Spontaneous Canadian Adventures

Adventure:

Noun: An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

Spontaneous:

Adjective: Performed or occurring without premeditation or external stimulus

For the most part, I would consider myself a planner; I plan days off, with checklists of things that need to get done. Days at work are planned around specific duties which must occur, i.e. med passes, preparing patients for procedures, etc. There are few instances in my past that I can recall where I have been spontaneous– my spontaneous trip to the Kingdom for a day of biking, or spontaneous hiking adventures in the Catskills. However, the majority of my life is pretty much planned out, with few changes in my daily routines.

A couple weeks ago, Kevin and I realized we had 10 days off. Well, techinally, I had ten days off, and he had some extra vacation time he could use.  Brainstorming of what we could do (how about another mountain bike trip in Vermont?), Kevin said, “How about Canada?”

Yeah, Canada…A place we had never been (well, except for nine years ago when I was looking at universities up there). We purchased a guide book, but then life became life, and a trip became an afterthought. Was it possible to plan a trip to Canada, when you would be leaving to go there in less than two weeks?

Mid way through the week, I gave him a call and said, “Why not? Let’s do it.”

Five days later, we were off. No plans on what to do, no reservations of places to stay, no expectations, simply a full tank of gas and a map of New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia.

The first two days of the trip involved driving. We did have somewhat of an idea of where to go: head to Bangor, then head to Nova Scotia, and end up in Prince Edward Island. (If you ever are in Bangor, there is an amazing “out of the way” joint that has great seafood, called  Mclaughlin Seafood Inc. Truthfully, it is outside of Bangor, off the beaten path, but has amazingly affordable seafood).

Fresh Maine lobster roll. Delish.

Fresh Maine lobster roll. Delish.

We arrived at Saint John an hour later than expected–as we did not realize that we actually skipped ahead an hour during our ride from Bangor to Saint John–and took a ferry across the Bay of Fundy. For your information, the bay of Fundy has some of, if not the highest tides in the world. It also has lots of whales. Unfortunetly, Kevin didn’t get to see any whales on the ferry from Saint John to Digby, NS.

Canadian Dollars are see through!

Canadian Dollars are see through! Yes, I’m a dork

First Canadian Coffee...a Small, black, no sugar. I then realized we are no longer in the USA.

First Canadian Coffee…a Small, black, no sugar. Todo, we are not in America anymore.

Due to the uncertainty of weather in Nova Scotia, we ended up staying in a cheap motel our first night in Yarmouth, a seaside fishing town on the south-western shores of NS. It was our introduction to the fog, which we’d be seeing for the majority of our trip.

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Pretty flowers

Pretty flowers

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Fog

Fog

Rudders...Yarmouth's own brewery

Rudders…Yarmouth’s own brewery

The next day, due to impending rain, we decided to head to Nova Scotia. On our way, we stopped and did a couple road rides, the first starting in Shelburne and riding along the seaside (you can check out a link to rides here ).  I had decided to bring my cross bike on the trip insead of my road bike, as we were unsure what the roads would be like, which was a major mistake. Having only ever ridden in three times, I was not used to the fit of the bike, causing major shoulder and back pain. My tip for you if you ever decide to go on a trip where you will be riding your bike for long periods of time: bring a bike that your body is familar with!

More fog...And a lighthouse

More fog…And Sandy Point lighthouse (can you see it?)

Little house by the sea

Little house by the sea

A rail trail outside of Shelburne

A rail trail outside of Shelburne

We decided to stop and ride around the peninsula to end up at Peggy’s Cove, therefore stopped again and headed out on our bikes. However, late into the ride, we realized we were riding along Aspotogan peninsula, the little peninsula next to the peninsula which was home to Peggy’s Cove. Ooops. We had great views, non the less, and discovered Nova Scotia is actually quite hilly.

Stopping for views of...fog

Stopping for views of…fog

Takin' a break

Takin’ a break

Required selfie with fog in the background

Required selfie with fog in the background

The fog lifted!

The fog lifted!

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In Halifax, we decided to stay at Kings University, a part of Dalhousie University, as during the summer, they rent out dorm rooms. It was more expensive than a hostel, but cheaper than a hotel/ B&B. I must admit, it was interesting being back in a dorm….Using dorm showers…Etc. But, it was clean and safe. Actually, I think it was interesting staying at my first choice university nine years later.

Co-ed dorm living? What???

Co-ed dorm living? What???

I feel like I should be a student again.

I feel like I should be a student again.

This is what a biker's burn looks like.

This is what a biker’s burn looks like.

The student at the “front desk” of the dorm suggested an affordable seafood place called Phil’s Seafood. I decided to try seafood, since, hello, I am in seafood heaven. This place was amazing. Many seafood restaurants in cities charge an arm and a leg for fresh seafood (tourist traps, basically) but this place was incredible. So good we ended up going back a second night. Cheap, and mouthwatering food. Even Kevin, who is a skeptic when it comes to seafood, developped a love for scallops. (Mind you, after our trip, he will never eat scallops again so that he can “remember the scrumptiousness of what fresh scallops taste like”.

Moosehead...My new favorite beer...Waiting for fried seafood goodness

Moosehead…My new favorite beer…Waiting for fried seafood goodness

The most expensive breakfast ever...

The most expensive breakfast ever…But look at the presentation

With incredible wind, we opted out of biking and spent the day sightseeing in Halifax and Peggy’s Cove. I swear, it is impossible to be overweight if you live in Halifax. From the waterfront to Citadel (a historic fort) or to any other part of the city, you need to walk up hill.

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market...AMAZING

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market…AMAZING

Yummy local granolla bars

Yummy local granolla bars

Coolest name for a restaurant!

Coolest name for a restaurant!

 

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

The most photographed lighthouse in the world

The most photographed lighthouse in the world

It was windy

It was windy

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Ofcourse, it turned sunny after we left...

Ofcourse, it turned sunny after we left… By the way, the waves are huge

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Smiling

Smiling

From Halifax we took the ferry from Pictou to Wood Island in Prince Edward Island. If you are a cyclist, Prince Edward Island is the home of the Confederation trail– a cyling trail that goes from one tip of the island all the way through the island to the other tip. It is well groomed, with bathrooms along the way, and places to stay for cyclists. One day, I want to return and ride the whole trail. There are also trails that extend off the main Confederation trail to other areas. Not to mention, the coastal provincial parks have bicycle lanes. Talk about an amazing tourism industry catered to cyclists! If only other places in the United States would learn from the Canadians.

Soaking in some rays on the ferry to PEI

Soaking in some rays on the ferry to PEI

Cape Bear lighthouse--the first lighthouse to receive SOS signals from the Titanic

Cape Bear lighthouse–the first lighthouse to receive SOS signals from the Titanic

First ride along the coast of PEI, from Wood island

First ride along the coast of PEI, from Wood island

The Confederation Trail!

The Confederation Trail!

Riding along the Confederation Trail. I prefer if my jersey blends in with the surroundings.

Riding along the Confederation Trail. I prefer if my jersey blends in with the surroundings.

We did treat ourselves one night to a B&B in Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, which felt like a 5 star hotel after dorm living and motel living.

Colorful houses in Charlottetown

Colorful houses in Charlottetown

If you are ever in Charlottetown, and want some fresh, amazing, mouthwatering seafood, you must go to Water Prince Corner Shop– it is not one of those “all-you-can-eat expensive lobster dinner” places. It’s big with locals, and I know why.  had the most scrumptious Prince Edward Island mussels. (C’mon, you have to have PEI mussels IN  Prince Edward Island!

Ahmazing

Ahmazing

PEI's own Beach Chair lager

PEI’s own Beach Chair lager

Cows Ice Cream-- the best in PEI

Cows Ice Cream– the best in PEI

Due to a forecast of rain, we ended up driving more than cycling. We did make it to North Rustico, and decided to chance rain and ride through Prince Edward Island’s Provincial Park to Cavendish–famous for Ann of Green Gables!

Crazy that the sand is red

Crazy that the sand is red

North Rustico Lighthouse

North Rustico Lighthouse

Lobster traps

Lobster traps

Riding from North Rustico to Cavendish through PEI's Provincial park

Riding from North Rustico to Cavendish through PEI’s Provincial park

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Bike lane!

Bike lane!

The red cliffs of PEI

The red cliffs of PEI

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Kevin looking for more whales.

Kevin looking for more whales.

Crabs! On a red sand beach

Crabs! On a red sand beach

Sea greens: incredible sources of minerals and vitamins

Sea greens: incredible sources of minerals and vitamins

Kevin was a trooper and went to the Ann of Green Gables historic site with me.

Ann of Green Gables house!

Ann of Green Gables house!

Looking for seashells

Looking for seashells

Eat your mussels to get muscles!

Eat your mussels to get muscles!

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Our last stop was Summerside, yet another coastal town. It wasn’t too thrilling, but had a nice rest-over before our 13hour car ride back to the US.  (If you ever decide to drive 13 hours in a day, God bless you! I do not think I will ever be able to do a straight 13 hr drive ever again.)

All in all, it was an incredible trip, and our spontaneous adventure ended up being a blast. Now, after knowing a bit more about the territory, I can assure you there will be another northern adventure in the future.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pam Geuss
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 11:07:56

    Oh, Molly, this was wonderful!!!! I especially loved the photographs – some of which are AMAZING and worthy of those “art” magazines!!! You are so multi-talented!!!! You and Kevin are so clever and funny! Thanks for sharing!!! Lots of love, Auntie Pam

    Reply

  2. doris Roberts
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 20:15:26

    When your grandfather and I had our 10th anniversary, a Navy buddy of grandpa’s
    had an air plane–4 seater and we flew over the area where you went–it was raining so we didn’t see the views you did but I have had a painting that I will give you that is the same as one of your shots–been trying to sell it for many years!!!!!
    It will have meaning for you–I think it is good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    As usual, you did a great Blog–agree with your Aunt Pam—Can’t believe that you ate that food –really???????????? Love, Grandma

    Reply

  3. Trackback: 30 before 30 | A Rendezvous with Sneakers

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