September 28 Bay of Fundy and Green Gables

Good morning. The days starts in our funky little motel in a place that’s close to Hopewell Rocks, so we’ll go with that for a name. It’s a small-time place, and not fancy, so I’ll just say the yogurt and coffee at breakfast were good. But they had a ancient upright grand piano, and I couldn’t resist lifting the lid off and playing a few keys. When I started to leave, some group members asked me to play more, so I asked the guy at the counter if I could noodle around on it for a bit, and he thought that was fine. So I did, playing my old British folk songs from memory for about 15 minutes. At one point, the owner walked by and offered to put me on the staff. And when I was done, and leaving, he gave me a free post card for my playing. Does that make me a professional musician? (And earlier, a tour member put a couple dollars on the piano, as a joke, so I guess it does.)

Then Alice and I decided to go for a walk, as we were all ready to leave, but didn’t want to just hang around. We walked quickly, but a little too far, and the group was all waiting for us in the bus, which was idling, by the time we dashed back into the parking lot. We grabbed out stuff from our rooms, and I was careful to get on the bus before Alice, so I was #18, in Linda’s counting, and Alice was #19. hahaha.

Our first stop, just five minutes away, was at the interpretive center for Hopewell Rocks.

A semi-retired ranger, who said his name really was Ranger Rick, was there to greet us and show us around. He really knew his stuff, but just liked to drone on a bit to his captive audience, while we were panting go to down to the beach while the tide was coming in. I just couldn’t absorb all the information that I’m sure he’s been sharing for 40 years. But we finally climbed the 100 steps down. The tide was coming it at an amazing clip. He directed us to watch a particular rock on the beach, out of the water, and within a few minutes it was surrounded by water. He built a little rock cairn above the water line, and soon the waves had knocked the rocks over. Here’s some photos.  A couple hours after these were taken the water was almost up to the treeline on the rocks.There’s even a photo of moi that Linda took. P1010836 P1010834 P1010833 P1010832 P1010831

It was just wonderful being outside in it all. The weather was perfect: warm, but with a brisk wind. The air was pure, the rocks all on the beach and around us would have been a geologist’s dream. Lots of tourists, but all enjoying the spectacle just as much as we were. Rick said they’re trying to find ways to harness all the energy of the tides in an environmentally friendly way. Sounds like a great idea.

We then had a long drive to the other end of New Brunswick, through St. John, where I hoped we would stop for lunch, but we didn’t. So I went to sleep and we ended up at Cape Jourimain Nature Centre.

By the time we finally arrived, we were beside ourselves wanting lunch, so decided to have our sandwiches and soup (and blueberry cobbler) before Andrew, the bearded, informative young naturalist gave us a tour. One cool exhibit was of a cougar who used to live at the Center. I think his name was Flash, and here are a couple photos of him:P1010837 P1010838

Andrew said that Flash really liked people, and would purr for them. I coaxed him into giving an approximation of what Flash’s purr was like. Very nice, indeed. (Andrew, during his talk, also did a number of plausible bird calls. I think a cat would have been intrigued.) One very cool feature of the Center is a tower that gives an amazing view of the surrounding countryside, including the 8-mile bridge that connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. Here’s what I saw: P1010840 P1010839

That little lighthouse was built in the 1860s or so, and has already been moved inland twice as the coast eroded. It’s scheduled to be moved again next month, a couple hundred feet farther inland. It’s not really used since almost everyone crosses by bridge, not a water route, but it is historically significant.

Then we drove across the bridge, which definitely felt a little edgy, and were in Prince Edward Island, or PEI henceforth. It an amazingly bucolic, rustic little paradise. Lots of fields–it’s one of the major growers of potatoes in the world, old Victorian farm houses contrasted with modern houses with huge garages. And it’s beautifully maintained; we were told they keep all the huge lawns cut so short to cut down on the mosquito population. We cruised by the house were Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up, then drove to Green Gables, the setting for her famous series starting with Anne of Green Gables. It was interesting–I enjoyed comparing it with the other historic 19th Century homes we’d seen. I’m not a huge fan of Anne, so after getting a photo of the house,  I took off on the Haunted Walk and Lovers’ Lane, primarily to get some exercise:P1010842

There were an incredible number of Asian tourists visiting the house; apparently Anne is very big in the East. One tourist asked me to take his photo in front of the house. I hope it came out well.

Then we drove into Charlottetown, the biggest town on PEI, as well as the provincial capitol. It has a lot of Victorian structures that added much to its appeal. I guess there’s a joke that the province was so poor they couldn’t afford to knock the old houses down and build new ones. But then the tourists all came, loved the old houses, and they didn’t dare get rid of them. Go figure. Our hotel is a ways out of the town center–we’d had a better location, but were evicted when a huge convention of engineers came to town. But it’s modern and comfy. After settling in, we all hopped back on the bus for a dinner at the town’s convention/theater center. Rather nice food, but I think the wait staff had trouble taking care of all 20 of us at one time. Because of Canadian labor laws, our driver, Joe, couldn’t stick around to take us back from dinner to the hotel, so Linda ordered some taxis and we piled in. Mostly, I was hoping my driver would say “house” some more, as it always came out “Hoose.” Loved it. Need to write the blog and get some sleep. And get ready for the pleasures and thrills to be had tomorrow. Good night.


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