Thursday, September 24, 2015

SUMMER 2015 Maritime Provinces Part 1

Because this summer has been so busy and so filled with travel I am behind on my blogs.
Instead of going waaaaaaay back to our first visit to Canada (Toronto, Montreal and Quebec) of which I barely touched upon, I am going just a little way back to the trip we just returned from for one day before we took off again on that last trip with Micah.
Because this is freshest in my mind.
And we're off...



President and Sister Pratt of the Nova Scotia Halifax Mission invited us to attend and speak in their 3 zone conferences in September.  Of course, we said we'd be delighted!  We've been hoping to be invited there.  We have heard so many things about the wonderful people there and were thrilled with the prospect of seeing these 4 very different and remarkable lands. We were fortunate enough to visit New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.  Labrador will have to wait.
It truly was an exceptional experience which we will always remember and treasure.

Since we were going so far we planned to take advantage of being there and seeing as many sites and natural wonders as we could squeeze in.  As I've mentioned in an earlier post, we work hard but we also play hard :) .

As the zone conferences were in 3 different Provinces but since the conferences were bunched closely together we knew we had to tack on some time before they started and afterwards if we wanted to get even a fair taste of the areas. Our first conference was on Tuesday September 1st so we left Massachusetts on Thursday August 27th and drove as far as Bangor, Maine.  Friday we drove to Lubec, Maine the Eastern Most Town in the U.S.  and visited a lovely lighthouse there, West Quoddy Light.

Love the red and white stripes!

This is on the Bay of Fundy which apparently is a HUGE whale migration pathway for at least 5 species of whales.  One local we talked with said one year he saw over 200 in one day!

From Lubec, you can cross over to Campobello Roosevelt Island , a Canadian island located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, within the Bay of Fundy , via a bridge.
There is a lovely National Park there preserving and honoring the summer cottage home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their family. We thoroughly enjoyed going back in time and touring  the cottage and beautiful property.  

Dale on the same front porch.  

This was a playroom/hang out room/game room for the family.
They loved carving and building wooden ships.
The hat and the pipe were actually worn and used by President Roosevelt. 

See that GIANT megaphone in the left side of this photo? 
Eleanor actually hefted that thing up and called the kids to supper every night with it!
She preferred this to a dinner bell.  Go Eleanor! 
It sounds like it was a terrific place to be a kid and a happy household.

Franklin's mother bought this stove for them the day after he was elected president!
Love this sentiment and creativity!
(notice the brand name)

The help's table in the kitchen where they ate their meals. (shades of Downton Abbey!)
A very cheery and homey spot.
I didn't want to overload you with photos but one of the things that impressed us most about the house was that the servants quarters were just as nice as the family quarters.  You could hardly tell the difference between their daughter's room and a servant's room.  And their "master suite" was anything but that.  The guest room was much nicer.  Humble , generous folk it would seem.

See the face? 
Scary tree!

And what's even scarier are the root systems here.  We've seen these all over Canada. It looks like they are taking over the world.  (And they can easily trip you if you don't watch where you are stepping!) 

These salmon pens weren't there in Roosevelt's day but are prevalent in this area now.

The house from the back.

You could walk through the woods or run down a grassy lawn to get to the beach.
What a paradise!

Such a cute patriotic little cottage!

Think us fickle if you will, but we think we have found  yet a new favorite lighthouse.
East Quoddy Light
on Campobello Island.

The lighthouse with its red cross and its outbuildings were beautiful in and of themselves, but what makes this one our new favorite is the grand adventure involved in seeing it!
It is on an island during high tide, completely surrounded by water, but at low tide you can walk out to it. The Bay of Fundy has the most extreme tides in the world. 

I'm going to let this review from 
TripAdvisor describe it for me:

"This quaint and photogenic lighthouse attraction probably would not exist in the litigious United States! Three dangerous rusty ladders, scramble across seaweed encrusted rocks, precipices without barriers, swift tidal currents can leave you stranded, near vertical ladders in lighthouses! But this is Canada and common sense of the visitor governs what he attempts to do and it is deemed that the visitor is more than capable of making his own judgement that they know they have reached the limit of their human capabilities! Tip: wear good hiking boots that support your ankle. Tip: don't do this visit if you have vertigo, balance issues, don't feel comfortable on a ladder or scared of heights. Cost of the trip to the lighthouse $5 each. Cost to tour the lighthouse $10 each. Allow a couple of hours. Tip: check tide tables very carefully as the lighthouse is not accessible four hours either side of high water. If you get stuck on the lighthouse island or the intermediate island you could have to wait eight hours before tides recede from the bars between the islands. The volunteers in the lighthouse are just wonderful and so excited at their $1 acquisition of this abandoned lighthouse which they have put their heart and soul into restoring - a brilliant job! "

(We were very impressed with the volunteers.  Mostly older ladies and gentlemen who grew up on the island and love their lighthouse so much that they give up their summers volunteering here, at the information/payment booth, giving tours, or painting it. Lovely, charming people with a  passion.)

The path was marked by these orange X's.

 Steep , rickety, rusty old stairs.

 Some views from up around the lighthouse.

We felt like Moses, literally walking across the sea floor.  The water would be way over our heads here. 

All the dark area marks how high the sea comes up during high tide.

I googled the image below of it as the tides were coming in. You can tell they aren't  yet at their highest here.
The area covered in water between the closet rock outcropping and the next is one of the areas you walk across to get to the lighthouse.  Down a ladder, cross that expanse, up a ladder, walk through those trees, and then down another ladder, walk across the ocean floor again and there you are at the lighthouse!

What an amazing and exhilarating experience!  We loved it and will always remember it!

St. Steven
New Brunswick

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a certifiable chocoholic. 
When I heard St. Steven was where the first chocolate bar was invented, I knew that we absolutely had to stop there. After all, that is practically a sacred shrine for me :D !
We had so much fun exploring East Quoddy Light that we arrived in St. Steven later than anticipated and lo and behold the chocolate factory was closed. (missed it by minutes!) But...
never fear! We found a local convenience store figuring it must sell some of those candy bars and it did!
I got my taste. I paid my homage. 
(and it was yummy!)

And isn't Dale such a good sport for indulging my crazy whims? 

To reward him, we headed for this place so he could indulge his obsession- fried clams!

Made it here just as they were closing the windows. Whew!

We spent the night and most of the next day in 
St. Andrews
New Brunswick

It was just down the road from St. Steven.
We could have easily have kept going to St. John but as Dale's birthday was in a few days I wanted to surprise him with a round of golf as my gift to him. 
Before we decided to come on our mission we had planned to celebrate this birthday of his in Scotland at the famous St. Andrew's golf course there.  So, seeing there was a St. Andrew's here, and there was a golf course that looked very lovely sitting on a peninsula jutting out into the bay, I figured this would make a pretty good substitution.

And here he is enjoying a little well-deserved R&R for himself.

While Dale played golf I played photographer and explored the town. 
Painting murals on buildings is very popular in Canada.  

I thought this was a home furnishings type store but it truly was a functioning barbershop- antique barber chairs and all. Very quaint and cool.

These provinces are Canada's answer to our Maine- their lobster capital. 

This town also sits within the Bay of Fundy and apparently whale watching tours is the #1 business here.  Just about every building was a different whale touring business. 

Pendleburg Lighthouse

This town is so cute you could eat it with a spoon.

Please notice the whale window boxes.

Fields of wildflowers were abundant throughout our journeys here.
( pretty, but those yellow buggers got to us after a while and our eyes and noses paid the price)

If you are exceptionally alert and a die-hard Disney fan, you will have noticed I mentioned Passamaquoddy Bay way back at the beginning of this post.
Please note it here on the map below.

Why is being a Disney fan part of the equation?
Because Passamaquoddy was a town in one of his movies.
Quick! Before I give the answer...who knows it?

Pete's Dragon
I probably only know this because it was Avalon's (shout out to Avalon!)
favorite movie when she was a little girl and she watched it nearly every day. 
So you can only imagine my surprise and delight to find such a place really exists! 
Apparently the town is now called Eastport but at first, the place was known as Passamaquoddy or "Quoddy".  Thus the names of the 2 light houses, West and East Quoddy. But it's still called Passamaquoddy Bay.  Yay!

St. John
New Brunswick

Canadians love their fresh, farm grown food and these food markets are always one of the biggest deals in town.  This made it to the top 10 of things to see here.

And they are crazy about maple.  Anything maple. 
And bacon!
(Trust me..I'm not complaining!)

It was a Saturday night in New Brunswick's biggest town but practically everything was closed.  And it's not even Labor Day yet.  Quite surprising. It was like a ghost town.

Did you have to look twice?  :D !

So we happily left the ghost town and headed to our B&B out on the bay.

Weirs Inn.

What a pleasant surprise this turned out to be!
I booked this trip so fast and furious (16  different places in all!) so my head was spinning and I couldn't remember what I'd exactly booked.  These are pretty rural places mostly as well and there weren't a lot of accommodation choices. My first choices were full and I just wasn't sure what I was going to get.  Each night I was just sure we were going to end up in someone's basement in a granny- styled old room.  Each night I was relieved and overjoyed to find my expectations surpassed.
We were in  a home here and we were in the "basement" but it was decked out like a 5 star hotel, it was a 'walk out" basement and the setting alone would have made even a musty granny basement almost worth it.  We fell asleep listening to the waves just beyond our window.  And the breakfast the next morning was fantastic. But the best part of B&B's is chatting with the hosts and the other guests. 

I was thrilled and enchanted with this "secret garden" entrance to the beach!

A fascinating beach full of unique rocks of many colors and shapes.

Many were near perfectly round. 
( I brought one of those home!)

I call these my potato stones.
Can you see it?
Sweet potato , Idaho potato, russet potato, red potato, and my little white potato.

I had the beach to myself and could have spent days, never mind hours, there beach combing through all those fascinating stones.

 Perfect way to end the day.

What a wonderful Sabbath we enjoyed in St. John!
We attended the meetings of the St. John ward and met so many delightful people.
They have a great spirit there- it is infectious!
Everyone seemed to know everyone else very well and cared deeply about each other. They have fun together. They were having a corn roast at the beach the next Saturday just as we always do in our ward back home.  Small world.  A new thing they were trying out was "Guess Who's Coming to Family Home Evening?" They tried it as "Guess Who's coming to Dinner" and that was a big success so they're branching out with this creative twist.  The ward will be divided up and mixed and matched with different individuals and families and share FHE's for the next few months.  Get different ideas on how others do it, get to know your ward members better,  and just to get excited about having FHE. Great idea!

It just happened to be "Missionary Sunday" while we were there so we were blessed with hearing the 2 elders there give talks and several others bear testimony of the blessing of the work in their lives.  One particularly stood out to me. 
A young single mom was raising her son on her own and was growing concerned about how to teach him about God.  She didn't go to an organized religion but she very much believed in God and wanted her son to as well.  She asked her mom for advice and her mom wisely suggested that she pray about it and ask God for help in knowing what to do. 
She did.
The very next day 2 Mormon missionaries knocked on her door.  She loved their message and recognized it as the truth.  She stressed that those 2 particular missionaries were the perfect ones for her at that time in her life. They taught her just the way she needed to be taught. She embraced the gospel and raised her son in its light.  
 A happy story with a happy ending. 

Remember how I mentioned how happy and super friendly the Canadian people are?
Well, we got to sample some more of that up close and personal with this lovely man here .

This is John Crilley.  He and his darling wife Carol invited us over on the spot after church for dinner.  
Spur of the moment. Obviously not planned.  Just saw a 'stranger' and opened their hearts and home to them.   They treated us to BBQ'd chicken and burgers, salad, homemade bread and jam, and dessert.  We appreciated that so much but, again, what we really loved was just visiting with them, hearing their stories, basking in their light, and growing from their example of pure Christ-like love.

 Carol is recovering from a blood cancer and not even feeling all that great. This dear man had gone through 4 hip replacements and 5 knee replacements! Say what?!  I didn't know such a thing was possible.  But look at that happy face.  We're sorry we didn't get a photo with Carol.  She is even happier, if you can believe it. You'd never know if they suffer any pain and that doesn't keep them from serving and going out of their way to make others' lives better.
After dinner, he insisted on giving us a tour of his beloved town.  We saw The Carleton Martello Tower, the Irving Nature Park, the Reversing Falls, and a personalized tour of the history of the church in the area through its church buildings.  

I just want to share a particularly moving story about one of their daughters.  
She is one of those girls who adored babies her whole life and from childhood said all she wanted when she grew up was to be a mom and raise a family.  And wouldn't you know it, she couldn't get pregnant. After trying all kinds of things, she and her husband finally moved to Maine because adoption was easier there and that is what they decided they needed to do to have a family.  After about a year they adopted a baby.  Soon afterwards the baby's 2 older siblings were needing a home so they took them in as well. A few years later they adopted another baby and sure enough, a little while later that baby's sibling was up for adoption too.  This brought their family to 5 children and then she finally became pregnant and brought their total to 6!  We saw a family portrait - a beautiful family and you could just feel the love.  Good folk.
All around.

One of the reasons we love what we do...why we love this adventure we call our mission.

St. Martins

On our drive to Hopewell Cape.

Some more of that extreme low tide.
(get used to photos of this- you'll be seeing a lot of it :)

Covered bridges!!

Sea Caves only accessible at low tide.

We arrived at our next B&B in Hopewell Cape just after dark.
Awoke to this view!
(and our doctor always doing his job!)

Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Cape
New Brunswick

This was one of the things I was most excited about experiencing on this trip.  Again, I'm not sure how I know about these places but I have heard of this for some time and always thought it would be amazing to go there, never dreaming I actually would get to, and while serving a mission no less!
It is on the list of places being considered for the next Natural Wonders of the World. 
The Rocks, or Flowerpot Rocks as they are often called, are located at the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy.  The formations are caused by the extreme tidal ranges. High tide can be as high as 52 feet, one of the highest average ties in the world.  The base of the rock formations are covered in water twice a day. 
The key to viewing them is to go twice in one day - once at low tide and once at high.
We arrived in the morning for low tide and stayed a few hours until high tide was starting to creep back in.  We then left and visited Cape Enrage where we had lunch and then came back to see it at high tide that afternoon.

The Tidal Plains.  That's the ocean floor there.

 Still working!

 Once again we are like Moses, walking on the ocean floor.  Incredible!

These are the Flowerpots.

Again, you can see how high the tide comes in by looking at the seaweed line on the rocks.

 Low Tide.

Same place at high tide.
Got this photo and the one below from Google Images because we weren't there at the highest tide nor were kayaks going out our day due to high winds and rough water but I wanted you to see what it looks like.

The tide was already on its way out when we got back.

This shot below was taken just about 10 minutes after the one above so you can see how unbelievably fast these tides come in and out!

Fantastic experience!
So grateful we had it!

Cape Enrage 

A  wild, wind-swept peninsular island.
It's name comes from a French word which means crazy due to the crazy tide changes.  You could almost see the currents fighting against each other- one coming in and the other going out! Crazy indeed!

More warning signs.

As this was Dale's actual birthday, we celebrated at the best restaurant around- the Cape House-which happened to be here on Cape Enrage, complete with water views.
We had 2 of the items they are known for... the lobster roll, and the lobster poutine. 
The best poutine we've had by far and away.  
(You will learn more about poutine in my Toronto/Montreal posts)

And so ends another episode in our grand adventure.  For some reason, a line from a poem I learned as a child is sticking out to me just now...

"The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings".

It is indeed.  
And we are truly happy as kings and rejoice that we have the blessing and privilege of seeing so many of this world's wonders and meeting so many of its admirable people.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Everything is so cool. It's amazing to see those tidal changes. I can't wait to show the kids when they get home.