Summer – it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…actually that last part isn’t true. It would be more accurate to say it was the wetest of times. That’s right. Summer 2017 will go down as being…well…soggy. Spring rains blended seamlessly into summer rains and I can’t begin to tell you how many outings were postponed or soccer games cancelled. And some days, the best approach was to say “to heck with it, we are going out anyway!”.
Travelling for me and my brood was on the quiet side this year with one major foray to Nova Scotia in July. The trip to Canada’s East Coast was unique in 2017 in that we did not travel the entire time together. The kids and my husband spent seven days camping as part of the national Scout Canada Jamboree along with thousands of other Scouts and their leaders from across Canada as well as some international participants peppered here and there. It was a once in a lifetime event that they continue to talk about wistfully at times so it was well worth it.
I joined them at the conclusion of their 7-day adventure in the wilds and we spent an additional week visiting family and being tourists. We spent a lovely few days on the island of Cape Breton. We stayed in Sydney and used that as our base to visit – in our humble opinion – one of the best national historic sites in Canada. The Fortress of Louisbourg offers a snapshot of life in colonial times when the French and English waged war for the rights to Canadian lands. The biggest attraction for this spot: fishing. This beautifully restored site (faithful to the French period of occupation) is a testament to the care and thoughtfulness to sound preservation. Furthermore, the volunteer community that assists in bringing history to life are themselves an extraordinary asset to the site. The time spent here did not wow you with modern high-tech bells and whistles, more so all visitors were enchanted by the “low tech” of ingenuity born of circumstance and determination to thrive in a place that was so far removed from their European roots. In summary, the entire experience was superb from start to finish.
Another day trip found us in the charming village of Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Situated on the North Shore of Bras d’Or Lake (a partially saltwater and freshwater lake that measures roughly 100 kilometres in length and 50 kilometres in width), Baddeck is known for its most famous long-time resident: Alexander Graham Bell. That said, our primary reason in Baddeck was to kayak the lake. We enjoyed a sunny 1.5 hour paddle around the lake courtesy of Paddle Dog kayak. It was our family of four and a guide. It was lovely. The sun was high in the sky, the winds light and the lake water was refreshing. It is a fantastic way to not only pass time but see and learn about the area from a different vantage point. Oh and the banana bread and tea during our rest stop – outstanding!
We couldn’t leave Baddeck without a stop at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. It was a great learning experience. Not to diminish the significance of the invention of the telephone, but his body of work was incredible. The museum is a testament to all his inventions – from his early days working with the deaf community to airplanes (who knew the first controlled power flight in Canada occured in this community in 1909 largely because of Bell’s involvement!).
Although our family holiday was short, we thoroughly enjoyed the sites that we did see. Here’s to you Nova Scotia – Sláinte!