Friday, July 13, 2018

A Tour and a Taste
While staying in the Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, area, we took advantage of a rainy day and visited a couple of Nova Scotia wineries.  We did purchase a bottle of red from one, and got a fabulous tour of the other, Bear River Vineyards.  Bear River Vineyards is located close to where the first wine grapes were planted in Nova Scotia in 1611 by the French Apothecary Louis Herbert.  The barn in which the winery is located was first used as a dairy barn.  It’s built on a slope, which, coincidentally, makes the creation of wine easier and more efficient.
Winery Inside
The first thing we noticed when we stepped inside the old barn was that it was several stories tall.  As it turns out, the tasting room is the base of a 2 ½ story barn that rises above it.  The owners’ residence is on the other side of the wall we’re looking at.  There are another 1 ½ floors below us.  As we were finishing our tasting, one of the owners, Darren, came by and offered us a tour.  Of course, we said yes!
Wine Creation Begins Here
Ironically, this is such a small winery, that the creation of the wine actually begins in the tasting room!  In October, they will bring the grapes into the tasting room and set up the machine that peels the grapes.  They are then sent down to the tank where they will sit while they ferment (see the small circle in the lower right area of the image).  Part of the efficiency of the barn being on a slope, is that this process is done without machinery, using gravity to get the grapes to the lower portion of the barn/winery.
Private Tasting Room
Altho not a part of the processing for creating wine, our first stop was the private tasting room, which was on a slightly lower level than the tasting room. The “bar” shown on the left of the image is a repurposed piano.  The artful decoration on the bar is actually the inner workings of the piano, with a bit of color added.  And, yes, if you strum your fingers against the wires, they will make a piano like sound!  The actual tasting table (on the right in the image) is a safe door into which wood has been inserted.  It, too, is a repurposed item.  Originally, the folks that created it meant it to be a kitchen island, so if you look closely, you can see a lower shelf built into the legs of the table.  Also, check out the hinges of the safe door on the top of the table!  Beyond the table is the area where the wines available for tasting and purchasing are stored the shelves are rather bare, because they haven’t yet started the bottling of the wine for this season.  That will begin next week.
New Use for Marbles
Larger wineries have barrels of varying sizes.  However, the smaller wineries (and this winery claims to be the smallest in Nova Scotia) must be more creative.  In this case, you can see that they are using what I think of as water bottles that might be used in the water dispensers that you might see in office buildings.  When wine is being aged, the winemakers do not want any air in the barrels.  In larger barrels, the lids can be adjusted down to lie right on top of the wine.  For bottles like this, tho, marbles work well to take up space so that no air is in that bottle.  What makes marbles such a creative solution is that they are very easy to clean and are not porous.  Clever! 
Growing New Wine Vines
Here’s the greenhouse where Darren nurtures his new wine vines.  He takes cuttings from his own vines, cuts the vines into 5”-6” cuttings, puts root stimulator on one end, and plants them.  He said it is rather tedious, but when you’re a small winery, you have to be somewhat a jack of all trades!  His wife, Su, was formerly a pharmacist.  She is now taking classes to be able to do the scientific end of creating new varieties of wines from their grapes.
Bottling, Corking and Labeling
This was the next to the last stop on the tour.  Several folks work on this last bit of the process.  In this area, which is on a lower level that the room in which all the aging barrels were kept, the wine is funneled from the barrels (again using gravity) into the machine on the right in this image (thru the window behind it).  The first person makes sure the wine bottles are appropriately filled, using the first machine.  The filled bottles are then turned over to the 2nd person who uses the tall machine in the middle of the image to cork the bottle.  Then, the filled and corked bottle manually moves onto the first stop on the table.  Each bottle is laid onto the equipment that almost looks like a knife rack laying on its side, and then pushed up into the metal portion on the top of the equipment.  That adheres the foil onto the top of the bottle, covering the cork.  Finally, using the final piece of equipment, the labels are manually attached to the bottles.  Darren said that when this part of the process is done, the team can prepare approximately 1,000 bottles of wine per day.  They have a small vineyard, so that the total annual production is only about 4,000, so the bottling portion will take a week or less, depending on the different varieties they will be bottling.
View of the Vineyard
After a long day of wine processing, tasting or selling, it’s nice to be able sit back and enjoy a view of the vineyard.  The vines we’re looking out on are not full for a couple of reasons.  First, it is early in the season.  However, this area had what was a deadly frost just a few weeks ago.  Most of the vines were so damaged by the frost, it is anticipated that the vines will bear only 25% - 50% of their normal grape crop for this season’s harvest in October. To offset some of the variances of growing grapes, Darren and Su, his wife, also rent out rooms here for those who wish to get away from it all!
Fort Anne at Annapolis Royal
We spent a couple of days in the Annapolis Royal area exploring the sights.  Annapolis Royal was first known as Port Royal and was renamed in honor of Queen Anne after the Siege of Port Royal in 1710 by the British.  It was the capital of Acadia (later Nova Scotia) until the city of Halifax was founded in 1749.  Fort Anne was built to protect Annapolis Royal.  One evening, after dinner at a quaint little German restaurant, Jeff and I wandered thru this historic area.
Officers’ Quarters
The most preserved building on the site was the officers’ quarters.  This would have been the sleeping and living quarters for the officers who manned the fort back during its active days.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the day for us to take a look around inside.
Black Powder Storage
Located a safe distance away from the officers’ quarters was a building used to store the black powder used in the weaponry of the day.  It is the only building to survive from the original time when the French ruled this area.  
Inside the Black Powder Storage
This building was open and Jeff and I couldn’t help but explore it.  As we entered the one room building, there were barrels on the one wall, representing the manner in which the black powder had been stored.  In order to keep the powder dry enough to be used, there were vents located throughout the walls of the building.  On the other wall, it is left open to allow people to see them.  You can see one of them on the far right in the image on the right.  Another type of vent is the long narrow one that runs from ceiling to floor.  These are also located behind the barrels, but aren’t able to be seen.
Outside Black Powder Storage
There was also a small walkway that ran around the building.  This covered open area allowed for the air circulation to enter and leave the vents in the walls.  You can also see the door to the building.  It was interesting how most of the building was below ground.  I’m supposing that was for a couple of reasons to maintain a constant temperature and to have a lower profile to make it a more difficult target for enemies.
Cemetery at Fort Anne
Located to one side was a cemetery where the remains of those who fought at the Fort were laid to rest.  It was an area that was quite pretty and peaceful.  Altho in one of the images, the headstones are all lined up in an organized manner.  However, this organization was always applied, as you can see in the second image where someone was laid to rest at the foot of a very lovely tree.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fossil Cliffs and Cape d’Or Lighthouse
One day while in Nova Scotia, we decided to visit Fossil Cliffs and the Cape d’Or Lighthouse.  On the way to Fossil Cliffs, we got detoured, and Jeff noticed something interesting sitting on top on a telephone pole an osprey in her nest.
Bothered Mama Osprey
I got out of the Jeep to take some photos of her in her nest.  Altho she was many, many feet above me (maybe 100 feet or more), she was quite bothered by my being there below her in her nest.  She started soaring around me, slowly circling lower and lower.  I got some really great shots and got back in the Jeep before she was able to get her talons into me.  
Upset with Me
When we did get to Fossil Cliffs, we were a bit disappointed.  The stairs that went down to the actual beach at the base of the Cliffs, were recently wiped out by the tide.  Remember, we’re along the Bay of Fundy, and the tides can be quite amazing and powerful.  We went down as far as we could, and I was able to get these 2 shots.  The one on the left is a close up of a section of the cliffs.  This layered structure of the cliffs allows for the fossils to form.  The image on the right is an actual fossil of some leaves from eons ago.
Fossil Cliffs
We then moved on and I got a great image of Cape d’Or Lighthouse.  It’s not often that I can stand above a lighthouse.  I really love the angle of this image.  It gives you a real sense of the setting of this lighthouse.  And, the quality of the natural light is just wonderful here.
Cape d’Or Shoreline
We did drive down to the lighthouse and I walked out a bit from it to capture a look of the shoreline.  The cliffs are so dramatic, and I love the contrast of the colors of the cliff with the beach and water, sky and a touch of the grass I’m standing on.
Cape d’Or Shoreline View
And, a bonus!  An extra lighthouse!  This isn’t a “real” lighthouse.  It’s the real lighthouse (built in 1913), but this is not the original location of it.  As close as Jeff and I could figure, it originally stood about 6 miles from this location.  The islands in the background are the 5 islands for which the lighthouse is named.  An interesting side note check out the large island with the tiny island right next to it.  The two were connected by an arch, but that collapsed in 2015.
Five Islands Lighthouse

Monday, July 9, 2018

Fundy Trail Parkway

One day, while staying in St. Martins, New Brunswick, we decided to head out and explore the Fundy Trail Parkway.  The Parkway runs along the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides (the highest officially measured was a 71 foot difference between low and high tide) in the world.  Our explorations today were limited to one side of the Bay of Fundy, and unfortunately, the timing of the tides was such that we didn’t get to see the tide actually coming in or going out – just the after effects.

Boats on the Hard

When we started out, we drove by the little harbor in town when it was low tide.  We got to see boats “on the hard”.  Jeff explained that what sometimes happens is that a wooden structure sits below the water (at high tide) on the floor of the bay so that when the tide goes down, the boat rests upright on the wooden structure.  If this structure isn’t there, the boats will rest unevenly on the floor of the bay, and if tide comes in while the boat is at the wrong angle, the boat could be swamped and end up sinking.

The Caves at Low Tide

Just down the road from the harbor is an area known simply as The Caves.  It’s an area where we could get a first-hand feel for the difference in the tide here on the Bay of Fundy.  These images were taken at almost, but not quite, the lowest tide.  If it was the lowest tide, there would be no water rivulets running between us and The Caves.  As it was, altho the water looks very shallow, it was deep enough to totally cover our shoes.  Not deep, but deep enough that we didn’t want to wade thru it.

Looking Out from The Caves

When I turned around from The Caves, I saw this really pretty “shoreline” view looking out.  The rolling terrain was very gentle and at this time, it was sort of hard to believe that this would be under some significant water later in the day.

The Caves at High Tide

When we finished our exploring for the day, we stopped back at The Caves to check them out at high tide.  I don’t know if this image does justice to the difference in the tide.  The water would most definitely be way over my head, if I were so silly to try to swim out to them.  However, the incoming tide would absolutely not let me get there.  Also, the cold waters of the Bay (coming from the North Atlantic Ocean) would probably do me in!

The Views Along Fundy Parkway

There were a number of fabulous sights to see along the Parkway, and these are two of them.  We were always up high on the bluff or cliff, so the views were quite dramatic!  Thank goodness the weather gods cooperated with us today!

Fuller Falls Flowing

This waterfall is really quite pretty, but I wasn’t able to get down to the bottom of it without climbing down some sort of rope ladder with pieces of wood periodically placed in it as, I think, steps.  Maybe if I were 30 years younger and had a more flexible body, I might have tried it.  But, then, probably not.  Even 30 years ago, I don’t think my body could withstand a misstep that might cause a drop of perhaps 30-40 feet!!

Lunch View of Nova Scotia

At lunchtime, we stopped for a picnic at a place that had a pretty nice view of the Bay.  And, across the Bay lay Nova Scotia.  You can barely see it – it’s the faint blue horizon line above the lighter color of the water.  It gives you an idea of how big the Bay of Fundy is.

Big Salmon River Suspension Bridge

Our final stop on our exploration on this day (before we turned back toward the campground) was at the Big Salmon River.  It flows into the Bay of Fundy.  And, when we walked down a little path, we came to this great suspension bridge!  There wasn’t really anything on the other side of the river, but Jeff enjoyed bouncing me on the bridge as I tried to take some photos of the river itself.  As he reminds me, deep down inside, he’s 12!

Big Salmon River

When he stopped bouncing me long enough, I did manage this really nice image of the Big Salmon River.  I loved the way it meanders out of the forest, and how clear the water is.  The rocks are so pretty!

Big Salmon Flowing into Bay of Fundy

Here’s the view of the Big Salmon River from walking along the path to and from the suspension bridge.  I can’t decide which view I like better – emerging from the forest, or this view of the water making its way into the Bay. 

St. Martins, New Brunswick
We arrived in St. Martins and decided to do a bit of exploring when we arrived.  From the beach in front of our campsite to a cool rock formation to a nearby lighthouse to a couple of covered bridges, come take a look!!
Two Views
Driftwood on the Beach
Anvil Rock
Quaco Lighthouse
Blooms at the Lighthouse
St. Martins’ Covered Bridges

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Minister’s Island
While staying at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea in New Brunswick, we had the chance to visit the small island just off the coast, Minister’s Island.  I had read that there was an abandoned summer house on the island, and I thought it would be a nice photo op to visit it.  Well, needless to say, the term “abandoned summerhouse” had quite the different definition than I had given it!  Take a look……


Thursday, June 28, 2018

A US/Canada Day
On our first full day in Canada, what did we do?  Why travel back to the US to get to a Canadian island, of course!  I hadn’t realize that we’d have to do that in order to explore down one of the drives in the travel book that I had for exploring the Atlantic Canada provinces.  So, we had to cross the US/Canadian border 4 times!

Mulholland Lighthouse was built to guide ships through the Lubec Narrows, a body of water that separated Campobello Island, New Brunswick, and the town of Lubec, Maine.  The lighthouse was completed in 1884, and the light was installed in 1885.  Campobello Island is the island where FDR would spend summers as a child, and the estate took up quite a lot of land on the island.  It is here that FDR was first stricken with polio which left him paralyzed from the waist down.  Eleanor Roosevelt used to visit the island more than FDR did after they married, and her last visit to the island was just a few weeks before her death in1962.

Mulholland Lighthouse

At the opposite end of Campobello Island is Head Harbor Lighthouse, which is also known as East Quoddy Lighthouse.  The bay it sits in is Passamaquoddy Bay.  It was the first warning for ships of the craggy rocks located around Campobello Island.  This image was taken when the tide was coming in.  During low tide, one used to be able to walk from the island to the lighthouse. There were stairs going down to what would be land from both the island and the lighthouse.  However, when we were there, the steps down to the “land” were partially destroyed and access was chained off.  The area where one would walk is the area where the waters are the most churning during the tide change.  I don’t know exactly how deep the waters were at the time this image was taken, but my guess is they were well over my head, even with the tide not being completely in! 

Head Harbor Lighthouse

One of the interesting things that we noticed when driving in northern Maine and certainly throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is that there are a LOT of small cemeteries.  Altho we couldn’t find anything to confirm it, our guess is that back in the late 1800s, communities were much more insular, and so, each community had its own cemetery.  The cemetery in Lubec, Maine, seemed to be an old one, with several headstones that I saw dating back to the late 1800s.  

Headstone Down