Day 7 The Cabot Trail – “Where the mountains meet the sea.”

Failte (Welcome)! It was a busy day for the #PatioGirlz. We drove the Cabot Trail counter clockwise starting at our Englishtown Airbnb. Shortly after hitting the road, we had our first sighting of a bald eagle. Watching through the sunroof, this majestic bird flew directly overhead for a few minutes before heading over the water.What a thrill!

A couple of our stops included beachcombing to look for small pieces of driftwood and unique pebbles. During one beachcombing stop, we met a golden retriever named Jada and her human.

The Trail provides some spectacular vistas, making the frequent road construction stops and steep inclines and “S” turns well worth it.

Other wildlife seen along our way included a herd of seals and the elusive Nova Scotia black “wolf”. It may have actually been a Black Lab on the side of the road, but we couldn’t be sure! We had several false sightings of eagles throughout the day that went something like this: “There’s an eagle!” ” No, it’s a hawk!” “Oh, it’s a crow!”

We had a brief encounter with Joe at a lookout on the way into the Keltic Lodge. He pulled in on his way to the golf course and offered to take our picture, stating he does this all the time. Even Kathy did not envy him his golf date, since the wind was a nor’easter and quite cold.

Our lunch stop was at The Rusty Anchor in Pleasant Bay. According to the National Geographic Traveller magazine, We ate the ” best lobster rolls on the Cabot Trail” and I think I can agree. Kathy had her first feed of mussels and shared them gladly with the others.

In Cheticamp we stopped at Lola’s where everyone is “Proud to be Hookers”. Rug hookers that is. Beautiful handiwork by local ladies and unfortunately a declining art form in the area.

BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!! The ceilidh in Baddeck was sold out tonight. We came home to the Airbnb for an at home meal and a few drinks, which lead to even more laughs!

Day 6 Cape Breton

If you are following the #PatioGirlz you will have already seen that we have arrived in Cape Breton! The rain did not dampen our spirits as we motored along Hwy 105 stopping at the #RedBarn for lunch and a look through the gift shop. Of course our lunch stop included a group selfie at the Cabot Trail sign with our new selfie stick!

The highlight for the day was the Ceilidh this evening at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s. A ceilidh is a social event with music, dance and stories traditionally held in kitchens. (Unfortunately, Paul McCartney did not make a guest appearance ).

A variety of reels, jigs, waltzes, and ballads were played by four very talented young adults. It is wonderful to see Cape Breton’s younger generation embracing this musical tradition. The music kept our toes tapping, the stories keep us laughing and the waltzes brought a tear to the eye. As one of the performers said these musical get togethers are a place to gather with “the friends you haven’t met yet”. And that’s the truth.

#gaeliccollege #dawnandmargiebeaton #petermacinnis #haileelefort #capebretonchats

The Selfie Stick

Given this was our first road trip together, the Patio Girlz didn’t think of bringing a selfie stick. Roll your eyes all you want, a selfie stick is a necessity when trying to capture pictures with all four of us included. I have many rejected pictures that are missing a face or the landmark itself. So the search for a selfie stick began in Halifax on day 3. Not a stick was to be found!

It was in Lunenburg where we finally found our Selfie stick! Shout out to the ladies at the Pharmacy, Mary and Natasha for retrieving one off a back shelf and showing me how to use it. Our selfies have improved already, but you be the judge!

Finding Farley in Lunenburg.

I couldn’t resist stopping in a bookstore today called Lunenburg Bound Books. Not a far cry from my own business name of Homeward Bound Books. Took a quick look around and happened to overhear the owner in conversation with another book dealer about a book he had just acquired. A first edition of Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf, with the double dust jackets. We chatted about our mutual connections to this iconic Canadian – that he spent his summers in Nova Scotia and winters in Port Hope and that I am a proud Port Hope Public Library board member, where a bronze bust of Farley now sits in Farley’s Lookout on our library’s second floor. In the end, I bought the book to add to my own Farley inventory and I also picked up a store t-shirt. There is a saying on the shirt that reads “Arguably, one of Lunenburg’s top three bookshops”. “How many bookstores are there in Lunenburg?”, you might ask. Three.

Day 5 South Shore, Nova Scotia

The Patio Girlz ventured out of Halifax to the South Shore today. After significant discussion on the merits of starting at Peggy’s Cove and finishing at Lunenburg vs the reverse order, we chose to start at Lunenburg and work our way back to avoid the cruise ship day excursions that start at Peggy’s Cove.

Our first stop was the Bluenose Golf Course across the Bay from the Lunenburg waterfront where we went to take in the view. Kathy would loved to have played the nine hole course with the ladies league but sadly her clubs didn’t fit in the car and were left at home. Instead Kathy chatted with a Club employee about the course and picked up a ball marker.

Lunenburg is a hilly seaside town with buildings in stunning colours from the maritime pallet and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Girlz parked strategically to minimize the number of steep hills to climb. We wandered the streets exploring the shops for maritime treasures.

Our next stop was Mahone Bay, another quaint seaside village. We enjoyed a lovely seafood lunch at #Rebecca’s, sitting on the patio looking over the Bay with its vista of three churches and more colourful wooden buildings.

Our final stop was #Peggy’s Cove, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province. The good news was that, as we drove in, five tour buses were leaving; the bad news was it started to drizzle! We Patio Girlz are a hearty bunch and headed for the lighthouse wearing our matching hoodies.

The drizzle turned to rain and we weren’t able to explore the village so we headed back to Halifax for a late dinner.

Tomorrow we head for Cape Breton and its famous seaside trail.

Day 4 Halifax

Another hot sunny day in Halifax. The #Patio Girlz started the day with a walk through the #Halifax Public Garden, a traditional Victoria Garden. Many of the flowers were still in full bloom and beautiful.

Pat felt she was back in Guyana at the Botanical gardens. She looked for the Manatees but found this weird looking goose. Apparently it is a Toulouse Goose that lives in the park.

Meanwhile, on the waterfront still no viewing of Paul McCartney. However over at Pier 21, the Patio Girlz met our west coast counterparts, a group of four women from Salmon Arm, BC. They seemed to be having a lot of fun too!

We finally had our first east coast seafood at #Murphy’s down on the waterfront. Lobster rolls, chowder, and fish and chips went great with the “Tall Ship Lemonade”. As we enjoyed our drinks and meals we were greeted by the Salmon Arm Girlz on their way by.

Not as many laughs today as we learned more about two devastating marine disasters: the sinking of the Titanic and the Halifax explosion. Seeing the rows of grave stones of the Titanic victims at the cemetery caused us all to reflect on how precious life is.

The journey continues tomorrow with a trip to the South Shore. Please stay tuned.

A trip down Memory Lane.

Wow, hard to believe it’s been 30 years since I last saw the city of Halifax. Some looks much the same. Other parts have lots of new construction and buildings that I couldn’t recognize at all. Was able to catch up with a Library School friend, Peter Webster, who very kindly invited all of us to his house for dinner. It was great to reminisce about others we went to school with and to hear about his world travels. Incredibly, though he couldn’t recall some of the people I could, he did remember the brand of bicycle I rode back in the day. Went for a walk around campus this morning and was surprised at how memories fool you. I could have sworn the Killam Library, where I spent two years studying was oriented in a totally different direction!! Oh well, that’s aging for you. Couldn’t find the street of colourful houses I used to ride my bike down each day either but I’m going back to look again. A crossing guard told me the area had been farmers’ fields before the houses in the area were built. “I’m not quite that old” I told her, “to remember that”!

Through the Halifax Public Garden and down the hill to explore the waterfront, we continued our adventures…..

Highlight of my day was a visit to the new Halifax Public Library. It is an absolutely stunning building with five floors of open space, lounging spaces, meeting rooms and carrels, media room, cafes, rooftop patio and of course books. The view from the top floor over the downtown and harbour is well worth the visit. A real contrast to the old building across the road. As I told the Girlz, if only I had been offered the job I once interviewed for at HPL, I could have been CEO by now and the new building would been mine!