Driving and Dining

As part of our self-prescribed togetherness plan, The Doc and I have been taking road trips; and I, doing what I do, have taken a shitload of photos. So I thought I would share them with you and attach a few details. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, just consider this post to be about 15,000 words long but much less painful to view. After all, I am not trying to write the Great Canadian Novel here. In reality, the word count is only about 1000.

A couple of weeks ago we took a drive down Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, known for its better climate, fresh vegetables and apples. The first place we stopped was “The Look Off,” (really, that’s what it is called) which overlooks the valley and the Minas Basin. It is certainly a lovely view.

Next we drove up to the entrance to Cape Split Provincial Park. The park is actually a 13 kilometer trail with look offs on The Bay of Fundy and climaxes at the point of Cape Split, a locally famous and very beautiful headland. Hiking the trail was not part of our plan that day. I plan to return and hike it at another time. Hopefully next summer. I took the this picture of the tree at the park entrance.

From there we drove to Blomidon Provincial Park. Blomidon is also a very famous and very beautiful area of the province and like Cape Split is often featured in Nova Scotia tourism promotional material.

We were lucky because the world-famous high tide was out, and we were able to wander the beach and take in the cliffs and rock formations. And of course, I was able to take lots of photos. Much more than you see here.

The next part of the plan was to head to Berwick, one of those quaint little Nova Scotia towns, but it was getting late and we began to wonder if anything there would be still open. Since we are retired, we don’t get up really early, and it was almost noon before we got on the road so, at this point, it was after four o’clock. We were starting to get hungry. Lunch is not usually a thing for us. It is breakfast and dinner with perhaps a tiny snack of fruit and cheese or a granola bar in between.

Instead, we headed into New Minas, partially because there was a store there we wanted to check out. New Minas is definitely not one of those quaint Nova Scotia towns that one wants to capture with a million photos. It has a main street of fast-food joints, a couple of Canadian-style Chinese food restaurants, an Indian restaurant that is actually called “Indian Restaurant”, two furniture stores, I think a car dealership, and more stuff like that. Nothing quaint about it. Instead, very twenty-first-century bland.

It was in New Minas, that we decided to eat and went to a restaurant called Applewood’s, which was recommended to us by a store employee. It was a busy little spot. We had expectations. Not really-high expectations but some expectations. The Doc and I like good food. Food with taste. Never have I ever eaten such a tasteless meal. I had ordered quesadillas and Caesar salad. I have yet to figure out how these two things, usually full of flavour could have absolutely none. Absolutely no flavour! I may as well have eaten a pizza box. The Doc ordered some kind of chicken dish that also had no flavour. What happened to spices? What happened to zest? What happened to even just a spec of salt and pepper? And on top of that, the restaurant was unlicensed so no adult beverages to save the meal. A bland meal in a bland town. Luckily the rest of the day was so nice that the meal couldn’t spoil what had been a perfect outing.

Just after Thanksgiving weekend, which is the second weekend in October in Canada, we took another road trip. This time we headed down Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore in search of fall colours. We got on the road about 11:30 after homemade breakfast bagel eggs.

The Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia is the shore less travelled. It is rugged and mostly undeveloped. The highway runs close to the coast so ocean views are frequent. Lakes and rivers are also abundant. It is a beautiful trip and again, I took lots of photos.

We stopped in Sheet Harbour where we met this guy.

Then we explored the mouth of the West River where evidence still exists of the lumber mill and then the pulp mill that once stood on this Sheet Harbour site back in the 1800’s.

We stopped in the communities of Liscomb and Sherbrook. We also stopped at picnic parks along the highway and sometimes just pulled off on the shoulder to enjoy various views. It is a drive I never tire of.

This photo is taken from an single-lane old iron bridge. 

We headed inland to Antigonish where we were planning to have dinner. Antigonish is a University Town so it has that look. Brick campus buildings, older stately homes, unique restaurants for the dining pleasure of academics, plus everything students may need including fast food and no-longer-stately-looking rentals if they prefer not to live in residence.  

We had planned to visit a nice Italian restaurant that we had staked out online, but due to Covid and staffing issues this particular restaurant only offered take out. Information we garnered from a sign on the front door. We ended up at a place called The Brown Stone, where we ordered lobster linguine that arrived loaded with lobster and taste. We tacked on a craft beer for The Doc, a glass of wine for me and a couple of desserts. Certainly a nice end to our day. Then we completed the loop by driving home in the dark on the TransCanada highway. No more scenery necessary because we had already enjoyed some very beautiful views.

I personally have two takeaways from these daytrips. 1. I live in an incredibly beautiful province. (I already knew this but I like to brag about it). And 2. I am happy to report that these self-prescribed togetherness sessions for The Doc and I are working very well. 

Thank you for reading.

Photos:  Jenn Stone unless otherwise stated

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