Spencer's Bay, Joggins & Prospect Village

Maritimes 2008

Thursday, 26 June Spencer's Island, Nova Scotia. Sunny to start, but mostly gray after that. High 20. My inner alarm wakes me at 5:30 on the button. I go to the window and the sunrise is gorgeous. Then my inner teenager says, “go back to bed.” My inner grownup insists on getting dressed and going for a walk, then my inner teenager twists my inner grownup’s ear so hard he falls back in bed and stays there until 8:30. I am very glad they resolved their differences because I was behind in my sleep.

At about 10:30 we decide to drive to the brand new Fossil Museum in Joggins, and go the the beach there to collect fossils. The walk down to the beach looks too formidable, so we go to the local general store, as I am looking for a bank machine. The proprietor says the machine is out of cash, so he goes in the back room and grabs a wad of bills to fill it. Meantime, a very gregarious and funny local is bending Sharon’s ear. Eventually he tells us about a dirt road that will lead down to the beach so she won’t have to walk the long hill. A young guy outside overhears and yells from his car, “I can show you where it is if ya wanna follow me.” We’re only too pleased.

The tide is out as we hunt fossils at the fossil cliffs at Joggins, NS.

They have found fossils here that are 350,000,000 years old. You’re not supposed to take fossils off the beach, but we decide to throw guilt to the wind, and pick up a few beauties. The Flintstones Theme was Sharon's idea.

We head back home after a very forgettable lunch in a diner in Joggins. They DID have this highly informative poster, however. Don’t forget to line up at the top of Main Street by 12:30 if ya wants to be in de p’rade, biy.

Returning home to Spencer’s Island, we drive by our landlord on a scaffold at a neighboring house. We honk. He says he’ll be over in a little while, and he is. We sit in the living room and chat. It’s mostly him telling stories about his life, the community, and his family. If I had had a recorder running, I would have had a dandy short story. But I didn’t, and so now I don’t because I’m too tired to recall it all. But I will say that it was a real pleasure to get to know this man, Laurie Currie, just the little bit that I did.

Salad and a little pasta pesto at ‘home’ for dinner. I’ll be sad to leave here, and hope I can come back one day. ****************************************

Friday, 27 June Major thunderstorms during the night. The sun battling all day to break through the darkness. A valiant effort. Better luck next time. High of around 17. Brrr.

I do a marvelous repacking job of Sharon’s little Honda, if I do say so myself. And Sharon is a master at organizing all the food into what we’ll need immediately, what we likely will want to munch on in a bit, what needs to be kept cold in the cooler...the categories are endless to a building block brain like mine.

We have lunch in Wolfville at around 2:00 at “The Tempest”, an excellent restaurant owned by the daughter and son-in-law of Sharon’s long-time student and friend, Ann Tudor. The fish chowder and lobster risotto are very very very tasty. There was a construction delay on the way here – we sat there for a good 10 to 15 minutes watching a yellow and orange vested worker lean on his stop sign, and the line up?... 2 cars. That gives you an idea of how remote an area we were in.

We arrive in Prospect Village, just South of Halifax, on Nova Scotia Scotia's east coast at about 4:30 and are greeted by B&B owners Rosalee and Allan. These two wrote the book on hospitality. So friendly and warm, so interested in us, yet so good at telling their own story.

The spectacular Prospect B&B. It is practically surrounded by water.

After the tour, we sit around the kitchen table and chat for at least an hour before we bring in our stuff and unpack.

Then, Sharon and I have a nibble sitting on our porch overlooking Prospect Bay. Our deck is where those two large windows are, on the main floor. This shot is taken from the rocks at low tide.

After unpacking, I sit and play guitar for a bit. At around 8:15 we go to the common room – a beautiful long narrow room they use for impromptu jam sessions, house concerts and the like – and play music and talk until after 10. Lucky for us, we are the only guests tonight.

Rosalee is a very accomplished folk singer, and quite well-known around the Maritimes.

She and I trade tunes. Our styles are very different, but I sense a mutual respect. Sharon and Allan sing along when they know the tune.

Our host, Allan. We really enjoy these people. They are genuine and have a lot of depth. Escapees from 19 years in Toronto, they were born in the Maritimes and have now recently returned.

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Saturday, 28 June Cloudy, rainy high 17 6:10 - Morning walk, despite lack of sunrise.

Moss and wildflowers make this rock unique, even though it’s one of millions.

After my walk, we enjoy an aMAZing organic breakfast by Rosalee.

10:00 ish – we head into the Saturday Halifax Market, which is housed in the old Keith’s Brewery. It is very noticeable that both Halifax and Nova Scotia in general seem to have a high awareness of organic foods and the environment.

After the market, we drive around Halifax a bit, by Dalhousie, get some cash out of the bank...city stuff...

Then, we decide last minute to go to Peggy’s Cove. But on the way there ...

... we stop at Fisherman’s Corner, which is basically an overgrown chip wagon with a couple of picnic tables. Rosalee had recommended it, saying the scallops are huge and melt in your mouth, the haddock is to die for, and the breading is so delicate, it's practically transparent. All understatements, to be sure.

Owner Marlee & her sister, Karen

Karen

We meet owners/cooks Marlee and her sister Karen. Luckily, it is near closing time and we are the last customers, so they come out, sit down, and have a long chat with us.

I vow I will have my recorder running next time, because this is at least two short stories, if not a whole novel. We learned about Marlee’s kids in Vancouver and Toronto, and how often who visits whom, about the neighbours on the hill who gave the place to their kids too soon, and now the kids are building a new house with an addition for the parents, only everybody knows it’s going to be a garage, and there’s a fool born every minute – “ya see these peepers? My kids aren’t getting a thing until these are shut tight." And the time Karen went to California with 'the girls' and talked them all into going to a strip club because she hadn’t ever seen but one man before, her husband, Len. “Well, there was trouble that night, let me tell ‘ya ...”

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, a trip back into time, is beautiful even in the fog, mist, cold and cloud.

Evening back at the Prospect B&B, we get caught up in the parlour concert and a bit of a local history lesson. We had thought we were just going to hit the sack.

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Sunday, 29 June Cloudy, rainy high 17 Another no-sunrise day. Sleep in til 8 ish. Very leisurely morning. Just what the doc ordered. Email, journal, rest. Head for Lunenburg and Mahone Bay in the rainy afternoon. Lunenburg beautiful even in the haze. Very unique old town and a Unesco heritage site. Wonderful lunch of fish chowder and mussels at the Cheesecake Gallery in Mahone Bay. I catch more of Rosalee’s music in the parlour that evening with a few guests. She goes off to bed and Allan, Terry (a man from Ottawa), Monique (here from Calgary with her 2 daughters) and I have a wonderful discussion about Christianity, Tom Harper, ‘Churchianity’, etc. Really nice people. God is within every one of them.

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Monday, 30 June Cloudy, very foggy in the morning in Prospect. It will later warm and clear as we drive through the province on our way to a much anticipated 4 days in Cape Breton.

Prospect – up at 7 and out for a long walk in the fog. I’m feeling generally stiff in all this wet weather. I decide to take binoculars instead of a camera, but I turn around after about 10 minutes to go back and get it. Even in the fog, or maybe especially in the fog, the buildings and small docks along Prospect Bay are stunning.

A man works on his dock in the thick early morning fog.

Pathway to a home on Prospect Bay.

The Bridge on Prospect Road.

This dock is rickety, but still in use.

After a sad goodbye to Calgarian Monique and her beautiful daughters Stephanie and Gillian, and an even sadder one to our hosts, we are on our way by about 11:15.

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