Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 6: Friday, August 7, 2009

We got an earlier start than usual in the morning, no doubt refreshed by the bright, warm, free showers at the Gateway Camping site just outside Amherst. I particularly admired an early 50’s Mercury towing a teardrop trailer parked just down the lane from us.

One of the welcome centres for Nova Scotia was nearby, so we stopped there for our 2009 Doers and Dreamers guide (thanks for the tip, Barb!), a driving map, and several likely-looking brochures for attractions and accommodations. The main highway then took us straight down to Truro, where we stopped at a centre explaining the tidal bore. The tide was fairly far out, but Will enjoyed wading down into the mud and giving his feet the full spa treatment. After washing him off we headed west along the Fundy shoreline, stopping in the faded old town of Maitland for a few groceries. I loved all the old houses along the shore road, and Maitland had the highest concentration of them we saw today. They all looked a bit shabby, probably just from peeling paint. Unfortunately there isn’t anything to do in Maitland. There is the main store that we stopped at, which probably thrived in the day when it was the store the surrounding farmers came to for goods and gossip. Now it’s rather sad and suffers from unfriendly staff.

I didn’t get any pictures from Maitland, for complicated reasons involving them not having a public washroom. Along the coast we stopped at the Anthony picnic park, a well-hidden provincial access to the Bay of Fundy coastline. We had our lunch there, and Will swum in the warmish, quickly advancing waters of the bay on their pebbly beach. They were brown, and Will said the foam along the edge reminded him of root beer, but that just seemed to improve the experience for him! We placed rocks to time the rising tide, and decided that it was coming up the beach at a rate of about a foot per minute.

A little further on was the Burntcoat Head Park and Interpretive Centre, a reconstructed lighthouse with more picnic grounds and access to the shore. They had the tide times for the day, and it was exactly at its high point when we arrived (2:38pm). We went down to the shore and I snapped some fabulous pictures, and we stayed just long enough to convince ourselves that more ground was out of the water than when we arrived.

Our next stop was Wolfville, which turned out to be a charming town tucked in off the water. The old railway station has been logically turned into a public library, and there was a rambling used bookstore (The Odd Book) in a couple of old row-houses where Will was able to replenish his reading material for the next few days. (He had a couple of odd choices that he brought - the Ontario driver’s guide and a pocket Criminal Code - and they’re not keeping his interest very well).

Back down the road we stopped at the Blomidon Inn for dinner, another Where to Eat in Canada pick. The house is absolutely beautiful, lovingly restored and full of dark panelling, fancy staircases, and antiques. Dinner was great - we are mostly relying on table d’hotes, which in this case was four wonderful courses of fish cakes, scallops on rice with lobster sauce, a salad, and amaretto chocolate cheesecake. (Will had salmon.) The service was relaxed yet attentive and subtle, and the food was excellent.

We found our camping spot in the dark, up the coast near Cape Split, which the federal government has apparently recently put forth a plan to develop into a wilderness park. Although I haven’t seen it in the light yet, Will is excited about the mini-golf, pool, and archery. We had the great excitement of meeting a couple with their two kids who are camping in a split-window 1960 VW; it’s the first split-window bus we’ve seen this trip, and his is in gorgeous shape, red and white with the original red-and-white side tent still intact and able to be used. After setting up we went back over to chat with them, and they came over to see inside Bobby. Tim gave us their phone number in case we run into trouble on the trip - this is his 16th bus, so he must know quite a bit about where to get them fixed!

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