Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 9: Monday, August 10, 2009

We managed to wake up just as the Wal-Mart was opening at 8am, and had our breakfast in the parking lot before heading into town. It had been raining during the night, and was still drizzling when we got up, but was pretty much cleared up by the time we got to the Firefighter’s Museum on the main street of Yarmouth. It has a dizzying array of antique fire engines, from the early 1800’s to mid-1900’s, plus thousands of smaller artifacts and lots of pictures of fires through Yarmouth’s history, and other major fires across North America that were significant.

I reached Gwen on the phone after that - the artist at Green Sheep Studios, and the mother of a university friend of mine. She told me about Hands-On Crafts, not far from where we were parked, and we made an appointment to see her later that morning. At the craft shop I learned that Fleece Artist wool is made in Nova Scotia, and got Will to help me pick a skein of sock wool to knit up into souvenir socks of the trip.

Gwen’s studio is in Lake Annis, a half-hour drive from Yarmouth. She gave us the whole tour, including demonstrations of carding and spinning, and generously gave Will a very cute felted geode. She has many beautiful hand-made items in her studio, showing her range of interests; everything from ornaments made of handmade paper formed into shapes instead of sheets, to award-winning Navajo-inspired woven hangings. It was exciting and inspiring to see her studio, and at one point Mike said to me “this is exactly where and what you want to be, isn’t it?”.

Hungry for lunch, we decided to go back into Yarmouth (which was on the way anyway) and see if Chez Bruno was open for lunch. It’s closed Mondays as well, so that didn’t help us much - we ate hot dogs in the Info Centre parking lot and continued along the South Shore, with Halifax as our eventual goal.

We stopped first in Barrington, to see a carding mill museum. Run on water power from a river, the mill has massive machines from the late 1800’s that card and spin wool. It ran right up until 1962; according to the story the attendant told us, the owner fell sick (with a disease caused by breathing wool fibres for years), came to the factory one day, told everyone to leave their machines, locked up the mill and left. It was closed up for years and eventually re-opened as a museum - most of the machines still have the roving or wool that was on them when the workers walked away that day. They had Briggs & Little wool for sale, but we plan to stop there when we go back through New Brunswick, so I didn’t buy any.

There was a lighthouse nearby (actually a reconstructed one, as it turned out) that Mike and I went into, but with the foggy day there wasn’t much of a view. I had never seen a Fresnel lens up close, and took some pictures of it - I’m sure there must be a math problem in there somewhere, with all those curved prisms!

We headed for Summerville Beach for supper at the Quarterdeck Grill, another “Where to Eat in Canada” stop. It was much more casual than some places we’ve been at, as you would expect for a beach-side restaurant, but that didn’t mean the cooking was casual - the food was outstanding! I had to have scallops again, as they were on special seared with Cajun spices, and came with sweet potato fries and a chipotle mayo. Will is still on his salmon kick, and Mike had pasta with a delicate lobster cream sauce.

We walked on the beach for a bit, but we had eaten early and still had time to drive to Lunenburg, get set up at the very handy Lunenburg Board of Trade campground, get a walking tour guide from the information centre, and walk around looking at charming old houses for an hour before it got too dark to take pictures.

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