Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New York in the Fall

We have been enjoying friends and family while in upstate New York. Our friends, Don and Barb, found the Saratoga RV park for us to camp in. They are officially closed, but about five campers are still here. It's really nice, level spots, well laid out, some wooded and some clear spots with lots of space between sites. We visited with Jim's elementary school buddy Tony and his wife Debbie. What fun. They came to our home! Jim also got to see Dan, an old friend from TV8. They had a good evening together while I stayed home receuperating from a cold. (Thanks Bruce!) It has been fun watching the local news stations as our former anchor, sports anchor, and weather man are all on the Albany stations.

On Saturday, Oct. 27 we drove to Jim's hometown, Gloversville to see his brother Bo
b and his wife Karen and daughters Elizabeth and Ann Margaret. Ann Margaret's husband Pete and one of their daughters,Lauren, also came to see us. It is great to catch up and be reminded of how important family is.

Sunday found us deep into the north country, in Hebron, visiting friends, Sandy and Fred. They took us
four-wheeling on their hilly property. Even though it was past peak leaf season, it was still beautiful looking out towards the mountains. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Salem, Mass - The Beautiful Hills

From Cape Cod to the middle of Massachusetts in a days drive. Peg and I drove west to New Salem, where my cousin Judy lives. She and her husband, Bruce live in a rural area that is very "green". They have solar panels to supplement their AC power and solar hot water heat. Their driveway was long enough for our motorhome (although I was a little concerned about getting out of their yard). This is the first time in almost a month that we were not in a campground! It was a nice change.

Judy's newest addition to the family were a mother cat and 4 little kittens. We had a fun time playing with them. We also had to try and get them started on solid "cat" food. It was a bit strange to them but, after a while, they got the hang of it. Judy and Bruce and Bruce's daughter, Lynn showed us the area. We hiked to an overlook where the fall colors were at their peak. Along the way, we stopped at an orchard and bought some apples and
cider donuts. Yes, life is good! There were so many wonderful scenes to photograph that it was hard to stop taking pictures.

Since the weather was so warm there, we were infested with small lady bug like pests called Pumpkin Bugs. Unlike the red Lady Bugs, these bugs were orange and they liked any warm surface. they also got into every crevice. We had, literally, hundreds of these bugs inside the RV. The only way to get rid of them was to use a vacuum and suck them in. Even after we left on Monday, we found these little critters in the RV for days!!

Our visit was really nice with my cousins and it was a nice change of pace from the preceding days. Judy suggested we visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Mass. So that's exactly what we did. It is a neat place and the Rockwell paintings are so full of detail. I wish I could paint like that!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Foxboro, Mass (near Boston)

As we continue our trek down the eastern coast, the Boston area was next on our agenda. My cousins Dave and Sue live in the Foxboro area so we found a really nice campground (courtesy of my cousins) called Normandy Farms Camping Resort. They were having a Halloween Weekend so they only had Thursday night available since they were sold out for the weekend!

We really enjoyed visiting with my cousins and they invited us to dinner, so after some great food, wine and conversation, we sadly had to head back to the campground. Of course the next morning we decided to take advantage of the heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and spa. Yes, life is tough, but someone has to live it!! Of course we had to get our car hooked up in the pouring rain since we figured on having some FUN in the pool first.

We figured we would head for Provincetown, park the RV in a small town near the Cape and head into Cape Cod by car, which we did. We were not in the town long since we got a late start. We thought we would head to the Cape Cod Light. It was the 150 year anniversary of the lighthouse. It had been moved to its current location from the edge of the cliff several years ago. Looking at the cliff erosion, it was a positive move!

We then wanted to see the beach area and the shoreline so we headed towards the sea. Even though it was not the nicest day, several people were at the shore. It was interesting to see the difference between the North Carolina shore and this one in Cape Cod. Here is another place we would have liked to spend more time, but we were on a schedule, of sorts, to get to another cousins house in the middle of Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bangor, Maine-Bar Harbor

In Bangor, Maine we stayed at the Paul Bunyon Campground. They had an abundance of RV's there since they were the only campground open in the area. We had a tough time finding a site that would accommodate us since the owners were not there and it was a"pick your own site" type of arrangement. We finally found one that worked and set up.

Since Bar Harbor was only an hour away, we decided to take a look at this notable part of Maine. We found the port area pretty interesting and saw several cruise ships moored in the harbor. The town was bustling and prople from all walks of life were checking out the sights. Peg and I decided that, while we were in Maine, we need to feast on some lobster. So we walked through the town, checked out the many stores (geared to tourists) and found a nice restaurant called the Parkside. We had a nice view of the park from the second floor porch and proceeded to have a great meal. Honestly, we both felt th lobster in Nova Scotia we had was a little sweeter and less tough than here. It was still a good meal.

If we ever get back this way, we'd like to spend more time here...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Tidal Bore-Truro

Today we said "Goodbye" to Canada and started heading for the US Border. Since we missed the tidal bore in Windsor, we decided to drive the motorhome to Truro and see if we could catch it there. Found the visitors center in Truro closed but there were painters there and they gave us a map and told us where to go to see the tidal bore. Found the spot and we encircled the only motel there to park until the waters arrived.

Several other people were there and more arrived later. It was a bit chilly but we all talked as we waited and it made the time go by faster. Finally it arrived without much fan fare.

We headed for the US and crossed the border at St. Stephens/Calais. There was a little traffic jam in that small town but once we made it to the customs area the lady inspector boarded the motorhome, checked the toilet area (for stow-a-ways), our refrigerator for Canadian meat and asked a few questions, we were on our way. Ended up in Bangor, Maine for a few nights.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Sunday Afternoon In Mabou

This afternoon we headed across the island to a pleasant little town named Mabou. The town sits in the center of Gaelic country and signs have both languages. We drove north along the coast to the Glenora Distillery. They are Canada's only maker of single malt whiskey. Barley is the grain of choice. So, of course we had to try some. It smelled good, but at 64% alcohol it was pretty potent

Our real reason to go to Mabou was to go to the Red Shoe, a pub owned by the Rankin family. These musicians are Canada's premier Celtic performers. Today, the last day of the Celtic Colours Festival, provided us with guitar music by Brian Doyle and Scott Macmillan. They played everything from Van Morrison to Celtic jigs to just "jammin." It was fun! We met a couple from Pennnsylvania at the pub. They are also RVers so we shared stories of places we have visited to places we would still like to go.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cabot Trail...

On a foggy, overcast Saturday morning we headed for the famed Cabot Trail. This was as far east as we were going to get. We started off at 9:20 a.m. after fueling our car and bodies, looking forward to what turned out to be 268 miles and five hours of twisting, turning, mountainous roads.

First we enjoyed the scenic Bras d'Or Lake and St. Ann's Bay. After which we headed inland some and when the sun peeked out we snapped shots of the fall foliage and rushing rivers just beyond Goose Cove. It was beautiful. From there we snaked up Cape Smokey Mountain to an elevation of 902 ft. We couldn't see a thing, the mist was so thick.

Once back at a little lower elevation the fog had lifted and the sun allowed us to revel in the spectacular views of Atlantic Ocean waves crashing against huge boulders as if a war was raging between earth and sea.

About half way through our travels, but still on the Atlantic side, we entered Ingonish Ferry, then South Ingonish Harbor, then Ingonish Beach then Ingonish Center, then finally Ingonish where we had a great, made fresh for us, seafood chowder at Main Street Restaurant and Bakery. Of course we needed something baked to take along with us for later.

Just past Ingonish we entered Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It encompasses most of the top of the island and we would travel through it for about two hours. The road meandered along the ocean's edge reminding us of Hwy. 1 along the California coast.

Crossing over the island to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence side, we found fewer deciduous trees, more scrubby undergrowth, and more pine trees, so less color. But it made us think the island was much larger than it is. The mountains seemed to start at the ocean and stretch to eternity.

The first village we came to on the Gulf side was Chéticamp, a French ancestry village where most of the signs were in French first, then English. You could tell that fishing was still the major source of industry there. From there it was back across the island and back home, arriving at 3:30 p.m. What a great experience this was, something not to be missed. Click on the pictures to see the full size version...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Baddeck...Alexander Graham Bell's Home

We have arrived in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Yes, we have traveled even farther north! After working on projects for my website clients, Peg and I got out of the "house" and headed into town this afternoon. We found an interesting Scottish Pub called the Bras d'Or Yacht Club. Apparently, this is the final weekend for tourist attractions to be open and the locals go out with a bang! It's called Celtic Colours, an International Music Festival around the Cape Breton area. Many music venues are open and some great entertainment is in and around this little fishing village near us. We decided to partake of some "spirits" and listen to some talented celtic musicians as they fiddled, strummed and drummed their way into the crowd's hearts.

It was then off to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Bell lived a good part of his life here in this little village and was know for his experimentation with the telephone, kites, hearing devices for the deaf and creating boats with hydrofoils. A very interesting place and very nicely done. We spent a while looking at all the different inventions as well as sat in on a movie about Bell's life.

Upon leaving the museum, we noticed a lighthouse on a point across the bay from us. It has been raining here all day so this picture is not backed by a clear blue sky, but the eerie look of the picture depicts the look of this day very well.

Tomorrow we travel around the Cabot Trail (by car) and check out this famous route with its fabulous views. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate a bit better...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bay of Fundy

Monday, Canada's Thanksgiving Day, found us on the road in search of the Tidal Bore at the Bay of Fundy. We drove across the province to Windsor on Minas Bay. With directions from a staffer at a local farmer's market (and there are a lot of them in this farm belt of N.S.) we were directed to head east to a little bridge just past Brooklyn (not in New York). By the time we arrived, we had either missed the huge waves coming in or today simply offered a strong tide. We headed back to Windsor and a spot of lunch at Lisa's Café. (Peg just had to have turkey and mashed potatoes in honor of the day.)

Right next door was a huge hand-carved statue of a man and a pumpkin. Turns out Nova Scotian Howard Dill created the largest variety of pumpkin in the world, so there he stood!

We saw a little peninsula on the map that seemed to go right into the bay so off we went. A stop at the Grand Pré Winery gave us an opportunity to try a red and white wine from local Nova Scotia grapes. Beth poured and described the fruity scents and flavors of a red, Leon Millot, (named for the grape itself) and a dry white. We drove up route 358 to a "Look Off" that had breathtaking views of the countryside and the bays. The day was crisp and clear. Jim thinks we were able to see 40 miles!

Traveling further we ended at Scots Bay, down by the pebbly shoreline of the Bay of Fundy. We could tell that the tide had already gone out 50 feet. Then it was back "home." It was a fun day exploring our beautiful surroundings.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kejimkujik National Park

Friday found us on the road again with Peg's sister and brother-in-law, Jan and Dave, their daughter and her husband and son (Jessie, Tim and Allen) and Tim's Mother and Father (Lorraine and Sonny). We took two cars and headed up to Kejimkujik National Park, about an hour from our campground in Lunenburg. We were looking for fall colors and to commune with nature a bit.

We brought a picnic lunch and ate at the beginning of one of the trails leading to small waterfalls and a creek with trees turning into their fall colors. We hiked along the creek and over a floating bridge. The trail headed up a hill and around some of the park for about 2 kilometers so we decided to reverse our tracks and come back to the parking area and take the cars to another location called Jakes Landing, where they had canoe rentals.

Walking on trails or a nice canoe ride......Decisons, decisions. I pick the canoe ride!! We rented four canoes and headed up river to look for some turtles that were supposed to be sunning themselves. We never did find those darn turtles! So we turned around and headed back to the landing. We did get some nice shots of fall tree colors along the riverside though.

That night we ended up back in Liverpool for diner at Lanes Restaurant and Inn. It was a rustic kind of place and, since this weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada, we all (almost all) had turkey with all the fixins. It was a nice ending to a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 70's, very unusual for this time of year!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Liverpool, Nova Scotia

Peg and I decided to head to the quaint town of Liverpool today. We heard there were lighthouses there and a museum as well as a great shoreline.

We first visited the visitor center in the middle of town to get the lowdown on what was there and where it was located. we decided to head for the lighthouses first. Fort Point Lighthouse looked like a small house and it is not in service anymore. There is a small store there and you could climb to the top of the rather short structure. At the top, Peg pumped up the bellows on the hand operated fog horn and gave it a "toot". We also saw the Battery next store where there are still several military canons.

We headed for the shoreline to the Western Head Lighthouse. Found it several miles out of town at the end of a desolate road. No one was there, but the view was pretty nice along the shore. You could not go into this light house and we were not sure if it is still functioning. There was a weather station next to it as well.

Off to Beach Meadows, a beautiful beach area that actually reminded us of the Carolina Beaches. We swapped positions with the camera and I got in one of the shots. Since this is not tourist season here, we had the beach to ourselves. We then headed back into town and to the Rossignol Cultural Center. Mr. Rossignol had a bunch of "stuff" from his travels all over the world in his mother's house and she said she wanted it OUT! He was an artist, photographer and, of course, a collector. He bought the old school in the town that was about to be torn down and made it into a museum. There was a little bit of everything in here including stuffed animals, an outhouse collection and yurts (round houses). A strangely interesting place!!

By the way...You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We're On the Road in Nova Scotia

We have been full timing it since September 23rd and finally got around to putting together this blog. Lets start at the beginning...We left North Carolina and headed north. Our goal: Nova Scotia, Canada in 5 days or less! Arrived on Thursday, September 27th at the Board of Trade Campground/Visitors center in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We are overlooking the bay on a bluff.

Today, we went to Peggy's Cove and saw the famous and most photographed lighthouse on the North American Continent. The area the lighthouse stands on reminded us of an alien landscape. For a fall day, there were many people milling around and the buses were bringing them in non-stop. Apparently a cruise ship was docked in Halifax and these folks were making the rounds.

Speaking of Halifax, we spent some time there as well. We did see the cruise ship and the entire waterfront area. We also visited a couple historic churches and saw the old clock tower on the hill. I was more interested
in the hockey arena, but no games on tap today!!