We have started doing things with our grandkids that we did with our kids. It is kind of cool. We went to Pisgah National Forest today. After a stop at the visitors center, we went to Looking Glass Falls. The kids really wanted to swim, but it was too cool and they had no suits. We did let them get out on the rocks a bit and that seemed to satisfy them. After a picnic lunch, we went to the fish hatchery. The kids had a great time feeding the fish. We did that for quite a while – cheap entertainment at 25 cents a handful. Rain made us change our plans (we were going to hike to Moore Falls so we could walk behind the waterfall) so we went to a gem mine. We were not sure if they would like it, but they had a blast. Ecusta Brewery was right across the street so the two older boys dropped by for a flight while the rest of us went home.
We took the kids for a pony ride – or at least that is what the internet said. As the pictures below show – these were horses. Very scary when our granddaughter got up on the big horse, so we escorted her in case she fell off. They had a great time though. It was lucky we decided to go there first because when we went by our other stop, the Lake Lure Beach and Water Park, and it was so crowded we do not think that we could have fit on the beach. After the ride and a picnic lunch, we went back and the beach was totally deserted. Turns out if had been closed for a private party (which was over at 2) and they were cleaning the beach to open it again. The kids loved the water park and the lake. Leslie made the ultimate sacrifice and went in the lake (she hates swimming in lakes), but anything for her grandkids.
A scene that you probably do not see often in the summer – a deserted Lake Lure Beach
We decided to get a cabin in Asheville instead of the beach this year. Our son, his wife and our grandkids came up to see us. We went to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. The kids had a great time. It was our granddaughter’s first zoo and she was fascinated. We were there for three hours. They had wolves, cougars, otters, bears and lots of things for the kids – playgrounds, puppet shows, touch tanks, etc. We worked up an appetite so we went to Sierra Nevada Brewing for a late lunch. Excellent food and beer.
The kids like to look at old pictures and videos
We spent a couple of days visiting our son and his wife in Philadelphia. We went to dinner at two really great restaurants. The first was Serpico. Amanda had reserved us seats so that we could watch the kitchen which was very cool. The chef checked every plate before it went out. Amanda and Don also got some chef ideas. The second restaurant had just opened two days before we went to it. It is called Spice House and is a Mediterranean restaurant. It was delicious (no pictures though). We also got to go apartment hunting with them (they are thinking of buying one). That was a lot of fun. Of course, Chris and Don had to have a beer after all that walking.
Food from Serpico – beet salad Charred snow pears with halibut creme fraiche
Eggplant with goat cheese Steak Tataki
Grilled Scallops with Lobster Tempura
The view from the roof of one of the apartments we looked at
What was supposed to be just a driving day turned into a food crawl day. We were on our way to Boston and we called to get an appointment for Merlin. Our arrival time was 1:00 and the only appointment we could get was for 5:00. So to kill time, we decided to do a food crawl. Don had already done the research for another trip, so it was easy. Well sort of — we were supposed to have a car according to the plan, so we had to drive the RV into some places that it really should not have gone (Leslie says Don is a master at driving the RV on very narrow streets). So, Don dropped Leslie off and she ran in and got the food and then he picked her up after circling the block. That also explains the quality of the pictures below as they were a) taken on an iPhone and b) taken by Leslie.
Anyway, we started with a lobster roll from Harraseeket Lobster in South Freeport, Maine. We can honestly say that the lobster was sweeter than the ones we had in the Maritimes (both were outstanding though). Our next stop was Devour’s Duckfat (4th picture) in Portland, Maine. We got fries that were cooked in duck fat with curry mayonnaise and truffle ketchup. No picture because they were just too darn good to take the time to take one. They are to die for!! Then we went to Southern Bakery and got some outstanding bread and a pecan something (name we never heard of) for dessert. Our last stop was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We went to Geno’s Chowder and Sandwich Shop for seafood chowder and clam chowder. No pictures here because we REALLY should not have driven the RV to this place so we were in a real hurry. We recommend all of these places and cannot wait for our New England trip so we can go back to them.
We started our Canadian trip with a garden in Montreal and we finished it with a garden in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. KIngsbrae Gardens is a 27-acre horticultural masterpiece officially opened its gates in the spring of 1998, unveiling an array of over 2,500 species of perennials, as well as, a wide variety of trees and shrubs. It was a beautiful time to go – lots of flowers were blooming. Leslie and Laurie were thrilled with the alpacas and goats and the baby alpaca that was two weeks old. An added bonus was that Merlin was allowed in. We camped right on the ocean and could look across the water and see the coast of Maine.
We have some pictures from yesterday in today’s blog because we ran out of the 1/2 gig allowed in Canada before we could get them loaded. The first three pictures are of a peregrine falcon. The boys were walking up the beach and Steve (the eagle-eyed bird watcher) saw some movement on top of a huge rock (probably 60 – 70 feet in the air). Don used his telephoto lens and they were both very excited to see that it was a peregrine falcon.
We went back to Hopewell Rocks this morning to see what it looked like at high tide. We put a picture from yesterday in there so you can compare the before and after pictures. It was very cool to walk around the ocean floor yesterday, but Leslie thinks it is prettier at high tide. We have no pictures of the falcons from today, but we saw 5 of them flying around when we went back to the park this morning. Steve tells us that peregrine falcons are the fastest member of the animal kingdom. When hunting, they can dive at over 200 mph. They were not hunting today, but they were still too fast for Don to get a picture.
We have been in Canada over a month and have seen dozens of signs warning us about moose. We have not seen a single one. We have decided there are no moose in Canada except for the ones on the signs, so we decided to take a picture of one.
After our trip to Hopewell Rocks, we went to Fundy National Park and went on some small hikes. We were going to go back on the ocean floor, but the trail was closed. We took a nice short hike through the woods to some views of the beach and then a hike to Dickson Falls. We had to drive the RV through the red covered bridge below – a tight fit, but it made it.
Before and after – Yesterday at low tide and today at High Tide
Hopewell Rocks at high tide
The elusive Canadian moose
Daniel Flats – near our campground
Look at the wind – Leslie is tired of her forehead being in so many pictures
Dickson Falls in Fundy National Park
Today we explored the Bay of Fundy from the New Brunswick side. The Hopewell Rocks, also called the Flowerpots Rocks, are rock formations caused by tidal erosion and stand 40–70 feet tall. We timed our arrival with low tide so we were able to walk on the ocean floor and among the rocks. There were no tide pools like the ones at Burntcoat Head on the Nova Scotia side, it was more sea weed and rocks. It did make it easier to walk on and it was cool to walk amongst these rocks that are normally under the water.
The formations at Hopewell Rocks consist of dark sedimentary conglomerate and sandstone rock. The large volume of water flowing in to and out of the Bay of Fundy modifies the landscape surrounding it. After the retreat of the glaciers in the region following the last ice age, surface water filtering through cracks in the cliff has eroded and separated the formations from the rest of the cliff face. Meanwhile, advancing and retreating tides and the associated waves have eroded the base of the rocks at a faster rate than the tops, resulting in their unusual shapes.
The rain cleared out the heat and humidity and left us with a beautiful day to see the east side of PEI. Well, part of it at least. We decided to take a three-hour loop that would let us see a few lighthouses and end with a wonderful late lunch on the ocean. We picked a popular place for lunch and the only tables available were outside. It was very windy, and a little chilly, but the sun was warm and we were determined to have lunch there. The chowder was delicious and we had some oysters from a nearby river. Absolutely delicious. We were aware that PEI was known for their mussels, but not aware they are world renowned for their oysters. We finished the meal with mussels. This was our last day on PEI so we had to be sure to get mussels. All and all a beautiful, relaxing day.
Panmure Island Lighthouse
Lobster traps and boats near the lighthouse
Cape Bear Lighthouse
Point Prim Chowder House Point Prim Lighthouse
We got a slow start to the day, as Leslie learned to navigate the Canadian health system (which actually worked out quite well). She had huge welts all over her neck and decided to get them checked out. The good news is that they were just a vicious reaction to some bug bites. The bad news is we did not get started until after lunch. It was a rainy day, so we looked for indoor things to do. We started the day at The College of Piping. It is not really a college in that all ages attend and you can attend as long as you would like. The school provides instruction in drumming, bagpipes. fiddle, Highland dancing and step dancing. We attended a demonstration where each person explained their specialty and gave us a little demonstration. Two of them were students and the dance demo was done by the instructor (we think because the student that was supposed to do a step dancing demonstration was sick).
We took a long drive to see Cape Egmont Lighthouse which was built in 1881. We did not get to go close to it because the dirt road leading to it looked very sketchy and we were afraid to drive down it. We did get to see it from afar though. After our visit, the rain had stopped and we decided to go to The Bottle Houses. They were built by Édouard T. Arsenault who decided to build the houses after receiving a postcard of a glass castle from his daughter in 1979, an attraction she had visited on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. That same summer, he started collecting bottles from his community, mostly from a local restaurant, community dance halls, friends, relatives and neighbors. He spent the winter in the basement of his home, cleaning bottles, removing labels and dreaming of his project. In the spring of 1980, at the age of 66, he began his construction as a retirement hobby. As his six-gabled structure was taking form, visitors started coming in. Impressed by his work, they encouraged him to continue and to advertise it as a tourist attraction. And so, in 1981, the first Bottle House was open to the public. From 1980 to the spring of 1984, he cleverly cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours, into three fantasy-like buildings. Unfortunately he died suddenly at the age of 70, but his daughter carried on the legacy, hiring a master gardener to create beautiful gardens and getting local artisans and tradesmen to shore up the houses and finish the chapel that was in progress when her father died.
The drummer, bagpipe player and Highlands Dance instructor from the College of Piping
No idea what church this is, but saw it on the way to the lighthouse and Don had to have pictures
Cape Egmont Lighthouse The gardens around the Bottle Houses
The Bottle Chapel
The Six Gabled House
Intricate designs with colored bottles Replica of Cape Egmont Lighthouse behind the Bottle House
The Bottle Tavern