Hands up if you have ever bought a Groupon or booked a hotel on a site such as Priceline or Expedia.
My hand is up.
I love a deal, love trying new things and love to be able to stretch my measly household income to cover luxuries such as food. And, occasionally, even have a little fun.
And sometimes, it is fabulous. I bought sea kayaking Groupon for an outfit in Prospect(East Coast Outfitters )and they treated us like actual customers-very well,indeed. Hence, the shout out to them.
That’s how it works. Did you know that a pleased customer will tell 7 other people about her experience/service? But an unhappy client will tell AT LEAST 21 other folks.
So, those of you who think you can treat people who book a discounted room, buy a discounted service and use a coupon for dinner like crap..we get the last laugh. Just because you think we are cheap-and hey, maybe we are-that is no reason to put us in a room with construction going on outside our door all night, burn our scalp with the hair dryer or service us half-assedly.
First of all, I don’t recommend you hop on over to Newfoundland for a weekend-however long a weekend it may be.
Too bad I am one of those ‘Do what I say,not what I do’ people.
Flights are expensive, the ferry is excruciatingly long and a bit pricey and Newfoundland alone is huge- including Labrador, you are looking at 405,212 square km.
So…not conducive to a quick jaunt. We had five days, four nights, and some Air Miles to burn-but even so, we limited our explorations to the Avalon Peninsula and parts of the Eastern Region.
Day 1. Downtown St.John’s
Arrived in St.John’s about 10:30 am. Picked up the rental. Went to the hotel to see if we can check in early.Bonus-we can! Not a bonus-construction on our floor.Took off to visit Cape Spear-the most easterly point in North America. From there you can show your behind to the rest of the continent. Took lots of sub-par photos-I really need a better camera. Walked up to the lighthouse , and went into the gift shop. Beautiful views from the Cape. A must see.
We came back to the hotel and had a nap. Yes, we did,even though the musical sounds of hammering and moving stuff was all around us. We took a stroll downtown. Ate fish and chips at Rumpelstiltskin’s, the hotel restaurant.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a Bucket List freak. So far, I have taken drum lessons, bought a kayak (two of them, second hand- I love them)completed a sprint triathlon (coming in last, I may add), zipped along on an extremely thin looking line high above the trees and jumped in a icy lake on Jan 1st.
There is no rhyme or reason to what ends up on my Bucket List. And it doesn’t look as if it will be finished anytime soon, because new ideas still seem to find themselves on it.
Last week, I got to check icebergs off the list. Not only did I see them in the harbor,(trapped in pack ice) but we treated ourselves to a two hour tour on with Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours out of St.John’s.( Iceberg Quest also runs out of Twillingate)
I’m glad I booked this tour ahead because they sold out with a waiting list-about 100 people hungry for icebergs. There was but one lonely iceberg in St.John’s harbour , but the boat chugged around it multiple times, giving us lots of opportunities for viewing and snapping pictures.
Newfoundland has been a mecca for the media with the booming iceberg season this year. The Huffington Post supplied it’s readers with this article and accompanying amazing berg photos, as one example.
Icebergs are large chunks of ice that break off from glaciers,in a process called calving. Although icebergs float in the ocean,surprisingly (at least to me) they primarily consist of freshwater. Most of these floating behemoths in Newfoundland likely calved from glaciers in Greenland. And behemoths they can be indeed.The tallest known iceberg in the North Atlantic was 850 meters above sea level. Since the largest section of an iceberg hides beneath the water,this gigantic specimen was estimated to be as tall as a 55-story building! Iceberg B-15, from Antarctica,was three quarters of a km thick and covered an area of about 11655 square km.
I only wish I had seen such giants.
But they are ice after all. They crack. They melt. They split.The crew dipped some of the tiniest of these slivers out of the Bay to keep refreshments cold. What could be more appropriate than using ice from a 10,000 year old berg?
The crew looked after us,answered our questions and took group photos. The captain had a ton of historical information about the area to share-the crew danced spontaneous jigs to entertain (or maybe they were just really cold)
They did all they could to make sure the trip was a memorable one.And it was.
Coming soon, I’ll sharing my 5 day itinerary to give you some ideas for a trip to Newfoundland!
What You Need to Know:
Icebergs are most plentiful and easily viewed in May and early June in Newfoundland-even from land.
If you choose a boat tour, dress warmly. And then put on another layer. Lord Liftin’ Jasus- It’s cold! And don’t be afraid to have anti-nausea meds with you.I took some before hand but the wind and waves weren’t too bad. Throwing up over the side does not a fun tour make.
You may also be able to view icebergs from shore in NL at Signal Hill, Cape Spear, the Cape Race ,Twillingate and Point Amour Lighthouses.
Check out the handy iceberg tracker here,to see if they are around the area,
Do your research before booking to make sure it’s the right time of year for bergs or whales. If not, you’ll be disappointed. Best time for icebergs-May & early June, while whales don’t arrive until later in June -it’s not likely you’ll get to see both on the same trip.
Once upon a time, a writing instructor invited his class to a Christmas party at his home. it was a comfy,cozy home, not ostentatious at all, but what you may expect from a gentile gentleman who made a comfortable living tapping the keys.
He showed us around and when we came to his office-I fell in love. Books! Books everywhere. Shelves of books on every wall. Stacked on the desk. I wanted that.
I have that. Except for the old style typewriter -I have that.
I am a lover of books. new, second hand, hand me down.I don’t care. Don’t be giving me a Kindle.
While I’m about it- I don’t do data on my phone. Do I need the World Wide Web with me everywhere I go? I didn’t think so.
And…. horrors! Sometimes my phone calls go to voice mail! If the caller doesn’t leave a message-I don’t call them back.
I prefer a tactile world-one where I can touch, smell and taste.
Meet people in the flesh.
Stack three books my night stand ..and not read any of them, if I choose.
Don’t get me wrong- I spend a fair amount of time online. I just prefer my world to be more than one dimensional.
One of the best things about bringing your bike over to Big Tancook Island is -you get to the food first. You can roll right off the ferry and pump you legs up the hill past the couples, the families and the old folks with walkers and canes.
I jest,of course. While it’s true Tancook has limited choices for restaurants, and while it’s also true food is usually everyone’s first stop, you could just as easily whiz by them and take a swing around the island itself.
A mere 5 km wide and approx 2 km wide, it’s certainly doable -I’ve done it myself, and I’m no speed demon.
Luckily,on Big Tancook Island, you don’t want to be a speed demon. It’s a charming,scenic ride and not in the kitschy,folk-artsy way of a community trying too hard.
Come , don’t come. Big Tancook doesn’t care. It’s got business to attend to.
And why not? Big Tancook Island has a long, rich history of hardy men and hard work,as the summer fishing grounds for the native Mi’kmaq, through to the agricultural endeavours of German immigrants and onto modern day with a vibrant fishing industry.
Besides fishing, residents work off island in Chester and surrounding areas, commuting by means of the sturdy vessel William G. Ernst. a 50 minute trip each way, with a stop at Little Tancook. With the population hovering around 200 in summer and 130 in the off season, tourism operations may come and go.
It’s always best to check ahead to see what is still operational .At last count there were a couple of choices for restaurants, a bike rental place and one or two neat little ‘come find me’ shops, including the Wishing Stones,which is combination of gallery/gift shop, library, museum and community gathering place. Worth the trip?
Yes, definitely. The ferry alone is worth it.
If you are seeking a day of peace and quiet, it’s worth it.
If you hanker to see cars with no license plates and roads with no pavement, but with the tangy smell of salt in the air, it’s worth it.
If you yearn to find a place where the people are authentic and friendly, it’s worth it.Continue reading “Bring Your Bike to Big Tancook”
I’ve started taking a online blogging course through WordPress that will help me with branding and growing this thing.
Today’s home work:
Create 3 goals that will help solidify my ultimate plan for blogging.
I am a new blogger. A Bloggie if you will. I have tried before but…oh,you know.The excuses we all have not to continue with something we started.
I believe now, that the time wasn’t right. The topic wasn’t right. I wasn’t right for God’s sake.
I was steadfastly trying to stuff myself and my work into a cookie cutter shape I thought other people would enjoy.
I can tell you right now.That does not work. Not with blogging.Not with self-esteem. Not with joy. And certainly not with finding my passion.
I’m not even sure what happened, but I suddenly realized that the things I am actually passionate about local travel, enjoying new experiences and sharing what I’ve learned with others. Quelle suprise. I’ve only worked over 2 decades in the provincial tourism industry .Duh.
In pondering my goals going forward( and of course, they need to be concrete not wishy-washy) I’ve decided on the following:
Have 1000 loyal readers in my first year (gulp)
Purchase a good camera this year and learn how to use it to create great photos
Turn this blog into a profitable business that includes hosting Hello weekend retreats. I’ve given myself 2 years for this.
So for all you folks out there who have given up even thinking they have a passion-as I did-don’t give up. For all those who are finally charting a course that’s true to you-hat’s off and yippeee! And for all of you who think you are to old and people will think you’re crazy- guess what-you’re not and they will. And it won’t matter a bit.
We leave on the 19th for five days in Newfoundland I have been thinking hard about what to pack. The main reason we are going especially in the Newfie season of ‘Sprinter” is to see an iceberg-checking one more thing off my Bucket List. I hope.
I have a little prejudice against paying for checked luggage-especially when we are going for only five days. We are each taking a duffel bag type thingy plus a backpack.
We decided against filling those five days to the brim-leaving time for unexpected adventure is always fun, but we did book an iceberg boat tour out of St.John’s,and plan on using our free National Parks Pass 150 at Terra Nova National Park . Maybe we ‘ll even get to do a bit of cod fishing.
We’re splitting our time between 2 nights in St.John’s and the other 2 in Charlottetown, near the park. Day 5 is a we – need – to – start – heading – back – towards -the- airport day.
So what will I pack? Considering it’s likely to be cold, guaranteed to be windy and may be rainy or even snowy (why are we going this time of year again? Oh yeah, Icebergs )
I consulted the internet and a friend who lives in Newfoundland Here’s what made the list.
Waterproof hiking boots. (wear on plane)
Jeans and top (wear on plane)
Warm Jacket (wear on plane)
Lined wind pants
Sneakers/comfy shoes for walking around town
( I love Crocs -they are so comfortable and do not bother my bad knee at all.
Long sleeved tee shirt-natural fabrics are warm and great for layering
2 short sleeved tees one a little dressy(polyester resists wrinkling, and hand washed/dries easily)
Tights for wearing under stuff (like wind pants)
Casual slacks that go with all your tops
Warm hat Pj’s
3 sets undies
5 pairs warm socks (cause I hate cold feet)
Next weekend is Mother’s Day. Maybe you have your gift bought and wrapped with a lovely sentimental card picked out. Do you?
Hello! What Moms want most, other than maybe
’Me Time” is time with YOU.
A couple hours, a day, two days..is that so much to ask?
I didn’t think so.
To get you started, I’ve combed the web and came up with 25 Mother’s Day events all over the province. I hope you can find one that suits your Moms tastes.
(If you a mom that’s doing the receiving then-hint,hint,hint)
Roughly 85% of Canadians celebrate Mother’s Day-so events may sell out quickly.
To all the visitors who asked me about Cape Split at the Visitor Centre.
It’s much more hilly then I remembered.
Last weekend, a friend and I hiked Cape Split.
Cape Split Provincial Park Reserve is a 447-hectare with a 12.5 km trail rimming its northern edge. There are signs at the beginning and all over the web that insist this trail is 16 km..but I measured the sucker with my Tom Tom and it was just over 6 km each way. I hobbled the trail with my arthritic knee -believe me, I would warn you if it were longer. I am guesstimating it took us about 5 hours..but we dawdled . We climbed trees. We took pictures. We tried to break into a locked washroom. (Shh). We were slow hiking up the hills- there was mutinous mutterings coming from behind me- and just as slow coming back down them. To my credit, I didn’t take a header or land on my backside.
It was a perfect day. The threatened 5 mm of rain did not appear. The trail was mostly dry, and fairly wide, with some roots and rocks strategically placed here and there to see if you were paying attention.
The washroom we were trying to break into…er, looking at, was halfway along. And locked.Note to the Province of Nova Scotia-more toilets,please. We can’t all wait until we get back to the trail head. No, I am not a sissy about going in the woods, but that 400 plus hectare parcel of land is mostly hardwood and without foliage in April and therefore without privacy .And it is a VERY well hiked trail. You’d take your chances.
And by the way, the ladies washroom at the trail head was a B. The men’s-yes, I checked- was a D. But it is early in the season, so I supposed I should cut them some slack. Continue reading “We Hiked Cape Split-and Lived to Tell About It.”
Ok, I admit it. I don’t like eating smelts. Yuck. However, it’s fun to fish for them. They are dip netted and jigged, and one of the best locations is the Gaspereau River by the bridge near Reid’s Meats. By this time (April 20th) they’ve been running for a good week Drive by on the incoming time and you’ll see the bank lined with eager fisher-folk of all ages.
It’s not necessary to have a fishing license for smelts if you’re fishing in tidal waters and the bridge on Melanson Road is almost as far as the Minas Basin tides reach inland.
What You Need to Know:
When fishing tidal waters you need to be aware of the tide. Most people start about mid time.High tide was 9 pm and we were there about 6 pm. Check the local tide times in Hantsport (nearest times to Melanson) here.
It is MUDDY. Boot-sucking, slip and fall on your keister muddy.(yes,I slipped and fell on my keister, if you MUST know).
You can find out all you need to know about the regulations regarding smelt fishing by clicking here.
And, if you insist on eating them (ours will be striped bass bait,frozen) here is a recipe for you, Crispy Fried Smelts Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
3/4 pound cleaned smelt
1 cup vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
Whisk together flour and salt in a pie plate. Dredge smelt in flour mixture, coating both the outside and cavity of the fish.
Heat oil in a frying pan 1/4-inch deep over medium heat until hot. Place fish in the hot oil; fry until crisp and firm, 2 to 3 minutes each side. Remove fish with a slotted spoon; drain on a paper towel-lined plate.