Thursday, October 1, 2015 it happened

September...the end of summer and the beginning of another school year.

The dandelions seemed a little confused as to the season!

After a long, hot and dry summer...September began with some much needed rain.  The rainbow was a nice touch...captured with my iPhone from the balcony of my dad's eighth floor deck.

My sister Bev came from Texas earlier in the month.  We spent some sister time at Harrison Hotsprings...and enjoyed brunch there with a lovely view lake.  We lingered around the table long enough...that we could justify ice-cream cones on the beach for dessert!

Our next stop was Cheam Lake Wetlands Park...

... peaceful and beautiful in every season.

We celebrated my dad's 93rd birthday while Bev was here...and gathered the family for a BBQ.  His favorite birthday gift was the Blue Jay's cap...of course.  He has been a fan for years...before they were a sensation! As you can tell...Dad still likes telling stories.  He had a hard time interrupting his story to pose for photos.

We celebrated a few other birthdays this month as well.  Elmer slipped quietly into his next year of senior-ity! LOL

Our dancing, twirling, laughing Maggie turned seven...and celebrated with friends and family.  Where do the years go?

And then there was the party for my sister Dot and brother-in-law Terry...both celebrating their BIG  Six-Oh!  It was a fun time of reminiscing...good food...good fun with 'good' friends and family!

Before the grands all started school this fall, I took the four oldest girls shopping for some new back-to-school clothes.  There was no room in the car for Lucy (who started pre-school this year) I promised her an outing all of her own once the others were in school.

She picked out a Hello Kitty outfit and then chose to go to Wendy's for an early lunch.  From there I drove her to her pre-school.  Who knew I needed a four-year-old navigator to help me find my way?  I couldn't quite remember which street her school was on, and turned one block too soon.  She was all quiet in the back seat of the car, minding her own business until I made that turn. Then she immediately piped up that I was going the wrong way and needed to turn around!  Who needs a GPS if you have a Lucy?  I had a good laugh at that!

Last Sunday was another beautiful fall day...and we returned to Cheam Wetlands park for a hike with Ranen and Micah.  Though they were a little disappointed that we never came across any snakes or frogs...they had fun on the leaf covered trails.

Fog.  September.  Synonymous!

Most every morning began with a layer of fog in the valley.

And most every evening ended with a beautiful sunset.

The last crop of grass  for this season is being harvested this week.  Farewell summer!

Autumn is upon us.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Prince Edward Island ~ last but not least

 PEI...known for red beaches, potatoes, lobsters and Anne (with an 'e').

We have been working our way around North America over the our quest to drive in every state and province.  Two years ago...when we arrived in Kansas...we could say that we had been to every state. But we still had two provinces to visit...New Brunswick and PEI. Prince Edward Island was the last on the list! We had heard so many good things about this place...Canada's smallest province....and we were not disappointed.  Thanks to the advice from our resident PEI travel agent (my blogging friend Kathie)...we stayed at the nicest places and made the most of our stay!

We spent the first few nights at Kindred Spirits Country Inn ...a lovely place in the Cavendish resort area...serving great breakfasts (and afternoon tea if you happen to be around at tea time). It is right next to the famed Anne of Green Gables House....and just a short walk to the spectacular beach. 

We were told we needed to check out PEI Preserve Company...and stroll through their beautiful gardens.  Oh...and to dine in their restauraunt.  And be sure to order PEI Potato Pie and Raspberry Cream Pie for dessert.  We did all of the above!

The Preserve Company is on the lovely River Clyde in New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island...a picturesque little village not far from Kindred Spirits. The building (built in 1913) was once a butter a specialty food production kitchen, restaurant and gift shop. The 12 acre gardens on the property were created for Islanders and visitors alike to enjoy the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island.

We enjoyed our dinner with a view...and the server even brought us a printed recipe for the PEI potato pie.  

Just for the fun of it...I made it last week with British Columbia potatoes and Fraser Valley bacon. :)  It was just as good...but isn't it always nice to have someone else prepare and serve your meal?  And for the time I prepare it...I will invite six friends to share it with.  It's not meant to be a recipe for two!

At the Preserve Company...they let anyone have a go at the bagpipes. :)  He looked almost princely in a kilt...and played bagpipes like a pro.

Since we were right next door...of course we visited  Green Gables...a Canadian historic site and part of Prince Edward Island National Park.

Author Lucy Maud Montgomery created the story of  Anne with this house (belonging to relatives) as her inspiration for the setting. The room above the porch was Anne's room.  How fun to tour Anne's house...stroll through the woods...and down lover's lane...and be reminded of all things Anne!

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 20 languages...and anchors the island’s multi-million dollar tourist industry today. We could not believe all the tour buses in the parking lot...and tourists from around the world.

We so enjoyed our time on the north coast...where farmland meets seashore!

Red bluffs...

...miles of beautiful sand beaches

...and fresh lobster rolls  at Richard's at Covehead.

PEI has lighhouses galore...this one at Covehead overlooking the Gulf  of St. Lawrence.

We had a most delightful evening in this a Ceilidh at the community center in Brackley Beach. Some of PEI's top musicians performed lively Maritime songs along with fantastic fiddling and step-dancing.

We took a drive O'Leary, the potato capital of PEI and home to the Canadian Potato Museum. 

We are not always too enthusiastic about visiting museums...but this was one hubby wanted to see.  It's a quaint little museum explaining the historical roots of the humble tuber (self-guided tour)...along with a great collection of farm equipment used in the potato business over the years.  The little restaurant onsite features all things potato.

Our home for our stay in Charlottetown was Elmwood Heritage Inn...a wonderful place in the heart of the city.  The hosts Jay and Carol MacDonald went above and beyond to look after the guests!

From there it was just a short walk to the waterfront....and to the downtown core.

On the last day of our visit...we took in a matinee performance of Anne 'the musical' at the Confederation Building. It was fabulous...and packed out!  We enjoyed strolling the downtown area and had dinner on Victoria Row...a cobblestone street lined with historic buildings and closed to vehicles during the summer months.  How nice to eat outside on a hot summer evening and listen to a live music!  We were sorry that we would be leaving this lovely province in the morning.

But 'all good things must come to an end' they say.  Overnight the sunshine turned to rain. That somehow made it easier to say good-bye!

If PEI was not so far from BC...I'd visit more often!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

our new brunswick 'drive through'...

Bonjour. Welcome to new Brunswick...Canada's only official bi-lingual province where the French and English dwell in perfect harmony.  Apparently. 

New Brunswick has often been described as the 'drive-through province'...and that is what we did.  We drove through...and stopped at many places along the way.  And we really enjoyed our tour of this province...with it's charming covered bridges, historic buildings, farm markets, seaside villages and the amazing Bay of Fundy tides.

We spent several nights in the Fredericton a lovely bed and breakfast.  Beautiful old buildings lined the streets...often surrounded by hydrangea gardens.  We don't find many buildings that old on the west coast!

We walked the trail along the St. John River...

...and checked out the 'bridge to nowhere'! I'm sure there is a story behind these concrete bridge supports that are lined up in a row across the river...but I don't know it.  The birds used them as a perch...and I thought they made for an interesting photo.

We visited the Boyce Farmers’ Market early on a Saturday morning where we mingled with the locals...bought plums and apples from the Amish...and checked out the beautiful hand carved wooden items. I'm loving my new giant wooden spoon!

A little further up the St. John River we had the chance to step back in time at Kings Landing Historical Settlement.  We had our own local tour guide for the day...who seemed to know many of the 'characters' who lived there as well as all the historical background. 

Kings Landing Historical Settlement is the recreation of a New Brunswick town from 1780-1910....complete with creaking wagons pulled by work horses, the whooshing of hoop skirts, and a restaurant that serves good old-fashioned meals from that era. I had heard from reliable sources that I must be sure to try the King's Head brown bread while we were there.  I did...and was not disappointed! We had a delightful day at King's Landing with our wonderful local host.  Thank-you, Pam!

Our next stop was St. John...where we paid a visit to the famous 'Reversing Falls'...where the highest tides in the world battle the St. John River and force it to flow backwards twice daily.  Though an interesting phenomenon...we thought maybe 'Reversing Rapids' would have been a more appropriate name. While we were there...the fog rolled in and in a matter of minutes, the cruise ship in the port was totally obscured by fog.

From there we carried on to St. Stephen...the chocolate capital and home to The Chocolate Museum. Ganong is Canada’s oldest candy company...founded in 1873...and the maker of the original heart shaped chocolate box as well as the famous pink chicken bones candy. (The yellow American candy once also known as chicken bones is now marketed under another name, since Ganong had the name first.) We debated as to whether or not to tour the museum but when we discovered the entrance fee included 'all you can eat' chocolate..we went for it.  No need for lunch that day!

Next stop...St. Andrews-By-The-Sea. It is Canada's oldest seaside village...founded in 1783 by the United Empire Loyalists.  It's a charming little town...filled with tourists going shopping, fishing, or kayaking.

We continued along the coast...

...and soon found ourselves in Fundy National Park.

Another covered bridge...

...and fish 'n chips on the dock at village of Alma. Note the boats all sitting in the mud...waiting for the high tides to come help them out!

Does that look like New Brunswick to you?  Who knew there were such beautiful beaches on the Bay of Fundy?

Cape Enrage Lighthouse..has been a light station and fog alarm since 1838.  The current light tower is over 140 years old.    You may just remember this lighthouse...if you happened to watch 'The Amazing Race Canada' (season two)...where it was one of the pit stops.

Hopewell Rocks along the Bay of Fundy...where we walked on the ocean floor among rock formations that are known as 'the flower pots'.  One doesn't venture down there when the tide is about to come in!

The main attraction of the Bay of Fundy is the dramatic tide...which can rise as high as a four-story building. And when the tide is out...the mud flats are exposed.  Miles and miles of them. (Or should I say kilometers?)

One more covered bridge and we were out of the park.  After spending the night in Moncton...

...we were off to Prince Edward Island via the Confederation Bridge.  I won't cross that bridge today!

I'll leave you with a few memories of our last night in New Brunswick...spent in Campbellton.

Here it is all about salmon fishing (Atlantic salmon, of course)...the town hosts a salmon festival every summer.  We took in a free 'song and dance' at the local bandstand...mostly in French...and walked along the river.   It was a quiet and memorable way to end our time New Brunswick.

Au revoir. Until we meet again!