Bay of Fundy & Cape Enrage

When we awoke in the morning, we went to Smitty’s for breakfast and found the service really bad. That could have been because there was an Eagle’s concert planned for that day at the Magnetic Hill in Moncton, and the restaurant was expecting a crowd, but there wasn’t a crowd yet when we arrived. We were served our coffees with no cream or sweeteners, so I borrowed a bowl of creamers from a nearby table and went to the car to get a sugar substitute. It took so long to be served, that by the time we left and went to the Bay of Fundy, we had just missed the tides. We thought about staying in the town of Alma for a day to watch the tides and the Parkland Village Inn had a vacancy sign outside. When I went in to inquire though, the person behind the desk was actually the first unfriendly person we’d met. No, they didn’t have a room available, no she didn’t know if anyone else did, no she didn’t know if most of the motels had internet available. I later joked to John that I was afraid to ask her her name, just in case she didn’t know!

We went across the street to a small cafe to get some lunch. There was a woman there who talked non-stop. Apparently, both her parents had dementia and she can make better decisions than anyone else in her family. Now, I don’t mind people having a conversation in a restaurant, but she was very loud, and it was difficult to have a conversation. So, not impressed with the town of Alma, we decided to push on.

I saw another town nearby on the map, called Cape Enrage, so we drove down there. Well, Cape Enrage is an interesting project. When lighthouses had become automated, the area had fallen into a serious state of disrepair and was slated for demolition. Six students from a Moncton high school, along with their teacher, went to Cape Enrage and started restoring it. Twenty students from New Brunswick high schools and universities are now involved in the project, and the Coast Guard has transferred ownership of the property to the Province of New Brunswick. It was an incredible afternoon, as we walked around and explored everything.

The fresh air out here is making me exhausted! We left Cape Enrage and drove to a suburb of Fredericton, where we stayed at the City Motel for the evening.

In the morning, we’ll be heading back up to Perth-Andover to rest for a few days before we start our trip home.

Discovering the Cabot Trail

Driving up the north side of Cape Breton, we headed for Pleasant Bay, on the edge of the Cabot Trail. There, we stayed at a really cute motel called MidTrail Resort. It was the kind of place you look at and think it will be very basic, unlikely to even offer air conditioning. Au contraire! When I walked into the room, I had to turn around and leave and ask John to come in. What a beautiful room! Remote controlled A/C, and a queen sized canopied bed. Sliding glass patio doors led to a deck on the back, where we could sit and have a cigarette while we feasted on the view of the mountains around us and the bay below.

I ate lobster for the first time in over 2o years and we had a nice Nova Scotia Chardonnay to go with it. The town of Pleasant Bay was small, but cute, but we weren’t there for the town, we were just there to sleep before we starting driving on the Cabot Trail. Words cannot describe the majesty of the mountains, the remoteness and the beauty. Even when it rained and the fog and mist descended on us, it was beautiful. We would stop and gaze at the view around us – the beaches, the lakes, the incredible sights around us; it was impossible to believe that the world is becoming overcrowded. And yet, even in this wilderness, wireless hotspots were available… hmmm…

Coming down on the Altantic side, beside the Cabot Strait which separates Nova Scotia from Newfoundland, we saw the fury of the ocean crashing against the shores. When I get a minute, I’ll attach a short video I took. All around, neat tidy houses in the midst of which could be found a unique log and stone home which just seemed to belong as it blended into the surroundings. What I’d pay to live in a place like that and to awaken every morning to the sounds of the ocean and the beauty of the water!

Eventually, we did finish the Cabot Trail and we drove back to the causeway to reconnect with the mainland again. And for a second time, we found a Super 8 hotel in Amhurst, Nova Scotia. I really like these hotels. They offer affordable luxury in a super friendly environment. I asked to use the laundry facilities but both the washing machines had clothes sitting in them (for quite a while), and the front desk clerk (Kim) didn’t feel right about removing the clothes, regardless of how long they’d been there. So she offered to take our clothes and wash them herself. We got a call in our room awhile later, that my clothes had been washed, dried and folded and were waiting for me. Now, I don’t expect that everyone that goes there will get that kind of treatment, but it does show how one exemplary employee can make all the difference in how satisfied customers are. Both John at Mr. Lube in Dieppe and Kim at Super 8 in Amherst, have converted me to being a deliberately repeat customer. I’ve found myself looking for places that have a Super 8, and hoping that they’re as good as the ones I’ve been too.

We’re hoping to make it to the Bay of Fundy tomorrow. Click the video to get a sense of where we are – no other people around, just us and the ocean.

The Beauty of Nova Scotia

One thing I have noticed on this trip, it the number of rest stops along the highway, east of Ontario. Why can’t we do that? I’m not talking about the McDonalds and Tim Hortons stops, but honest to goodness rest stops, with washrooms, pop and coffee machines, picnic tables, maps, trees, and so on. A place to stop and stretch your legs, empty your bladder and rest and enjoy nature for a few minutes.

Leaving Dieppe, we drove south to Nova Scotia and we actually picked up a few souvenirs for our kids (okay… for ourselves too!) The even had a young lady playing the bagpipes at the Welcome Centre! What a beautiful province! We drove up the north shore to a small town just north of New Glasgow, called Pictou. This was the landing place of the first Scottish settlers, to form New Scotland. Pipes were being played in the town square, and the scottish style pubs were displaying their tartans. In the harbour, they had recreated the ship (the Hector) that brought their ancestors over. We couldn’t resist stopping at a local pub for a good scottish brew! John had a dark beer from Halifax, while I drank a red beer that gave Rickards Red some serious competition. I decided to ask the lovely young lass that served us, if she could recommend a place to stay. After talking to us a bit and getting to know what type of people we were, she offered to phone her friend, who was the innkeeper of a hotel just down the street, called the Customs House Inn. So there we stayed, in what used to be a government customs office, now renovated and turned into an inn, with every modern convenience, beautiful fixtures and antique furniture. The price was extremely reasonable for the beauty of this inn… well, beauty inside because the outside still looked like a dull government building.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that all of the hotels we stayed in so far were totally non-smoking. Strange for us, but no serious problem. I don’t mind going outside for a smoke. I learned something about myself as well – I am a terrible bitch in the morning without a cig. After that first smoke, I could go literally for hours without another. Maybe that’s clue to how I will be able to successfully quit.

The second beautiful, luxurious hotel we’ve had the pleasure of staying in. And I cannot believe how extremely friendly the people are. I still saw some depressed areas, namely closed businesses, etc., but it wasn’t as prevalent as in New Brunswick. The lack of tourism is hurting this community as well. Surprisingly, the gas here is similar to what we were paying in Ontario, but I understand it’s gone down there since we left, while we have kept paying the same. I’m glad we decided to come on this trip!

In the morning I discovered I had a problem with TomTom, so we drove into New Glasgow and used the free Wi-Fi internet, to try and solve the problem. I ended up deleting the TomTom application, and reinstalling it. Everything worked great after that. Another thing we’ve noticed out here is the free wi-fi internet everywhere! Why don’t we have that? There are literally hot spots all over here. With TomTom fixed we were on the road again, driving along the north coast and head onto the Cabot Trail. Tonight, we plan to stay in Pleasant Bay, on the coast on the outskirts of Cape Breton National Park and the Cabot Trail.

More to come!