We arrived in New Brunswick, thus making our final transition into Canada. We stayed at the Sussex, KOA which was part of a complex that included a drive-in theater that was showing Thor – Love and Thunder later that evening. The pool wasn’t crowded which was unusual, so we decided to go for a swim and I got in a half hour of intense swimming!
After the sun set, we sat on the picnic table for a clear view of the screen, turned on the radio to the specified channel to get audio, and watched the movie from the convenience of our RV spot – how fun was that!
We set out the next day to Fundy National Park along the bay of the same namesake, and onto Hopewell Rocks. We wound up doing a coastal hike thinking it would take us right up to the shoreline but it didn’t – otherwise, we got a long hike through the woods which wasn’t so bad. We ended up in Herring Cove just as a thunderstorm blew up the bay. Fortunately, we didn’t get the full brunt of it, but the winds were blowing up pretty hard and we worry about the rig when they threaten fifty-mile-an-hour winds. Fortunately we escaped its wrath.
We headed out to the famous Hopewell Rocks thinking it would be a bit like Bandon, Oregon, where you just park up and walk along the beach to really cool rock formations. As it turned out we had to pay to get in and it’s like a production line; we hiked for about fifteen minutes down a well-trod trail, followed by several flights of stairs that lead us down to sea level.
The formations are mesmerizing and at low tide tourists pile in to walk around the beautifully sculpted “flower pots.” We wandered around the rocks, trying to dodge the other tourists, both greedy and patient to get shots that weren’t diluted with the selfie-obsessed. The formations are quite captivating with swirling carpets of seaweed covering their base, sheathed in a deep teal green that I had not seen before.
Much like Bandon, I felt like I was in a surrealistic painting where landscapes are exaggerated into impossible shapes, but they somehow make sense. The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world; when the tide comes in at an astounding fifty feet, you can only gain access by boat – when the tide is out it becomes a wonderland with tidepools, cool formations and several caves for the curious to explore. Many of the rocks looked as though they could have been an inspiration for the faces at Easter Island.
We ended the day in Alma at a nice restaurant that only had seating outside. It was blowing pretty hard and then the horizontal rain came – we thankfully got moved under the porch when other diners finished, though it was getting rather chilly. Then as fast as the storm came, it ceased, and the clouds started to break up. We ended the day with the best sunset on our trip so far.
I had done nearly 20,000 steps and almost 8 miles, so was pretty exhausted, but we got a real feel for New Brunswick and its magic.
I slept hard that night and we managed to rest up the next day as we headed to Prince Edward Island, passing over the Confederation Bridge that spans an impressive eight miles. It is a heck of a thing. We have now entered the breadbasket of the region; fields of corn, wheat and potatoes spread across the afternoon horizon, kissed by the sea and sun. The region is known for its potatoes that are rich in minerals due to the iron content of the soil. Here the weather remained in the 70’s which is considered hot by the local residents 🥵 Nothing looked dried out as it would be in Portland by now. The well-manicured lawns and flowers hugged the highway looking as though we were in a springtime paradise vs. mid-summer.
We explored P.E.I the next day, visiting the famous Anne of Green Gables farm. Her legacy permeates the island with stores, chocolates and inn’s named after her that seems like a contradiction to her ideology. The farm is well-kept with working gardens and a path through the woods takes you into a childhood playground filled with ferns and streams. Being as touristed as it is, you don’t get too much privacy and I wondered how many modern-day children actually get the chance to roam the woods freely as I did; to sit in contemplation of a babbling brook, feeling free, yet interconnected in those secret places where a child’s imagination weaves a web of delight, embracing the creatures of the forest. In our overcrowded society it seems more like an exception where soon, we will need to pay a premium to enjoy. I bought her book at the giftshop, suspecting I will find it wonderfully relatable.
As we drove along the coast, we stumbled upon a stately and curvaceous hotel known as Dalvay by the Sea. It is prestigious enough to have warranted a visit by William and Kate during one of their tours. The wrap-around porch with a view of the sea makes you want to sit, chat and read for the afternoon. We decided to have lunch in their dining room; I had a lobster roll for a substantially lower cost than the one I had at Bar Harbor! The warm breeze and being surrounded by quietude in a white linen setting made for a memorable lunch. It was a far cry from the bustling restaurants and RV dinners we’ve been having for quite a while now.
We eventually detached ourselves from our revelry and finished exploring the coastline, stopping at the picture-perfect Covehead Harbour Lighthouse that sits upon the dunes.
On our back to our campsite, we parked up in Charlottetown that has a Victorian quarter complete with a towering basilica. The town has lovely restored buildings, and though the street with the shops and eateries isn’t very long, the local coffee bistro does a mean latte. This topped off another lovely day in the Maritimes.
We headed out the next morning to Nova Scotia passing over the Confederation Bridge once more – this time they charged us a toll that was a hefty $50.00 Canadian which is $40.00 U.S. I suppose they need to justify the building and maintenance of this monumental piece of infrastructure.
We skirted the coastline of New Brunswick, passing through yet more picture-perfect coastal settings on our way to Caribou, Nova Scotia. We stumbled upon a lavender farm that I didn’t want to leave; I expressed this desire to the owners who acknowledged their place in Nirvana. In addition to the lavender fields, they had a farm house surrounded by vegetable berms, flower beds and planter boxes. The scene was then topped off with a pond and large gazebo. My mind was bursting with imaginings of what we could do to replicate these ideas in France. We completed our tour at the gift shop, immediately greeted by a long sigh of lavender that echoed its scent back to the RV, where we stuffed sachets behind our pillows and spritzed the room spray to enlighten our space.
Driving through the Maritimes we have passed a beautiful array of bird life including bald eagles, ospreys and the elegant Blue Heron. They are in abundance here and reminds me of our home in Portland, Oregon where we lived not far from the Sauvie Island Nature Reserve.
We overnighted at Harbour Light Campground that had its own private beach. We took a stroll and watched the fishing boats come in. We dined on salmon and enjoyed the ocean breeze that kept the rig at a perfect sleeping temperature.
We headed out to Cape Breton, driving along its dramatic shoreline. Our next destination was the Waves End RV park that boasted spacious spots that came right up to the shoreline. We had an ocean view interrupted by one class A but I could still see the surf, feel the breeze, smell the rarified air. Unfortunately, we arrived just as a storm system came in and pummeled us off and on for a couple of hours. This warranted spaghetti in the Instapot. I really don’t mind the occasional storms, just so long as no one gets injured. Since the winds were blowing a bit of a gale, we cozied up for the evening with a short break to walk along the seaside. We watched the sun go down though we were confused as to the direction of the sun since we didn’t think we were facing west. We actually were but we are used to seeing the sun set from the west coast😂
We ventured out the next day to hike the Skyline Trail along the famous Cabot Trail System of Cape Breton. The Canadians are so well organized: They always have ample parking and special spaces for RVs. The trail was well-groomed and while busy, I found some solitude amongst the boreal forest boasting fragrant balsam fir while Bob took a separate loop. They reserved part of the park for the balsam seedlings to grow, it was fenced in to keep out the deer and moose who view these delicate shoots as a delicacy.
I kept pace with the cooling breeze, strolling along my private preserve set amongst the balsam and wild things where I always feel at peace; the trees are my temples, the sky is my heaven, the flowers and ferns my altar – dancing in the wind as wild things do. Overhead, the gulls transform into winged angels, having made peace with the tempests, gliding amongst the towering cathedrals of cumulus that become one with the sun.
Eventually arriving at the boardwalk you have a view over the vast seascape. The planked walk cascades below for a distance with lookouts and benches where you can contemplate the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the surrounding cape. You do quite a few steps on the way back up😅
We drove along the rugged coastline on our way to Cheticamp; Bob was excited to visit The Doryman pub and grill where they played live Irish music. When we arrived the place was packed; what we didn’t realize was this happened to be Joe Macmaster’s debut gig for his new CD; all we knew was there was a fiddler playing on Saturday afternoon, not realizing we chanced upon a world renown musician! Some of the crowd, comprised mostly of retirees, would get up from their chairs and do Irish dancing. It was quite fun.
After having too much fun, and logging yet another 19,000 steps, we came back to spend the late afternoon catching a shower, reading and journaling. But the Cape wasn’t through with us yet. As a glow began to permeate BigB, we wandered down to the bluff for yet another Maritime sunset, rivaling those of our beloved Pacific Coast.
We headed out to Halifax the next morning to visit Bob’s Aunty Brenda and Cousin Steven. At 87, Brenda was now in a retirement home and we stopped in for dinner and then spent the evening chatting. It had been twenty years since we’d seen her! She was doing well, made us tea and gave us a tour of her lovely facility. We can only hope we can spend our twilight years in such a place.
We were staying at the KOA in Upper Sackville just outside of Halifax. It was a decent KOA though it was more geared for families with plenty of activities for the kids. We soon discovered it was a holiday weekend and not everyone observed the quiet time. We were also sandwiched between two highways so there was a fair amount of road noise. I would only recommend this place if you have kids; it’s not a place you go to get “away from it all.”
Steven came by and picked us up the next morning and we drove into Halifax. We had coffee and chatted for a while. He dropped us off at the waterfront which was pretty crowded.
We explored the shops and harbor and then Steven came to pick us again. We were thankful for being chauffeured around! He took us to his house and then back to the KOA. Thankfully it was a bit quieter that evening. The weather was cool and we decided to have a campfire and I broke out the S’mores. All in all it ended pretty well.
Halifax has changed dramatically from the last time we’d been there, with more big box stores squeezed into the tourist area. The weather during our entire time in the Maritimes had been perfect; yes we’ve had some rain but, we haven’t been plagued with the heat and humidity like we had in Maine.
We headed to Annapolis by way of Peggy’s Cove that sports a lighthouse set amongst some serious rock. Again, it was crowded as it is understandably a popular place, though we didn’t stay too long as we had a long drive.
It rained most of the time we were on the road and luckily it was a travel day. We arrived at the Lake Breeze Campground in some pretty thick fog. We had a view of the lake and it was so quiet that we thought something had happened to humanity – perhaps a zombie invasion and no one thought to let us know. They advertised “quiet,” and they weren’t kidding. After the sparse traffic died down, the only noise we heard were the loons who haunted the lake, much like Nessie. Yes, Nessie – Canadians have such a lovely sense of humor.
We spent the day in Annapolis Royal, once a fort and major shipping hub. We then went to the “tidal city” of Bear River, exploring the art communities; there are some very talented folks in this neck of the woods. It has a “retreat” atmosphere, where one can contemplate and create amongst the verdant landscape. This part of Nova Scotia can only be described as moderately busy; the highways and towns simply aren’t hectic like they are in the mainland U.S. – partly due to the low population density in Canada.
We spent our last night by the fire, next to the lake, no bugs and yes….quiet. What road noise there is dies down quickly, leaving us in the stillness, and we can drift without any further human incursions for the evening.
The next day we boarded the Fundy Rose, and ferried our way cross the Bay of Fundy to St. John’s, New Brunswick and our final overnight in Canada. We sat in a lovely lounge entertained by a fiddler, watching the world go by. The fog set in but we enjoyed our jaunt all the same. The name Fundy Rose came from an African-Canadian woman from the 1800’s by the name of Rose Fortune, who trail blazed her way through history as a shrewd business woman and entrepreneur. We did notice a large black community in and around Halifax, even in the camp sites which in the U.S. is pretty rare. It’s lovely to see Canada embrace and celebrate their diversity.
Mon Dieu!!! We realized we had gone from one extreme of the U.S. to the other! Google maps gave us perspective on how far we had come on this leg of our journey. So far we have logged over 20,000 miles since the 20th of February!
Au revoir Canada🇨🇦 🦌🦬🦫🦅🦞🌲🏔🌅you will be missed; your incomparable landscapes and your hospitality will always be in my thoughts, hopefully I’ll be back to visit again one day❤️