We all know that 2017 has been one big year long celebration thus far.
The party continues.
Recently I went on a Red Bench bus tour hosted by the Municipality of the County of Kings-the last of 4 that were spread out over the summer and fall. The brain child of Mayor Peter Muttart and his councilors, the tour was designed to visit each of the 5 permanently installed benches throughout Kings County as the municipality’s contribution to Canada’s big 150 birthday.
Our guide for the tour was David Poole, now retired and formerly with the municipality’s planning department. He did a great job, spicing his dialogue with little stories about the area and his life.
Here’s the great thing-you can do this tour in your car. Course you may not get all the dirt, err, information we got, but it would be fun just the same. It was a daylong trip for us, but you may want to spread it out over a weekend. Grab a map of the itinerary here
Red Bench #1 Aylesford Lake.
The gate to the beach is locked this time of year, but you don’t mind a little stroll in from the road,do you? Aylesford Lake is the only one in Kings County with lifeguards on staff during the summer months. It’s also fully accessible including the canteen, toilets and picnic areas. It’s part of the Gaspereau Watershed.
I first heard about Crystal Falls when perusing fellow blogger Laura Churchill Duke’s write up on Valley Family Fun, so on a day off hubby and I decided to give it a go. Laura had already gotten good directions from the Kingston Visitor Centre-we used those. I have included them below. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I love it especially for getting outdoors and exploring.
Directions to Crystal Falls
Take Exit 17 to hwy 1 and continue west into Kingston, then turn left at the lights to Greenwood. Turn left at the lights in Greenwood ( across from Canadian Tire) and then right at the next set towards the mall.
Go past the Greenwood Mall and across from Walmart, turn right at the Enviro Depot onto Rocknotch Road.
Cross a one lane bridge and come to a T in the road,where you will take a left turn, then right onto a dirt road. There is a red barn on the corner. This is still Rocknotch Road.
Continue until you come to a T in the road,then turn left on Harmony Road, crossing a one lane bridge.
At the top of the hill, park along the road.
The hike begins at the first dirt lane on your right.
Walk along until you come to a intersection- turn right and go down and over the bridge, or turn left and head along David Morse Trail.
We queried a dad four wheeling with his boy and he said that David Morse route, although more rugged, was shorter.
Personally, I think the best time to tour the Cabot Trail is once the leaves turn color, but recently we took the opportunity to introduce some friends from Holland to it’s beauty.
We were only joining them for part of the trip,so we picked up the RV they had booked at CanaDream in Waverly, and headed out.
We only made it to Port Hood-and only stopped there because it was the closest thing we could find for a camping spot. We drove into Sunset Sands RV Park at around 8pm.No one was around to help us so we helped ourselves to a site. A telephone number posted on the door led to a voicemail. It was easy to see the park catered to mostly seasonal people, but I was disappointed at the work involved in trying to connect with someone-anyone- so we could sort out payment and such.
It was waterfront and windy-but it’s Cape Breton after all.
I love fall-everything is brighter and crisper. No humidity. No mosquitoes. It makes me feel like actually DOING something. Not work. No. I mean fun things.
And there are a lot of choices. Hikes. Kayaking. Just a drive with a stop for a quick fall picnic.
This year, the leaves are a little late turning. But give it another week or so and everything will be gor-ge-ous.
So, here we go
Drive this Fall
If you are out for a Sunday drive, a beautiful spot -even without the reds and yellows of fall is the drive along White Rock Road in Kings County.
Grape vines line the southerly slopes of the hill and the Gaspereau River snakes though the valley at the bottom. There aren’t really good pull of spots along there so take care when getting out to get a photo. If you’re heading to Benjamin Bridge Winery,the driveway to winery is a great place to snap a picture .
How to get there.
At Exit 10 on Highway 101, and continue into the town of Wolfville. +Turn up Gaspereau Avenue ( across from Tim Horton’s ) and continue along that (about 3.5 km) until you see Gaspereau Vineyards on your right, Turn right there-you are on White Rock Road. Drive along about 8km, until just before the crossroads, you will see Ridge Rd on your right.Travel back east along that for more fall beauty and a stunning view of Port Williams , Greenwich and the Minas Basin.
Church Street, Port Williams to the Look Off Apple Orchards, Wineries, Cheese, farm and dyke land, topped off by this view below. Stop at Fox Hill Cheese for some gelato.
How to Get There:
Take Exit 11 and go down to the set of lights and go straight through them-after they turn green of course,that is Hwy 358. Once into the village of Port Williams, turn right on Church Street and just follow that around the loopuntil it connects back to Hwy 358, then head north to the Look Off
Briar Island is a smallish basalt island off the coast of southwest Nova Scotia, only 7.5 km long and 2.5 km wide. The economy runs on fishing and seasonally on ecotourism-mainly whale and bird watching tours.In fact, some lobster fishermen set their traps from the last Monday in November and pull them for the season on May 31st,clean the boat,then captain these ecotours during the summer season.
Whale season runs from about mid June to Mid October. Then they all stream back to the Caribbean and its warm waters for the winter months. Humpbacks are preceded to the Bay of Fundy by Finback Whales, Minke Whales and Harbour Porpoises. Right Whales return in July. In fact, as many as 12 different species of whale make the Bay of Fundy their summer home,feasting on the squid, krill and fish.
Whales usually have their babies here and return seasonally for years with growing youngun’ in tow.
( Whale babies can gain 100 per day!)
Nova Scotia’s Mighty Bay of Fundy: Part 1 of a 8 Part Series: Nova Scotia, My Heart and My Home
Years ago, as a newly wed, my husband was offered an interview with a company in British Columbia. That interview hinted at wonderful opportunities and a good life.
How did I take this exciting news?
I cried. I cried for days at the very thought of moving from Nova Scotia.
Finally, my husband cancelled the interview.
And, after all this time, I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere but this beautiful province. Why would I? As a child, there wasn’t much opportunity to explore. As an adult, I am sure as hell making up for that. Even so, I could never experience all I wanted to do, see, taste and smell in one lifetime in Nova Scotia.
Every shore is different. Every shore is a natural playground all its own. I love being so accessible to rivers, lakes, the Atlantic and my personal favorite-the mighty Bay of Fundy. After all, it was practically on my front door step.
As a child,I learned to swim in the rust colored water of the Avon River.
I walked the ocean floor before it became a THING, and sunk in red mud up to my shins, scraped my toes on barnacles and ruined white tee shirts that will never again be even close to white.
Of course, many flock to the Bay of Fundy solely to witness its amazing tides, which can reach as high as a then 5 story building, and come in as fast as a running horse. Tidal bores, flowerpots, fishing boats resting on a bed of mud. It’s all good.
My plan was to go to the beach.Malagash’s Blue Sea Beach specifically. That was my plan. And I got there, although not to laze around on the sand in the sun.
It wasn’t that kind of day. It was a day for exploring. Everyday is a day for exploring, isn’t it? Rain,wind snow, everyday lends itself to some kind of unknown adventure, be it low key or thrilling.
Today was low key.
What was once privately owned farmland,Malagash’s Blue Sea Beach lies almost at the very eastern tip of the peninsula about halfway between Tatamagouche and Wallace,along the Sunrise Trail. The beach kisses the infamous Northumberland Strait (infamous because the water is the warmest there in Nova Scotia, and if you’ve ever stuck your toes in the Atlantic or the Bay of Fundy, you’d understand)
It is practically deserted much of the time-who knows why.It’s perfect for sunbathing and long walks along the shoreline. There are picnic tables, change rooms and outdoor pit toilets (Privvy rating B-)
Celebrating Canada’s 150 birthday means parties and special events this entire year. I mentioned in an earlier post on Nova Scotia’s National Parks & Historic sites that I’m doing my best to get to some of these.
During Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Festival such an opportunity presented itself. George’s Island was opened for tours, a concert and a Taste of Nova Scotia event were held there.
What could I do-I bought tickets to the tunnel tours and hopped on the ferry.
Camping old school-gotta love it.
Some of us still use tents for camping. Maybe not as luxurious. Maybe a bit more weather dependant. Maybe more caution must be taken so your snacks don’t get pilfered by racoons.
But still, if you are into that kind of thing-and I am, it can be a whole lot of fun.
We assume you have done your research and chosen a date and maybe even booked your site-spots such as Kejimkujik National Park as usually very busy Thursdays to Sundays.
Further to that, we assume you have planned a menu with easy to carry and cook foods and have a shopping list.
And that you know what clothes you need.
Because this list is for equipment you will need to take for camping:
Set up tent to ensure all the necessary components are there and that it hasn’t sprouted any holes since last use.
Try out stove before leaving- you don’t want any nasty surprises when you are ready to cook supper at the campground.
Also: Pack food in a cooler that you can store safely in the car at night.
And now, the basic camping equipment:
Tent (make sure you have the tent poles and pegs along with a hammer/hatchet to drive pegs into the ground )
Extra tarp or canopy Of course, it won’t rain, but…..
Thick foam pad or air mattress( with pump) and sleeping bag for each camper
Lawn chairs for around the campfire
Bug repelling candles
Flashlights (extra batteries) needed for nighttime bathroom forays..and checking out noises in the dark
Lantern fuel or batteries
Fuel for camping stove
Waterproof matches or lighter
Firewood, kindling AND paper plus said hatchet (burning paper plates to try to get your fire started will only get you so far.) Most campground will have firewood for sale-some even forbid you bringing wood with you. This campgroundwood is often not so dry.I would still bring dry kindling. Don’t even think about using the trees around your campsite. No.No. No.
Pot with cover
Portable coffee maker( or boil water in your pot and have instant coffee)
Large water jug (you’ll need water for cooking and to put out that fire)
Plastic tablecloth and pegs to keep it from blowing into the campsite across the way
Roasting sticks for marshmallows and hot dogs.
Resealable food-storage containers,
Sandwich bags, water bottles for hikes and stuff
Large garbage bags good for stuffing wet tent in upon departure, also makeshift rain coat.
Several yards of thin rope and clothes pins.
Plates, mugs, cutlery,corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener
Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
Biodegradable dish soap
SOS pad, dishcloth, dishtowel, dish pan.
Want to print the list and take it with you? Click the link. Camping List