© 2011 jemma

Nova Scotia – The final instalment.

As it was a long weekend, Jess and I took our time on the Monday getting to Chester on the East Coast. To get there we had to drive though Kentville where they were holding their annual Pumpkin Festival. Almost every green space in the village had been taken up with pumpkins, each dressed up from different movies, from Spiderman and Batman to the Avengers and Teenage Mutant ninja turtles. It was fun driving around trying to guess each movie.

From Kentville it was just a short 1.5hr drive down to Chester. Along the way we saw the amazing colours of autumn with the trees and forest putting on a spectacular show. My favourite is when the reds, oranges and yellows of the trees are reflected off all the beautiful lake surfaces. Magical.

We arrived in Chester only to find most things were closed due to it being a public holiday. As it was such a beautiful day, we decided to have a long lunch down on the harbour, where we found a poor distressed lady trying extremely hard to run a busy bay side pub on her own. Not bothered in the slightest by the lengthy wait, we settled in for a nice afternoon in the sun of beer and sandwiches.

Our lunch was followed by a walk around a village of massive holiday homes, private roads and private beaches. Although a very beautiful place, it seems everything is for sale in old Chester a holiday town with very few actual full time “locals”. We got to meet some of the very nice locals though at our very cool B&B where we spent the evening chatting and celebrating the long weekend on the veranda.

The next day I checked out the town while Jess worked. There are some pretty nice artisan stores that sell things from candles to glass. Stuff that I can’t buy…which is also good for the budget.

From Chester we were off to Lunenburg. On the way we passed through the town of Mahone Bay which was having its annual Scarecrow festival. The town was covered in all kinds of scarecrows, from the Royal Wedding to a Lady of the Night – which was surprising. It was a pretty fun atmosphere though, and a creative tourist attraction.

We reached Lunenburg in the late afternoon. The down town part of Lunenburg is a UNESCO world heritage site, recognised because it was the First British colonial settlement outside of Halifax. The downtown core and harbour front is full of beautiful old fishing buildings, ship yards, beautiful old shops and architecture. Nearly every house has some significant historical value, either being owned by someone famous, or just famous for being a really old beautiful house.

We found our B&B, – owned by a friend of a friend of a friend – a beautiful old Victorian building just outside the UNESCO area. History does not stop outside the historic site! After checking in we were off exploring Lunenburg’s trails, streets, shops and pubs. Our budget certainly loves a good cheep feed and happy hour. Jess sure loves deep fried pepperoni and burgers.

From Lunenburg, we were off west again to Annapolis Royal for our final few nights left in Nova Scotia. We drove along hwy 8, which is apparently the place for leaf watchers to be. The colours again were amazing, but none that we hadn’t seen before.

We stopped in at Kejimkujik National park along the way and did a short hike to some falls. Again the colours reflected off the water were amazing. Poor colour-blind Jess has a little trouble seeing the colours, but he can see the really bright red ones which are the best anyway. We unfortunately didn’t see any of the Blanding’s turtles which are famous in the park. We looked everywhere! It certainly was a new experience slowing down to 20km at a turtle crossing though!

We arrived at our B&B in the early evening. I won’t go into much detail about the place and the owner, but some of the bad comment s on trip advisor pretty much sums it up. The house and rooms are beautiful and the price she gave us for one of her best rooms was hard to pass up, but the hostess is a little weird and controlling and I can see how some people might take “did you whisper sweet nothings in Jemma’s ear while on the boardwalk?” the wrong way. Or also being told to eat your breakfast like back in the Victorian era. I thought it was a giggle, Jess however did not.

While Jess was working- he works a lot in these latest blogs hey! – I went and had a look around the Fort Anne museum. Turns out the Belliveaux were one of the first Acadian families to settle in the area in the 1600’s and the National Parks man I spoke to about it was a distant relative, as his family had married into the Belliveau family in the 1600’s. Crazy! He showed me on a map – that Jess later bought – where the first farms were including the one owned by Jean Belliveau before the Acadians were all deported by the English.

The Belliveaux however were apparently not deported, but ran down the coast and hid and survived in what is now known as Belliveau cove. Way to get a whole town named after you Jess! We ventured down there that afternoon and took a walk in the rain along Piau’s walk – the Belliveau who led them to the cove from Port Royal. We also found the first cemetery in the area, and even a plaque dedicated to the Belliveaux who showed up in 2004 to commemorate the 400 years since their arrival at Belliveau Cove. Ummmmm invite? Even the famous hockey player Jean Beliveau was there and he only has one L!

On our return to Annapolis we dropped into Digby to taste some of their famous scallops, well Jess was. Jess said they were good, but we both seriously overdosed on deep fried onion rings, mushrooms, zucchini and mozzarella. Not the ideal ‘starter’ before eating a fishermans plate and a MASSIVE lasagne.

We left Annapolis Royal the next day and headed towards Truro. Along the way we stopped in at Wolfville to pick some apples straight from orchid. We picked over 10 lbs of honey crisp apples which are great to snack on while driving. We also stopped at the Grand Pre winery where I had a little taste –which cost $5!! – of some wine and we bought a few bottles.

Our last day in Nova Scotia was spent driving along the coastline through Economy, Cape D’or, Joggins, River Herbert and Minudie once more. We stopped a few times on the way and our first stop was at a Cheese shop and petting farm at Economy. Jess loves to pat animals and soon we were getting lost on the farm – the map they gave us was useless! – and petting and feeding animals from horned sheep and goats, to ducks, geese, mini donkeys and the cutest pot bellied pigs. Well the piglets are cute, the adults not so much. They certainly appreciated the food!

Our next stop was at Parrsboro, where we walked along the beach looking for gems. We think we found a few, but it is very hard to tell when they are not buffed and in a shop window. We figured there aren’t many purple and green rocks on other beaches though. It was a very beautiful spot, and had we had more time we would have liked to hike to the top of Partridge Island to admire the view of the Bay of Fundy and Cape Split.

Cape D’or was next and it was WINDY!! It was so windy walking down the road to the lighthouse that it was hard to walk properly. It made the waves crashing on the rocks pretty spectacular though and it is a very pretty spot. The cafe was closed, but the owner was in and for the price of a conversation and a little computer assistance he gave us both a cuppa for free. Champion!

We were rushing by this time to get to Sackville New Brunswick by 6pm to attend a dinner of Jess’ Dads old school friends. We had just enough time to stop in again at Doug’s gravesite, – and we thought it was windy at Cape D’or! – before hightailing it to Sackville for a delightful dinner and conversation with D’s old pals. It was great to hear stories about the old school days in River Herbert and about D when he was a young man. Thanks again to Pam for organising it and thanks to the lovely people who came. Was great meeting you all!

After dinner we had a 2hr drive to get back to Alma and Doris’ house where we stayed again for a few days and ate lobster and I even ate scallops. Jess’ Uncle Reg and his cousin Kenny came down to stay with us for our last night, and a great evening was had by all!! Nothing like margaritas and scallops!!

From Alma we drove 11hrs back to Montreal and stayed again with Bill and Joyce in Montreal. We were there in time for their Grand Daughter Zoe’s birthday which was great and we gave her a stuffed lobster toy from the lobster pound which actually – unfortunately – smelled like lobster.  We also had a great beef roast the next evening with the whole family where Bill cooked a massive chocolate cake with his famous – or infamous? – Maple syrup icing. It was huge, but tasted amazing, thanks guys!!

From there it was back to Ottawa for my birthday dinner at Barb and Doug’s. Jess cooked me a great dinner of lamb shanks and chocolate mousse slice. Although he got bored halfway through, I am thankful for his perseverance and everyone – Chris and Lindsey, Doug and Kim and Barb and Doug – commented on how good his cooking was. I unfortunately drank far too much wine and paid for it the next day, but I had a great birthday, so all was good. Thanks Barb and Doug for having us again!!

On our quick stopover in Ottawa we changed the tyres to snow tyres, and prepared ourselves for the adventure ahead. We are driving across the country back to Edmonton in time for Halloween!! Should be fun! Hope we don’t get any snow though!