Annapolis Royal – Beginning of Us All

See the above link about the Order of Good Cheer started by Champlain and the alcohol it has spawned.  I have never noticed it in stores but wasn’t looking.  I like the idea of the Order and how it started things off on a positive note.

Port Royal began here in 1605. But many died from the conditions in winter when they stayed on a nearby island the year before.  Samuel de Champlain was here and founded one of the first settlements in North America.  As said he started L’Ordre De Bon Temps which consisted  of celebrating and feasting which helped them make it through the hard times.  Later he went on to discover Quebec.




Years later many are enamoured of the place. Engish, Germans, Americans and other Canadians have gone there on vacation and come back to live there full or part time.

Today, May 11th there was a story in the Chronicle Herald about Tina Taylor who was brought up in Hollywood by a mother who was in Elvis Presley films. She found this place by chance and she and her daughter are touched by the place. Tina finds herself drawn there more and more.  She got it in the divorce.  Nova Scotia is like that. There have been other stories in the paper especially about this place causing people to pick up and move there.  People will say they have travelled a lot but this place has a special magic.  I could say the same.

I haven’t been to Annapolis Royal for a few years but remember going in June when they have a festival of short plays. Many things were closed on Sunday but I had a memorable feta and watermelon salad at a corner restaurant that I have since recreated.  It was here and the menu board even advertises it with a raspberry balsamic reduction.IMGP1328

There was bakery owned by Germans with many sports cars in the parking lot for some reason.001

I saw Fort Anne but didn’t go there.


I did visit the garden. This area has a very good growing climate which is better than the rest of the province.












I also investigated Port Royal in nearby Granville Ferry the following year in July and saw  the conditions the original settlers had to endure.




People from everywhere have come here.




This is so how we picture early Canada.  So rustic and simple yet with a hint of romanticism.  The bare essentials and so esoteric.  It will be hard to pare down the photos.


I see things like Rhubarb Syrup written on those jars.  We have lost some of these recipes.




Some had a very simple life here.





Great light.



Go ahead and fall for the place like many have.  Nova Scotia has magic.

Tina Taylor who was mentioned above said she has travelled a lot but Annapolis Royal really has her heart.

Nearby is Bear River which is a small artsy place that has buildings on stilts. There are two vineyards in this area which I haven’t yet visited but hopefully will this summer. So much to see.



The Last (Very) Good Day


http://I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

It was Wednesday,  October 14th and last year the same thing happened on the 15th which was the same mid October Wednesday.  The temperature was hot and high except when clouds and wind periodically crept in.  I knew this was it until next year sometime around May or June at least when we would see 20 degrees again.  I told a young girl working in a garden that this was the last good day.  The temperatures are sometimes in the double digits but in the week since this trip they have even been in the single digits but strangely warm in the sun.  8  or even 7 degrees is the new hot except in shade or wind and people are still wearing shorts, capris and sandals with light jackets if any.  It should be cold but is still hot.

The BBC shows people in Europe with heavier jackets than I have yet to bring on.  Yes to October though some days will be cooler than you want.   Oh and on Thanksgiving on October 12th someone was swimming in the ocean.

My regular travel partner was unavailable on this day but I was not going to waste it so I went alone for the first time in a long time. I have of course been alone for trips abroad but I am not at the wheel for those and if there are vehicle problems it is not my responsibility which is nice.  Just heard Chrissy Hynde tonight saying she hated car culture and moved to London for public transport among other things.

Individuality and independence also come with a price.  If there are problems you must solve them yourself possibly alone.   The interview on the way up though was Patti Smith with a strange accent and I hadn’t liked her past book and now she was toting a new one.  Some people make a career off of others and claim it for their own.  A few American women come to mind.

Still I liked her talking about drinking coffee and being a dreamer type person.  I could relate to that aspect of being an artistic which sometimes feels like autistic compared to some in society.  Walking on a path alone and thinking of nothing and no one is my perfect day compared to some who desire to work in an office or store or wherever and chat to strangers all day.  Hello on the trail is enough for me quite often.  I like think time.

So I travelled solo but the radio talk channel was good for a change and I enjoyed the bright cherry reds, oranges, limes and lemons on the side of the road with only my own internal dialogue.  They were especially nice alongside meandering rivers.  These were hard to capture on camera as there weren’t many good stopping points.  It is worth the drive at this time of year.  The angle of the sun can change muted earth tones into sudden, fluorescent abstract art.

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I will say that I was struck by the brightness of color this year more than any other as if I may be elsewhere next fall.  When the sun shone on them in a certain way as is apt to happen this time of year then the result was spectacular.  Brilliant in fact.  Many former green interlopers will stand out at this time of year as their true colours are revealed among the evergreens; the true greens stand tall with the changing chameleons.

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Those are cows in the field.

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I arrived in Kentville once again and as usual didn’t leave as early as planned.  I often don’t have time for Wolfville and other places.  The  friendly woman in the museum said it usually happened that people went to Wolfville and didn’t have time for Kentville.  Depends on the direction of your trip.

I drove by the pumpkin people who spend the month of October beside the road in Kentville but only until October 30th.  I never asked why this sudden departure but I suspect it is because they could be attacked on the night of ghouls of October  31st.

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I drove past them and there was nowhere to stop or even to park it seemed until I spotted one small parking lot by a field that I had seen many times before but never stopped at.  I got out and started walking and thought I spotted Miner’s Marsh where I had walked before and I was right.  It seemed far from Kentville but in no time I was back there and after some photo ops of the pumpkin people that I would never have gotten by car I was back at the museum that last time had an exhibit on kimonos and various things Japan but now had changed to underwear of the last century plus.

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Firs I walked past the Kings Arms Pub which was featured in a past post and I saw this sign with cool advertising.  There were more pumpkin people in the theme of this year which was lego.  It was near a former hotel on the railway lines when they were big.

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It was at the Kings County Museum and called  ” A ‘Brief’ History of Underwear – Exposing the Underside of History.”  It runs until December but will open again in spring.  The curator told me it is unfinished and they are still adding photos and information so it will be even better next spring.

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She said that often people propose ideas to her and they have collections to share.  In fact the woman with all of the Japanese mementos has some underwear here as well.  I call this North America’s answer to the niqab as you will see how women were reigned in by underwear.  Clothing is the way to keep women under control I see.

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Even today I had a woman ask me for spanx  or a modern day corset (supposedly there is a new one to suck in your waist) or similar but on the other hand many have let their bodies get way out of control.  Some can barely walk straight.  They have bought into whatever the main marketers are selling.  They just want you to become less and less or more and more.  They don’t care about you.  Care about yourself.  Don’t let your body or life be determined elsewhere whether by bustle, corset, spanx, Big Mac or Whopper or any social or religious influences. Be balanced, be healthy.  Think for yourself.

Everything you wanted to know about stockings or the brassiere but were afraid to ask.



I quite liked this display and no you don’t have to go to a big museum in NYC or  elsewhere to see cool exhibits I say.  You never know.  We tend to judge things by big brands or big cities but this doesn’t always work.  Bigger isn’t always bigger.  Nor is smaller.

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It was informative and well done and I took tons of pictures and had a great chat with the woman working there.  She said that people often came to her with ideas and told her of things they had collected such as mustache mugs.  I asked what she meant and she said they had a ceramic band across the top that would keep the mustache from getting wet.  I wonder what they do these days.

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After the museum I continued my walk with the pumpkin people back towards my car but on the main road rather on the trail I had started on.  As I admired the great old houses that mostly turned out to be inns (because what can you do with a big house these days?) I found chestnuts and acorns on the sidewalks that I put into my purse.    Those are exactly what you would expect in a small town.  I hardly ever find these in my bigger city of Halifax.  Especially chestnuts that should probably be roasted somewhere.    They were just cracked open and laying there.   The walk turned out to be just great for getting a feel for the place and taking photos.  I spoke to a woman who told me her husband and sons had made their pumpkin people display as I took pictures and she cleaned up the hay.

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There were so many pumpkin people to take pictures of.

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There were so many of them as I passed a cemetery on one side and a field on the other.

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And there were so many more.

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I was starving by the time I got back to my car after these stops so I took out my lunch to the picnic table that just happened to be in front of my car and enjoyed my ham sandwich and mini babybel cheese plus apple and nuts and baby carrots.  With the view and after the long walk it was great.

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October is a great month in the valley because of course you can buy pears, apples, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, onions even corn though I have never tasted October corn.

Happy Halloween!

Shelburne and Graves Island and the Halifax Jazz Festival


Outside the Birchtown museum.  Some people have been looking for a place to be happy and free for a long time.

I took the weekend off because everything seems to happen the second weekend in July for some reason. There were festivals I can’t even remember but my aim was the Women’s Music Festival in Lockeport and the Mackerel Snappers Picnic on Grave’s Island.  There was the jazz festival in Halifax and something on the North Shore too I believe.

I needed to get psyched despite the great weather.  I wasn’t in a driving mood but somehow got into the fourish hour drive.  It seems it should be closer but was a good two hours one way.  I went to Shelburne last year but didn’t really fork out for the museums but this time I did.  There were three.  The first was the most interesting which was a store and the girl was from the city and seemed to wish she hadn’t taken up this distant post but she couldn’t find any similar jobs closer to Halifax.  She seemed very jaded for her young age.  She must have been bored with the social life there.  She said some people came there only for the summer or even a few weeks  despite owning places which sat empty for the rest of the year.  This happens all over the province which must be because of cheap rural properties.


She gave a tour of the Ross-Thomson House and Store Museum and mentioned that there could be ghosts in the store as well as people had mentioned seeing  them.  She hadn’t but seemed fearful at the prospect.    I immediately felt a presence in the first room we entered off of the store.  Also in the main bedroom upstairs.

Maybe if I had to spend a night in a haunted room I would be scared but mainly I think ghosts are harmless.  It would be cool to see a rocking chair rocking but of  course I wouldn`t want to see something flying through the air at my head like in a horror movie.  I believe that if there are ghosts there is not much they can do.  There could be the odd one that has some power but I`m not sure how much and what they would actually do with it.

Once just after landing in London on the red eye I was sleepily walking down a street and a dead branch on a tree almost fell on me.  Hmm.  I`m sure that is a place that could have many ghosts.  I thought I felt the presence of a dead cat before but that was a pleasant thing.  Who knows.

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She said the Cooper’s Inn had ghosts as did many houses.  She seemed creeped out and bored at the same time.  She wondered why there were ghosts  but since there were so many old houses it made sense that in those days people would die in them and be laid out in them.  Maybe they were also very unhappy with their lives not to mention their deaths.

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The rooms in old places were built quite small and usually for shorter people as that is how many were in those times I suspect.

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There was a basement area for the help to work the kitchen.

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Some of them may have been the black people whose story we heard about in the nearby place of  Birchtown with a new museum  just opened this year.  It had an old church and nice view of the ocean.

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In this area  there was also the Boxing Rock Brewery which is one of many craft breweries cropping up in the area that are doing well.  It is a nice new building with leather seats within its tasting facilities.  I have had Vicar’s Cross which was much stronger than I expected when I bought it (note to self – read the label on craft brews) but not bad and Red Temptation which wasn’t bad either.  They were very busy when I was there and partially sold out so choice was limited.  Good for them as it was nearly the middle of nowhere.  If you build it (or brew it) they will come.

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On the way back we managed to make it to the Mackerel Snappers Picnic on Grave’s Island which was about 36 years old except for when they didn’t have it last year due to lack of volunteers.  It was hot and sunny like two years ago as the second weekend in July often tends to be.  I heard people say it wasn’t doing so well this year after one year off.  They sold rolls and pies off for cheap at the end but unfortunately we were too late to get them as we we were busy eating during the announcement which followed the pretty bad country music that they generally have playing there.  Like they are distorted and out of tune and on steroids but they don’t seem to know that.  Joys of the small towns and villages.


We arrived late but managed to get the meal of battered fried mackerel and many boiled potatoes and a sweet creamy cucumber salad with a roll and pie.  The mackerel wasn’t as good as before.  The view from the island of the fancy houses was nice.  It was warm and comforting to eat on a picnic bench with the sun in your face for a change . Then we were directed across the short and thin bridge back across to reality which was a drag after a warm day aloft in history and pleasure.


There wasn’t enough time for Lockeport but I usually plan too much and after the store in Shelburne we saw the regular museum which even had pics of Queen Liz’s mom and pop who deigned to come there for some reason.  The guide thought she was Queen Elizabeth the first but she was just Queen Elizabeth even though the interlopers often tend to do better than the born and bred.


There was also a dory museum though the builder was not there that day.  It was the weekend and we went to the market too but were told that actually weekends were less busy than weekdays for some reason.   The dory museum had pics of Charles and Di when they visited the area so it is that kind of British Loyalist place.  Not that it really got them anywhere to have that visit.   In fact being any kind of British Loyalist just gets you stuck with a big tab when they come to visit and deign to wave at you while eating the best of your plunder.

In that book I saw pictures of Diana visiting various places in Nova Scotia including one picture of here in an off white dress with light brown trim.   It reminded me of when I took photos of her too in this dress when I saw her on the commons on a tour in Halifax.  Those photos have since been lost and most of them had people blocking the view of her.  Just over 14 years later I was having breakfast at a diner on the edge of those same commons not far from where I saw her when I was told about her sad end.

Strange how one place and time can cause you to remember another one.  And on it goes.  If you leave home and stay away I suppose this doesn`t happen.


In the craft shop she claimed it was in the banana belt and didn’t get all of the storms in winter.  I had heard that claim made about Lunenburg too and wondered if it were true.  It would be nice especially being so remote.

Coming up are some pictures from last year’s visit.  This is the place where historical movies have been made including  The Scarlet Letter with Demi Moore.  I’m not sure if there were planters here too as seen in previous posts about Liverpool and Grand Pre.  They are an important part of the history of Nova Scotia that I never about learned in school.

It is interesting that many New Englanders came here in the 1700’s because they got free land in my favorite locations of the Annapolis valley and the South Shore.   How lucky were they.   Farmers and fishers were given boons it appeared.  In Grand Pre it was due to the ousting of the Acadians..  There are times in history when populations luck in to great situations.  This hasn’t happened lately for Generation X and beyond but before that things were fortuitous for a while too.

During Prohibition the Rum Runners up the coast also built nice houses due to their sneaky importations.   Money making often does best under temporary conditions and sometimes you have to move to take advantage of best case scenarios.  These things never last.  I got in on the end of the Japan boon but it is not so great these days for example.


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The market takes place under this Shakespearean building.

There were visitors in the visitors books from Eastern Canada and Northeastern US plus Germany though a few  Mid US show up as well.   In other books I have seen California or England.  License plates show a lot of Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey people are visiting here.  A few from Maryland as well  They are on to the cooler temperatures, ample space, less people and cheaper prices with the dollar exchange.  One NJ summer resident mentioned the great beaches and parks plus the nice people.  He forgot the local food especially in season produce as it is in the summer.  What more do you want?

A Maryland resident said he now flies up as driving through Conneticut and Massachusetts is too stressful.  We don`t realize how good we have it here.  Even with too many single lane roads there is still not much traffic.


It was warm enough to sit outside and we ate at  Charlotte Lane. It was nice but though the chowder that got me another stamp in my passport(see previous posts)  won an award I was slightly underwhelmed with the mini shrimp and average fish content  with veg.  No high quality shrimp, lobster or scallops.  It did have maple syrup which was OK.  My salad wasn’t bad.  The place has a good reputation but last year’s swordfish was bland so something is lacking though the location is nice.  My travelmate had a meat sandwich was was OK but again nothing special.  They have the bare bones but need to pump it up a notch.

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Maybe next year for the festival in Lockeport.   Here is a picture from last year.


Also Blue Rodeo was playing that weekend in Liverpool but I didn’t see that.  I did make it to the Jazz Festival in Halifax but found the bands mostly so so and the tent was not up to speed.  There was much less seating and a bandstand in the sun.   A drive to another part of town also found OK music with no seating so I didn’t get too much out of it.  About a band and a half but at least they were free.  Things change and often for the worst.  Happiness and freedom are a life long quest.