Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cabot Beach PP to Stratford PEI

We’re heading to Stratford today to camp at Cathie's sister Nancy's driveway for a few nights. Off to a good start, sunny and 18C at 8:30. We worked our way over to Cavendish via Stanley Bridge on a National Park  section that was free today.

We had a real nice drive along that parkway until we would have had to pay to continue. Since they couldn’t sell us a season’s pass dated in September, we declined to enter. It was still a lovely drive, some through an area we hadn’t been for a number of years, and a gorgeous day.

At the Charlottetown Walmart Gord went in to get something or other. Cath stayed at the van and made lunch, which we ate at the van in Walmart’s lovely lot.

Then we headed in to have tea and a visit with Nancy on their veranda, and a good supper later on. It poured rain overnight, a good time for that.

Today's route:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day trip around PEI

We were off for some PEI touring by 9am today, sunny and windy 16C. First stop was at an Artisan Basket Weaving Co-op west of Summerside, near Richmond; a lovely stop. We watched a woman weaving a basket, and of course she made it look so easy.

Cath finally chose a small square basket made from split ash and bark, and a handwoven dish cloth for Janine.

Then we carried on up #2 to Bloomfield for a visit to MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. It’s an old place, well-known in knitting circles. We spent some time watching the yarn process. The machinery likely dates back many decades. Really noisy in here.

The place has a large wholesale and mail-order business, but isn’t really set up for retail on-site. Our neighbor Janine had a large order in to them about the same time we visited.

On the way back down #2 we stopped in to the Potato Museum at O’Leary. It looked like it would be interesting to potato farmers, but we didn’t think it was worth $9 each for us to do the full tour.

It’s been a beautiful day today, warming up to 20C. We went out #12 to Green Park, which has Yeo House and Shipbuilding Museum. Cathie wasn't much interested in shipbuilding so I went solo, although it turned out that Cathie would have enjoyed the Yeo House part. Yeo was the name of the builder family. In the shipbuilding museum there are a number of artifacts, old photos and info about local shipbuilding in days gone by.

The house was interesting too. I had a nice guided tour from one of the ladies at the house. There were several women there, dressed in period costumes.

This old chair was upholstered with horsehair, and looked in amazing condition:

A woman had been sitting here spinning shortly before the picture was taken:

From there we worked our way down #12 along the Grand River inlet, a lovely drive on a gorgeous day. We stopped at Belmont Prov Park, a free day-use park, and made some tea, just enjoying the day and the views:

On the way back to our site we stopped at the Malpeque Oyster Bar for ½ lb of fresh haddock, and ½ lb of twisted smoked salmon, kind of a salmon jerky. We had these for supper at our site, watching the waves and the gorgeous sunset.

Note – Uncle Ben’s Express Rice is really handy for easy rice-based dishes when camping.

Today's route:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Battery Park NS to Cabot Beach Park PEI

Accompanied by a few raindrops we broke camp and headed out in good time, 17C. In Port Hawksbury we stopped at an Atlantic Superstore and managed to find some more St Mary’s smoked salmon, not quite as good as it was right from the St Mary’s store but still tasty.

Then we just headed west across the Canso Causeway and on to #104 to Amherst where we stopped for fuel. Neither of us were hungry today, so just coffee and fig bars for breakfast on the go.

Once we crossed the bridge and got to PEI we had a mediocre lunch in Gateway Village – chowder with too many potatoes for Gord, and haddock with too many so-so chips for Cath. The quality certainly didn’t justify the prices. It’s so disappointing to see Gateway going downhill like this. There really wasn’t much choice of eateries either. Is Gateway Village shutting down already after the busy summer?

It was time to replenish the cash reserves, so we stopped in at an RBC in Summerside. Cath got a wash and cut at a nearby First Choice, no waiting today.

We decided to stay a couple of nights at Cabot Beach Prov Park. before heading in to Stratford. The sites were really nice, with water view and electricity.

We were buffeted by wind and rain the first night, but were treated to some great sky vistas the second evening:

Today's route:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A day around Battery Park, Cape Breton NS

It was a clear 14C at 7:30, was chilly enough during the night that we got out the extra blanket. There’s no electric hookups here, but we can manage to stay quite warm enough in the van without overnight heat unless it gets down to freezing. We’re going to have a lazy morning today and stay here again tonight.

After we were camped we realized that part of what we thought was our site was actually a trail from down the hill up to our level. Since our next-door neighbors left early we moved to their site for tonight.

Battery Park has quite a history, and a well-kept lighthouse at the entrance:

Once we got going we took a drive down around Isle Madame, which has a few nice water views.

On the way back Cath got dropped off at the Christmas Shop in St Peters:

While Gord went and got some fresh haddock to have with salad for lunch at the campsite, very good. Of course, Cath wasn’t empty-handed on her exit from the Christmas store.

It was such a nice day that we mostly lazed around the campground for the afternoon.

Today's approximate route:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Salsman PP to Cape Breton NS

We woke to a nice sunny morning in this gem of a campground, 20C at 7:15. When we left, we continued to follow #316. It’s designated a Marine Drive, fairly rough road surface but gorgeous views.

We stopped and took some pictures around Coddles Harbour and Tor Bay Provincial Park (day use). Here’s a “normal” picture:

And here is a picture taken with the camera in one of its “artsy” settings. It’s the same vantage point, but the pictures look quite different:

We headed on out #16 to Canso, and had a late breakfast overlooking the harbour. We saw 6 of the large modern windmills around Canso. Like a lot of Nova Scotia and unlike Newfoundland, we rarely saw a vegetable garden.

Then we went on across the Canso Causeway, heading for a nearby area of Cape Breton we’d not seen much of before. Since we had planned to take the ferry over to PEI rather than the bridge, we stopped at the Causeway tourist info to see if the ferry had recovered from earlier outages. Not really, it sounded like it would take us at least 3 hours including the wait times, or we could take a nighttime run. Neither option appealed, so we decided to head for the PEI Bridge instead when the time came. Not a real pretty day now, overcast with intermittent drizzle.

When we got to Battery Prov park at 12:45 though, it was up to 23C and sunny. Quite windy, hopefully the clouds and rain are being pushed out of the area. We took site #34 for 2 nights.

Our lunch was real “gourmet”, with St Mary’s smoked salmon, cheddar pretzel bits, ½ apple each and a ginger beer. Yummy!

After lunch it was time for laundry. Nearby St Peters has a nice laundromat, MUCH better than the one we used in Wolfville. Then it was out to Big Pond and a visit to Rita’s Tea Room, 22C and sunny.

Sorry for the flares on the above 2 pics, the lens had a nasty fingerprint we didn't spot until later on.

The Battery park has good washrooms (right across the road from our site), really deluxe with showers and actual flush toilets. We really lazed around with a campfire until almost 10.

Our site was way up on a hill with a good sky view, many stars on this clear night. No traffic noise, we even heard loons periodically calling from the lake far below.

Today's route:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Graves Island PP to Salsman Prov Park NS

Overcast and 19C at 8am. We fueled up in Dartmouth, and paid $1 toll to cross MacKay Bridge over Halifax Harbour. Then on to the Lawrencetown area, stopping for a picnic breakfast at a free Prov Park picnic area nearby.

After heading across #207 through Seaforth and beyond, we stumbled across the famous Hope for Wildlife site. This is an animal rescue/rehab operation that is the subject of a well-known reality TV show that we have watched off and on over the years.

We parked out front and walked in for a tour. It was really nice to see it in person after watching a number of episodes of the show. It’s just the same as on the show, it really is accurate reality TV. They were quite busy preparing for their annual Open House this weekend, apparently that is a major fundraiser for them. They run completely on donations, no government money. We did see Hope but didn't get to talk to her, she was very busy supervising the Open House preparations.

It’s a very pretty site, well-treed, gardens, and waterfront:

Carrying on, we stopped in Sheet Harbour for a seafood lunch (chowder, lobster roll, strawberry shake). It got up to an overcast 21C by 2pm, with no rain yet.

A bit later on we stopped at St Mary’s Smoke House, where they smoke their own fish. After a taste test we had to buy some! Tough choices, but we bought a package of the maple (a surprise, since we don’t usually like maple-flavored) and one of the peppered, along with a couple of ginger beers. Such a nice combination of flavours!

Continuing the tour of less-travelled roads on this gorgeous 22C and sunny day, we headed up #7 to Country Harbour Rd, then down #316 to Salsman Prov park, overlooking the Country Harbour River. It wasn’t easy finding this place, as the GPS search by park name was way off the mark. However, the GPS coordinates given in the park book got us to the right spot in the end. A nice park, not fancy but clean washrooms and quiet.

We were camped early so had a good choice of sites, picking this nice grassy site right along the river. We were able to pick some wild blackberries nearby:

The afternoon was still nice so we got the chairs out, and took turns going for a shower. Before Cath was back it had clouded over and started to rain, so put things away and sat in the van instead. We were able to mostly keep the sliding door open despite the light rain, very pleasant.

Today's route:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Islands PP to Mahone Bay and Graves Island PP

Another travel day, off through Shelburne by 8:30 ADT, 19C and overcast. We swung down the nearby point on #3, and stopped at Sandy Point Lighthouse. Aptly named:

At low tide you can walk right out to the lighthouse. It used to be relied on by the local commercial fishing fleets, and is still valued by recreational boaters.

We stopped by the Ovens park, with fond memories of it from many years before. It’s still there, but much changed, as so often happens. Now it is a day use park and campground, quite crowded and busy today, and camping there had no appeal to us.

So, back out to #193 to exit 7, and on to Graves Island Provincial Park. We were fortunate to get a site there ($25, no hookups), only available for a night because of upcoming weekend reservations. It’s a hilly park with seaside access at one end, and nice high vistas at the other end where we were camped. We could see Mahone Bay from our site #87.

After a late lunch break we took a drive through Chester and on to the town of Mahone Bay. It’s a sunny and warm afternoon, 29C, a little warmer than we like.

We got parked in a lot in Mahone Bay and hiked around the town for a bit. It’s still a very pretty place, but very busy. It must be a real zoo on the weekends.

We soon headed back to our campsite to welcome showers, and also some wifi access at the park office. It was cooler here, 24C, and we set up our red umbrella shelter for some outdoor shade.

It was a lovely spot for our good salmon, scallops and kale salad supper.

There are lots of nice-looking sites in this park, with good views. It has an upscale feel to it compared to many of the other NS Provincial Parks we’ve been in. Of course, that matches the upscale air all around the area of Chester and Mahone Bay. It's a beautiful area and is obviously popular, but it’s gotten too busy for us. I expect it was partly because the day was way too warm for us too.

Today's approximate route:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Whale Cove NS to Shelburne and The Islands Prov Park NS

We’re heading back to mainland Nova Scotia today, 17C and sunny at 8am. After a quick getaway breakfast, over to Digby on #217, then southeast on #101. We did stop at a Sobeys in Digby for a few supplies, including some mini Boston Creams and some good bagels (breakfast #2).

Near Weymouth we picked up the hwy 1 coastal road again, heading southeast. The area along there is quite Acadian French, lots of Acadian flags flying, with boat building and fishery plants all along the coast. With nice well-kept homes and gardens, it’s a gentler coastline than Digby Neck and the Digby area.

Along the way we stopped and roamed Bartlett’s Beach, with miles of sand beach, small whitecaps, and nobody else around, very nice.

And of course, acres of wild roses. They grow very densely here, maybe because it’s a harsh environment for much of the year.

We took #1 down through Yarmouth – nice looking maritime city – then #3 along the coast. We found that we weren’t getting enough water views as we headed down the coast though, so went out to the main road #103 to get to Shelburne and The Islands Prov park. 

The Islands is another pretty park, with lots of water view sites and shade. We got camped near the washrooms, and there was even a free load of firewood at the site. Somebody had left it, as well as a number of rolls of paper towels from the nearby washroom. Passing Park employees were happy to take back the paper towels and leave the firewood.

We were camped by 2pm, so had a nice relaxing afternoon and evening, with campground hikes and a campfire later on.

Today's approximate route: