The Patio is Open!

It’s official, Pat’s Patio is open for the season!

Unlike our delusional false start in March when the sun was shining and the temperature was almost at 10° C above zero, today was a perfect day for the patio.  

It was a full patio with all the Girlz and husbands present and accounted for!  Today we not only cheered the opening of Patio season, but also celebrated a milestone birthday for one of our Patio Husbands.  Pizza, cake and some blue coloured cocktail mixed by our very own Mixologist and Patio Girl, Pat were served.  We toasted with some bubbly and happily the cork flew through the air, past the tree, down the hill and landed somewhere without breaking any windows.

 

Happy Birthday Derek!  But where is Pat?

It looks like the Patio Girlz are off to great start … stay tuned!

No road is too long when you’re in good company…

It has been two weeks since our Patiogirlz road trip and I purposely waited to be the last one to write my thoughts about our trip in case I needed to defend myself.  Kathy didn’t name names but I think I might be one of the snorers and my husband would back her up 100%!

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I have visited the east coast many times but experiencing the sites with the Girlz gave it a new perspective.   I was so excited for Pat as she was an East Coast Virgin; I loved Gwen’s excitement every time we saw a marker for the Trans Canada Trail and Kathy’s smile when she returned from her morning walks around Dalhousie Campus.  I loved when we each took a turn dancing in the lighted water feature in Quebec City; except Pat.  It could have been at that moment she realized this may be one of many embarrassing moments to come.

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My highlight of the trip happened in Inverness.   Gwen and I were entering the Co-op where two women, who were in a conversation, stopped mid-sentence and looked my way and said “Oh my God, she looks just like Cookie”.  That would be Cookie Rankin, from The Rankin Family, musical group from Mabou, just up the road.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the car to tell Kathy and Pat about my new celebrity status but what followed were fits of laughter as Pat said “Cookie Who? Cookie Monster”.

As silly as most of our antics are; we laughed till our bellies hurt or peed our pants! Ten days of laughter and friendship; memories I will treasure always! I just can’t wait to get on the road again!

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Happy Thanksgiving

The Patio Girlz took a break from our Friday night patio since we returned from the East Coast. Work, family and other fall activities (painting bedrooms, hosting parents, family birthdays and bringing in the geraniums before the first frost) kept us away from the patio.  The pouring rain didn’t help either!

Today was the last farmers market of the year.  I enjoy the farmers market and will pull myself out of bed early on Saturday mornings in order to buy fresh baking, preserves, and produce.  I don’t do this alone, Patio Pat is usually up and ready to go when I call with my 5 minute warning.

This morning when the market opened at 8am, it was raining.  Not an inconvenient drizzle but a full out rain.  Water poured off the tents, produce nicely arranged in bushel baskets were re-washed, and only a few hardy shoppers could be seen moving through the stalls.  If I didn’t have my heart set on fresh vegetables and baking for Thanksgiving, I would have rolled over and gone back to sleep.

Dressed in rain gear off we went to market in search of festive produce for the Thanksgiving table on Sunday.

Once the shopping was complete we needed to recover over a cup of java at #CoffeePublic where we began to plot our next adventure. Wait until the other Patio Girlz hear….

Rumor has it that #FrostedFlour, a new bakery in town, has the ‘best ever’ donuts. Pat and I felt strongly that we needed to test out this theory, so off we went.  Apparently, many others had heard the rumor as the store was full and we had to wait outside!  Not only were the donuts a work of art (sorry no pixs), I can heartily agree that the Chocolate Lovers donut truly is the ‘best ever’. I think I will try the butter tart donut next.

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Frosted Flour is a popular spot! The last day for the Port Hope Farmers’ Market

Patio Pat is game for almost anything, rain or shine.  This is one of the things I love about her. Similarly, Tracey and Kathy also embrace the crazy moments, the silliness, and bring their own kind of wit to everything we do.

Reflecting back on our road trip, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to have the Patio Girlz, Pat, Tracey and Kathy, in my life to share what ever comes our way.

Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers Patio Girlz!!

A Journey is Best Measured in Friends, Rather than Miles.

And so our trip is done and what will I remember the most?   I will remember the giggles, the chuckles, and the side-splitting laughter.  The birthplace of the mermaids, the mysterious message on the beach, the car karaoke, and the many other times when we were breathless in our hilarity.  Thanks to my friend Tracey for always being able to set me off with just a certain look.

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Now, don’t get me started, Tracey!

I will remember the enthusiasm with which we greeted each day and every side trip, whether our feet and legs were dead tired or whether we were wilted from the heat or chilled by the northerly winds.  Thanks to my friend and official trip photographer Gwen, who was almost always the first of us to greet a new place, scenic view, or opportunity with a passion that we could easily get caught up in.

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Another lovely selfie by Gwen.

I will remember the surprising outbursts from my friend Pat, the quietest one of the bunch, who would catch me off guard with her witticisms or insights.  We shared a lot of knowing looks in the back seat of the car, while we motored along the highways and byways.  I’ll remember her accounting skills, her widely-varied wardrobe (jealous!), and her lack of snoring when we shared a room (unlike others I won’t mention).  And although this photo is hardly flattering,  I’ll never forget our joint response to Tracey at the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, when she wanted to take our picture one more time…. (sorry Pat, I couldn’t resist)

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It was Pat’s idea!

I will remember Peter Webster, the friend I got to visit after thirty years apart.  It seems like just awhile ago that we shared classes in the Killam and beer at the Grad House. And I will remember the new people I met and would loved to have time to get to talk to longer and to know better.  Among them were: Tracey’s aunt Rita and uncle Steven from Oromocto, The Salmon Arm Girlz, the Bluenose Golf Club employee in Lunenburg, Michael at Lunenburg Bound Books,  the librarian at the Halifax Public Library (who took time to talk to Tracey and I about their young adults/teens programs and services),  Robert at the Curious Collector, Cape Breton Highlands Golf Club member Joe, Jennifer our St. Ann’s Bay airbnb host (whom I never met in person but am sure I would like), Peggy McPhee from Mabou, the Farmer’s Daughter market employee (who insisted I should take a chair when I asked her what minimum wage is in Nova Scotia — I thought I might need a job there because it seemed we were buying so much stuff one of us would have to stay behind), the family from Auckland, New Zealand at the Lobster Galley restaurant, and John Michael Wall at the MacAskill Museum.

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Me and Peggy McPhee

And finally, I will remember all of the people who liked our facebook posts or followed our blog.  You are our friends too, and we sure are glad you came along for the ride……

The title of this post is a quote from travel writer, Tim Cahill.  Thanks for summing it up so nicely, Tim.

And we are home! The Adventures of a Patiogirl.

Well we are back! ALL safe, sound and accounted for. We didn’t leave anyone on the side roads, even though there were some close calls, like when Tracey and Gwen decided to park us in some random driveway and run across the road to take yet another picture. Day 8

Anyone who knows me, knows how I dislike having my picture taken. As you can see from our blog……I gave up on that by day 3 after the mermaids made an entrance. I figured I better take some control as it was going to happen anyway. I learnt that Gwen and Tracey will take pictures of anyone and anything including random red chairs.20180920_111915

I absolutely enjoyed every moment of our adventures, so I won’t  choose just one of our super packed days of fun and laughter, ooohs! aaahs! and walking AND WALKING!

Being a bit of a History buff I absolutely relished  in the history related with this part of our country. The Titanic Museum, Pier 1,  The Old Quebec City, Lunenburg and on and on….

I met my new best friend Rita on this trip. Rita and her husband Steven entertained us twice. Thank you so much Rita and Steven. It was great meeting you. See you soon.

It really and truly was an awe inspiring journey. Please read our blog and walk through our travels with us.

 

Day 10 Homeward Bound

The Patio Girlz left Edmunston, NB this morning for home. The fall colour is just starting along the St John River creating an even more scenic drive.

We stopped for a nice picnic lunch in Quebec consisting of New Brunswick fresh rolls and tea biscuits, Ontario cheese, Nova Scotia blueberry jam, oatcakes and Gravenstein apples.

Over 5,000 km, 3 provinces, 1 lost earring, 1 lost pair of sunglasses, 10 bottles of wine and lots of seafood, the Patio Girlz arrived home safely, with a very full trunk!

Stay tuned for a few more posts from each of us!

Day 9 Farewell to Nova Scotia

We woke up to a true Maritime day with very gusty winds and rain.

Thanks to Jen and Jans, our Airbnb hosts in Englishtown for a wonderful place to call home for the last 3 nights.

Today, we were on a tight schedule, because we had a date for a home cooked turkey dinner with Rita and Steven in Oromocto.

But first, the Patio Girlz headed to St Peter’s to visit the MacAskill House Museum, the birthplace of Wallace MacAskill, a renowned Nova Scotian photographer in the early to mid 20th century. Never heard of him? Check out the Canadian dime for the Bluenose sailing vessel. It is based on a photograph by MacAskill. Kathy has a small collection of his black and white and hand-tinted photographs and was happy to see many others and learn more about this man. Shout out to our tour guide #Johnmichaelwall #MacAskill #explorecb

On our way back to the causeway, we passed River Bourgeois, which was the summer home to Farley Mowat for many years. Unfortunately time did not allow us to check out this village and Farley’s influence there.

So, we waved goodbye to Cape Breton and headed north to Amherst to visit #DeanneFitzpatrick rug hooking shop. What a wonderful studio with lots of finished rugs on the walls and some great kits to be purchased. Gwen gave lots of encouragement to the Girlz and now each of them have a starter kit! The Patio Girlz may soon become the Patio Hookers!

Our time was up and Pat started to corral the rest of us back to the car. (I think she really wanted turkey!).

A huge shout out to Tracey’s aunt Rita for preparing a delicious dinner with all the fixings. Turkey, gravy, stuffing,mashed potatoes, carrots and turnip, squash, cranberry jelly, and rolls!! As Kathy scooped mashed potatoes on her plate, she was heard to say, “I’m glad we aren’t having seafood!”

We finished off dinner with an ice cream birthday cake for Tracey! Her birthday is still a few weeks away so it certainly was a surprise for her.

Our final sightseeing stop for the day was at Hartland to see the longest covered bridge in the world. On our way to the east coast we promised Pat we would stop on the way back and she held us to it, even though it was dark! But when the time came, Pat stayed in the car so there are no pictures of her at the bridge…does that mean she really wasn’t there? Kathy was unable to get out because of the bags of Oromocto buns and scones that penned her in the backseat. After Tracey and Gwen left the car to snap a couple of selfies, they realized they had left the keys in the car with the same two Girlz who drove away and left them on the side of the road in Baddeck. So they hurried back to the car.

Another eventful day on the road for the Patio Girlz. Tomorrow we head home !

Day 8 The Celtic Shore

Today was our last day in Cape Breton. Believe it or not we are still talking to each other! However, there were a few tense but humorous moments early in the day when we parked in a driveway and Tracey and Gwen walked across the road to take pictures of a beautiful calm reflective bay. Suddenly, they heard the car drive off and they were left behind with Kathy and Pat heading down the road. Eventually our jokesters returned for us and we set off again.

It was a toe tapping kind of day, with the Patio Girlz travelling the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail and stopping at the #CelticMusicCentre located in Judique. This centre highlights the history and practice of Celtic music on Cape Breton. In their exhibit room, they offer fiddle and step dance lessons by video, which Kathy and Gwen attempted. They didn’t ask us to perform at the lunch time show, so maybe we still need to practice a little!

The Celtic coast has some amazing beaches and sand dunes and the Patio Girlz spent most of the sunny afternoon beachcombing and wading in the ocean. They also checked out a few shots by golfers at the Cabot Links golf course in Inverness, which runs right along the beach. Apparently we spent too much time searching for treasure, because Tracey loaded down the car with pretty beach rocks!

Today we saw 5 bald eagles, a fox, and several grouse, but still no moose, although we did almost get to take a roadkill grouse home until Gwen swerved at the last moment.

We finished our day with dinner at St. Anne’s Lobster Galley over looking the Bay.

A fine meal with fine friends..until Kathy jumped up and left the table to meet some new folks from Auckland New Zealand. She chatted up a local man on the way out.

#explorecb