Search This Blog

Saturday, May 27, 2017

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada

Heading north from Maine, we drove along the New Brunswick coast in Canada.  By chance, we discovered the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. What rugged beauty--the rocky coast, the sea and huge tidal swings! The greatest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy, about a 50 foot difference at low and high tide. You have large open beaches at low tide that disappear during high tide. We visited the Fundy Trail, Fundy National Park and the Hopewell Rocks--the last two were our favorites. Try to catch Hopewell Rocks at low tide; it's quite impressive! We discovered that our good friends, Carol and Tom, visited the Bay of Fundy on their honeymoon, what a coincidence!

On a whim we headed into Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.  What a fun town--great restaurants, beautiful port, friendly people, and fascinating history. With a population of 400,000 and a natural deep port, it is a major economic center on the coast and ranks as one of the best places to live in Canada. Unfortunately, it rained for most of our visit so the wharf was cold and windy, and we passed on the Halifax Public Gardens. We enjoyed the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, especially the exhibits on the Titanic and the Halifax explosion.

Nice waterfall on the Fundy Trail.  

Beautiful suspended foot bridge! 
Low tide at the Fundy Trail - this becomes a large river at high tide.

People watch the tides closely here. Otherwise, you could find
yourself quickly covered in water or your boat unable to
get out of the port.

Hopewell Rocks - This wide beach at low tide disappears
at high tide.

Hopewell Rocks - the caves and rocks are underwater at
high tide. Beautiful place!
The Halifax Public Library is on the top 10 places to visit.
What a view and free Wifi too! That is Bob's new corner office.

Stunning older home on Young Street in Halifax. The street was 
filled with beautiful historic homes. 
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is near the wharf and 
another top 10 place to visit.

That's a huge lighthouse light!

It's filled with amazing ship models, everything from ships in bottles
to the real size. Their exhibit on the Titanic was fascinating.
We learned that those who survived its sinking were taken to
New York while all the dead were taken to Halifax. Oh my!

Lounging in a replica of the Titanic deck chairs. 
Yes, they encouraged you to try it out!

The Halifax Explosion in December 1917 happened when two 
ships collided in the harbor, one carrying tons of explosives 
for the war effort. It devastated the city and killed thousands.
The terrible devastation!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wild blueberries - It's all in the marketing!

So we thought wild blueberries meant wild in the really wild sense. Oh so wrong!  We passed huge fields in Maine and Canada with a low cover crop which looked similar to a scraggly, colorful clover. Some had beehives to pollinate them. Then we passed large processing plants devoted to wild blueberries. Aha, these were wild blueberry fields which we confirmed via a Google search. Wild blueberries are cultivated, just like other crops. "Wild" refers to the type of blueberry, not that they are picked in the wild. 

Boy, they do make great blueberry pancakes!

Wild blueberry fields with beehives near Winter Harbor, Maine.
We saw many fields like this in Maine and New Brunswick. 

Blueberry capital of Canada, of course we had to stop and check it out.
OK, we did not find any fields in Oxford, but we did
find the processing plant.

And this lovely gem! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia was the first national park created entirely by private land donations. The park was established in 1919, first created by President Wilson on July 8, 1916 as Sieur de Monts National Monument. In 1919 the name was changed to Lafayette National Park, and finally in 1929 to Acadia National Park in honor of the former French colony of Acadia which once included Maine.  It was the first national park east of the Mississippi.  It is the fifth smallest national park relative to land area (~49,000 acres) but is among the top ten most visited, hosting about 3.3 million people in 2016.  Within Acadia is Cadillac Mountain the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. John D Rockefeller Jr. was a philanthropist extraordinaire - donating over 10,000 acres of Acadia's land and funded construction of many of its beautiful roads, carriage roads and paths.  Thank you Mr Rockefeller!

We camped in Blackwoods campground for three nights.  As our "luck" continues to hold,  it rained heavily the first night. (We seem to be developing a pattern on this.)  We did quite a few hikes in the park; the highlight was Jordan Pond!  We started our hike with the traditional tea and popovers in the restaurant overlooking the lake.  We enjoyed walking along the Ocean Path Trail and hiking on Sand Beach. Thunder Hole, a famous site in the park, was more of a whimper when we visited but still quite scenic (check out this youtube video to see it in full force). Watching the sunset from the top of Cadillac Mountain was beautiful as were all the scenic vistas.  Bar Harbor is a no longer a quaint little town; in 2017 it will host over 100 cruise ship visits (
Our token National Park sign

The roadways were beautiful - thank you Mr Rockefeller.
This guy was a photo hog!  Multiple pictures - didn't budge!

The Maine coast - so rugged and beautiful.

Playing along the side of sand beach during low tide.

The whimpering Thunder Hole!

Tradition - Tea and popovers at Jordan Pond restaurant.

Literally - The "boardwalk" around Jordan Pond.

Gnarly trunks on Jordan Pond.

This tree grew on the rock - like its sitting on it

The tree sitting on a rock - its a big tree!

Beautiful bridge over Jordan Pond - hand built years ago.

So many burls on trees around the park.

OMG!  They still exist!  They don't get txt msgs though...

Sunset on Cadillac Mountain

David Paine - owner of Jordans Restaurant in Bar Harbor
He joked - "I work for my daughter now, she runs the place".
Reminded me of my our buddy, Lasko, back in Midland.

Great little place - Beal's Lobster Pier.  The guy at the register actually knew about
Laura's home town of Titusville, FL.  

Scrumptious lobster rolls from Beal's - so much easier than picking at a lobster.

The first tour of the season!  A tour around the island with Sea Princess
Cruises hosted by a National Park Ranger.  So informative!

Seals sunning themselves on East Bunker Ledge!

An osprey nest on a harbor whatchamacallit.

Bear Island Lighthouse

Bar Harbor, ME Library - great place to catch up on blogging!
Free WiFi to boot!

Stopped at the Winter Harbor Lobster Co-op.  Enjoying lobster
on the back of the truck!  Tasty!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wandering Vermont and New Hampshire

After leaving Dover, we headed to Vermont and New Hampshire before going to Acadia.  We wanted to spend time in the Green Mountains in Vermont and the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  What beautiful country.  We spent our first night in Vermont in Jamaica State Park outside, you guessed it, Jamaica, VT.  We basically had our choice of camp sites.  We rolled in late so we set up in the dark side of dusk with the mosquitos out in force.  Luckily we finished setting up just as the skies opened up and poured for the next several hours.  We heard sirens whale in the distance multiple times through the night and realized later in the morning when we went into town that the storm was quite severe dropping multiple trees through the area that blocked many roads.  We both agree we have a knack for camping out in the rain (yes Katie - I remember your immortal words when I asked if you had any advice re: tent camping because of your vast experience and you had a simple one word reply "Don't").  We broke camp and put away a soaked tent!

The next couple days we wandered through Vermont seeing all sorts of fun things and learning more about this beautiful state.  Some quick trivia:  Montpelier is Vermont's capital!  Montpelier is the maple syrup production leader for the whole state.  Montpelier is the ONLY state capital that does not have a McDonald's, and they're pretty proud of it!  We had a chance to visit lots of different places in and around the Green Mountains.  Some memorable ones were the bed and breakfast that we stayed at outside Stowe (great host with a horse farm). We set up our tent in the host's back yard to dry out - not sleep - more rain and cold were in the forecast that night.  The Hunger Mountain COOP in Montpelier is worth a stop as they offer such a great selection of locally produced foods.  The King Arthur Flour's Vermont campus is definitely worth a stop as it has their store, bakery and school all together.  No trip to Vermont would be complete without a stop at the iconic Ben & Jerry's for a tour and a sample of their great ice cream (trivia - whats there number one selling flavor?  No - not the former Cherry Garcia but the new champ - Half Baked!).  They even have a flavor graveyard! We also had to stop at the Cabot Creamery for a tour and samples in where else but Cabot, VT - great cheddars!

We drove through New Hampshire and the White Mountain National Forest - quite beautiful.  I'll admit we were hustling to get to Acadia because the weather forecast was predicting a sunny day followed several days of by rain so we limited our stops to scenic vistas, cheap outlet stores (L.L.Beans) and to sample some award winning chicken wings at Delaney's Hole in the Wall (how could we not stop with a name like that).

So many covered bridges - beautiful!

Butler's Pantry breakfast in Stowe, VT - best pancakes!!

Our B&B - a working horse farm

The cows have it so tough!

For bakers - Mecca!

Try not to act to excited.

King for a moment!

We saw those cows earlier!

What a history of great ice cream!


The White Mountains were gorgeous!

Beautiful vistas!

Still playing on train tracks!

A bourbon wall at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT