots of pictures of Newfoundland from the water.

Apparently, the construction around the docks is the building of two new GBS dry
New Dry Docks being built for GBS

docks.  Around the peninsula will be the deep water site. Our trip from Argentia was uneventful, calm smooth water with only the ocean rolls –no waves or wind. After a wander around the ship and watching a The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in the theatre, we headed to our cabin to enjoy a bottle of wine with smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers and a good night’s sleep.

The next day we disembarked about 9:30am,
North Sydney Docks

and began the drive to Baddeck.  We had forgotten how large the trees were on the Mainland.  

Back in the tall trees
The second thing we noticed was the ‘boring’ houses- they are all beige, a few light yellow, and white, white, white.
Too many white houses...

We missed the colourful houses of Newfoundland.
Over the bridge

Looking back at the Bridge
Baddeck is a delightful town, with a bustling Main Street full of interesting looking shops. We parked right on the main street.

Parking right on the Main Street

The Court House

Baddeck Post Office being restored
This town centre was something we had missed in Newfoundland small towns. We decided to stay at Adventures West Campground and Cottages, just past the town. There is a long road in, with sites on each side, a few cottages and a number of sites in a forested circular road. There are washrooms and showers in the pool building.  We unhitched and went to plug in the electric cord, only to find that it was melted a bit on the inside, and so was the side outlet on the trailer. We got out the back-up cord, but it was only an extension cord, and could not be used as a primary cord. So off we went almost back to North Sydney to an RV dealer to get a new cord. Luckily, they had one left. As we drove into Baddeck to find the Information Centre, we decided to walk around the town centre and do some shopping.  Unfortunately, though, as it was after Labour Day, there were no more Ceilidhs, so no evening entertainment. That was enough for one day, so we headed back to the trailer to discover we could get TV, and - having not seen any for two months- we watched the late news.

We drove back into Baddeck to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic site.

The Museum Building
This was a museum tribute to him, his life and his accomplishments. The telephone was only the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and invention. Using his father’s Visible Speech phonetic alphabet,

as a teacher, he helped deaf people bridge the world between sound and silence.

Each part of the hand represented a letter, enabling the spelling of words
The glove used to enable spelling for a deaf boy
He went from transmitting sound on light and creating a treadle-powered music machine to man-carrying kites, airplanes
Silver Dart Replica
The Silver Dart Flies
The Hydrofoil boat
and a hydrofoil boat.  Their magnificent family home
Land bought on the outskirts of Baddeck

is still privately owned by descendants, and not open to the public. There is a full size replica of the Silver Dart, which was the first plane to fly publically in the British Commonwealth. Then we walked along the waterfront

A unique waterfront wharf and restaurant
The Cannon at the beginning of the Boardwalk
and the boardwalk.
The waterfront Boardwalk- looking back at the harbour

There is a beautiful sculpture of Bell and his wife.
Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell
On the way back the skies opened and it poured! John took my little umbrella- see I learned in Newfoundland- and got the car, while I stood in under an overhang by the harbour. He is such a gentleman.

After hitching up the next day, we headed for Lunenburg. It was a beautiful drive, particularly once we navigated our way through Halifax to coastal highway. We had chosen to stay in the Board of Trade Campground right in the town of Lunenburg. This is a 2-level park. The top level is mainly open and good for Class A’s and larger trailers.
Run Around Sue

The lower level is better for tents, smaller trailers and Class B’s and C’s.
Lower campsite overlooks the back harbour

We were at the edge by the town’s Visitors’ Centre. The sites are somewhat level and rather narrow, with water, electricity and internet. Some sites have sewers, which seemed to be at odd angles, making hook-up difficult. There was no one beside us, so we had some extra room. We were close enough to walk to the centre of town, around the main streets and the waterfront.

Lunenburg is beautiful. All of Old Town Lunenburg, six blocks wide and ten blocks up from the water, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Town.
Click on the picture to read the explanation for the UNESCO World Heritage designation
 The houses and stores are beautifully kept and painted in bright colours,

A main street leading up from the water

A Main Street

reminiscent of Newfoundland. There are numerous restaurants, interesting stores, coffee shops and museums. Our first walk took us to the top of Blockhouse Hill to the Settlers Memorial and Redoubt.
Visitors' Centre and Redoubt

We talked for a while to a couple from Durham, England, then walked down to the waterfront,

Looking back up to restaurants on the main streets- all with balconies
and in and out of interesting shops. We decided to eat lunch at the Magnolia Cafe. They had the best scallop chowder and lobster roll. The delicious chowder became John’s new benchmark.  Everything is made in the store and is outstanding.  Next we went on to the Savvy Sailor for an excellent cappuccino. We walked down to the waterfront to see the Bluenose II.
Bluenose II

Bluenose II rigging

Unfortunately, it is in the middle of a major restoration, and is not sailing this year, nor is it open for tours. We talked to several of the folks who were working on the ship. Part of the delay is that everything being done has to be to American Bureau shipping specs – so it really is no longer the original Bluenose II. The wood being used is Angelique, a tropical hardwood, rather than the spruce and pine of the original. This is more resistant to rot and ship worms. They just have to complete the keel, and she will be ready for next year’s tourists.

We met a couple with a 2 year old yellow Lab, Luna and discovered that they are Airstreamers too, staying in Dartmouth. As we went along the dock area, and the various parts of Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic,

The red building is the former fish processing plant
we kept running into them, and so ended our day with Happy Hour oysters, beer and Lobster pizza with them at The Old Fish Factory Restaurant, before walking back up the hill to the RV. The Museum extends along the wharf to a large former fish processing plant, housing a gift store and an aquarium with a wide array of fresh water and salt water North Atlantic species and a lobster information centre
The lobster fisherman

on the first floor. The second floor traces 500 years of the Grand Banks fishing off the east coast,

The Grand Banks
has an fully outfitted dory,
Fishing Dory

and a ship model shop with volunteers building a variety of model ships. The Vessel Gallery exhibits include memorabilia of the Bluenose, the “August Gales” exhibit and traditional shipbuilding tools, and a Fishermen’s Memorial Room dedicated to fishermen lost at sea from the port of Lunenburg. The third floor has various exhibits illustrating the everyday activities of the fishermen, life in a fishing community and the Rum Runners exhibit, and a theatre. Along the wharf we boarded two ships, a side trawler built in 1962, the Cape Sable, and the last dory schooner to fish from Lunenburg, Theresa E. Connor,

Fish Hold of the Theresa Connor

The Harbour from the Theresa Connor

and visited the “Tidal Touch Tank”.


Here we watched a presentation, Scoop on Scallops on the harvesting of scallops.

We wandered around the town several times, up and down hills.
A War Memorial and Bandstand with a park beyond

The beautiful and colourful houses and buildings fascinated us.

This is now a B&B


Throughout the town are historic houses with plaques indicating the year the house was established, the owner of the house and sometimes the owner’s occupation.


There are houses of every type and size from fine Victorian to Cape Cod ‘’humble’. The trim on the homes was striking.

The Ironworks Distillery makes specialty apple vodka, rums, brandy and flavoured liqueurs, using local produce. We liked the raspberry best.

The Ironworks Distillery


One of our walks took us to see the various churches. We spent most time in St. John’s Anglican Church. It was established in 1754, and is the second oldest Protestant church in Canada. It is a magnificent building.
St. John's today

From the Choir Loft
On Halloween night in 2001,

it was largely destroyed by fire.

There are many rumors as to the fire’s origin, but none has ever been proven. The rector of St. John’s was out walking and noticed a small fire in one of the shingled buttresses. The fire department responded quickly, and it looked as if the fire was quickly extinguished. However, the flames went into the hollow buttress, then rose to the roof and spread under the copper sheathing of the nave. It was impossible to douse the fire which worked under the eaves and into the roof. Parishioners, townsfolk and firefighters from thirteen surrounding communities stood helplessly as the fire engulfed the church. A committee was soon drafted to examine the alternatives for the church. Overwhelmingly, the parish decided to restore the church to its 1882 standards, as this was the only way for the church to retain its National Historic Site status. For the next four years, seven million dollars was raised, and volunteers worked to take out undamaged parts of the church, pick up the pieces of the stained glass windows that had fallen on the ground when the lead melted, restore the brass which had been damaged by fire, water and salt water used to put out the fire, and using their talents and abilities to help with the rebuilding of the church.  Carpentry, woodcarving,

stained glass work,
The window above the centre entry door
The stars painted on the ceiling as they were at this site on the night Christ was born
painting, furnishings conservation were all done by local workers. Rededication took place on June 12, 2005. It is an incredible story of the dedication of a community working together.

Further from the campground, on the west edge of the Historical area stands the Lunenburg Academy.
Established in 1895, it is the school that many of the people we spoke to had attended. Originally it housed all grades Primary to 12. When fire regulations were more actively enforced in the 60’s, rather than build fire escapes from the third floor, which would ruin the historical architecture, the third floor was closed and a new high school built across town. Until recently, it was still used for students in grades Primary to 5.

One drive of the area took us to the picturesque, quaint little fishing village of Blue Rocks.
Most of the way, the scenic drive winds along the shore of Lunenburg Harbour.

Another day, we drove to Mahone Bay, a bustling town around the coast, named one of Canada’s best small-town downtowns by Harrowsmith Country Life Magazine.

Mahone Bay Anglican Church

The town gazebo in a park

Mahone Bay harbour

Shops, homes and hotels back onto the Bay
The streets and shops were busy with tourists and locals shopping or just wandering around Mahone Bay. There are the usual tourist stores, craftspeople, art galleries, museums, restaurants, inns and many unique specialty shops.

A Main Street
We travelled further around Mahone Bay to the Village of Chester, a seaside hamlet. We drove past a beautiful Marina and Yacht Club along North Street and around the downtown area. This was a disappointment, however. There were few people around, a theatre and some interesting looking stores, but only one store was open. Many of the homes are beautiful, but many looked closed up. We later found out that many of the residents are summer only. As it was after Labour Day, many of the summer homes were closed, and their residents back in their winter homes in the US or Halifax. This was quite a contrast to the bustle in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay.

We were told by many of the locals that we had to go across the bay to the golf course to get the "postcard picture" of Lunenburg.

Our "postcard" picture
While we were there we were treated to close-ups several ospreys chatting in the trees above us.

"What are you looking at??"

They are watching us!
Just before we left, we had the opportunity to take part in a moving ceremony. Local dignitaries, ministers, priests and a mixed choir paraded through the town to a huge tent on the wharf by the Bluenose II.

There was a beautiful ecumenical Memorial Service by the Fishermen's Monument.

The Monument explained

The Fishermen's Monument

We were sad when the time came to leave Lunenburg, but we were anxious to get to the two-day Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, first in Quebec City and two days later, the second part in Montreal.

On the way to Quebec, we drove to Peggy’s Cove. It was delightful to visit. There have been few changes since I was there over 40 years ago.

The centre of the village- just the same!
There is a new Visitors’ Centre, the Souvenir store is a little larger, the parking lot bigger and some new houses in the village, but you can still walk on the rocks out to the lighthouse,

You can still walk out on the rocks

and out to the lighthouse
the charming village is much the same. There is, however, a beautiful new Fishermen's Monument carved into the rock by a local sculptor.

hand sculped into the stone

On the way out, we made a quick stop at the Swiss Air Crash Memorial. Unfortunately, we were towing, and were unable to drive into the parking lot, so had to pull to the side of the road. The whole road back to the main highway was a series of beautiful little coves. 

We drove as far as Moncton,

The drive to Moncton
and stayed at Stonehurst Campground at Magnetic Hill. It is a beautiful campground with about 40 seasonals, very clean washrooms and showers, and wide level sites. We had a lovely corner pull-through site, AND they take Passport America, 50% off, full hook-up was $19! There are several sections, with some sites in a wide open field.

The next day’s drive through New Brunswick was along wide, divided, excellent highway. In New Brunswick, the road cuts a wide swath through forest of fir, aspen and birch.
and through rock cuts!
Beautiful divided NB highway
Every so often you catch a glimpse of a wide blue river, and periodically a town or a few houses can be seen as the forests give way to wide fields and meadows. We chose to stay in a funky little park, Camping St. Basile,

Grassy, level, wide sites- Camping St. Basile
 just outside Edmunston. It was bought this summer by a family, who has begun to do some updating. It is a beautiful park with relatively level grassy sites with electricity and water. 

The highway into Quebec is still under construction.
Construction, but little traffic, so no delays
We saw lots of We decided to drive into Riviere-du-Loup and along the shore road to Levis. We were not sure which roads we wanted to get downtown so we used the GPS to find the best way into the city. It was the shortest route but not the best, as it led us down some steep cliff-like hills.

A huge hill, down to the St. Lawrence
The truck and trailer brakes got a real test and passed with flying colours. The road along the river gave us spectacular views of the North shore,

To the North Shore of the St; Lawrence
Mountains to the South of the river
and the mountains to the south.

We chose to stay in Levis

There were still quite a few travellers.

so we could take the ferry across to Quebec City, as the race course was mainly in the old city. This was also a Passport America campground, so another real bargain.  The Campground provided free shuttle service to the ferry. This worked well the first day [but they forgot to pick us up the second day]. It poured rain all day, but we went to visit the old city anyway. There are no malls in Lower Town, just lots of narrow streets to wander through,

Royal Battery, replicas a gift from France

Narrow street in Lower Town to the funicular, for a ride up to Upper Town

A Beautiful narrow street in Lower Town
and many stairs to climb, as we roamed the city to determine the race course and the best places to watch. Finding the course was easy, as there were barriers set along the sides of streets,
One of the oldest buildings in Upper Town

The French Consulate

and kiosks were being set up.

Getting ready at the start

We were sent to the hotel where most teams were staying to get a program. We were greeted with courtesy, as we wandered down the hallways to find the reception room. Many of the teams were arriving, riders were out checking the course and the whole area was buzzing.

Team cars lined up at the hotel
The next day dawned bright, warm and clear.

Chateau Frontenac from the ferry

Two cruise ships at the docks- one from England and the other from the US
We got the lineup for the race, and were a little disappointed to see that few of the top riders were here, but were in Europe for the upcoming Vuelta a Espana.

Last minute instructions

Last pit stop
However, the race was well-run and exciting to watch. We moved from place to place to watch from different viewpoints,
The leaders- on the cobblestones[we had lunch under the turquoise awnings]

then the Peleton

and the team cars

Waiting at another spot in Lower Town

We watched the riders coming down, then walked up this hill
and did a little site-seeing on the way.

Notre-Dames-des-Victoires in Place Royale on the site of Champlain's habitation

The stunning interior

A Frieze at the end of the Place Royale, depicting famous characters from Quebec's history

The end was predicted to be about 4pm, so we decided to fill in some time going to the Citadel.

This entrance was new to me. It is a tunnel to the interior wall 
Since this is a working Fort, the home of the Royal 22nd Regiment [the “Van Doos”], you cannot wander on your own, but have to take a guided tour.
The Musee

The Fortress from the west side

Looking down on Lower Town

Although very interesting, we were longer than we’d planned. John wanted to see it all and the museum inside. Unfortunately, the race finished early, and we missed the end. So we decided to walk around the Plains of Abraham,

and we found the Discovery Centre to visit. However, it was near to closing time, so we were only allowed to see one floor.

This is the best model of a Martello Tower that I have seen
It is an outstanding rendering of the history and defense of Quebec City. We look forward to examining the whole museum on another visit.
Our last view of the Chateau Frontenac

We were on our way once again to Montreal along the South Shore. We visited for a while with John’s Mum. That is, after we watched the second half of the race. It was a cold, windy day, and the race was being run up and around the mountain. We drove part way and took the subway to the mountain. We chose to watch from Park Ave where we could see the cyclists on a loop and at the finish.

The leaders

The Peleton

The start-finish

The Winner!
The last few weeks have been spent catching up with friends and family in the Toronto area 

Back at Glen Rouge Campground
and in London,

401- between London and Toronto
having the truck and trailer serviced [and the bathroom mirror fixed on to the wall twice], and a variety of doctors, dentists and health appointments, to make sure we are all fit for the next legs of our journey.

Our last view of Glen Rouge Campground
Then we are on to Montreal for a visit with John’s Mum and the Church Christmas Bazaar. Our plan is to do the “right-hand-turns” trip around the US to San Diego in March, and up through the canyons to Western Canada for next summer. We got the extended OHIP cards, good for a 2 year absence from Ontario. We will be flying in periodically for short visits, but not towing the trailer back.  

More to come when we head south….

No comments:

Post a Comment