Oh how I love September. The month of insanity at my job, the month of tomato bounty and the month of about a dozen friends’ and family’s birthdays, including my own. Oh and then there’s the Film Festival. And catching up around the garden after vacation in August. And did I mention work? Hoo-boy don’t even get me started about that place. This year, September is extra fun!
Amidst all the fun times I’m trying to work on the photos from our trip. Today was the first time I’ve had a chance to really sit down with them, to do any real editing. I finally was able to upload a bunch today.
By recounting our trip here, I’m hoping I can relive it a little and reconstitute some of that holiday bliss, to get me through the next few weeks. Or months. Because the crazy, at work at least, probably won’t let up until late November.
We started out our east coast tour by crossing into New York state from Kingston, and we drove as far as we could until it got late enough we needed to stop, and could find a hotel that looked decent. We ended up going through some pretty seriously rural areas, a lot of (I’m assuming) Amish areas, where we had to be careful as there seemed to be a lot of horse-drawn buggies on the road and they don’t use lights. It was also kind of magical driving through the quaint little towns. If we’d had all the time in the world I’m sure they would have been a lot of fun to explore.
We got up nice and early in New York and started what we expected to be an 8 to 10 hour drive across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to New Brunswick, and we were making excellent time, even on some less-oft traveled roads crossing over the mountains in Vermont, but we hit a snag in New Hampshire, a couple hours from the Maine boarder. There was some kind of hazardous spill, and the state trooper who stopped us told us we had to go around (after taking a look at our license plate and asking us very loudly, “SPEAK ENGLISH?” To which we replied a loud and slow, “YES.”
We ended up having to backtrack about 45 minutes back to a highway that took us down around Mount Washington into this extremely touristy area which was rammed to the gills (it was a Saturday after all). Overall our detour added about 4-5 hours to our drive (silly mountains in the way) and we had to do the last stretch on a very boring interstate highway. We reached the border to Canada at about midnight, and our hotel, the Fairmont Algonquin, at about 12:30 a.m. So much for enjoying our time in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, since we had to be in Fundy National Park by the next evening.
But we were able to take our time on the Sunday driving there, so we poked around St. Andrews for a bit and got our first look at the ocean, which was at low tide, and it was fascinating. There seemed to be a lot of washed up jellyfish in that particular area. As we explored the coastal route on our way to Fundy, we stopped in at Cricket Cove, an LYS in Blacks Harbour where I picked up some Handmaiden and some silk yarns (future post coming). We also tried to go to a brand new brewpub in Saint John, called Big Tide Brewery, but sadly, they are closed on Sundays.
Our first morning in Fundy we got up at dawn to drive down to the coast from our campsite at Wolf Point to try to see the sunrise. We were not disappointed. The fog that gathers there is beautiful, and we got lots of gorgeous photos of the sun coming up. The tide was also rolling in, and you could literally watch it rise. For those that don’t know, the Bay of Fundy experiences the highest tides of anywhere in the world, and they come in and go out twice a day each, about every 6 hours. We also just happened to be there when the tides are at their highest and lowest points of the year.
After we’d watched the sun do its thing we decided what the hell, let’s just go for a drive and see where we end up. We knew we wanted to see the Hopewell rocks (a.k.a. the flowerpot rocks) and so we just explored the coast for a few hours. It was ridiculously early and we hadn’t even brushed our teeth yet, but it was really fun; the light and the mood of the landscape was unforgettable. We felt like we were the only ones witnessing it.
At one point we took this little dirt road called the Shepody Dam Road which lead us through these salt marsh flats which had been dyked up at one point for farm land. Many of the dykes had long ago failed so the area was returning to a wetland, but lots of farmers were still using the dryer spots for pasture. There is also a history of ship building in this spot, which was perfect for launching ships at high tide. The Shepody Dam is marked with the cute little lighthouse you see above, and there was this covered bridge (below) which you couldn’t drive over with a car, but had this funny sign which we just had to photograph (this one is for you Mom, Leanne, Joan and the rest of The Horsin’ Around Gang).
Around 9 a.m. we arrived at the Hopewell Rocks, and checked them out at high tide. The great thing about this part/attraction is that they allow you to use your ticket to come back for two days, which allows you to see them at high and low tide. We opted to come back later in the afternoon to see them at low tide. There were a lot more people at that time, around 3 p.m., but it was still worth it to be about to walk around and see them from different angles.
In between our visits to the rocks, we check out Moncton, and had lunch at the Pump House brewpub. We also did the touristy thing and check out Magnetic Hill, which was a strange mix of theme-park-meets-back-country-road. For $5 we drove the hill (I was driving) and it was so weird. You know, one of those things we had to do, ’cause we were there.
We decided to have dinner in Alma, since it was a fishing town and we figured hey, you can’t go wrong eating fresh seafood in a fishing town, but boy were we wrong. DO NOT GO TO THE DRIFTWOOD RESTAURANT in ALMA! The service was nearly non-existent; a young woman who had all of four tables to deal with was doing everything she could to avoid going to the tables, and the food was awful. I ordered scallops (which were in season) and they were hard, rubbery little pan-fried discs in a mysterious blackened (butter?) sauce, and the veggies were the frozen kind, boiled to death. To make matters worse, the meal cost about four times what it was worth, coming out at I think about $69, including a couple beers. What a disappointment for our first seafood meal along the east coast.
After our second night in Fundy, it was time to head to Nova Scotia. It was about this point in our trip when I heard a brief mention of Hurricane Bill on the radio, expected to make landfall in Bermuda that day. I perked up my ears like, “What’s that? A hurricane?!” while Chris insisted we’d be long gone from the east coast before it got there, that it would take two weeks or more to get to Atlantic Canada. Ha ha ha! I’ll leave you with that little bit of foreshadowing. Stay tuned for part II.