Day #200 – It was a dark and stormy night…..

LOCATION:  St. Peter’s, Nova Scotia- SW part of Cape Breton
CAMPGROUND:  Battery Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Cool, cloudy, and rainy.  High 68

We decided to get in an early walk before the predicted rains came in.  We did a city walk, starting at the locks, and following the bay.  After a few kilometers, we climbed up a steep hill into the city itself.  This was a cute road sign near the city limits. Now at 70, I guess the sign applies to me!

As we walked along, we saw cute fire hydrants that the city had painted.

Tony teases us as Jenny and I walk a bit faster than he does, and we are always getting ahead of him.  He says this is the view of us he sees all of the time…..

Our big loop hike  ended back at the locks.

We watched the fishermen and their pretty boats.  It is not lobster season here right now, but First Nations people (Indians) can fish anyway. 

We spent most of the afternoon relaxing while the weather did its thing outside.  I read; George napped.  Then, he and I ran into town for some errands. We want to buy some gas before we  head out, but the gas station (only one in the town) is closed on Sundays!  We topped off our little trip with a stop at the local inn for a drink.   A musician was just starting up….

DINNER:  Tony’s turn, and he went all out.  We started with Bloody Maria’s.  The rain stopped long enough for him to grill pork medallions outside, along with potatoes and a salad.  As soon as he brought the food in, the skies opened up.  We cozily enjoyed our dinner inside, high and dry……it was a dark and stormy night……

BOOK:  “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  Although it has poor reviews, I enjoyed it.  All about racism in the South.  4 stars out of 5

Day #199 – Exploring SW Cape Breton Island

LOCATION:  St. Peter’s, Nova Scotia- SW part of Cape Breton
CAMPGROUND:  Battery Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Cool, cloudy, and foggy.  High 68

The day started out gloomy, so we postponed our morning hike.  Instead, we loaded up the car and went to a laundromat.  What fun!  (Not!)

After that chore, we did get in a good hike, up and down some trails in the park. We teased our tour guide Tony, for taking us on this trail….

Then, for a drive around the area – a bit of a loop around a peninsula.  As we were driving, we saw this resident’s hobby of creating a license plate “jungle”.

And, across the street was a boat called R Day Off in the woods, appearing like it had washed up and settled there.

Our route took us around Bras d’ Or  (Arm of Gold) Lake.   There are a few nice houses with lake views, but a lot of undeveloped property.  There were real estate signs in German all along the road, and after researching it, we learned that a lot of Germans are developing land here. 

Back at the campground, George made a fire and I cooked a bunch of chicken thighs – for both tonight’s dinner as well as a future one.  We bundled up around the fire for happy hour.

DINNER:  My turn.  I made a casserole from a recipe I had found – a hearty dish for a cool evening.  I sauteed onion and garlic, then added spinach (fresh or frozen) and artichoke hearts.  Then, cream, parmesan, and herbs.  After that was bubbling away, I added the cooked chicken (diced) and cooked/drained pasta.  After transferring this from the skillet to a baking dish, I topped it all with mozarella and bacon bits, then baked for about 25 minutes.  Side was caprese salad (using dried basil sadly instead of fresh). 

Day #198 – Happy Birthday To Me!

LOCATION:  St. Peters, Nova Scotia – in SW Cape Breton
CAMPGROUND:  Battery Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Summer-like with sun and high 84

This is my new motto – 70 is the new 40.  Yes, I turned 70 today.  I don’t know what 70 is supposed to feel like, but I feel great!   I really feel healthier now than I did several years ago.  Retirement enables me to exercise more, relax, and eat better. 

I started the birthday day with a nice walk around the campground with our friends Tony and Jenny.  The campground is high on a cliff overlooking the bay, so we had lots of ups and downs to trek.

This is our campsite’s fire pit area where we will build a fire later this evening….

Then, off to Isle Madame, one of the smaller Cape Breton islands.  It is rustic, sparsely populated, and beautiful.  George tried his hand at fishing……again.

We made a circular loop around the island, stopping first for lunch at a well-known coffee shop.  Very nice. 

We stumbled upon their historical society’s museum where we learned about the Acadians’ lives in the early 1900s, very rugged.    There, a local guy was working and gave us a tip for some good fishing.

So, we followed the man’s instructions to a hidden wharf.  Tony was the first to catch one – a small mackarel. 

Then, George scored with a larger one!  YAY – the first fish on this entire trip!!

While they were fishing, I took photos of some of our setting….

Back at the campground, Tony did his prep work for my special birthday dinner and George got a campfire going.  We sat around the fire eating our appetizers – a good Camenbert and crackers, along with George’s grilled fish…..all paired with a super bottle of Champagne from an Annapolis Vallley vineyard, Tony and Jenny’s birthday gift to me.

DINNER:  Tony made two batches of steamed mussels – one with peppers and white wine and one with other spices and red wine.  Delicious.  We sopped up the juice with a good piece of Italian bread.  Side was a mixed green salad.

What a wonderful birthday day, with friends, a loving husband, while traveling in a beautiful country.  I have so much to be thankful for!!!

BOOK:  I squeezed in another one, finishing this off after dinner…..”Our Darkest Night” by Jennifer Robson.  It tells a story of a Jewish woman disguised as a Catholic wife, hiding from the Gestapo during WWII.    I really enjoyed it.  5 stars out of 5.

Day #197 – Cape Breton….Here we come!

LOCATION:  SW part of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Battery Provincial Park.  Magnificent!  Water and electricity at sites.  Small park so very quiet.  Privacy between sites.  Our site(#34) is the best one with views of the ocean below.  Great bathrooms.  Fire pit and picnic table.  One of the best campgrounds we have been in! $28US/night.  Definitely 5 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Sunny.  High 84
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  3 hours + stops

As part of our farewell to the Northumberland Straits part of Nova Scotia, we drove in to the nearby town of Pictou (Birthplace of New Scotland) and bought some Scottish shortbread and oak cakes, baked fresh that morning by the owner Mrs. MacGregor in the back kitchen.  Nice!

Then, we were off – to Cape Breton – where we will spend the next 3 weeks exploring the island.  We were on the busy highway most of the way, until we spotted a sign for a brewery.  So, off we went – a detour down secondary roads hugging the water.  We were on what is called the Eastern Shore.  Breathtakingly beautiful with lakes and trees starting to turn. 

We followed the signs for the brewery and found it at the tip of one of the coves.  George tasted their whiskies and had a coffee porter.  Consequently, I was assigned DD and continued the drive to the campground.

Our jaws dropped as we pulled in to our campsite.  This is the view from our front door….

We will be here 5 nights, exploring this SE part of Cape Breton.

DINNER:  My turn…..I made a black bean soup using a new recipe I had found.  Then, we had toasted naan with a cream cheese sauce, topped with salami, roast beef, chicken breast slices, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.  A  nice change of pace!

Day #196 -Following the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail

LOCATION:  Near Pictou, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Caribou Monroe Island Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Another beauty!  Sunny.  High 78

We continued with our brisk morning walk routine – 3 kms (almost 2 miles) around the campground.  Some campers left; new ones came in including 2 Airstreams! 

Later in the morning, we took a long walk along the beach.  Alas, we didn’t take our cameras for photos, but trust me – it was very picturesque. 

Today was a pub crawl day.  We have a Nova Scotia “Cheers passport” and get stamps when we visit different wineries, breweries, and markets.  Today we got 2 stamps.  Once we hit 15, we can enter a contest for a grand prize and will receive t-shirts.  Fun!

The first brewery we hit was Uncle Leo’s Brewery – especially cool since I DO have an Uncle Leo.  We had a beer there and saluted the real uncle!


On our way to the next brewery, we stopped at this old log church, built by the Scots in 1796.

After a bit of shopping, we made our final stop – at the Pictou Lodge and Resort.  Fabulous!  It has an “Up North”, woodsy feel with exposed logs and a huge hearth.

We had a drink in their lounge.  The manager chatted with us a while and told us about famous people that have visited – like Babe Ruth, Condalezza Rice, Hank Williams, and various Canadian Prime Ministers.

DINNER:  My turn.  George grilled a halibut steak on the campfire.  We wrapped it in aluminum foil and seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and butter.  One side was steamed rice.  I also made a creamed corn casserole, taking advantage of the last-of-the-season fresh corn. 

OVEN-BAKED CREAMY CORN – Serves 8

1 T olive oil
2 slices bacon finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 T flour
3/4 cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese, cut into piece
4 oz Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
2 # fresh or frozen corn
1/2 tsp paprika

1.  Heat oven to 375.     Heat oil.  Add bacon until browned.  About 5 minutes
2. Discard all but 2 T fat.  Add onion, salt and pepeppr.  Cook 5-6 minutes;.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute
3. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and cook, stirring 1 minute.  Gradually stir in milk.  Simmer until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes
4. Add cream cheese and Cheddar and cook until melted. Stir in corn and paprika.
5. Transfer mixture to six 6-oz ramekins or 2 quart baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes. 







BOOK:  “The German Midwife” by Mandy Robotham.  Although fiction, it makes you think that it is a true story – based on Eva Braun’s pregnancy, and the midwife’s role in the labor camps, and then with Eva.  Excellent.  5 stars out of 5

Day #195 – The last day of summer – a glorious day on the Northumberland Straits

LOCATION:  Near Pictou, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Caribou Monroe Island Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Another beauty!  Sunny.  High 76

Every morning, I take a brisk walk with Tony and Jenny.  It is a great way to start the day. George stays back and does his daily exercise regime. 

Today we went on a day-long road trip along the coast, taking back roads through fields and woods.  There is not much out here.    The Scottish heritage is very evident.  The road signs are in both English and Gaelic.  We stopped at a cairn dedicated to some early Scottish settlers.

We stumbled upon this really nice distillery along the highway.  We did some tasting and purchasing.  Their gin won “Best in the World”!

The pourer told us that in the summer the place really hops – with outdoor eating (lobster rolls, halibut, and sausages)  accompanied by music and ocean views.  Cute bathroom sign….

Down to the harbor, where we had a nice picnic next to an old lighthouse. 

George and Tony tried their luck at fishing…..none.


The next stop was George’s namesake – Cape George.  We had the entire cape to ourselves.  Beautiful!

Our final stop was the college town of Antigonich,  We checked out a brewpub there in their nice downtown.

Back home, George shucked some oysters for an appetizer….

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made a chicken/veg stir-fry served over ramen.  It was nice enough to eat al fresco.  Nice evening, and great day!

Day #194 – New Scotland (Nova Scotia) History

LOCATION:  Near Pictou, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Caribou Monroe Island Provincial Park
WEATHER:  Beautiful and sunny.  High 75

We took a nice, long morning walk around the campground and down to our beach.  This is a beautiful place, and not crowded right now. 

Then, a drive into Pictou, home of Nova Scotia’s first Scottish settlement.  The Scottish settlers came over in the late 1700s on a ship that looked like this one, and developed a new home – “New Scotland”. 

We did some errands, including a stop in the town of New Glasgow (get the Scottish theme?) 

We stopped at the Prince Edward Island ferry, which is right next to our campground, to check into taking the ferry there later this week.  It is pretty spendy and there are a lot of forms to complete (for Covid) for both PEI and Nova Scotia, so we decided not to go.  We have been there before, and hope to go back one day, just not this trip.

At the campground, we took another long walk on the beach.  One brave couple got in the water, but it was a bit chilly for us.

DINNER:  Wow!  Tony made some scallop appetizers and margaritas,  so we had Happy Appies!  (happy hour appetizers).  He grilled some bacon, cut it in small squares, then seared the scallops 30 seconds (no more!), sprinkled on cayenne and Old Bay seasoning, and served them on top of the bacon squares.  Much better than trying to cook the two items together, as they need drastically different cooking times.

My turn for supper.  I tried a new recipe which was a rich veg/tomato sauce with meatballs  (browned over the fire) and white beans.  Sides were zucchini, salad, and a take-N-bake French loaf for dipping into the sauce. 

After dinner, we had a Canada election-watching party.  Elections here are much more civilized (with a much shorter campaign period) than in the USA.    By the time we went to bed, the votes were not all in, but it looked like Trudeau would be re-elected. 

Day #193 – Onward to the Northumberland Coast!

LOCATION:  Near Pictou, Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Coast
CAMPGROUND:  Caribou Monroe Island Provincial Park.  Beautiful setting right on water.  Spacious, level, gravel sites.  Very nice bathroom/showers.  Firepit and picnic table.  Electricity and water at site.  Central dump station.  Wifi at office.  1 TV station. $32US/night.  5 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Mostly sunny,  High 70
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  4 hours, plus stops

We left Old Shipyard Campground around 10:30.  We have really enjoyed our time on the Bay of Fundy. 

Our drive took us past trees that are turning quickly to red and gold.  I wish I could have taken a photo!

Our GPS took us a bit astray, but we were successful in avoiding the major highways.  Not being in any hurry, we decided to break up the trip with some stops.  First was a wine-tasting at a winery along the way. 

Then, we enjoyed a nice bowl of seafood chowder at the winery’s outdoor cafe.

On a few more kilometers to one of Nova Scotia’s most famous breweries.  As the DD, I passed on beer, but George said the double IPA was very good.

Our final stop was to stock up at the grocery store.  We bought some local littleneck clams to try as an appetizer.  First we soaked them in salt water so that they would expel their grit.

The campground is right on the Northumblerland Straits.  We can see across the way to Prince Edward Island.  The wind is quite strong off the water.  We watched some kite surfers take advantage of the waves and wind.

We settled in for our Sunday afternoon Bloody Mary, and I prepared the clams… I sauteed some garlic in butter, added a can of beer, and steamed the clams until they opened.  Very tasty!

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made some yummy turkey stroganoff and a salad.  We both enjoy cooking and coming up with new and interesting meals.  We also take turns with clean-up —-whoever cooks, also does all the dishes.  So, tonight was  my night off.  🙂 

After dinner was a few Rick Steves travel DVDs.  We are almost done with the entire set!

BOOK:  “Endangered Species” by Nevada Barr, author who writes who-done-its that take place in national parks.  This one’s backdrop is Cumberland Island.  Since we have visited the island, it was interesting.  4 stars out of 5

Day #192 – A Glorious Last Day on the Bay of Fundy

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard
WEATHER:  Milder.  Mix sun and clouds.  High 75

We took a hike around Cape d’Or (Golden Cape)  which got its name by French explorers when they discovered the cliffs with veins of copper.  Beautiful!

We hiked down to the lighthouse.  (Then had to hike back up!)

Our friend Tony hiked to the tip of the cape….

We stopped at the docks to watch a big scallop-fishing boat unload its bounty. They had been out all week and were loading hundreds of 40-pound bags of scallops onto a truck. They will turn around and go out again on Monday. A lot of work!

The afternoon was spent enjoying the sun and watching the tide come in and go out (50 feet difference!)

Then, we spiffed up a bit and went out to dinner at The Wild Caraway Restaurant, Nova Scotia’s most famous gourmet restaurant.

It is in an old house converted to a cute eatery.  It is by reservation only and a “fixed-price” menu, offering two appetizers, two main meals, and two desserts from which to chose.  Each couple had one of each so we could taste everything.  Tony and Jenny had discovered this last year, and were anxious to return. 

All of their food is local and fresh, much from their own garden.  First up was a complimentary appetizer plate with interesting things like artichoke foam. We paired that with some unusual cocktails. 

For the first couse, George and I shared 2 dishes:  1) local halibut/potato fritters with various sauces served in a ceramic egg carton.  All of the food was beautifully showcased.  2) an absolutely delicious wild mushroom soup with Parmesan cheese straws:

For the main course, our 2 dishes were:  1) steamed local halibut in a jalapeno/veg cream sauce and 2) duck breast steamed in Chai tea with vegetables, Swiss chard egg rolls, carrot miso cream, and blueberry jus.

Then, a palate cleanser….topped with a ground cherry.

Finally — two desserts – one was a chocolate/beet brownie with elderberry ice cream and the other a steamed pear served with an apple mousse.

All glorious!  What a fabulous way to finish up our time here on the Bay of Fundy.  Tomorrow we head to our next location! 

Day #191 – Visiting famous fossils

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard
WEATHER:  Mostly cloudy.  High 74

Another great day exploring this part of Nova Scotia.

We started the day with a vigorous walk, returning to watch the tide go out.

Then, George and I drove to Joggins, a site famous for its fossils.  The road there, about a 40-mile stretch, was full of potholes, so it was kind of fun zigzagging around them.  We were the only ones there – very remote.

We did the one-hour tour at the fossil site which was very informative.  Here our guide is showing us a fossilized tree.

Almost every rock you pick up has some kind of fossil.  We learned that this place was where the theory of evolution was solidified.

Joggins also used to be a big coal-mining site.  A beach-comber earlier today found this old hobnailed boot from an old miner,  probably more than 100 years old.

Back to civilization via a gravel road, we arrived in a cute little town called Parrsboro to get gas (a scarce commodity out here) and some groceries.  And, of course, a beer….

On our way out of Parrsboro, we stopped to watch some contestants of the town’s Plein Air Art Festival going on this week.

Our turn to cook dinner….

George made a nice fire and we enjoyed some smoked salmon appetizers on the beach.

DINNER:  Grilled porkchops, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes in aluminum foil cooked in the fire’s coals, and some zucchini, that someone had foisted on us (free)