Day #197 – Cape Breton….Here we come!

LOCATION:  SE 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)

Day #190 – Hiking in Chignecto Provincial Park

LOCATION:  Near Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia
CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard Campground
WEATHER:  Very nice.  Good for hiking.  High 72

I took an invigorating pre-breakfast hike with Tony and Jenny while George held the fort.  Then, we drove in to Advocate Harbor (about 5 miles away) to talk with some fishermen.  We wondered if they had any scallops or fish to sell.  (No).  The tide was going out.  These boats are in less a foot of water.  Soon, they will be completely in the mud.  The tide will come back this afternoon and then they willl be as high as the dock.  Amazing

Then, we were off for an afternoon of hiking in the Chignecto Provincial Park.  We had to drive about 15 miles on a one-lane gravel road (with 2-way traffic – but no other cars)  in order to get to the head of the hiking trail.  The trail, about 2 miles, followed the coast.  It is quite dramatic.  The land across the way is New Brunswick.

This is one of the interesting rock formations along the coast.

This area was once a thriving lumber and ship yard

On our way back, we found an area where boats are docked.  I think I have one that we can buy…..for a good price!

As we were driving home on a very remote road, we spotted this bear scat.  It looked very fresh, and full of berries!

Back home, it was time to relax.  Tony’s turn for dinner, so I goofed off.

DINNER:  Tony made a vegetarian pasta dish from the old recipe book “Diet for a Small Planet” .  Very tasty.  Side was a Caesar salad.

The sunset was beautiful.  This is the view from our trailer….

Day #189 – On the road again!

CAMPGROUND:  Old Shipyard Campground.  Commercial RV park with cabins and RV sites.  RIGHT on the Bay of Fundy.  Full hook-ups.  Fire pit and picnic table.  Laundry and showers/bathroom.  Very friendly manager.  Super quiet.  32US$/night.  4 stars out of 5.  (Would have been 5 if showers open)
LOCATION:  Spencer Island – on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.  Closest town is Advocate Harbor
WEATHER:  Mostly sunny.  High 70
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  5 hours (includes stops)

We hooked up Joy (our Airstream) and our friends’ Taj (short for Taj Ma Haul) and took off for our month’s camping trip.  Yay!

Our first stop was at a nice market where we bought some halibut and veg.  We had lunch in the trailer in the parking lot.  Next was a neat cheese shop – called the “The Damn Dutchman Cheese Shop”.  Really cute with a lot of good cheese.  We bought some Dragon’s Milk, their most famous — will let you know how it is when we eat it later.

On to the campground.  We are almost as far west as you can go, one of the most remote spots in Nova Scotia.

We are just steps from the water.  I will take photos later of the tide at its highest, and lowest.  The tides here are the highest in the world.  The campground was once an old shipyard.

DINNER:  Mexican theme.  We started with chips, salsa and margaritas out on the picnic table.

My turn to cook, and I made chimichangas.  Here is the recipe…

Day #188. Fall in the Annapolis Valley

LOCATION:  At our friends’ house in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
WEATHER:  Nice and fall-like.  Sunny.  High 72

Tomorrow we leave for a month-long camping trip with Tony and Jenny, so they are busy preparing  – loading up their trailer and car. 

I did some laundry and hung up my clothes in the glorious sunshine.

Since we have everything we need already in Joy, our Airstream, we got out of their hair and went in to town.

On our way, we passed this terrific farm market.  Less than a mile down the road was another one, just like it!

In Berwick, the town closest to their house, we headed to their local nano-brewery.  We did a flight of IPAs – all with IBUs of 120-125!  That is what you call bitter!!!  The pourer was super friendly and we had a nice chat

I went to the bathroom (called washroom in Canada) and spotted this garbage area.  Canadians do a much better job at recycling than Americans do.

We strolled around the town, decorated for fall and with summer’s remaining flowers.  George took this photo to show my new haircut.

Lunch was at this cute restaurant in town where we were able to sit on the patio.  It was a bit chilly in the shade, but really pleasant in the sunshine.

As we sat there, a maple leaf fell exactly on top of George’s beer.  A real sign of autumn!!!

Back home, we went to our friends’ neighbors’ house for drinks around their lovely swimming pool.

They have befriended Chippy, the chipmunk, who came looking for a handout..

DINNER:  Tony’s turn.  He made hotdogs over the campfire.  Getting into the camping mod!