Day 4 – Charlottetown

This was one of those “you couldn’t make this stuff up” days.

We knew we were spending tonight in Charlottetown. We had a few recommendations for things to do in PEI. And my grandfather was born in PEI, so I wanted to see where he grew up, though I only had a rough idea of where that was. But beyond that, we didn’t have any concrete agenda mapped out. We were winging it. And in that spirit we made one final stop on our way out of Halifax to see an artifact of the great Halifax harbour explosion of 1917. The plaque says it all.

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Then it was off to PEI, which is a comfortable 3 – 4 hour drive, including a rather impressive drive across a 10 km bridge. Somewhat arbitrarily, we picked Cavendish for our first stop, followed by Scotchfort, which is where (I think) my grandfather lived. Our GPS decided to take us to Cavendish park. We hadn’t intended to stop, but admission to all National parks is free for Canada’s 150th birthday so we decided “what the heck”. Good call.

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The park has a beautiful sand beach with grass covered sand dunes just behind the beach. Today was the warmest day of our trip so far, so it was lovely walking barefoot along the sandy beach.

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And of course, we continued the tradition of touching the bottom of the ocean, by adding the PEI coast to the list.

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The wildflowers just behind the beach were stunning.

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Now this is where it gets interesting. On a whim we googled “McEachern PEI” and found KnitPickers by Margaret McEachern – in Cavendish. We decided it would be rude if we didn’t stop by and say hi. By the time we left, an hour later, we had learned that we were quite likely distant cousins through Sandy Alexander McEachern, who was apparently quite a character. He was a rum runner, operated a gambling house, and nearly lost the family farm. And that is just the stuff that people remembered. We discovered that the McEacherns are in fact a distinct clan (not an offshoot of the McDonalds, like we have always been told) and that there is a gathering of the clan planned for next year to make it all official, including the adoption of our own tartan.

All of this new information required a change of plans. We headed east to Souris (pronounced “Surrey”) to find the seat of the McEachern clan. I’m not completely sure about this, but I think we may have found my great great great grandmother’s grave.

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… and the church where they worshiped.

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By the end of the day, I’d pushed my family history back another four generations.

Our original plan, such as it was, involved arriving in Charlottetown late afternoon and exploring the town. Instead, we found ourselves an hour out of town at 7:00 PM.

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I think there will be many evenings researching genealogy in my future. Like I said, you just couldn’t make this stuff up.

P.S. This post was composed in the Gahan House Brewery while enjoying amazing PEI mussels (probably the best I’ve ever tasted), delicious seafood chowder, and wonderful local ales.

 

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Day 3 – Halifax

Yesterday we managed to stay ahead of the rain until late in the evening. By then we had finished dinner and were back in our hotel for the night. In the morning  it had mostly passed, with only a light mist, but we still had to put the top up. It was an easy drive, though not particularly scenic, except for the vaguely science fiction wind farm.

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It was a short day – barely three hours on the road – but we were able to put the top down well before we arrived in Halifax.

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I know there are many things to do and see in Halifax, but this is a “road trip” and we are only spending one night in each city. Think of it as reconnaissance for future trips. So we decided to try something different. Well not completely different – we started with a sampler at the Garrison Brewery, where we had a very unusual Honey Lavender Ale.

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Then we headed south to Point Pleasant Park, but to get there we had to walk through an industrial port area. Not the most scenic area, but interesting in its own right.

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The park was well worth the walk. We started with what has become a bit of a tradition – “touching the bottom of the sea” – something that I learned dates back to our first visit to Loch Ness.

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We also spent quite a bit of time just watching the waves break on the shore.

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It was a lovely park, but one of my favourite pieces was a sculpture – almost certainly unofficial – set on one of the old concrete gun pedestals.

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The original purpose of the area was for the defense of Halifax harbour, and you could see many signs of the abandoned fortifications. One of the better examples was the tower on the top of – you guessed it – Tower Hill.

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One rather interesting sight was a tree “sculpture”, which I’m pretty sure was the result of the tree being infected with some type of pest.

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We also found another example where the tree was still alive.

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Another scene from the park.

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On the return trip we discovered a much better route to the park, through a lovely historic neighbourhood filled with stately homes.

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Then is was off to dinner at the Henry House pub – in the historic home of one of the fathers of confederation. But that wasn’t the main appeal – it also has Granite Brewery’s Peculiar Strong Ale on tap, one of my favourites.

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After dinner we walked around old Halifax. This mural caught my eye.

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Day 2 – Moncton

We spent pretty much all of today driving. It is, after all, a road trip, and this is one of the days focused on the road.

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Fortunately it was a sunny day – not quite as perfect as yesterday, but pretty close.

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By the end of the day it was starting to cloud over. A quick check with Environment Canada’s radar showed rain coming from the west, doing its best to catch us. Fingers crossed for tomorrow, but for today, it was the open road. Almost all of the drive was divided highway with very little traffic and just enough curves to keep in interesting.

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And of course we also had the danger of hitting a moose to keep us focused.

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Alas, we also spotted the first signs of fall, with some of the leaves beginning to turn – far too early, for my money.

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We finished the day at the Pump House Brewery – with local beer of course. But I’ll finish today’s post with a picture from Quebec City showing the rock that is quite common along the road. Very distinctive and quite unusual.

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Day 1 – Quebec City

We had a leisurely start, getting away around 11:00 AM under clear blue skies. Perfect convertible weather.

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The drive to Quebec City was uneventful, which is actually a very good thing. Because of the Labour Day weekend, hotels were fully booked, and we ended up staying in a western suburb. It was near the river, so we decided to walk into town through a series of parks. It was a lovely, if somewhat long (10 km – 6 mile) walk.

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We approached the city on the same route that General Wolfe used when he captured the city from the French in 1759, so we had a little history lesson – and a bracing walk up a steep cliff. It was early evening so we walked around the city for a bit before dinner.

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In the park we spotted an interesting piece of driftwood art.

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Then it was dinner at the Three Brewers. It is a chain, with branches in Ottawa, but this one had a local seasonal special – a very unusual Milkshake IPA. It just might be the best beer I have ever tasted.

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Then we walked around the old city and noticed that the Chateau Frontenac was decked out in rainbow colours.

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We finished the evening by crashing a (free) concert featuring bands by native artists.

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All in all an excellent start to our road trip.  Next stop is Moncton.

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Cottage Country

In early July we visited a friend’s cottage on a local lake. Many of these lakes are surrounded by forest now, but a hundred years ago they were surrounded by farms. In most cases the land was marginal, at best, and the farms have long since been abandoned. By now the forest has reclaimed the fields, leaving the abandoned equipment among trees.

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Birch trees are fairly common, with their distinctive peeling bark.

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And of course there is the water. Near sunset it is often calm and the water has a glassy look disturbed only by the occasional passing boat.

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The full moon was rising as the sun was setting.

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As darkness descended, the moon through the trees was stunning.

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Of course, the mosquitoes were also biting, so it was a short trip outside. But I still love the picture.

 

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Sunset

Sunset on the water. What more can I say?

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Sun, Water, and Sky

In preparation for my not-quite-annual father/sun road-trip (try saying that quickly five times in a row!) I want to finish posting some of the pictures I’ve taken this summer. We didn’t travel much this year, but then we rarely do over the summer. I enjoy the patio too much to go away when the weather is nice – even moderately nice. Lots of time for that when we have three feet of snow outside. But we did visit a couple of friends with lake-front property. The loons from the last post came from one of those visits. These pictures come from the same visit.

I love the way the sunlight plays on the water. Trees provide a nice contrast.

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And if you look up…

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Finally, this picture was taken near sunset.

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We are heading east to the maritimes for the road trip, so with any luck I should have many more pictures of water in the next two weeks.

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