Time for a refresh

Update time!

Vacations get me all fired up to be creative, but alas, during the last week of my holiday I fell and sprained my thumb.  Sigh.  It is, of course, the thumb on my dominant hand.  I’ve been getting very antsy about not doing anything creative, but I have come to realize that maybe I need to turn my thoughts to what I can do, rather than focus on what I can’t.  I decided this week that it was time for a bit of a website overhaul, and so it has begun.  You won’t find any “construction zone” blank pages – I’ll just start making little changes here and there.

Please let me know your thoughts on the changes, and especially let me know if something isn’t working.  Hopefully this will be a fairly smooth transition.

Thanks for all your support!  Here is a picture of Smudge helping me needle felt (which I can do for short amounts of time).

Live Long and Prosper

The Enterprise

The Enterprise

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Have you ever heard of Vulcan, Alberta? I’m sure many people haven’t, but we decided to stop in for a dose of science fiction fabulousness at the end of our road trip. Here is a quote from the City of Vulcan website:

Contrary to what popular culture might lead you to believe, the Town of Vulcan did not get its name from science fiction. In 1910 a CPR surveyor, who had a fondness for Roman Mythology, named the town after the Roman god of fire. Originally all the streets in Vulcan were named after the gods and goddesses of the classical world such as Juno, Mars and Jupiter.

In the Star Trek television and feature film series Vulcan is the name of the homeworld of Spock and his fellow Vulcans. Capitalizing on this coincidence, the town has become a worldwide known tourist attraction with the building of Star Trek themed tourist centre and replica of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek V.

Trek Station

Trek Station

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I wouldn’t say that I’m a Trekkie (or whatever the politically appropriate designation is these days), but I described myself as “Trekkie-lite” to the nice woman at the post office who found us and our enthusiasm for Spock a little peculiar.

Canada Post

Canada Post

All I know is that I walked through the town with a huge smile on my face.  There may have also been a bit of jumping up and down plus a whole lot of giggling.

Unexpected murals were found around corners, paintings of characters were on windows (we had just missed Vul-Con by a few days), and even the pedestrian crossings has Star Trek logos painted on them.

Here are some pictures – some are quite poor quality due to reflections, but I think you’ll get a feel for the town.  I’ll do a separate post on art related findings.

Me in a signed Captain's chair - photo by Bo (thanks!)

Me in a signed Captain’s chair – photo by Bo (thanks!)

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This is the end… of my vacation

That’s right… the trip has ended. It’s always tough to reach the end of the vacation, but it’s also lovely to be home with a very needy cat and some fresh clothes.

The journey from Winnipeg to Vancouver went well – we even got to be door monitors on the train – we learned how to open the doors in case of emergency. When the air conditioning stopped for a few minutes, we were tempted!

I won’t yap on and on (for once!), but will end this trip journal with photos. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on ideas and happenings, but those are for another post…

Nobody called me Carrots

Fans of the Anne of Green Gables series of books will understand that reference… Prince Edward Island was pretty amazing – the colours, the people, the history – truly a fun experience.

Chez Shea, the B&B we stayed in, was lovely. The food was delicious, the owners a lot of fun and very knowledgeable, and there were animals!  I fell in love with Rosy and Posy (Rosie and Posie?), the two black dogs, and Bebe (sp?), a gorgeous orange cat.

We started to plot out what to do with the one day that we had, and decided that rather than stressing about what we were missing, we would instead pick a few places to see, leaving a bit of time for anything else that came up.  We settled on Cavendish, home of L.M. Montgomery and the site of the Anne of Green Gables house, Cavendish beach, Victoria by the Sea and Charlottetown.

We started out towards Cavendish, but quickly stopped at a shop for a look around – outside and in.

After a little shopping we were back on the road to Cavendish.  We accidentally made a wrong turn, and instead of ending up at Green Gables, we ended up on the property where L.M. Montgomery was raised.  There was a small cabin that held a variety of books for sale, as well as various antiques from her life.  We found out that we could walk to Green Gables, passing the remnants of Montgomery’s farmhouse and going through the Haunted Woods.  Before we could head out, an older woman told us that she wanted to tell us the history of the place.  Turns out that she is the wife of Montgomery’s great great grandson (I might have the relationship wrong… I was getting confused after a lot of genealogy talk), and she told us about the author and the property.  She was quite dear and so obviously devoted to the subject matter.  She and her husband did a lot of restoration on the place as a tribute to Montgomery.

After the talk, off we went, battling hordes of mosquitoes.  Hordes.  I am not exaggerating.  I was walking behind Bonnie on the path, and the air was grey with mosquito wings around her.  I really don’t like those little beasties!  Other than the mosquitoes, the walk was lovely.

After the walk back to the car, we headed off to the beach at Cavendish.  Wow.  The red cliffs were outstanding.  Bo kept stressing me out by wandering/sitting WAY to close to the eroding edge for my comfort.  I tried to take pictures of her on the edge, but couldn’t get the depth perception right – they all just looked like she was sitting level with the water.  She was not!  Sorry for the volume of cliff and rock pictures… I honestly didn’t include all the ones I took!

We both dabbled our feet in what we had heard was warm water.  We were led astray… NOT warm!

Then it was off to Victoria by the Sea… seemed appropriate!  It is a dear little town with a lovely boardwalk.

Yes – we did try the potato fudge… It was a little potato-y, but more than anything it was sweet… really really sweet.

Continuing on with our busy day, we then went to Charlottetown – I really liked what we saw of it.  We wandered around looking for the historically significant Confederation buildings. Finally had to get out the phone and check online to see what we were looking for…. Sigh.  It’s shameful… I know!

Then it was back to Kinkora for dinner at the neighbouring O’Shea’s Pub, and home to the B&B to pack up… again.

The next day we had an amazingly delicious breakfast of waffles with a ginger syrup and fresh fruit… yum!  We said our goodbyes – I had an awful lot of animals to hug – then we set off for Confederation Bridge.  It’s really long (shocking observation, I know 😉).  We were heading for the Annapolis Valley to visit/stay with a friend of Bo’s.  That is a story for another day… although I’m behind on recounting my trip, I’m weary and heading  for sleep.  We’re back on the train tomorrow (the one with WiFi), so I’ll be updating more then.  It’s been an excellent trip so far, and it feels like we’ve been gone for a month!

Playing catch up…

Must start writing… I’m falling behind!  Brace yourselves – it’s going to be another long post!

I believe I left off at the end of the garden tour. It had become a gorgeous sunny day, and so we went in search of the LYS (that means the Local Yarn Store – no, that was not the name of it, just the level of importance that yarn stores have on trips). The actual name is The Loop. It was a very pleasing yarn store/coffee shop, and Bo found some lovely local hand-dyed yarn. Then the search for somewhere to lunch, which was also sightseeing. We found a basement pub (no, not in someone’s basement, just the basement of a building) called Rock Bottom. We had a waiter named Buck who made us laugh, and Bo had lobster (which also made us laugh… a lot). After a very late lunch, we went to pick up our laundry which we had left at the laundromat, and went back to the Inn.

Bo and lobster

Bo and lobster

The lobster doesn't understand that the water is not an escape...

The lobster doesn’t understand that the water is not an escape…

“The Inn?” you say “You never finished telling us about the Inn!” Well, we were booked in at the Halliburton Inn – a heritage building that used to be townhouses. We were in the attic, and it was charming. One of the beds was upstairs, so we each had our own space – luxury – especially after train travel. There was a well-equipped kitchen and seating area. The beds were like a drug… neither of us ever wanted to get up. The staff was really pleasant and helpful. I’d stay there again in a heartbeat!

Various sites we saw:

After we dropped off the laundry, off we went for the next part of our day… We wandered down to the waterfront and saw the Harbour Hopper – an amphibious vehicle. We have wanted to go on one for years – Mazatlan… Victoria… it never happened. Now it has! The Hopper was a military vehicle in it’s former life, and is worth about $1,000,000. We trucked around town, listening to the patter, and got to see a lot of stuff we hadn’t seen… also learned a fair amount. Then came the fun part… into the water!

Going into the water

Going into the water

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for being out on the water. We went past the Navy shipyard:

Boats, er... ships

Boats, er… ships

We also went past a floating one-hole “golf course” – I’m a little baffled by that one:

Someone needs to explain this to me!

Someone needs to explain this to me!

View

View

View

View

Ship

Ship

Then it was back to dry land. We were dropped off next to the Maritime Museum, and as it was free on Tuesday nights, and it was Tuesday night, in we went. It was quite interesting. They have a parrot named Merlin (you can follow him on a live feed), and a variety of items they have salvaged from shipwrecks, including from the Titanic. I quite enjoyed that museum, and took so very many pictures of different style anchors as inspiration for jewellery.

After the museum we started getting chilly, so we went back to the Inn. We lazed about for awhile, then out to the restaurant next door for Thai food. SO tasty!

The next day was a wet and windy one. I had grown annoyed with my hair (not an unusual state for me) and decided a lot of the weight around the back of my hair had to go. I had made an appointment the night before (that was what got us motivated to leave the Inn the second time) for an early (to me – 9:45 am) appointment. That went well, and I determined that I’ll need to go to Halifax whenever I need a trim.

After that, the rain was coming down so hard that I went to a coffee shop and started editing pictures. I went through several beverages waiting for the rain to lighten up. Bo was still at the Inn (also editing pictures – someone really needs to take our cameras away!), so once the rain stopped, I wandered off to another shop to visit the daughter of one of the people I work for – I found her and chatted a bit, both of us amazed that we recognized each other.

Then I heard a call… it was a lobster, and it knew my name. Off I went to one of the shops on the boardwalk for my first lobster roll from Dave’s Lobster booth. Wow. It was so very good that I don’t have words.

Bo was done editing by that point, so we met at The Stubborn Goat – a pub that really needs to have souvenirs…not that I know any stubborn goats or anything…heehee!

After food we decided it was time for culture, and we went to Pier 21. I was very uneducated prior to this trip about many aspects of the history of Halifax, part of which was Pier 21. We went through the museum, and I found myself almost in tears over some of the details about the immigration process and the emotions that people coming into a strange land must have had. It was very educational and definitely eye-opening.

Pier 21

Pier 21

Sculpture near Pier 21

Sculpture near Pier 21

After Pier 21 we walked along the boardwalk and decided to stay in that evening – we were both pretty tired and needed to pack.

Alas, the time came for us to leave Halifax. We taxied to the car rental place and rented a white Volkswagen (of some variety) that we named Gertrude (Gertie for short). Then came the fun times… trying to learn how to start the car (you have to press the brake to start it). Then came more fun – trying to get out of the garage while the car rental guy was chasing us trying to help us get out. I’m sure he went back up to the office rolling his eyes and shaking his head. But we did get on the road!

Bridge leaving Halifax, on our way to Dartmouth

Bridge leaving Halifax, on our way to Dartmouth

Unfortunately I was the one navigating, and we didn’t seem to have a map (it was found later in Bo’s purse). Honestly, having the map didn’t really help that much… I am many things, but one of those things is not an effective map reader/navigator. We did eventually get to Pictou, after driving on what Bo believes is the worst stretch of regional highway in Nova Scotia. The road had cavernous valleys with lovely green grass growing in them. Fortunately it wasn’t a busy (or particularly long) stretch of road, so she drove in the middle a lot.

Sheet Harbour

Sheet Harbour

Pretty beach

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Once we got to Pictou and settled in the hotel, we went looking for somewhere to have dinner. You’d think that would be an easy task, but it was not! We did, however, find a place where we could adopt lobster. Unfortunately (?) it was closed. Fortunately we then found a lobster bar and each had a lobster roll. The lobster was great, the bun a little less so.

The next day (it’s Friday now, for those whose minds have wandered in my rather long post) we found ourselves at a little artists collective, where we were able to meet the woman who created a whole lot of hand-dyed yarn from her own sheep. We had a good chat with her, and found lots of little treasures.

At this point it would have been wise to check on the schedule for the ferry to PEI, but no one ever said we were wise. We had just missed the ferry – I think it was shortly after 11, and the next one wasn’t until 2:45. We decided to wait, as the terminal was likely going to get quite full. We tried to hand the woman at the ferry booth some money, but…insert drumroll here…there was no charge!! Maybe there will be to get off the island (once we’re trapped at the mercy of the ferry boat), but it was quite exciting not to pay.

The car, rather like the cheese, stands alone

The car, rather like the cheese, stands alone

I felt extremely Canadian… I was sitting on the purple/pink/grey rocks next to the ocean, looking out over land that was tinged with terracotta coloured soil, reading (for the kajillionth time), Anne of Green Gables. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the book, and it is definitely getting me into a PEI state of mind.

Pretty rocks

Pretty rocks

The ferry ride (when it finally happened… we were really early) was lovely, and we’re hearing more accents now. PEI is spectacular… the pictures of the red earth surrounded by green growth are not lies. It is absolutely breathtaking.

On the way to the B&B Bo saw a sign for a local mill. We wandered through Belfast and found the Belfast Mini Mills. Apparently they are well known for making the milling equipment, but they also had a shop of yarn and roving…it was lovely. On the way back to the car we were treated to the sight of a pure white peacock with its tail feathers fanned out. Not sure who he was trying to impress, but so glad he was making the effort! There were also pregnant goats to pet, sheep, and some odd little birds – I think they were Guinea Fowl – they were not part of the petting portion of this stop…they were the squealing and running away part!

I was navigating again (when will Bo learn??), but we still managed to find our way to the B&B. It is owned by two sisters of one of Bo’s students. The place is gorgeous, and after dinner at the next door pub, we came back to find fresh lemon loaf with blackberries waiting for us. We are so spoiled!! Tomorrow will be a full day, trying to cram a whole island visit into not enough hours. We’ll do our best, though!