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Archive for September, 2009

Statue of Evangeline, in front of Memorial Church, Grand Pre

Statue of Evangeline, in front of Memorial Church, Grand Pre

The opening lines of Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline”, have thilled me ever since I was a little girl.  I can’t take credit for any literary precociousness – “Forest Primeval” was the name of the northern Wisconsin resort where my family rented a cabin for several weeks each summer when I was growing up.  The entry sign would begin the poem, “This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlocks…” and we’d turn off a paved road onto the bouncy, two tire tracked,  pine-needle strewn dirt road that would lead us to the old log lodge and one of the primitive log cabins, all with names like Evangeline, Gabriel and Longfellow.  The whole family would get into such a dither of excitement, cheering and clapping, that our black labrador once jumped out of the car window along the route, showing his own exuberance for a couple of weeks in the woods and lake.

I did read and love the poem though, because of those summers.  I thought the story of the ill-fated love between Evangeline and Gabriel was the most romantic story in the world.

Visiting the Grand Pre National Historic Site is a much more somber experience.  The visitor center, film and memorial church bring to life the history of Acadia and the tragic deportation of the Acadian people by the British in 1755.

Grand Pre National Historic Site

Grand Pre National Historic Site

No sign of the struggles and heartbreak today.  We walk through beautiful grounds, orchards and gardens, and statues commemorating the brave heroine, Evangeline, and her creator, Longfellow.  They brought this incredible story to the world’s attention.

And I feel like I’ve filled in a bit of a childhood chapter of my life that started in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Grand Pre National Historic Site

Grand Pre National Historic Site

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We took the ferry from St. John to Digby, NS,  a pleasant 3 hour trip.  The Bay of Fundy was not as roiled as it was when we took the Bluenose from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth a few years back with my Mom and Dad.  I didn’t feel the need to kiss the ground when we got off.  Taylor fared well too, cat in a motor home in the hold of a ship.  We checked on him periodically (would have stayed if he needed us) and after a little initial concern about all the strange vessel noises, he bedded down and took a nap.

Digby is a colorful little port and home to the world’s largest scallop fleet. I never order scallops because in some kind of perverse logic, I think that because Dick is allergic to them, they might make me sick too.  Big mistake, I learned.  We headed to the “Captain’s Cabin” restaurant, where, while Dick ate haddock, I had the scallop special.  It wasn’t because it came with a complimentary slice of lemon meringue pie, honest. The scallops were just perfect.  I liked them and they liked me, and I won’t be avoiding them from now on.

The next day we headed to Port Royal National Historic Site. It’s a reconstruction of the first lasting settlement north of Florida (1605).  We’re following a Samuel de Champlain theme, having seen the failed settlement on St. Croix Island a few days ago.  Champlain and Sieur de Monts came here after a terrible winter on that ill-advised site, where many died and the rest, except for one man who accompanied them,  headed back home.

We also had a pub lunch, rappie pie – an Acadian specialty made with chicken and mashed potatoes, (delicious!) in Annapolis Royal and walked the town a bit, including the grounds at Fort Anne.

Port Royal National Historic Site

Port Royal National Historic Site

Port Royal National Historic Site

Port Royal National Historic Site

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View out window from campsite, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

View out window from campsite, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Usually we think of campgrounds as a means to an end.  Not that lots of them haven’t been beautiful – we’ve enjoyed gorgeous views, hikes and amenities (we’ll make travel plans AROUND one with a great restaurant!). But the main reason we stay in them is to get somewhere, visit something. We can choose a nice Inn or restaurant if we want, but we can avoid crummy motels and marginal restaurants if that’s all there is around.  Okay, and Dick likes having a bathroom wrapped around his little finger, and I like not having to pack and unpack a suitcase all the time.  And we both don’t want to leave Taylor (our cat, not child) behind anymore.

Right now we’re staying in a campground that probably qualifies as both a means and an end.  It’s a good stopping-off place on our way to St. John and the ferry we plan on taking to Digby, starting our tour of Nova Scotia.  But because it’s at the ocean-surrounded tip of St. Andrews, it also offers beautiful ocean views of Passamaquoddy Bay out our windows, and a charming, historic town within easy walking distance.  So, it becomes sort of a destination campground -even though we only stay three nights.  We had delicious dinners and breakfasts in town, a Kingsbrae Garden visit with High Tea, and great walks through the historic section and by the ocean.

Our front yard

Our front yard , Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping, St. Andrews

The Gables Restaurant, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

The Gables Restaurant, St. Andrews, New Brunswick


Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Cafe at Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Cafe at Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt summered on the island as a boy, then enjoyed  this 34 room cottage retreat here with his own young family.  It was a wedding gift to Franklin and Eleanor, with the additional  bonus of not needing to be returned or exchanged because of any duplication from the bridal registry.  It’s still furnished much as they left it after he came down with polio while vacationing here in 1921.

The Roosevelt Cottage, Campobello Island

The Roosevelt Cottage, Campobello Island

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Campobello Island, New Brunswick

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Campobello Island, New Brunswick

We’re staying in the Herring Cove Provincial Park – our first Canadian park.  Campobello Island is interesting in lots of ways – you have to pass through customs on the way here, and then on the way back.  We talked to some locals, while watching whales, looking out on East Quoddy Light, and they told us some pretty funny stories of things being confiscated, lots of it foodstuff they seem to think the border agents use for dinner.  We’re not worried, we’re legal – and there are always grocery stores.  But, if they try to take Taylor, or his food – forget it.

We took some beautiful hikes in the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.  It was nice to think of him here, while he was still vigorous,  sailing, hiking, playing with his children.

Campobello Island

Campobello Island

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Sunset Point Campground, Harrington Maine

Sunset Point Campground, Harrington Maine

The boat blog’s been shaken off – and we’re on dry land again.  We just attended our first Navion/View  motor home  “Rally” (our type of small Winnebago) held at the Camden Hills State Park.  It was so much more fun, easy and relaxed than we expected one of these things to be.  We met so many  interesting people.  And we got recommendations to campgrounds like this.

Sunset Point was from Claudia.  A beautiful and generous woman.  Anyone at the rally will get the significance of that.

Lobster, delivered to our picnic table

Lobster, delivered to our picnic table

Sunset Point Campground, Harrington, Maine

Sunset Point Campground, Harrington, Maine

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Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Boothbay Harbor

Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Boothbay Harbor

I’m WAY behind on the blogging – so although from this last entry it looks like our trip lasted a month (and that was our intention) -it’s over.  We cut the trip short when Bill started making his way up the coast.  So, our last port of call was sparkling Boothbay Harbor. We picked up a mooring for the first night (picture is from there) then moved to the dock in front of the Ebbtide Restaurant for two more nights.  Dock space is free there, with the assumption that you’ll eat your meals in the restaurant.  No problem!

After a couple of really hot days, spent like vampires – staying inside during the day, then venturing out at night, we decided it wasn’t worth it playing hide and seek with hurricanes for the next few weeks. We didn’t want to get stranded somewhere around the time we needed to fly to Florida to see Christopher and Emily (YIPPEE!!!) – so instead of continuing south, we headed back to Rockland. It was grand while it lasted and we’re grateful for every wonderful day we had.

The blog will shake itself off now, and get ready for a land trip to Nova Scotia in the Navion in a few days.  I’m already humming “On the Road Again”…

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First time underway, with Feline Greenies for comfort

First time underway, with Feline Greenies for comfort

DSCN1096 I have been messing around with text for awhile and can’t seem to get it lined up with the appropriate pictures – so I’m just going to let the pictures tell the tale. With the introductory note that Taylor began the trip sitting in his bed in the pilot house instead of cowering in the head.  From that point on, he just got braver.  Well, given his extremely timid nature and shy disposition, he got braver…

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