Monday, July 21, 2008

Wrap Up

Since the internet was pretty non-existant at the Loews Le Concorde in Quebec City I haven't posted anything in the last 3 days. However, I will try to wrap up our final few days.

Grand Falls, NB- We left Halifax in the morning after stopping at Pete's Frootique. I noticed this store when we went to Cora's the day before. I remember Pete being on Canada A.M. to discuss fresh fruits and vegetables years ago. Not sure if he still appears but I was excited to see the store. We decided as we had a long day of travel we would drop in there and grab fruit and other items for the road for breakfast. It was a nice grocery store with a fish and meat counter and lots of specialty items. Jeff got his first yogurt in over a week. I'm sure his body was saying what the?
We arrived in Grand Falls around 4 ish and checked into our hotel which was a fairly new Best Western Motel and Suites. We headed down to check out the Falls.

I was amazed to find that in the spring these falls put over almost the same volume of water that goes over Niagara Falls. By late summer, most of the water is diverted to a hydro electric plant. Grand Falls seems to be about the same size if not smaller than Napanee so there wasn't a lot of dining choices but we went to this old house that served Italian food. The food and service turned out to be excellent. It was pretty busy there and I always take that as an indication of the quality of the restaurant. If a place is dead I'm always worried there is a reason why it's so dead.

The next day we left for Quebec City.

We arrived around 2 ish so we went to our hotel to check in. It's a big hotel with a rotating restaurant on top. Super busy. Our room was on the 10th floor overlooking the Plains of Abraham and old Quebec.

We could see very clearly where they were setting up for the free Sir Paul McCartney concert on the Plains of Abraham.

The room decoration was sort of ultra modern and seventyish. But it was the only hotel room I've been in that had a flat screen tv. We got our stuff unloaded and headed off to find a place to eat since we'd only really eaten leftovers from Pete's Frootique for breakfast. We walked through the walls into Old Quebec and got to the point where you can either take the Funicular down or take the stairs down. We figured we walk down and take the Funicular up. Smart people we are. Next level down we had two choices.

Being the bossypants I am I said I knew where we were going and proceeded to take us on the longest route ever. We saw things we never saw the last time we were Hope Gate.

I tried to find some info on the net on this but mostly it's pictures but one link said it was the entrance to Old Quebec City. The outside of this gate is covered in 32,000 plants. After walking through the gate, we continued downward into lower town and ended up on the far side of Lower town on Rue St. Paul where all the antique shops were and we were trying to get to Le Cochon Dinque (the crazy pig) which is on the opposite end of Lower Town. Quebec City is still quite small though and we didn't feel so bad about indulging at supper. I had the Sugar Pie for dessert. I expect it to be a bit like a butter tart but it's more custardy. After supper we looked in some shops. There was one fellow playing crystal wine glasses and another playing a harp. The sound was amazing. There seemed to be a lot more buskers this time than last time we were here probably due to the 400th anniversary of Quebec city and the free concert on Sunday. I love Quebec city and I really enjoy just walking around and taking in the sights.

The next day we headed out for the Omelletrie for breakfast. The little french girls are so nice that serve you there and we had a nice relaxing breakfast. Then fueled up, we headed out to do some major souvenir and gift shopping. We found some nice stuff but then we were saddled with shopping bags. We found a gelato store for Jeff and he had a cup of two kinds of gelato. I tasted the praline kind and it tasted yummy. We sat in a park to cool down and let him enjoy his treat and we met a bunch of older french ladies who sat beside us on the bench. The one closest to me spoke to me in french and I could tell she was commenting on the beautiful day so I said yes it's beautiful. Well she switched languages just like that and we had a nice talk. She asked us where we were from and we discussed how there is no place in Canada like Quebec city. We decided to head back to the room and unload our purchases, freshen up before our early dinner. We went to one of the patios on Grande Allee just around the corner from the hotel. Jeff just wanted Nachos and I wanted pasta so we had to find a place that had both. First we just shared a litre of wine and then we ordered. Did lots of people watching and lots of car watching...

We ran back up to the room before heading to D'youville Station to catch the shuttle to Montmorency Falls. At 6:45 p.m we headed out with our bag of poncho's and our umbrella, prepared this time for anything. Even though it had been beautiful all day it had threatened rain a few times and it looked pretty ominous at this point. We were near the Congress Centre when it just let loose. Us and about 20 others headed for the shelter of the cement overhang at the congress center. We held out there waiting for the rain to quit for about 25 minutes. Finally, the rain was a bit lighter so we took the umbrella and headed off once again for the station. Jeff took a couple of good bonks to the head from the umbrella...Oops. By the time we got to the falls, the rain was gone. I don't know exactly why and maybe it was the heavy rains prior but the fireworks spewed out so much smoke that at times you could not see the fireworks...just flashes or slight sparkles behind the curtain of smoke. Several times they just stopped to let the smoke clear. It was a shame because from what I could see this was one of the best choreographed shows I've seen. Fernando from work was there and he felt the same way I did. I'm sure the team competing was pretty upset. We still enjoyed it and everyone still gave them a loud round of applause.

We got back to the city later than we would of because of all the stoppages and we walked home. There was plenty of people walking about. Enjoy some of the scenes we saw on the way home.

In the morning, we got up as early as we could...since we didn't get to the room until just after midnight we couldn't get up as early as we would of liked but we got up at 7 and got on the road at 9:30. At 9:30 there were people already heading into the Plains of Abraham for the concert. We were glad to escape before it got too crazy.

The drive home was busy and there was some heavy rain. We both felt like we had a great vacation but were happy to be going home. We got home and unloaded our packed car, relaxed and had a great chat with Hayley. We don't get that often enough. Then we had to go pick up the Minster. It was her first time ever at a kennel and she did fine. The kennel is across the bay and we'll definitely use it in the future. When we got back we had a call from my dad who was also vacationing out on the East Coast and attending the Antigonish Highland Games and a Ross Clan Meeting in Iona. Low and behold, it turns out he was in Baddeck in Sunday, the day we arrived and had supper in the restaurant of the Lynwood Inn where we were staying. We ate in the same restaurant that night on the veranda. He went to the Ceilidh at the Parish Hall behind us and we had discussed going over there as well but we were still eating at 7:30 when it started.

Another weird coincident is that I mentioned the fella we met in St. Andrew's who worked in St. Andrews in the summer and Key West in the winter. Cor, a co-worker met the same guy only she met him in Florida. It's definitely a small world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Today, we took in the sights of Halifax. It was another absolutely beautiful day. I can't believe how lucky we've been. We went to the Citadel and took a tour lead by a soldier's wife Clare. We also had a concert by bagpipers. Since growing up in Kincardine where there is a bagpipe parade every Saturday night, I don't usually get too excited about bagpipes but I guess it had been a while and I truly enjoyed the concert. They also shot off the cannon at noon which they do 364 days a year.

We killed over 2 hours at the Citadel and I thought it was best to head to the waterfront because we wanted to do both the Atlantic Marine Museum and the Alexander Keith Brewery Tour. On the way back down to the water we stopped at a confectionary shop called Freak Lunchbox. The young man at the cash greeted us with a friendly hello. This was the best candy store I'd been in as it also had lots of toy items like tin lunchboxes, gumby and pokey's and other not normally seen items. I picked up a t-shirt for Hayley (because she like's freaky things I figured a t-shirt that said Freak Lunchbox fit the bill and a few other items.) The young man commented on my good taste on the other items I bought but this must remain a secret. Some gifts must remain secret.

We finally arrived at the Marine Museum. What a great display. The first thing we saw was this huge lens from a lighthouse. Quite amazing.

Halifax has so much history and there are very extensive displays on the Halifax Disaster and the Titanic. We also got to tour the CSS Acadia and watch a 3D film about going down to the wreckage of the Titanic.

We really needed much more time for this museum than we had. In fact, we were the last people out of the building before it closed.
We went for a nice dinner at a seafood place called McKelvie's. Our waiter was a really nice guy and the service was excellent. Jeff had Jambalaya and I had a nice seafood pasta with haddock, scallops and shrimp. They also served a delicious bannock bread. After dinner we trucked it down to Alexander Keith's to do the tour only to find out that they were done for the night. However we still picked up some gifts from the Alexander Keith's store including two cold one's for the road!!

Tomorrow it's a long drive to Grand Fall's NB. No sightseeing just a travel day inbetween here and Quebec City on Friday.

Baddeck to Halifax

We went to the Lynwood Inn Restaurant for breakfast again because it was so good yesterday and of course handy. I had the french toast and it was the 1st time in my life that I've had french toast that was coated in crushed corn flakes. I will definitely have to try this version at home because it gave it a nice cruncy tasty texture. We stopped off at the Cape Breton Clay store because other than the yarn store we hadn't visited any of the other Baddeck store. The pottery items were beautiful but too expensive for my budget. Their was some beautiful framed photography prints and some jewelry I was tempted to purchase but I decided to save my money to spend in Halifax or Quebec.

The first part of our trip there was heavy rains and then along the coast it was very foggy over the water. We felt even though it would take longer we would take the shore route rather than the cross country route. Once we arrived in Halifax, found our hotel, got parked and ventured out we realized we maybe should have taken the quick route. Our hotel, the Sheraton Four Points is right downtown close to the historic waterfront. Jeff felt a bit stressed after the quiet pace of all the previous places to again drive in the city but once we started walking around his stress level dropped quickly. We found that our hotel is a block from Alexander Keith's brewery, about 5 minutes from the Atlantic Marine Museum and also within walking distance of the Citadel. Previously our plan had been to look around Halifax and then drive tomorrow out of the city to Peggy's Cove and Mahone's Bay but now that we see all that is here to see within walking distance we decided to take in all of that. We ate supper at Murphy's Restaurant at the end of the wharf. For Jeff, it was awesome because there was so many things to take pictures of. I'd finished my meal and he had barely eaten his. Note to self in the future do not drink two big glasses of beer with dinner when you plan to walk around.

That's all that's to be said for now. Please enjoy the following photos.

Bridge to Halifax

Theodore Tugboat

Harbour Hopper

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Grandeur of the Seas

Hayley note the climbing wall on the back top level of the ship!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cabot Trail

Yesterday, we had breakfast inside the Lynwood Inn Main House. Our waitress had that wonderful Cape Breton charm and sense of humour. On the menu there was an item called Cape Breton Oat Cakes so I ordered a couple with my breakfast. They were essentially a warm, flat, square oatmeal cookie and they served it with butter. This was what was crumbled on my Cape Breton Sundae the day before. I told the waitress they were good and she told me "Dear to tell you the truth I'm not fond of the one's here but up on the Cabot Trail, the Clucking Hen makes the best ones." So we decided to check it out on our way up the trail.

After breakfast we walked over to Baadeck Yarns. It was Yarn Heaven. The selection was unbelievable. The woman who help us was very nice and told us she was originally from Toronto but came to Baddeck 15 years ago for a two week vacation and never left. She was a computer programmer in Toronto. Many times when I'm on vacation I've wanted to do the same thing and it's nice to hear that some people actually do it. I walked out of the store with yarn for Hayley's "Wicked" Sweater" and Baadeck Yarn's Fleece Artist called Baadeck Summer yarn for a lace scarf.

After the Yarn store we headed up the North Shore of the Cape Breton. The sun started to break through the clouds. The scenery along this route is the most breathtaking I've ever seen. I swear we only drove for 10 minutes at a time and had to pull over for observation points. Each was miraculously more beautiful than the next. I believe Jeff said the trip around if you were to drive it takes 4 hours but it took us 9 hours. That included dinner at the Rusty Anchor and Jeff's dip in the ocean. Words can not describe this area so I'll just leave some pictures.

This is where Jeff went and took a dip in the ocean. Moments after we pulled over it started to rain. At least the rain washed the salt water off him. He had lots of fun getting undressed and dressed in my little car.

This morning we head to Halifax. We'll probably check out the downtown area today and the Alexander Keith brewery and then tomorrow we'll head out of the city towards Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Unfortunately, we’re having internet issues here in Baddeck. The connection I got here at the hotel disappeared around 8:30 so I’ve been unable to publish Day 5 and Day 6. Eventually it will get done.

Yesterday we left Auld’s Cove to head to Baddeck. Again we were blessed with beautiful, perfect weather. I can’t say enough about the weather we have had so far. Sunny and warm but not too hot! We arrived in Baddeck around 11ish and went straight to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. There is so much that I didn’t know about this man. I think of him as solely the guy who invented the phone but he was so much more than that. He was an experimenter and a teacher of the deaf. Even Helen Keller said he changed her life. Originally, born in Scotland he moved with his family to Brantford after his two older brothers’s got tuberculosis and died. He fell in love with one of his deaf students and they married. She was an integral part of his life. They owned a big estate in Baddeck called Breinn Breagh. It reminded Bell of his homeland in Scotland. They wanted a non-conventional lifestyle where their young daughters would be able to run about in trousers. Here in Baddeck he continued to experiment with flight and hydrofoils until his death. He was quite the family man and loved his grandchildren dearly. I watched a short video of townsfolk talking about Bell. One guy’s father worked for Bell and Bell told him he should build a home and he said I have 8 children. I can’t afford a home and Bell said you build it and I will make the payments. So he did. At Christmas, the first payment was due months away and Bell had all the employee’s in for Christmas presents. He handed the man a envelope and said Ferguson this is your Christmas gift and he assumed it was a cheque. When he got home and opened it he discovered the deed to the house paid off in full.

After we finished the exhibit, we went to the Bell Buoy Restaurant for lunch around 2. We sat outside and it was gorgeous. This restaurant had homemade ice cream. Jeff ordered a bowl and I ordered the Cape Breton Sundae. All I can say is OH MY GOD. Ice cream, maple syrup, crumbled Scottish oatcakes, and whipped cream. It was sooo good.
Then we came to the Lynwood Inn and checked in. Our room is beautiful here and the main building has a gorgeous veranda where you can eat.

On the back street behind us is Baadeck Yarns which was closed for Sunday but we will check out first thing tomorrow and they have Ceilidh’s also beside the Yarn place every night so Monday night we will go to that.

We went for a little drive around and saw a sign that said UISGE Ban Falls. We had to go see. It was about a mile hike there and back. So beautiful. If asked to describe this forest I would call it enchanted, even mystical. I wouldn't be shocked to see the roots reach out and grab us.

Back to the hotel to relax before dinner. At 7 we went down and the wind had picked up but we were determined to sit on the veranda. They had live entertainment in the form of Warren, a singer/guitar player. First we were on the front of the veranda facing the bay but the wind was so strong that the waitress moved us around the side which was still cool but better. I had mussels. They tasted okay but I can’t get over how they look so I don’t think I will have those again. Jeff had Nacho’s . Every once in a while you have to take a break from the seafood.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

On the road to Cape Breton

Today was just supposed to be a travel day. However, when the GPS told us to go one way, we being the rebels we are, took another route called the Sunset Trail. It was a beautiful scenic route. As we were travelling along I saw a sign for the Lismore Sheep Farm.
When I searched on Ravelry about Maritime Wool Shops, this sheep farm was mentioned. They also have a side business making wooden knitting needles. We pulled off the road and into the farm and there were 3 other cars there plus a couple of motorcycles. First we toured the barn, where they had displays set up explaining the wool process. Partway through we noticed the sheep....and the babies. Two of these beautiful lambs were just born yesterday. They were so beautiful. The ones that were born on July 9th were bleating and we watched the ewe feed them. They didn't seem too strong on their feet.

After our visit to the barn we entered the wool shop where they sold yarn, yarn kits, sheep skin rugs and hats, wool duvets and all sorts of things. I bought several kits and we were back on the road.

We arrived at the Cove Motel around 5.
Another pleasant surprise. We are on the Causeway and the hotel has a guest laundry so we were able to do two loads of laundry before dinner. We went to the dining room at the hotel for dinner. So far this has been the best dinner of our trip. When one is visiting the Maritimes, one feels that they really should order seafood but since I've had seafood for almost every meal since we arrived except one I was again torn between Lemon Pepper Chicken and Maple Glazed Salmon but the waitress told me that the chicken was her favourite so I went for it. I'm so glad I did. It was really good. Someone was supposed to bring Jeff his spinach salad before his meal but they didn't so the waitress felt so bad that she gave us one drink on the house. Jeff thought his dinner was excellent too even though his salad was late.

Tomorrow we head out for Baddeck NS, home of Alexander Graham Bell, Baadeck Yarns and Gateway to the Cabot Trail.