October 1, Cape Breton

Good morning! I slept very well in my posh digs. One could get used to this level of sumptuousness. And this was the first breakfast where we could order from (an admittedly small–four choices) menu, instead of being served buffet style. I had juice, tea, poached eggs, sausages and whole wheat toast with jam. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? The kitchen at the hotel also made the boxed lunches that we took with us for lunch. And we were scheduled there for dinner, so they took very good care of us all day.

It was getting close to rain, so we were told to dress for wet weather. And off we went. Our first stop was at the Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life in Cheticamp.P1010876


During the first three quarters of the 20th Century, the little town of Cheticamp became famous and certainly better off for making and selling their crafts. The coarse, indestructible hooked rugs, such as my mother used to make P1010877 gradually evolved into stunning artworks that would never be placed on the floor.  P1010878 Yvette was our guide, and graciously showed us around while explaining things.P1010880 P1010879 She even gave us a demonstration of the art of hooking yarn, and shared with us their amazing collection of tapestries by Elizabeth LeFort, which were more than museum worthy. P1010881  This forest scene is one of her tapestries. Can you believe that it was made of yarn, and not painted? Yvette said there isn’t much money in the craft, and the few people still hooking tapestries are mostly elderly. Young women aren’t willing to invest all the time needed to perfect the art, especially that now their world and educational opportunities have expanded so much, partly because of the efforts of the earlier practitioners. The gift shop was filled with delightful samples of hooked items, and we bought quite a few.

The next stage of our journey was to the Cabot Trail.  http://www.cabottrail.travel/

By now it was raining seriously, but there were a few bits of trail that could be hiked, or rather, walked, We were still hoping to see a moose, or at least some birds, but it was wonderful to be in touch with such a beautiful nature. P1010882 P1010883 P1010884 P1010885We stopped for our boxed lunch at a shelter in the woods. Mary entertained us by telling us tales of her mis-spent childhood. It was hilarious.

This was a day of many hours on the bus, which was a pretty good place to be out of the rain. John said he saw a moose, briefly, through his window, and we were equally skeptical and jealous. Almost everyone saw the bald eagle perched on a branch sticking out of the water, and made jokes about “eagle on a stick” as a menu item.

We stopped briefly at Neil’s Harbour so Linda could get THREE(!) whirligigs to give as presents, and others stopped for chowder, coffee, or ice cream. I went for a walk back to the road, admiring the amazing rocks. And yes, got a few photos:P1010890 P1010889 P1010888

Dinner was back at the Gisele, and was as stupendous as our other meals there. Tom said it was the best food we’d had on the trip, and he could be right. We bravely attacked the crisp salad, the creamy soup, then the entree, salmon for me, with a little scoop of seasoned mashed potatoes. All the while, I was looking warily at the little fork at the top of my table setting, thinking this might mean a dessert was on the menu. And indeed, it was. A generous slice of vanilla cheesecake with a berry coulis, and a little side of whipped cream and strawberry slice and mint sprig. And we ate it all. Every bite. Wow. Tom and Augusta were perfect dinner companions. I feel like I’ve known them for years.

Then I came home to take a long hot bath, until I discovered the bathtub plug was too small to fit snugly in the drain, so my bath was much briefer than I had hoped. After that,  I listened to the Canadian Tenors sing “Home I’ll Be” by Rita MacNeil.

It had been written in homage to Cape Breton. Seeing the now-familiar sights while listening to the beautiful music was just about the best way to end the day.


One Response

  1. The church hooked rug is one my grandmother hooked! She also hooked one for each of her children (10 in all), plus a few extras. We have one hanging in my house, though they’re all slightly different. My uncle actually wrote a book based on that rug, and there was a movie made based on it!


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