01 July 2009

Happy Canada Day!

I sure do love Canada. (And not just because my big sister lives there, either, though that helps.) I figure it is appropriate to write more about our fun trip on a day such as today.

Side note: I know I am a sporadic blogger - please bear with me. I read all these other great blogs in what little spare time I have on Google Reader and then just get overwhelmed at the prospect of being read myself. I don't know why this is. I'll get over it. Besides, I don't have a very big following anyway. Even my mom hardly checks my blog - oh! Busted. Yes I did go there!

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Anyway, just in case any of you readers ever want to recreate our fun adventure (and most likely add to it, if you don't have a baby in tow) here is a daily log of what we did... uh... daily. And the pics are tiny, but click on them if you want to see them bigger.

Day 1 - THE DRIVE.
Holy man! We left NY mid-day on a Thursday to try to avoid some weekend traffic and had planned on being in Ogunquit by at least dinner time. That didn't happen. It rained the entire drive and we had RIDICULOUS traffic, so we just drove pretty much straight through to Acadia National Park and got in at the butt-crack of dawn, like literally. Little Oscar was not pleased. Oh, we did stop briefly in Kittery, ME at the Osh Kosh outlet and got Oz some cool jeans and a little hat. We just had to.

Okay really? Is it going to rain the WHOLE time? (And it pretty much did.) This was the actual date of our anniversary, so I was hoping for sunshine and sparkles, but I got a rainy day, lost in Acadia, and a little boy that was running a temp of 102 degrees cause he was working on popping out some teeth. Sucks. But we made the most of the morning, anyway. We drove around and took snapshots of the beautiful lupines in between rain showers and drove the loopy Loop Road through Acadia. We even stopped for pop-overs at the Jordan Pond Restaurant. We saw Thunder Hole (which really did roar with all the rain) and even had a pleasant rain-free stop at Sand Beach. Cadillac Mountain was a total bomb, though. By the time we drove up to the summit, you could see literally NOTHING. Nice photo finish there. At least the place we stayed had a really nice view of Somes Sound. We drank a bottle of champagne (courtesy of my awesome little brother) while cuddling a feverish 9 month old. Ahh well. Better luck tomorrow!

But before we headed off (with our now much happier little boy with an additional tooth), we stopped off and spent the morning window shopping in Bar Harbor. We even tried the "Lobster Ice Cream" at Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium. I would not like to recommend this. The homemade blueberry is a much better choice. Seriously.
Speaking of blueberries, on the drive up to New Brunswick, we passed through Columbia, ME and saw the biggest blueberry ever. Actually, it looked more like a giant blue igloo. We just HAD to stop at "Wild Blueberry Land" and get some blueberry something. Not stopping at this crazy kitsch mecca would be something like sacrilege for me. After filling our bellies with a delicious slice of pie and taking a picture of the blueberry kings, we got back on the road and drove the rest of the way to Moncton, New Brunswick. The only other thing to note on this day is the glee the border crossing people get out of seeing my husband's passport picture. It really is that funny. They look at it, then look at him, then look back at the picture and smirk. It happens EVERY time. It's worth crossing borders just to see that expression. And if we are really lucky, they'll actually remark on that gem of a photo.

Anther thing worth mentioning is that not all Tim Horton coffee shops are created equal. (For all of you non-Canadians, Tim's is the equivalent of a - usually - classy version of Duncan Donuts. Well, we went to one just past the border that challenged our ideas. I went in hunting a baby changing table while hubby got a cup of joe. What I found was a large girl around my age with less teeth than manners, who was "cleaning" the bathroom, or just checking off that she had. I asked her about the changing table and she suggested that I change Oscar's diaper on a table in the front because that's what she always does. I must have looked horrified at her, because she then suggested that, better yet, why don't I "change him on the bathroom floor." Yeah. Cause that was going to happen. There is more to this story, but that was my favorite part.
When we finally got to our motel in Moncton, it was late and we discovered ants and freshly used cigarettes in our NON-smoking and "clean" room. We promptly got a free upgrade to a room with a hot tub. As I said before, "bonus!"

Ahh. Ready for a new day? We were! We got up early to catch sight of the daily tidal bore (bore = crest or wave) at Bore Park. The Bay of Fundy has the biggest tides in the world and we were anxious to get to see what all the hype was about. It is actually pretty cool in theory and I suppose it used to be a really dramatic thing to see the tidal bore come in pre-one-kilometer-long causeway. Now the bore is a bit (pardon my pun) boring. We saw it though (because it's something you just have to do). Anyway, it was a muddy bank and within an hour it was a 25 ft. deep river. That sounds pretty cool, huh?

Then we drove to Shediac for more kitsch - a giant 35 ft. long lobster. Freaking AWESOME. (Why am I so in love with these kind of stops? I don't understand my unholy obsession.) Then on to Parlee Beach, which boasts of having the warmest water north of Virginia. Well, let me tell you, they are liars. It was C.O.L.D. At least we didn't have to pay for anything but gas up till this point!
Magnetic Hill was our next destination. This jive was crazy. It is basically an optical illusion played up for suckers like me. It was pretty cool, though. You park at the bottom of a "hill" and put the car in neutral. Then your car coasts up the hill. It is disorienting. But what is even more disorienting is that all the gift shops around it don't even sell magnets. For real! Whoever did the marketing here really missed the boat. No magnets at fraking Magnetic Hill. Can you even believe it? But what they did have was the best "Beaver Tails" in the universe. If you have never had a beaver tail, I suggest you look into fixing that problem.
The last major thing we did this day was trek over to Hopewell Rocks. This was one of my favorite things on our trip. It really was spectacular. We wanted to see it at low tide so we could "walk the ocean floor" among the rocks. This is where the Bay of Fundy gets it's highest tides - up to 45 feet - and it has literally carved out these "flowerpot" rocks. It was stunning, even in the drizzly overcast weather we had.

We packed up shop and popped back in the vehicle, heading toward Nova Scotia (or "New Scotland") early morning. Our first big destination was Oxford, "blueberry capital of Canada." We obviously can't get enough blueberries. We got lots of blueberry stuff and even saw a cute giant blueberry - it was enough to put a spring in my step.

As we continued into Nova Scotia, we made a lot of side trips. We paused in Truro to catch another tidal bore, hoping it would be a bit more dramatic (we actually missed it by 3 minutes - bummer), and we also stopped in Stewiacke, which is "halfway between the equator and the North Pole." There was a cool park with a giant fiberglass Mastodon, a Fred Flintstone cave house, and a giant polar bear, not to mention tons of totem poles. It was roadside heaven for me. So many photo ops (I can already hear Tim groaning...). After spending (probably) too much time there, we drove the rest of the way to Halifax.
One thing I have to say about Nova Scotia is that when this place gets foggy, you cannot see a dad-blooming thing. Not a thing. I know that this is somewhat portrayed in movies, but it is a bit alarming in person. Like, Tim was driving and we literally could not see but 10 feet in front of us. It was like driving off the edge of the world. Creepy.
When we got to Halifax, we went first to Fairview Cemetery to see the gravestones of the Titanic victims. I bet you think that is morbid! Actually, what is REALLY morbid is finding out why some of the graves only have numbers on them. Those numbers correspond to the order in which the bodies were pulled out of the ocean. Hmm. It was a bit haunting to walk through the site. To lighten our moods, we paused briefly at the grave of J. Dawson, who was the inspiration for Leonardo DiCaprio's "Jack" in the movie Titanic. He was number 227. I don't know about you, but "my heart will go on."
Next we visited the Maritime Museum to see the Titanic artifacts they had on display. They have the biggest collection of Titanic stuff. Tim sat on a replica deck lounge chair with Oscar. Also a bit disturbing.
Then we had dinner in the "Jungle Room" at the Economy Shoe Shop. Yes, really.

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On that note, I think I'll stop for the night. This was a stinking long post! Stay tuned for more adventures in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and even good ole Bangor, Maine!


Jana said...

FYI I DO follow your blogs! I have you on MY blog as one I follow so I can always see when you have posted something new!
What a grand adventure! Glad you are all home safe and sound.

Christie said...

Gosh, there are so many reasons I love you - but a big one is you are dang funny! And I love the way you take trips. I learn a ton. And I thinks it's great the way you take photo ops and see all kinds of crazy cool things. Ah Suzy, you inspire us (and you too Tim ;)

Jill said...

You and Tim should really have your own travel show! People like me love to watch those and imagine we have that kind of energy and motivation. And I follow both your blogs - I have them on Rososo so I don't miss an article!

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