Tag Archives: Annapolis Valley

A trip down memory lane

I took a trip down memory lane.

As a young girl I spent most of my summers in Wolfville, NS. My mother and I would pack up and head there as soon as school had ended for the year so I could study violin with Professor Kalejs at Acadia University all summer long. I loved those long, hot and busy summers and there was still time to play with friends, go to the beach or just be a kid for a while away from the concrete streets of Saint John.

View of the Annapolis Valley across the Minas Basin to Blomidon Mountain that evokes an “I’m Home” response.

When you’re driving toward Wolfville, there’s a point in the road, near Avonport, where you come over a hill and you can see across the Minas Basin to Blomidon Mountain. There’s just something about that spot that makes everyone who loves ‘the Valley’ pause, sigh and say “I’m home”. If you tell anyone who lives there about that, they know exactly the spot you mean – and they’ll agree.

Some of my favourite memories are of playing in the mud or shallow waters at Evangeline Beach when the tide was low. You can always see Blomidon overlooking everything.

We also spent a lot of time in what is now the Grand Pré National Park. It was a a magical place to explore as a child. Great twisted elms provided shade and shadows to play in. Beautiful and fragrant gardens overwhelmed senses long inured to the smell of auto exhaust and wet pavement.

On the Old Post Road overlooking Grand Pré

On the grounds there’s a statue of Evangeline, the romantic subject of Longfellow’s poem by the same name, on the path leading to the wee chapel that now houses the history of the area and the peoples whose histories are so closely intertwined. Visiting there today brings out a host of emotions, not all of them happy as you think about what one group did to others centuries ago.

#RedChairs

Because it’s now a National Park, you can enjoy the view from the Red Chairs that have been placed in parks across the country.

Down the road at Horton’s Landing stands this cross marking the location of the expulsion of the Acadians.

View from Ridge Road, Wolfville, NS

Meanwhile, back in Wolfville, I took a drive along the Ridge Road. If you can get on top of a hill anywhere, the views are spectacular. Vineyards have popped up everywhere enjoying the rich and fertile soil and warm, sunny days that mark summer in ‘The Valley’.

I awoke the morning after the solar eclipse with an urge to photograph sunrise from the Look Off at Blomidon Mountain. In the dark I took a wrong turn and ended up at Kingsport Beach instead, viewing a purple and orange sky across the mud at low tide.

I turned around and headed for the high ground, quickly stopping as I saw a brilliant red orb rising over the treeline behind a farmer’s field. It was amazing. I put the ‘pedal to the metal’ then to get to higher ground!

At the top of the hill the sun was still rising in the red sky. If one were superstitious, given the recent eclipse and then a red sky, that would be a truly frightening sight. For me it was just beautiful.

Once the sun rose a little higher it spread it’s warmth and light on the valley below – and another day began.

Panorama from “The Lookoff” on Blomidon Mountain, NS

I always enjoy visiting “The Valley” and the many friends I have that still live in the area. It’s wonderful to take a trip down memory lane once in a while and be reminded of one’s own history and ties to various places in this country.

 

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A break is a good thing!

The month of June, in our house, was a dreadful one filled with loss and sorrow – and a huge break in my heart. First our beloved dog, Hoover, passed away and then Beau, the horse I’d had for 17 years, joined him on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. For weeks afterward I felt disoriented and lost, so I decided to take a short road trip to visit some friends and places in Nova Scotia – to take a physical and mental break from the daily reminders of what was gone.

The weather was ideal for a road trip when I set off. I reached the NB / NS border easily and stopped to enjoy the scenery, including the large wind farm taking advantage of the never-ending winds on the Tantramar Marshes.

Windfarm on the Tantramar Marsh

Windfarm on the Tantramar Marsh at the NB/NS border.

The overcast skies made the drive easier on the eyes, that’s for sure.

I arrived at my friend’s home and was delighted with her rustic, unstructured gardens and back yard – an oasis of huge trees, large shrubs and periodic surprises tucked away beside a shed here, a rock there.

Garden Chair

Garden Chair

Purple flower_web White shrub_web

 

The next day I explored “the Valley” where I had begun my university education years ago. A trip to Hall’s Harbour was a refreshing break from the incessant humidity and heat on the Valley floor – a 10º difference in temperature.

Halls Harbour breakwater_web

Rocks forming an enormous breakwater between the world famous high tides of the Bay of Fundy and the sheltered harbour.Halls Harbour low tide_web

Low tide with some of the fishing fleet and pleasure craft resting on the ocean floor.Halls Harbour rock_web

Halls Harbour seagulls_web

 

Seagulls startled by the click of my camera shutter. Note to self, muffle that in the future.

Halls Harbour seaweed rocks_webSeaweed coated boulders leading down from the breakwater to the ocean floor at low tide.

I drove up over the steep hill from Hall’s Harbour and started down the other side toward the hot and sultry “Valley”.

Looking down into the Annapolis Valley where the temperature was close to 30ºC and very humid.

Looking down into the Annapolis Valley where the temperature was close to 30ºC and very humid.

Next stop? Historic Grand Pre.

The beach at Grand Pre looking toward Blomidon Mountain at low tide.

The beach at Grand Pre looking toward Blomidon Mountain at low tide.

A wide swath of beach (see the people in the distance?).

A wide swath of beach (see the people in the distance?). Ocean floor, Bay of Fundy, low tide.

Between the Grand Pre historic sight and the beach you drive through this farmland - and hope the dykes hold!

Between the Grand Pre historic sight and the beach you drive through this farmland – and hope the dykes hold!

The next day Tropical Storm Arthur attacked the Maritimes with a vengeance. We lost power at my friend’s house and spent the day watching trees break, branches fly by the windows, and keeping our fingers and toes crossed that nothing would damage her very old house or either of our cars parked in the yard. We were lucky. From the photos the next day and those in the news media, others weren’t.

Wind whipping by the living room window

Wind whipping by the living room window

The next day, since we still had no power but the storm had passed, except for the residual winds, we decided to venture forth and check out  any damage in the yard. Broken branches lay everywhere on the ground and her neighbour’s tree had split, falling onto her privacy hedge along the roadside, taking out several well established and older shrubs, rose bushes, etc.

It took about 36 hours for power to be restored to Hantsport and the area and the cleanup was underway.

I headed home on Monday morning, stopping briefly to visit another friend and share a lunch and reminisce.

This trip did what I intended it to do; it provided a much needed break and a chance to re-set my priorities and perspective on life in general.

Home now, tired from the driving but refreshed from the trip, life goes on.

 

 

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