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.


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.