Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chapter 25 - Pictou, Nova Scotia

July 13th, Day 47: The weather when we awoke this morning was sunny and in the low 60s. Another great tourist day. This morning we are meeting Anne and John down at the deCoste Center at 10:30 am where they expect to meet a woman by the name of Ann Holton-Melong. Mrs. Holton-Melong is a singer and a fan of John's grandmother, Christie MacDonald, and she is expected to act as our guide and show us some of the local sites around Pictou where Christie MacDonald may have been active. As it turned out Ann's father Bruce Holton, who is also a song writer and very knowledgeable about the life of Christy MacDonald, accompanied us on the tour. In the above photograph, John and Anne are being shown a monument marking the spot where Christie MacDonald attended school.

We wandered around the city streets for about one hour including visiting the site of the original St Andrew's Episcopal Church where Christie is known to have sang, although it soon became apparent that little was known about Christie and her parents when they lived in Pictou, such as where they lived, where her father worked, etc. Nevertheless, the tour was interesting if for no other reason than again allowing us to see the beauty of this old town and hearing about its history. The monument in the photograph to the right honors Pictou's soldiers who fought in World War I.

We walked by this old stone building shown in the photo to the left which Bruce Holton noted was one of the oldest buildings in Pictou.

The church steeple in the background of the photograph to the right is the steeple of the St. Andrew's Church. The old stone building in the foreground that looks very much abandoned is Pictou's old Post Office that was built in 1895 when Pictou was still growing rapidly. The Post Office moved to a new and smaller location in 1956 and the building is currently empty. What a shame.

We ended our tour with Ann Holton-Melong and her father Bruce back at the harbor in front of the replica of the ship Hector. At this point John and Anne met up with a man named John Meir who was not only actively involved in the restoration of the replica of the ship Hector but he was going to give John and Anne a personal tour of the ship Mr. Meir has also been until recently a creative director of many shows at the deCoste Entertainment Centre including the performance of Christie back in 1992 that was attended by my father and Christie MacDonald's daughter Chris. Kathy and I at this point left the tour primarily because Cabo was not welcomed on the Hector, but we agreed to meet Anne and John at their current B&B home later in the afternoon.

Kathy before we returned back to our campsite for lunch wanted to visit a crafts store located across the street from the theater. Here again the store named the Water Street Studio was located in a wonderful old historic stone building built back in 1820. Cabo and I sat outside the store admiring its beauty while Kathy invested our money on stuff inside the store.

We made one final stop before returning "home" at a statue honoring the original settlers here in Pictou. Here again this small park containing the statue sat in an area of Pictou that was surrounded by lovely old and historic buildings.

Just before four this afternoon we visited Anne and John again, this time at their B&B in Pictou by the name of the Evening Sail Bed and Breakfast. This place was everything one would expect of a B&B: a cozy room with all of the amenities, a small private porch, a common living room complete with bookshelves loaded with books, as well as a common shaded porch where we sat and had a few drinks and discussed our schedule for tomorrow. As Anne and John have tickets to see a performance at the theater tonight, we left them after about an hour so that they had plenty of time to have dinner and get ready for the show. Kathy and I returned to our cozy aluminum home and we too had dinner and enjoyed sitting outside under our awning and reviewing our day's events and our plans for tomorrow.

July 14th, Day 48: Today the four of us (five of us counting Cabo) agreed to drive west out of Pictou on a coastal highway known as the Sunrise Trail (or just Hwy 6). The highway was very scenic running through hilly farmlands with occasional views of the waters of the Northumberland Strait. While the drive by itself would have been satisfying enough, my sister Anne decided that we would make three very unusual stops along the way. Our first stop was at the Seafoam Lavender Farm where lavender plants are grown. While both Anne and Kathy claimed that they knew what lavenders were, this photo of Anne and John examining the lavender plants makes me wonder if they really had any knowledge about this colorful flowering plant.

Of course any lavender farm that lets total strangers just wander through their fields must have something up their sleeves and in this case it was their small shop that sold all kings of things containing dried lavenders buds that are used to add flavor to cooking oils, foods, and even teas. Who would have know such a place existed, and way out here in Nova Scotia. Naturally both Kathy and Anne had to show their gratitude by purchasing items in their small shop.

Our next unusual stop was at the Lismore Sheep Farm & Wool Shop which like the Lavender Farm was located in the middle of nowhere but somehow attracted lots of customers.  While from my perspective the best part of this very attractive sheep farm were the sheep who were all over the place, from the customer point of view, again including both Anne and Kathy, the best part may have been their wool store.

Their farm buildings and their small shop were very attractive in a kind of simple way, nothing elaborate, but again I have to admit that the number of cars that were arriving about the time we were ready to leave told us clearly that this sheep farm and wool shop were very well known and obviously popular.

Incidentally, one should not be surprised to learn that they also sold meat at this farm and I did not have the heart to let this poor little lamb know what may be coming up in his future once they totally strip his body of his fur and then dragged him in the back room. . . . .

Our final stop was perhaps the most pleasant, lunch and wine at Nova Scotia's well known winery, the Jost Vineyards, over near Malagast, Nova Scotia.  Kathy and I have been in dozens of wineries over the past few decades and the Jost Vineyards turned out to be as good as any we have visited, at least from an appearance and service perspective. Wine was good but not spectacular. Sorry. We had a great lunch however, along with a nice glass of their dry white wine.

Here is a photo of my lunch. What a photo. What a great lunch. 

This photo of John, Anne, Kathy, and Cabo was taken after we had completed lunch and we were ready to drive home.  It was a great place to visit and will definitely be a good memory.

We returned back to our trailer about mid-afternoon.  Today is the last day of John and Anne's visit to Nova Scotia although their flight back to Boston does not leave until tomorrow afternoon so they will have a little free time to continue their visit here in Pictou. Kathy and I on the other hand are headed north tomorrow morning towards Quebec City although we plan to stop about half way up and spend a few nights in North New Brunswick. The drive up to Quebec City is around nine hours. To far for these old folks to drive pulling a travel trailer. Besides, what's the hurry. We are enjoying our visit to Canada and we are in no hurry to see it end.  Goodbye John and Anne. We enjoyed spending time with you these past two weeks. Let's us do it again.

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