Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chapter 24 - Cape Breton Island to Pictou, Nova Scotia

July 11th, Day 45: All last night and until around noon today it rained without a let up. The grass area right in front of our door was a pool of water which assured that both of us got soakers immediately upon exiting the trailer.  Well, it is the first really bad weather day since our trip began so we cannot complain. It is unfortunate for my sister and her husband however, since our plan today was to drive down with them to Cape Breton Island's largest city, Sydney, and explore what the city has to offer. The weather forced us to change this plan and it was agreed that we would separate for most of the day but meet up for cocktails at around 4:00. Kathy and I spent the morning getting some supplies including some badly needed propane, and then we decided just to relax around our camper for part of the afternoon. We noticed this morning as we left the campground that many of the trailers and RVs had departed or were getting ready to leave.  Considering how crowded our section of this park is, we were happy to finally get some peace and needed space.  When we returned from our morning departure, we noted that there were around six large RVs waiting in line to enter the campground and then over the next few hours trailers and motorhomes flooded the place. And then, it was crowded once again. It seems that a Caravan tour was using this place as a stop over spot probably for the next couple of nights. And boy there were some big motorhomes. More than a few worth upwards of $400K. And then, there is our poor little travel trailer.
As it turned out later in the afternoon I discovered that I was not feeling well so we had to call off our afternoon get together with John and Anne.  This was unfortunately for us, a totally lost day.

July 12th, Day 46. We woke up this morning at around 5:30 am but already we could see that the sky was clear and the temperatures were in the low 60s. While we have had less than perfect days recently, at least the weather projection for the next few days or perhaps even for the next week shows clear and dry and warm. Wonderful!  Our drive over to Pictou was around 2-1/2 hours and
as is our custom we arrived at the Beechwood Campground in Pictou a little bit early and found their office door locked. Apparently they are not accustomed to travelers arriving as early as 10:30 in the morning. Anyway, we did not have to wait long and we were soon all set up in our new home.

Not long after we were all set up we heard from my sister who suggested that we meet for lunch in downtown Pictou.  As we were traveling with Cabo who is not also welcomed at restaurants, we knew that we needed a restaurant with outdoor seating.
We finally ended up (after one Cabo rejection) at a great seafood restaurant right on Caladh Avenue across the street from the harbor by the name Harbour House.  Pictou is a small town but from what we can see already it is a charming little place. John and I had lobster rolls for lunch and they were absolutely delicious. So were our ice cold beers.

The primary reason that we chose Pictou as a destination point was that John's grandmother, Christie MacDonald, was born here back around 1875. While she moved from this area when she was still quite young and soon afterwards became a very famous musical stage star in New York City in the early 1900s, Pictou still remembers and honors her. My sister Anne and I are also kind of related to Christie MacDonald in that our father after the death of our mother, married John's mother, the daughter of Christie MacDonald. This would of course, make her our step-grandmother. In 1992 my father and his wife Chris, Christie's daughter, attended a performance of the musical Christie in Pictou that basically was a tribute to Christie MacDonald's life. The show was performed at the deCoste Entertainment Center that we visited and is shown in the above photograph.

Pictou is an interesting city that has much to offer tourists although based on the rundown condition of some of the older buildings in the downtown area, we suspect that not everyone is prospering.  Their harbor area is lovely complete with a replica of the sailing ship Hector that first brought Scottish settlers to the area in 1773. There is also a variety of shops, restaurants, and museums.

After a brief walk along the harbor and on some of the docks, Kathy and I (John and Anne had left to check into their B&B) climbed into our car and decided that we would drive through some of the streets lying above the harbor to see what some of the churches and the homes looked like up close. We could actually see three or four church steeples from down on the harbor. As it turned out we were total amazed that a city like Pictou with a total population of only around 3,500 would contain so many large and beautiful churches and homes.

I believe that I mentioned in one of the earlier chapters that we have not been too impressed with the architecture of the homes here in the Maritime Provinces.  Pictou stands in sharp contrast as we drove by dozens of homes that could easily sell in the $400 to $500K range and even more if they were located in some of the larger cities. Pictou as it turns out was once a very prosperous town as it was once an extremely active shipping port. The quality of the older homes definitely reflects this fact.

It is said that Christie MacDonald's father was a shipbuilder, mariner, and an innkeeper here in Pictou and we would like to think that one of these fine old houses might have been the home of the MacDonald family back when Christie was a young girl.

Kathy and I returned to our new "home" around three o'clock, delighted about we had seen in Pictou but happy to just relax with a few drinks, a nice supper, and then ultimately a good nights sleep. Tomorrow morning we are returning to downtown Pictou where we are meeting John and Anne at the deCoste Entertainment Center. They have arranged a tour with some local people who have been active in the past and present in promoting the music and the life of our Christie MacDonald. We look forward to hearing what they have to say.

No comments:

Post a Comment