On July 27th we drive to St. John, New Brunswick. We cross the border with the dogs; their rabies certificates are all in order. The guard asks "Do you have guns or pepper spray?" OOPS! I blink. We carry pepper spray on the dog’s poop bag clip. “No,” I say confidently. The guard continues down her list. "Do you have alcohol?" I start to answer no as well but Lee's conscience gets the better of him. "A box of wine,” he admits. "How many liters?” asks the guard. Well it turns out we’re legit after all. We’re allowed 1.5 liters apiece and the box is three liters. We hide the pepper spray in the glove compartment for the remainder of our trip and we’re good to go.
St. Johns is very foggy. We go downtown, which may be very nice but there’s no way to tell, we can’t see a thing. Somehow we end up having sushi. I guess we thought fresh seafood = good Japanese food, but no. Bad sushi. Don't get sushi in St. John!
We wake up on Tuesday and its still foggy, really foggy. Today is our day to drive the Fundy Trail and enjoy the views but we can’t see a darn thing. The people in the interpretive center are super nice, however. We watch a short video, where we can see what it would look like if we could see. We take a short trail to a suspension bridge and then walk along the Salmon River. Then we drive to a waterfall but we have to take turns going down the cable steps to see it; its too steep for the dogs. I play with the shutter speed on my camera and smooth out the water.
After the Fundy Trail its a long drive to the Hopewell Rocks, where we can experience the incredible tidal range in this part of the world. The fog lifts and we eat ice cream at a quaint little shop. All homemade, the guy has been making it there for 30 years. A grand piano sits next to the wash room and the ice cream is delicious.
The rocks are just plain amazing. The 52' tidal difference means that when the tide is out you can take a walk on the ocean floor, and when the tide is in the ocean covers where you are currently standing about 25’ deep. We get there at low tide and the ocean is a big mud flat. At high tide you can't go down to see the rocks. It would be fun to go back at high tide to see the difference. Maybe some other time.
Our destination for the night is Moncton, New Brunswick. We stay in a nice hotel, the Delta Beaujour. We decide to eat dinner there, at the Windjammer Restaurant. This is old school fine dining: oysters, ceasar salad made at the table, rack of lamb, Dover sole.
In the morning we are moving slowly. We barely get out the door in time to see the tidal bore on the river. The bore is a wave of brown water that curls up the river as the tide suddenly comes in. So strange! People actually surf it.
We have crepes for breakfast at a sidewalk cafe, then walk the dogs down to the river one more time before we leave. Now it's full, a normal brown river, gleaming in the sun.
We spend the day driving to Cape Breton and experience all sorts of weather: sun, rain and in between. At one point a rainbow appears between us and the car in front of us, a fleeting apparition. The Sea Parrot Cottages where we will spend the next few nights are right on the ocean. Our cabin is pleasant and we are happy to be going nowhere for the next few days.
Thursday dawns bright and sunny. I go for a run along the road (there is really only one road) and then we hop in the car and drive north on the Cabot Trail. the car climbs Stanley mountain and we are treated to spectacular views. We choose the Middlehead 6 mile hike. The view are lovely but I take a tumble hiking in my running shoes on the rocky trail. I’m bruised but okay. The dogs are troopers enjoying all the smells and attention from fellow hikers. Warm sun, cool breeze, waves, rocks. After our hike we drive up to Neil Harbor for ice cream, light houses and more views.
We stop for lunch on our way back at the Coastal Cafe. Because of the dogs we have to get carry out and eat in the car but the food is great. We have local crab on a ciabatta roll, and a burger that we share. We stop for more views here and there on the drive back. We both agree that the Cabot Trail is as beautiful as anything we have seen anywhere in the world, and that’s say quite a lot!
After relaxing for a bit we drive back down the Cabot Trail and have dinner at the Lobster Gallery. On the way there we take a wrong turn and almost end up taking a one car ferry, oops! It would have been fun, but I was hungry. I get a whole lobster and with help from the instructions on the placemat and a motherly waitress crack and eat the whole thing myself. I’m feeling quite proud of myself! Usually I make Lee do it for me.
We drive home in the light of a glorious full moon. The moon path lights the ocean and fills me with awe.
On Friday the rain and fog return but we've planned for it. This is our day to visit the many artisans along the trail. Here is a quick summary of what we found. Glass: too gaudy or expensive. Wood: beautiful intricate boxes and carvings. I buy a wooden hummingbird. Leather: boring. Pewter: mostly jewelry. I buy earrings made in a Celtic knot. Iron: interesting stuff. The owner is a lonely talkative guy. Lee buys starfish iron hooks for our someday bathroom remodel.
Dinner that night is at the Chanterelle Country Inn. Hummers buzz around the screened porch. The weather clears and we eat our dinner to lovely misty views. The food is very much like home cooking, local, fresh. I have a salad with beets and blueberries; Lee has wild mushroom soup with mushrooms found on the property.
On Saturday its time to bid farewell to Cape Breton and drive to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We loved Cape Breton and there is a lot more to see. Its not very far from where we live so I hope we go back someday.
In Halifax we are staying at the Prince George, a nice hotel at the top of the hill. We go down to the river and walk the dogs on the carnival-like boardwalk. We have dinner at the bar at the Foggy Goggle. The Lobster bruschetta is fantastic. Its fun to talk sailing with the guy next to us at the bar. I can sound like a Sailor anyway. I have a concoction made with vodka, St Germaine and ginger beer. I think its good enough to have two so I do.
Sunday is hot, with a high of 83F. It was very sunny and it really did feel hot, honest! I do my 800 meter repeats in a run around the Citadel . Then we eat a Turkish lunch and go on a tour. We observe the huge cannons lining the fort walls and I admire the kilts on cute young men, but I have to go put my feet up and get out of the sun. Later we have dinner at Chives, a foodie place. Another delicious meal; sea scallops and gnocchi and lots of nice fresh veggies.
On Monday it time to start on our way home, but we are not in a hurry. First we drive south of Halifax to the little village of Peggy's Cove that boasts a very cute lighthouse. Then its on to Lunenburg a town of colorful buildings. The Magnolia Grill is famous for their fish cakes and allows us to bring the dogs on their back deck.
We drive across the interior of Nova Scotia so that we can take the car ferry from Digby back to St John. This is a new experience for all concerned. It takes about 3 hours, not counting the time to embark and disembark the boat. Its very comfortable and relaxing. The only drawback is that the dogs must stay in the car. Neither of us like leaving them there very much but at least we can check on them periodically and they don’t seem to mind. As we make our way back across the Bay of Fundy the fog socks in again. We never really do get to see what St. Johns looks like when its not buried in murk. I guess we’ll just have to go back some other time so we can see!