Sunday, September 03, 2006
What I did on my summer vacation. Well, its that time of year now, the kids are headed back to school and if I remember correctly one of our first tasks was to write a essay on what we did during the summer. Typically my summers are spent close to home as our weather and wonderful lakes make it the ideal spot to spend the summer. As a child a grew up on a lake and the memories I carry with me of those carefree days can still bring a smile to this wrinkled old face. This summer however, I was still traveling twice a month for work. During one of my trips to New Hampshire I decided to take a week of vacation and head north into Canada. I had never experienced the northeastern section and was determined that this opportunity was not to be missed. I headed north toward the boarder and crossed into New Brunswick, it was beautiful country but I think considered the stepchild to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. It was a long drive across NB and up to PEI. The bridge crossing over to PEI is 9 miles long and I thought of some of my friends who suffer from bridge-a-phobia as I made the crossing. The cost of going across the bridge was a little steep too, $45 American dollars. I guess they have to pay for it somehow! I had a wonderful time on the island, navigating really isn't hard, all basically two lane roads crisscrossing the island . I stayed at a nice B&B just a half mile from the famed Anne of Green Gables home. AofGG is what brought me to the island. I had read the book as a child and wanted to explore all the places that Anne had when she was young and first brought to GG from the orphanage. The area near the home of author L.M. Montgomery is everything she describes in her wonderful books about Green Gables. The shoreline is pristine and I must say the water wasn't as cold as I had expected. I picked up some wonderful shells along the beach as I walked the shoreline. There were probably twenty or so people touring the home and grounds while I was there, it was fun to walk through the house imaginging Anne coming down from her bedroom upstairs to have breakfast with Matthew and Marilla. The home and grounds that Montgomery spent those summer days at come through vividly in her books. It was a wonderful day exploring the gardens, the Haunted Woods and the shoreline. Commercialism is alive and well in the small towns that dot the area but when you are at GG you can truly get a feel for what it once was. After a couple of days on PEI I headed back across the bridge to Nova Scotia, at one point I came to a fork in the road (so to speak) and had to make a decision as to whether I wanted to head north and take the ferry to Newfoundland or continue through NS exploring Halifax and points to the south. As much as I wanted to see Newfoundland, or maybe just to be able to say I'd been there, I made the decision to continue across to Halifax as my patience for driving was wearing thin. I spent Saturday night somewhere in the middle of nowhere and then I drove across to Halifax on Sunday, the weather wasn't very nice and I guess I just was not all that interested. Keeping in mind should you ever travel there, don't base your decision on my grumpy, soggy, butt sore state of mind that morning. I drove along the shore which was very pretty and stopped several times in the little coastal towns to have a look see. Sunday evening I took the ferry across from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor Maine. There were a few cute shops in Yarmouth and one or two local restaurants down by the docks. Unfortunately I was crossing at night so I didn't see anything on the trip back to the US. The fast boat was wonderful, food, music and movies to occupy your time during the crossing. By taking the ferry across I shaved off another 500 miles of driving so it was worth the $200+ for the crossing. I arrived in Bar Harbor around 1:30a.m. and decided to sleep in the car rather than find a hotel. As I was driving around looking for a safe place to sleep it seems I cut off a police car! Not a good idea, fortunately the office let me go with a warning and I quickly found a place to pull over for the rest of the night as I hadn't even seen the police car and decided I was more tired than I thought. I found a nice safe place at the harbor right near all the shops. It was cold in the car and I wore mittens and a hat trying to keep warm through the night. Well... nature called about 6:30a.m. so I was up and on the hunt for a restroom at the wharf. It was amazing at that hour that the town was already coming to life. I had a fabulous breakfast at a local inn and then strolled into a shop that had whale watching tours. I'll save this little tale for another time. I ended my trip in Freeport Maine and spent the night at a nice Hampton Inn just down the street from the outlet area. Now the outlets in Freeport are not like those I had ever experienced. I'm telling you these a high brow outlets. No strip mall architecture here my friends. All the stores are either in historic buildings or are in newly constructed buildings made to look historical. It was a real experience and I loved every moment of it. The only thing I actually bought was a pair of clogs at the LL Bean backstreet outlet. LOVE them. I had to stop and take a picture of the McDonalds (and get a diet coke too!) This building is a historic home and other than the small gold McDonald's letters on the front you would have never know it was a chain restaurant! I took a picture but must have erased it from the camera. Fifteen hundred miles after I had taken off I was back in Manchester and ready to head home. It was a wonderful adventure and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to explore this part of Canada.