Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cabot Trail – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia


Although we are writing this in late September we were actually drove the Cabot Trail in late July.

Written by Kathy:

We enjoyed our trip so much to this jewel of the Atlantic Provinces, known as Nova Scotia. Staying near North Sydney we could do day trips to various places, such as Louisbourg, the Alexander Graham Bell museum, and best of all, Cape Breton Highlands National Park! I can understand why the early settlers to this area would imagine it reminded them of home in Scotland. There are Highlands with steep roads, (over 12% grade) and wonderful ocean views all around the island. From dense forests to wind blown sub alpine mountains. The national park makes up most of the top half of the island. You can have a breath taking view of the Atlantic on one side and an awesome view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the other. Whales are often seen from the shore.


Shadows from the clouds on the Atlantic, looking hundred miles due east

IMG_6913 Green Cove Visa Point

Packing a picnic, we stopped for lunch at one of the places we had seen on our first trip in 2006! It was a warm day, people were sun bathing on the beaches and the few hearty ones were swimming in the sea! It is the spot where John Cabot the explorer was thought to have landed on his voyage back in June of 1497. A memorial statue is there to mark the spot. This was just 5 years after Columbus discovers America.

P1050061 John Cabot

We then traveled through the forests and up & over the ridge of the island to the northern side. Here there were several small fishing villages and coves, same as they have been for the last 50 years. One of the charming towns is Cheticamp. Many of the Acadians settlers live here, so the signs are in French and English. Acadians are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia (located in the Canadian Maritime provincesNova Scotia, New BrunswickPrince Edward Island, and Quebec)  During the French and Indian War, British colonial officers and New England legislators and militia executed the Great Expulsion of 1755-1763. They deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region. Approximately one third perished. Later on many Acadians returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada.


View looking back on the western side of Cape Breton Highlands


Baddeck – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia


Inside Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada at Baddeck, Nova Scotia

Although I am writing this in late September we were actually at Baddeck in late July.

Cape Breton Island is the northern most portion of Nova Scotia. We had been in this area briefly as part of a Birding Tour back in 2006 and wanted to return when we could travel and visit on our own schedule. One of the places we wanted to visit was the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada.

In 1885, Alexander Graham Bell’s family vacationed near the village of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island. in1886, they started building an estate near Baddeck, overlooking Bras d'Or Lake. (It means “Arms of Gold” in French, because there are so many extensions of the Lake.) Eventually, a large house, a large complex of buildings, including a laboratory would be built. Alexander Graham Bell would name the place Beinn Bhreagh (Gaelic: beautiful mountain). Over the next 30 years until the end of his life, Alexander Graham Bell and his family would alternate between there two homes, in Washington DC and Baddeck. The house is still in use by Alexander Graham Bell decedents and not open to the public.

Even after inventing the Telephone, Alexander Graham Bell continued to invent and worked on many different inventions; much of that work was done here in Baddeck.

As early as 1891 Alexander Graham Bell began working on motor powered aircraft. He began by creating tetrahedral box kite large enough to carry people. His first experiments with flying wings and airplanes also used tetrahedral boxes. Although, the Wright Brothers invented the first powered airplane, the first aircraft flight in Canada happened here at Beddeck on February 23, 1909. One of the things that Alexander Graham Bell and his crew invented was, the aileron (the wing flaps), a standard part of airplanes even today.


Tetrahedral box kite

In 1908 at Baddeck, Alexander Graham Bell started work on Hydrofoils. The results of this work would be that on September 9, 1919, Alexander Graham Bell Hydrofoil would set a world marine speed record of 70.86 miles per hour a record which stood for ten years.


Model of of Alexander Graham Bell's Hydrofoil

At the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada at Baddeck, Parks Canada has displays of many of the inventions that Alexander Graham Bell worked on during his many years there. They not only have a complete reproductions of Bell’s Hydrofoil but they also have the original Hydrofoil.

P1050037P1050038 P1050035

The front, center and tail of Alexander Graham Bell’s 1919 record setting Hydrofoil.


Fortress of Louisbourg – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia


First Glimpse of the Louisbourg Fortress

Although I am writing this in late September we were actually at Louisbourg in late July.

Cape Breton Island is the northern most portion of Nova Scotia. We had been in this area briefly as part of a Birding Tour back in 2006 and wanted to return when we could travel and visit on our own schedule. First on the list of places we wanted to visit was the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Louisbourg was established in 1713 with the Fortress being constructed from 1720 to 1740 to protect against enemy incursions into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The enemy being the British. It was also a base for French Privateers preying on British shipping from the American colonies.

In the seemingly never ending wars between England and France during the 1700s, Fortress of Louisbourg was captured by the British in 1745 and returned to France in 1748. During the French and Indian War in 1758 Fortress of Louisbourg was captured again by the British. At the end of the French and Indian War France was forced  to cede all of Canada to the British. In 1760 the British decided that with the Citadel in Halifax  they had no need for the Fortress at Louisbourg. They brought in gun powder and sappers and systematically blew up the the walls and every building in the Fortress of Louisbourg. The site remained relatively undisturbed until 1960 when Parks Canada started to rebuild Fortress of Louisbourg.  Although only 1/4 of the Fortress has been rebuilt it is still the largest historic reconstruction in North America and has many restored buildings. These buildings not only stand exactly where they did in 1760, but are mostly rebuilt with the very stones that where there in 1760.  The French had left behind very accurate drawings and plans to work from. Today there are many re-enactors in the Fortress as they have recreated a day in the 1740s. For those of you that have visited colonial Williamsburg it is similar but on a much grander scale.


The ornate entrance gate to the Fortress


The main sea port gate on the bay


Front of the Governor's Palace


Inside the chapel


Back of the Governor's Place


Higher view of the village within the Fortress

Slideshow of many more restored buildings

So much for getting the blog caught up!

It has been 3 weeks since our last blog entry and the blog is now 8 weeks behind “real time”. How did that happen? I don’t really know.

We still have to post pictures of our time in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and our return to Maine.

However, to answer the question “Where are you?”

Since I  last wrote we have been to New Hampshire and Mount Washington. Vermont for a visit with Kathy's Aunt & Uncle and a great sail on Lake Champlain with Montana Owners.COM friends Jim & Jan, a visit to New York’s Thousand Island area on the St. Lawrence river and a visit to Niagara Falls.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia



Located about 30 miles (in Canada it’s 45 kilometers) southwest of Halifax is the village of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. It is so postcard picture perfect,like walking through a Disney movie set.


The “Halifax Visitor Guide” describes Peggy’s Cove: “Peggy’s Cover is a place of great rugged beauty, hewn by the forces of nature. Dominated by its famous lighthouse, this tiny fishing community clings to land’s edge, its massive granite boulders worn smooth by the crashing waves. Its breathtaking natural beauty has made Peggy’s Cove one of the province's premier tourist destinations and one of the most photographed attraction in Canada”.




In other words: Peggy’s Cove is famous for being pretty. All I can say is watch the slideshow of this absolutely stunning place.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

P1040878Serene and still waterfront. IMG_6807 Theodore the Tugboat

After leaving St. Martins we moved on to the area around Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is a large city and the capital of Nova Scotia. It was founded in the mid-1600s as a British presence in what was then mostly French Canada. Due to its great natural harbor it became the primary base for the English Royal Navy and remains a major port.

P1040899 Port of Halifax

Halifax’s waterfront has walkways, shops and many restaurants. At it’s center is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic; the oldest and largest Maritime Museum in Canada. It has many exhibits about the maritime and naval history and the shipwrecks of the area. There are even items from the the Titanic.

IMG_6819 Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Exhibit

P1040892 One of the Titanic deck chairs

They also have a real navy ships, such as the last remaining Corvette, the HMCS Sackville, built in St. John, New Brunswick in 1941,  used in the World War II as a convoy escort. Of the 1000’s built during World War II by England and Canada. the HMCS Sackville is the only one left from that era.

IMG_6811 The Sackville, the last of the Corvettes used in WWII

Our visit to Halifax also included a tour of the Citadel National Historic Site. It happened to be "National Parks Day" so we didn't have to pay the entrance fee! Setting on top of a hill, overlooking the harbor, this was a formidable fort to protect the city and port. It was a bit warm that day, but clear skies, as we viewed the city and port of Halifax.


Halifax Citadel National Historic site


There was a living history demonstration of a Scottish Regiment doing parade drills, firing there muskets and cannons through out the day. You had to feel  sorry for those poor lads in all that wool, including kilts and big black bear hats. They demonstrated loading the canons and firing them! Those walls were echoing the sounds all over the place! Naturally, they had  a bagpiper playing the pipes on top of the walls to give you a real feel of what it was like! Inside the thick walls of the fort it was a lot cooler, though a bit dark and damp in some places.





Friday, September 3, 2010

How Did the blog get so far behind?

The blog is currently about 7 weeks behind “real time”. How did that happen? We have had a remarkable run of nice weather, have seen some magnificent areas and taken 100s of pictures. I guess our excuse is that we have been to busy too blog, download and edit pictures.

We still have to post pictures of our time in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and our return to Maine. However, to answer the question “Where are you?” We are currently in New Hampshire near Mount Washington. We will be here through the Labor Day holiday weekend before moving on to Burlington, Vermont.

The weather has turned Hot and Humid! Something that we have not experienced since back in May in Virginia. Our plan is to sit under the A\C, avoid the holiday traffic, avoid the holiday crowds and try to get the blog caught up.