Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roses are red. Blueberries are blue.

Oxford, Nova Scotia

"You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!"
Robert Frost

Last week I took a side trip to Oxford, "Blueberry Capital of Canada". I dropped into the Wild Blueberry and Maple Centre (which also doubles as a Visitor Information Centre). As soon as I walked in the door I knew what I was having- blueberry ice cream, which I happily devoured on my way out of town.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Between a rock and a soft seat

Economy, Nova Scotia

Today, I decided to venture off the Trans Canada Highway and meander through the communities of Bass River and Five Islands on my way to Parrsboro. Route #2, "The Glooscap Trail", hugs the coast of the Minas Basin. This area is known for its powerful tides, courtesy of the Bay of Fundy. This is a route where drivers wish they were passengers so they can fully appreciate the scenery.

I knew that I just had to pull over, somewhere, anywhere. So just outside the village of Lower Economy and just before Five Islands Provincial Park, I turned left at Soley Cove Road. This windy gravel road, led past farmers fields to a large guard rail. Now, one knows a of popular spot when you notice the car tire prints from the hundreds of cars who also stopped there before you.

After soaking up the beauty of the Bay of Fundy, I jumped back in my car and drove about 500 meters to a dead end. It was also where a funky coach was sitting in a field. As a friend often informs me, it must've been "good garbage week". Because for someone, this couch would be a real "find".

I like to think this couch is saying, "enjoy the scenery, with the comfort of home".

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paradise, Nova Scotia

Ever been to Paradise?

Well, I can say that now I've been to Paradise. I was there long enough to snap a picture. I can't say that I felt any different during my brief visit. I didn't feel any sense of euphoria, I didn't burst out in exultation. Certainly didn't hear angels singing. But maybe that was because thirty minutes before I reached Paradise, I got a speeding ticket. Wouldn't it have been interesting to get one in Paradise? I would've framed it.

You should go. Take your time. I know I will.

How to get there: Paradise (Nova Scotia) is on Trunk Highway #1, (Evangeline Trail) about 7 minutes outside Bridgetown. Take exit 20 off Hwy 101 and take a left if coming from Halifax or a right if coming from Yarmouth.

Download: Fundy Shore & Annapolis Valley Driving Guide (4.41MB)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Peggy's Cove in 15 minutes

Fishing boats on the way to the lighthouseToday I had the chance to go to Peggy's Cove for work-related business. Once I finished my tasks, and before jumping in the car for a 25 minute drive back to Halifax, I wanted to spend a couple minutes with "Peggy".

This small fishing village is a photographer's paradise. Every where you turn there's a photo op. Today's blue sky made it perfect but, then again, fog would have added mystique and drama. Even the local fisherman working on their boats while tourists watched were photogenic.Boats and buoy

Everything in Peggy's Cove is a stones throw away. You can walk anywhere and everywhere there isn't a "private road" sign. There is a mix of cars and people along the windy paved road leading up the hill and eventually to the rocks.

A fisherman's glove caught my eye, doesn't it look like it's reaching for something? The tide was low during my brief visit and the water in the small cove was calm but just around the corner, it was a different story with wind and surf. So interesting to see how just a few feet away from this protected cove there were white caps.Reaching out

My 15 minute break is up. I'll start walking back to the car now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomato topped with goat cheese and chutney

One early Saturday morning, a friend and I set off to Halifax's Farmers Market. I was on a mission. I had a hankering for fried green tomatoes and wanted to try making them.

After searching for a recipe online, I came across one calling for cornmeal and breadcrumbs. Perfect. So, as I sliced the tomatoes, I talked with a southern accent (like Jessica Tandy from the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes"). This drove my kids nuts. They got more annoyed when my husband chimed in but he sounded more like Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump".

These tomatoes were yummy. Even more so when topped with something tart and that's where I got the idea of adding goat cheese and chutney. Thought of adding a dab of the lavender jelly but thought I'd best save the near empty jar for my morning toast.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

York ReDoubt...No Doubt #2

While on a recent visit to York ReDoubt National Historic Site, I couldn't help but notice a pattern that was emerging as I snapped pictures. Doors kept popping up. I guess it is a fort after all and it's supposed to keep people out.

So, here's my collection of doors. What's behind door #1?

A brick wall

What's behind door #2?

A lighthouse

What's behind door #3?

Your imagination

York ReDoubt...No Doubt #1

As often as we can, my husband and I organize "family days". We like to create adventures wherever we go. Since we haven't been to York ReDoubt, we knew this would be cool place to check out.

So we pried the kids off the computer and followed the well marked signs along Purcell's Cove road to York ReDoubt National Historic Site (which was about 15 minutes from the Armdale Rotary).

Once there, we quickly paired off to explore the rooms of the fort on our own. By the way, this is THE perfect place to play tag or hide and seek!

Built in 1793 by the Duke of Kent to defend Halifax from invasion from the French, the walls of the fort are rock solid. To get to the other side of the fort, you can walk through a long tunnel to get to the other side. York ReDoubt is part of the Halifax defense complex comprised of Citadel Hill, Prince of Wales Tower, Fort McNab and George's Island. I'm told that, back in the day, they all communicated to each other using an elaborate flag system.

After going through a tunnel that takes you to the ocean side of the fort, we discovered many hiking trails. As we walked along, we noticed a cruise ship leaving the harbour, a bunch of blackberry bushes that were bursting with berries too early to pick (darn!) Along the way by daughter collected burrs that, unbeknownst to me, were secretly placed all over my back.

One trail led us to York Shore Battery, an abandoned WWII Command Centre where you can still explore around the rooms and all but climb onto the grass roofs. There is also an informative display panel explaining the role the facility had during its operation. One of them was keeping a watchful eye on German U-Boats that floated just outside the Halifax harbour. A giant underwater gate ran from here to McNab’s Island that kept the U-Boats out and our ships (and city) safe from attack.

The walk back to the car was another adventure. A shortcut to connect onto the path to the tunnel, ended up being a steep crazy climb. We happened to arrive at the tunnel entrance just in time, because the park attendant was about to lock up for the night. I am glad we took the shortcut.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My new love

I love my bike.

Why? Because it's the nicest bike I've ever had.
Another reason? I love zooming past long lines of traffic on my way to and from work. If you live in Halifax, it's a busy time of year with a lot of cars. Usually I commute with my fellow eco-conscious friends Kim and Frank. Yesterday it took us one hour to get home (usually it takes 15-20 minutes).

So, today I took my bike. It was lovely.

I can't wait to go home.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cranberries and Inukshuk's

These are a couple pictures from my favourite Provincial Park in Nova Scotia. It's Taylor Head Provincial Park in Spry Bay, about an 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Halifax, along the Eastern Shore.

Lately, Inukshuk's have been popping up along the rocks and it's been really nice to see. Cranberries grow like crazy here and if you want some for Thanksgiving dinner, you'd better start picking now.