Forests, rocks, boats, ships, water, lighthouses, hefty seagulls, pigeons, and ducks (mallards in a Halifax park twice the size of ours), seafood, tall blooming rhododendrons, and wild purple lupines (delphiniums?) are ever present. Wild animals? We saw two deer by the side of the road on two occasions. Keith thought he saw a beaver; we did see a beaver house by Baddeck, but those were the only animals or traces that we saw. We saw moose crossing signs, but no moose. I have no doubt that there are animals in all those forests which seem to cover Nova Scotia, but we did not see them. We were not that disappointed not to see them on the highway with our rental car, however.
Except for some rain and drizzle at Fort Louisbourg, we had either cloudy or sunny weather. In spite of a Nova Scotia saying that if you don't like the weather now, it will be different in 15 minutes, we had very consistent weather perfect for tourists.
Signs and announcements are in both French and English. Oral French seems to run words together more. It seems to take more words to say something in French, so maybe that's the explanation for that!
People seemed to have a very positive attitude. Service people seemed really happy to see us. Long winter! Halifax and Nova Scotia in general seemed to be like what Minnesota and Minneapolis may have been like 50 years ago in terms of density and small town atmosphere.
On the plane on the way to Halifax I noticed that the ring on the young man across from us was very golden and shiny in the sunlight. He occasionally leaned over and touched his face and lips to the woman next to him. A honeymoon couple, I assumed. Outside cloud formations were grand and dense, cloudscapes that looked like whipped egg whites. As we approached Canada, we looked down over Kennebunkport. Not a bad deal to spend winters in Texas and summers in what we saw (as Bush has for years). As we got closer to Nova Scotia there were unlimited numbers, it seemed, of islands dotting the water, all edged in pale pink. There were so many dots down there, I decided that apparently 7 days was a little short for creating the world.
As we taxied into the airport, we saw a German military plane, Luftwaffe, off to the side by itself. For us their immigration process was a matter of showing birth certificates and drivers' licenses, really routine. In the international section of the airport a large group, 50 or so, of German uniformed military filled the large room. They had grey jackets with the yellow standing lion insignia, some had a flower on the other shoulder (I assumed Eidelweiss?). I did not have a totally comfortable feeling, imprinted as I was as a child with adults' fears and discussions of the war. (The group may have been a musical marching group for a large program called the Tatoo -I surmised later).
As we headed into Halifax with the map from the rental car agency, we discovered a toll bridge. Perhaps 3 American quarters would have passed, but we pulled out of the line; Keith got out of the car to ask an attendant what to do. A van pulled up in the line Keith was trying to cross and the man inside handed Keith a token and kept on going. What a pleasant introduction to Halifax!
People kept asking us, "Are you going to the Tatoo?" What? Very soon we found out that the word has other meanings than ink under the skin. Apparently once a year military bands come from around the world and compete in a long and exciting program of marching and music. (They had videos of last year's program, but the price seemed high for how much we look at videos.) Fortunately, for population density, the Tatoo was the day after we left this year. Apparently many people travel to attend, filling the rooms, restaurants, etc.
Except for one night we stayed at bed and breakfast establishments. We discovered that teachers tend to use these, although we met people from other occupations also. It gave us an opportunity to exchange impressions of the politics surrounding education. The topics seem to be the same as here, particularly the cost cutting. They even closed one teachers' college because there were not enough jobs available. At the B & B in Halifax, we met musicians/ teachers from New Brunswick. One gave a colorful description of a Mormon student who brought his Bible to school, read passages and insisted he was right. The teacher said that she felt fearful about the boy's extreme confidence. He was in 7th grade. We brought up the topic of home schooling as much of that in U.S. is religion based. It does seem that the trend to home schooling is much less developed there and has more restrictions. We discussed the neurological findings that give some advantages to children who have musical training before age 14, as well as the Russian Orthodox book, taxes, etc. The B & B owners had emigrated from Virginia 25 years ago. The wife participated in the breakfast conversation as well as serving breakfast. The husband who had been in the U.S. military, recently had a quadruple bypass. Of course, the wife thought the Canadians get quite a bit for the taxes as he had been covered there. (He retained his military insurance also, but apparently that was not used?) I'm not sure the Canadians there were thrilled about that whole story. The Red River flood was another topic of discussion with folks from Vancouver and their German relatives in Halifax for a wedding.
When I was telling the B & B owner about the Germans in the airport, she started telling about her visitors from various places. Some Germans were very nice, she said, but she had one older couple in which the man insisted that Hitler was right! She has many Japanese also who are very polite. She has had some Koreans who brought kimchi into their rooms! Her biggest problem, she said, was that clients brought more people that had been agreed upon, emphasizing that they did not mind doubling up (of course, for the same price.) We said we had the same problem as landlords.
The harbor at Halifax is a wonderful source of ongoing entertainment. When we went down to the harbor, a long, low canvas covered grey boat was coming to shore. It looked like the scene in "The Russians are coming"! When it got to the dock, many men and a few women kept pouring out of this boat. One was reminded of the contests about how many people could fit in a Volkswagon. These were men who were taking their turn coming ashore from the U.S.S. Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier which was out in the bay. It was so huge and flat that it filled the space between St. George's Island and the shore. One could perceive it as a dam or a causeway. One Halifax woman said that she had taken her two grandsons down to see it, and they couldn't make it out. So it turned out that it was the Americans, not the Russians, who were coming!
I read in a newspaper that the Iroquois, a Canadian ship, was conducting maneuvers off Newfoundland; the ship's sailors had dropped an explosive device over the side with which the men were to conduct sonar tests. However, somehow they blew a hole in their own ship! They plugged the hole with wood and headed back to the Halifax harbor. We tried to find that ship in the harbor, but the Navy part of the shipyard was fenced off, and though I tried, I could not spot the Iroquois. I really wanted to see that ship!
Halifax also has a maritime museum which includes a boat on which the people did hydrography (underwater mapping). They spent their time systematically going back and forth in Hudson Bay for years, then drawing the lines on a map which showed underwater formations and floor. (It reminded me of how one would systematically find something in snow or grass.) Keith saw those charts and decided that it would be a boring job, but notes of one of the participants were quoted where he stated that many people would give their life savings for the peace that those mappers had. Another boat was a goose boat, used to hunt geese. It was low and white so as to hide, but in addition the boaters put ice chunks on it so it was really camouflaged . Such effort to fool geese. Also impressive there were the models of the Canadian liners and items from them.
The Nova Scotia art museum has many local artists featured. One who is considered famous was part of a group of Montreal artists called the automatistes. They were after a pure expression of feeling, just let the brush go, I guess. Of course, when I saw their exhibition of WWII art, I could sympathize with the reaction. Another artist whose work was being shown had painted various activities of the Inuit, thereby preserving knowledge of a culture which is changing. Some of the paintings of children's activities were especially engaging. The painting of the woman chewing on the moccasins to soften them as she constructed them certainly caught our attention.
In a corner of the second floor, there were two paintings which were the subjects of precedent in international law. During the War of 1812 a Venetian painter, Rosa, sent paintings to the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts. The French ship was captured by the English and these two paintings were sent to Halifax. Judge Croke of Halifax ruled on the ownership of the paintings. He stated that art and cultural artifacts were of a different category from other items, that they belonged to the original owners, and that the paintings should be returned to the Pennsylvania school. This law was used by the U.S. in regard to Nazi acquired art after WWII as a precedent for returning art to the place of origin. In appreciation of Judge Croke's ruling, the paintings were returned to Halifax in the 1950s. Perhaps politics were involved in that gesture.
Point Pleasant Park at one edge of Halifax contains several bunker and defense ruins by the water and a round fort on a hill nearby. These fortifications were built toward the end of the 18th century during times of international tension between England and the French. At this time the Citadel, the fort on the hill above the Halifax harbor, also received further construction from its simpler beginnings around the middle of the century. This fort is definitely upper class compared to Fort Snelling. It is basically a multi- pointed walled city with a deep ditch around it and a tunnel through the peripheral wall, and, of course, openings for cannons and mortar delivery systems. There were two masts on the top of the fort facing the harbor, one for signaling for merchant ships, so people knew what type of supplies was coming into the harbor, and one for military signaling. There were symbols representing the various types of ships. The military signals could be passed along the series of forts on the shore, including the installations on the shores of the park and the round fort on the hill in the park, as well as fortifications on several islands. The officers had metal slide out beds, so that the beds took up half as much room during the day as they did at night. The guards had slanted beds as they were always on duty. The less serious deviants were housed next to the guards, more serious folk were housed in more secure facilities. Wives could be at the fort with their officer husbands if they washed clothes for the fort personnel. The status of the fort went up and down depending on the international relations of the time. "Peace is the enemy of forts" was a quote in a video. Unfortunately, with the status of the fort went the status of Halifax, so that people's fortunes had not much to do with their own doing. During WWI and WWII the fort had a role in allied efforts, just as the fort had served a role in the Revolution in the U.S., the War of 1812, and the U.S. Civil War. In the 1950s the defenses changed to ships and missiles so the fort was turned over to the park system. It is now an historical park with actors representing 1860 when the fort was served by Scottish soldiers.
We walked around the downtown of Halifax. There are many small shops with crafts, gifts, and food. The government center is there. Some empty buildings and some excavations appear here and there. One excavation had three guards - sturdy, chest protruding pigeons standing down in the hole - guarding. They reminded me of civil patrol officers. We also visited two cemeteries which provided some more history lessons. The close connections of New England and Nova Scotia became evident in the cemeteries. The Keith family (of Keith beer) was buried in one of the cemeteries. The brewery building has been turned into a restaurant, though the beer label is still sold in Nova Scotia. A rhododendron the size of a tree had large pink blossoms which looked like peonies from a distance. In another really old cemetery the guidebook suggests that as many as 12,000 people were buried in a mass grave prior to 1850. Apparently, individual graves were not a custom, at least for lower classes at that time. Later in the present century, many people were killed (about 1600) in the Halifax fire, the largest peacetime explosion, and second to that of the atomic bomb, when a French munitions ship was hit by a Norwegian ship in December of 1917. This caused a great explosion, a great tidal wave, and a great fire, destroying the primary settled area of Halifax. The maritime museum has a special section for this tragic event in the city's history.
Before leaving home, Keith had located colleges and universities in Nova Scotia on the internet. Halifax is the home of the largest of the maritime universities, Dalhousie University. George Ramsay, the 9th Earl of Dalhousie (named after his home, Dalhousie Castle near Edinburgh) who was Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, used a "customs" resource (Castine, Maine) during the War of 1812 for funds to start a college, open to all, regardless of class or creed. He wanted the new college to be modeled on the university in Edinburgh, including the principle of religious toleration. After 50 years which included religious argument and faltering operation, the college began to develop toward its present 10,000 students and international reputation. Many historians and psychologists were listed on the current faculty roster. The university also has an art museum, and a center for the study of public policy. It turned out that it was just a few blocks from our B & B. While we did not meet anyone there, we did drive around the buildings, but the art museum, our goal, was closed that day of the week. This university certainly seems worthy of further exploration and acquaintance.
We left Halifax and drove north and west, crossing the causeway to Cape Breton Island toward Baddeck on Lake Bras d'Or where we stayed at a farm B & B. The folks there were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, had grandchildren who played the violin, a daughter-in- law who was in the Amsterdam philharmonic orchestra, their son from London who worked for the Small World computer company. (We had just received advertising from that company before leaving home.) The disappointment was that he slept so late that Keith did not use his computer to check our e-mail with the disc he had brought. Another son and his family from Alberta asked us questions about the Red River flood. The fact that Keith had two siblings in that region gave us some first hand information on that topic. We saw two violins under the grand piano, so I asked one of the boys, about 10, if he played the violin. His immediate response was, "How do you know?" He seemed worried about what cues he could possibly be giving for that violin playing! We went into Baddeck and had good lobster at Wong's restaurant on the lake where they played Scottish music. As we traveled on the roads for the next days, we saw many patches of mostly purple, but also pink, and white lupines growing wild along the roads, a beautiful sight with pines or lakes in the background.
The main attraction at Baddeck (besides the scenery consisting of the lake and low forested mountains) is the Bell Museum. This museum focuses on Alexander Graham Bell who had a summer home (the grandchildren still spend summers there) near Baddeck on the high point of one of the hills. We could see the hill, but not the home itself, just a picture of the mansion, but at the museum we were able to follow highlights of his home and life. He immigrated to the U.S. as a child with his family. Two of his siblings had died from TB in Edinburgh, and when Bell became ill, his father decided that the family had to go to a healthier place. Bell's father and grandfather had been teachers of the deaf. Bell also taught deaf people, and considered himself more a teacher of the deaf than an inventor. He married a deaf woman who had previously been his student. The family had invented a glove which looked like beginning sign language with sounds and letters on the fingers. His scientific endeavors were very exciting. Of course, we were familiar with the telephone experiments, but the actual movie footage of his experimentation with flight (with different types of airplanes) and the size of Bell's hydrofoil boat were very impressive. One of his flying buddies was killed, and another, Curtis, started a U.S. airplane company. They, like the Wright brothers, began with bicycle expertise. Bell's wife, Mabel, was a big influence, supporter, and recorder for the air experimentation.
We went from Baddeck to Fort Louisbourg on the east coast of Cape Breton Island. This is a reconstruction of a town within a fort of 250 years ago when the French controlled that part of Canada. About 1/3 of the town has been reconstructed with many attractive stone two and three story homes, especially those of the managers. We sat in front of one looking out at the Dauphin gate of the fort which framed the bay while we ate fried apple pies with very tender crusts. In 1744 France declared war on England. The New Englanders from the U.S. felt their safety threatened and decided to capture the fort for England in 1745. They were successful, but under instructions from England, they had to remain there, cold and hungry, over the winter. There were about 900 casualties, 100 of which were the result of a colonist letting out a whoop as they overpowered the fort's first line of defense on an island in the bay. They were quite distressed when two years later the fort was returned to the French in 1748. The French tried to get the Acadians who had good farms west of the fort to resettle nearer the fort (Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island) to provide food for the town, and also to resettle under the French flag (the English now had control of Acadia). A few did move, but suffered greatly from cold, hunger and disease; some went back to France, but most did not wish to move as long as either the French or English (which ever controlled their area) left them alone. France then lost the fort to the English in 1763 in the Treaty of Paris. England destroyed the fort and forced the Acadians out of their settlements. A few remain on Cape Breton Island, but most were sent back to France or on journeys with some going as far as Louisiana (still under France) to settle (now Cajuns). Longfellow's story of Evangeline is based on a woman's experience in this exodus.
This fortified town of Louisbourg and its history brings one to a sharp realization of the importance of fish and fishing grounds in the centuries preceding us. While we hear much about the fur trade in Minnesota and Canada north of us, fur was considered only 1/3 as monetarily important as fish. Since the 1200s the Basques had set up fishing and whaling camps in Newfoundland, perhaps following the whales to the Newfoundland fishing area. France wanted control of the fishing industry, as did England. When France began to control the international fishing (fish was a big food and export item for the country which controlled the seas), Basques still provided expertise for them. It appears that much of the interaction of France and England during several centuries was based on fish as a major item. It suggests that one could do a history of events based upon whatever commodity has been most sought after in each given era. (In our time oil is a major commodity.)
A wood horse with a body made of one upright plank was used for punishment; the person being punished would have to sit on the narrow edge of the plank for long periods. There was also a large chapel and priest's quarters. The fort also contains a museum about the people who helped organize the movement to reconstruct the fort, as well as an exhibit of China export porcelain. The shore area of the fort was used for boat landings, fish salting and fish preparation for export.
Fishing was also big business at Lunenburg south of the fort and Halifax The bright red connected buildings along the shore are frequently photographed. Apparently, England had recruited Germans to settle there where they fished and built boats. Keith observed the demonstration of their "make and break" engines used in earlier times. The repair kit consisted of pliers, hammer, crescent wrench and screwdriver. Also the museum at Lunenburg had exhibits showing how fish are split and salted. A fish earbone exhibit showed a vibrating part of the ear, the otolith, which provides scientists with data on the age of the fish and times of unusual stresses. In the first year this flat structure has rings which develop, one a day, and then more slowly after. It looked like a slice of agate or rock with rings much like a log or tree stump.
We did not go in the direction of Glace Bay which has a coal mining museum; the miners even mined coal under the ocean! Coal has been a very large industry for Nova Scotia, and a dangerous one. As late as 1992, 22 men were killed in a mining accident. Instead we headed toward the causeway which took us to Cape Breton Island. We drove up and around the tip of Cape Breton Island on the route called the Cabot Trail which is beautiful, if long, and involves ups and downs and switchbacks. More than once I was happy that we had not tried this route in the motorhome, though it probably wasn't as challenging as getting over Beartooth Pass on the way to Yellowstone in the motorhome (Keith thought it was the flat route in!). We stayed at an inn on the ocean side that had the most beautiful lighting on lavender and white lilacs that I have ever seen. (Yes, lilacs were blooming all over Nova Scotia -we could have spring twice in the same year!) The light intensified both the white and the lavender, giving the lilac blooms special depth and luminescence. The TV announced a remodeled golf course reopening with great testimonials of praise by golfers at Ingonish (on the ocean side of Cape Breton) while we were in the area.
While at the inn we watched a TV show called Canada Air Farce. Two people served as commentators, one man with Viking horns and a woman with a Russian drawstring blouse doing the ESL news. The news was along the line of this example: Yeltsin is still not dead. The Miss America contestant from Newfoundland was disqualified for punching someone in the mouth in a bar. Later an opinion person came on from Newfoundland protesting the treatment of their candidate, claiming that the only way to get into a crowded bar in Newfoundland was to punch someone so they'd leave! What was even more incredible was the evangelist who quoted a Bible verse on the sin of pairing a horse and an ox. He requested hands for those guilty of such and so on. He so had the characteristics of an evangelist that Keith said he must have raised in such an environment. Keith also said that he wouldn't be able to be on the air in the U.S.; it would be too offensive to fundamentalists. Similarly would probably be the case of the interview with the "Pope" in which he said that they can change only one idea per century. Probably none of it could go on the air in the U.S., but it was all very funny and gave the impression that Canada has more free speech then the U.S. They have a web site that we will consult. As we do at home we read papers and sometimes watched TV news. The big news of those days that involved the U.S. was the U.S. unwillingness to settle the fishing rights, its unwillingness to sign the anti-land mines treaty which is being sponsored by Canada, and the Supreme Court's striking down part of the Brady Bill which involves police checks on gun buyers. It is illegal to have a handgun in Canada and permits are given out very sparingly. Nova Scotia's law on bike helmets was just going into effect. They are also very environmentally oriented. Steps have been taken to reduce and restrict smoking. Two important politicians died suddenly when we were there, one and up and coming one in his 40s who was expected to move on to higher office. There seems to be efforts to further develop a party based more on labor as their "liberals" have moved toward conservatism there too.
The Cabot Trail has beautiful scenery, forests, rocks, water and the beach where Cabot may have landed in 1497. We stopped at the landing site at the tip of Cape Breton Island. The sign points out that his name was really Caboto and that he was a Venetian. Didn't the history books call him an English explorer? An explorer for England is not the same as an English explorer. Cultural imperialism?
The Queen of England was in Canada during the time we were there, but we did not see her. The TV, however, provided hours of coverage. She was there to help celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cabot's landing (possible landing). The indigenous people of Labrador protested their situation to the queen. The protesters wanted their own representation, separate from Quebec. The queen was very cordial; she even disappeared momentarily into one of their leather tipi like houses.
On the way to Pleasant Bay, on the St. Lawrence Seaway side of the island, we drove along the north edge of Cape Breton Highlands National Park where we stopped at a sheepcrofter's hut made with stone and a thatched roof. A professor had donated the land and the money for the hut to honor the sheepherders who has come to the shores of New Breton Island and raised sheep there. These people were part of the group who emigrated as a result of the Clearances policy in Scotland. There was a very tender inscription about the ocean being between them and the Hebrides, but they were still connected. The park had old maple trees (250-300 years old) and a creek with waterfalls as well as a wider river with rocks and ripples. It was a welcome break from highway driving with many sharp turns and switchbacks in the road.
At Pleasant Bay we stopped at a little store for lunch provisions and a newspaper. The owner explained that we couldn't have a newspaper, because they were all subscription papers which had not been picked up yet, though in some cases, the papers were several days old. After driving more switchbacks, we came close to the top of the mountain above Pleasant Bay where we sat, looked out over the town and ocean and ate our French bread and jam. An exhibit at the lookout there showed newspaper accounts of the fire in the late 40's which destroyed the town and many acres of forest on the mountains around. Evidence of tree skeletons can still be seen along the highway a great distance from the town way up into the mountains.
Some of the Acadian descendants who now live on the St. Lawrence Seaway side of Cape Breton island at Cheticamp have made it the rug hooking capital. One woman had produced two wall size rugs, one with U.S. presidents and background historical events such as the space launch, and the other with Canadian premiers and Canadian events. Even the little coasters though were expensive, so we only have a postcard souvenir. We did watch a demonstration and I had a conversation about the hobby of rugmaking and cats. Our David had a rug hooking project for art in junior high school which was half done. We went out for a few hours. When we returned, the cat had used his rug for a scratch pad. Emotions ran high; I rehooked the rug. The woman doing the demonstration said that she noticed that when she would come back to work on her rug that some stitches were missing. She discovered that the cat was clawing it from underneath (hers was on a horizontal frame).
We stayed in Antigonish at the Shebbe B & B which had new competition on the same block. The new place was a large Victorian, a former Bishop's home, recently remodeled for upwards to a million dollars, with a new sign done up in deep mauve, black, and gold. The owners were so worried about vandalism that they took the sign in at night. They were a teacher (the wife) and her music store husband. The teacher, apparently, is not well liked, so maybe there is reason for suspicion. Anyhow, the sign could be for something other than a B & B in its gaudiness. The son of the owner where we stayed had suggested to his mother that she should rename hers the Shabby Shebbe B & B. In spite of this humorous evaluation, our B & B host provided a very attractive room with a whirlpool and a great breakfast of French toast with French bread and sausages. The other guest was a young woman who had to "write" an exam in biochemistry at the local college that morning. We could compare educational methods and clarify some pronunciations such as Lake Bras d'Or with her. That night we had time to walk around the town and buy instant soup and sausage. Near the grocery store young guys were skateboarding in a parking ramp (ground floor), back and forth with leaps on the railing, coming down hard with and without their skateboards. The peculiar noises associated with skate boards revived memories of Lars and his friends and the enthusiasm of those in the young teenage years.
We were very excited for our next stop - the tides of the Bay of Fundy. These tides result in very large change in water level. The tide is squeezed into the Minas Basin, taking 12 hours to come in and 13 hours to go out, so that the tides can collide with a high water wall - 85 feet at the highest-especially noticeable in the spring and with a full and new moon. We were not there at those times and did not see the tidal bore. I wish we could have seen that, but we did see the tide out and in and the difference at Parrsboro. When it's out, there are acres of mud and oak tree like leaves clinging to rocks as far as we could see; when it comes back in, the water level rises up the beach 13 meters. Keith stood on the shore of the rising water; it rises very fast on the inclined shore, about a foot a minute, so Keith had to move pretty quickly to keep his shoes dry. The land which contains the lighthouse becomes an offshore island. We saw people out collecting mussels in the mud at a distance, but where we were we only occasionally saw shells or those oak leaf like plants clinging to the rocks or loosely lying around.
We went to a museum regarding the Fundy Bay area which showed the different periods that the area had undergone, rich growth of vegetation, desert and what it looks like today. We bought some cut geodes with agate like edges and crystals in the middle and one uncut one for Jason to open. When I hit it with a hammer at home (he wanted it open but couldn't bring himself to hit it) it too had crystals inside.
We began driving back to the Atlantic side and Peggy's Cove. We found another B & B near Great Village. The house was a grand pillar type house with a large yard which had been moved from the village years ago and refurbished by people from New York. The living room had original murals of scenes on the wall. The owners were a principal of two elementary schools and her husband who was retired from the DNR. They served tea and bars when we came there that evening and a great breakfast of fruit, bacon, and scrambled eggs on an English muffin on beautiful dishes (English) with fruit painted on them. The teapot had large blueberries on it. At the B & B we met two retired teachers, one of whom had worked for their Department of Education. Of course, we traded information on education. Again, the problems seemed similar to ours. What was especially interesting were Truman's (the husband's) stories about the Great Village nearby where he had grown up. He said a writer describing the village said the whiteness of the buildings reflected the purity of the inhabitants. Truman reflected, however, that it was more like Peyton place and that he could describe a whole variety of activities, including incest (father-daughter), that went on as he was growing up. When asked if he could come back and fit in, he answered no, that he couldn't fit in there anymore; he and his wife live in Halifax.
When we left Great Village we were on our way to Lunenburg and Peggy's Cove. We stayed at Lovers Lane Cottages in a little white cottage built partly on rock outcropping and partly on grass. We could step back a half century there with the white painted antique table covered with printed oilcloth and small white chairs. I noticed that the dishes and silverware were from China, though. A little outside deck contained two Adirondack chairs for watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. Next to us was a Japanese couple who filmed the sunset from their deck. The scene at various times included fishing boats, seagulls, and a cormorant which dived repeatedly. The seagulls were right there when it came up, probably to grab what they could out of the cormorant's beak. A neighboring boat owner spend much time moving his boat out, leaning over the end of the boat, and pulling on ropes. The cottage owner thought the man might be testing his anchor, as the boat hadn't been moved in years. Near the cottages and at Peggy's Cove are barn like structures on stilts which have a deck over the water which seem to provide a roof for the fishing boats. These houses. the rocks, and the boats reminded us of the book, Skrallan and the Pirates, about a little Swedish girl who lives on an island with her family in the summer and gets into much trouble. "Skrallanland" is what it looked like there.
Peggy's Cove is supposed to be the most photographed spot in Nova Scotia. It is like Minnesota's Gooseberry Park on a much grander scale. There is a very large area of huge rock outcroppings on the shore with a lighthouse out on the edge. Even on a Saturday evening in June there was a steady stream of cars driving up to the lighthouse. I have read that in the summer it is so crowded that one should arrive by 9:30 to avoid large crowds. Perhaps I had seen so many lighthouses by then, but I found the boathouse constructions with their fishing boats lining the small cove also very picturesque. The cove was lined on each side with a row of land-level sheds with large doors opening onto decks held up by poles in the water which formed a "water garage" for the boats. There is also a large granite wall where a local artist had honored the fishermen by carving many figures representing fishermen and their activity.
We left Nova Scotia to contend with the reality of the Detroit airport!