Saturday, July 8, 2017

Moncton

Who knew that Moncton was such a happening place? Not only is every conceivable big box store here, but there's a hopping downtown and lots of stuff to do.  Also, apparently there's a huge car show in town, so there are really cool old cars everywhere. Color me surprised. 

One of the things they have in Moncton is 
Magic Mountain water park. After sleeping in and a low-key morning, we made our way over for a fun afternoon splashing around. There was a lot to do and the weather came around and the day went from somewhat overcast to sunny and hot. 


Heading into the wave pool. The waves got VERY big. 


About to go down a jet-black twisty slide. 


Jax coming off the "Tornado."


These three were the traditional water slides that we went down a lot. 


Lea coming off the Tornado. 

We then had dinner at Cinta Ria, an absolutely delicious Malaysian restaurant, run by apparently the only Malaysian family in Moncton. None of us had ever had Malaysian food before, but I hope to again. 


My yummy yummy dinner. 

Now we're chillin' out in our hotel room watching The Simpsons & getting ready to head home tomorrow. We'll break up the drive by stopping back in St. John and then again in Portland. And then home to see Sally, who we have been missing terribly. All in all, a great trip. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Hello, bonjour, as they say everywhere in the park. Canada is good at many things, and making me realize my linguistic shortcomings is definitely one of them. 

We left Halifax and began our entirely uneventful drive to Cape Breton. 


We got into the park around 3 and made our way over to our oTentik which was awesome! Not quite "glamping" but spacious, clean, warm (it had heat!) and close to the bathroom. We were totally spoiled. 





We decided to do a little exploring before our program that evening, so we made our way over to Green Cove, where our minds were blown. 








People were actually very nice about all the Bruins gear. We ended up finding Bruins fans everywhere we went! 

A quick campfire dinner and then to ingonish beach for a Lantern Walk Through Time which was a little hokey. Lots of quasi ghost stories and a guide who took herself VERY seriously. But it made for some good snickering for the next few days. 

Ingonish Beach


Right before we heard about every potential "lady in white" who wanders around Cape Breton after dark. 

The next day was a BIG day. After sleeping in a bit, we made our way over the Broad Cove Mountain for a little up-and-down hike. 





We then made our way over to MaryAnne Falls which was gorgeous. The water was freezing, but that didn't stop jax (and then me) from going barefoot and fording across a bit.  






Happy that he made it to the other side without falling in! 


Right after we took this picture some very brave souls decided to go for a dip in this water, which was icy. 

We rested up for a bit and then head over to the other side of the park for the afternoon. We stopped at MacIntosh Falls, which wasn't as dramatic, but magical in a different kind of way. Jax was very impressed by the backpacker who packed up his hammock and then skibbled up the Falls and into the woods. 


One of Jax's assignments in his explorers booklet was to hug a tree. So he did. 


Note the hiker up and to the left. 





Our final destination was the Skyline Trail where the hope was our sunset hike would enable us to see a moose. Sadly, that didn't happen. But the hike was so beautiful it almost didn't matter. 




On the boardwalk. 





It was a BIG day with almost 10 miles hiked and almost no complaints from the kids. 

The grousing came a little bit the next morning when we told them we were going back out. "But we just hiked yesterday!" Still, they were placated with promises of swimming in the afternoon, so out to Middlehead we went. 










See how thrilled they look? 

As promised, in the afternoon we went swimming in the very cold Warren Lake. 




Sure it's rocky, but at least it's also freezing! 

We had a low key night with our first showers in days, a campfire dinner, s'mores, and glow sticks. 





This morning we got packed up, sad a sad goodbye to our oTentik, and drove back across the park to see just a little more before we left. 

We did the bog walk which was different and really pretty. 




Jax also had to identify insect-eating plants. Here's one. 


Here's another. 



One last stop at the Cheticamp visitors' center for Jax to pick up his explorer pass and we were back on the road. One wrong turn and a couple unanticipated stops turned our 5 hour drive into about a 7.5 hour drive, but everyone was really really great about it. We arrived in Moncton, grabbed a pizza, and the kids hit the pool. 


When we realized the drive was going to be much longer than we thought we resorted to bribery, and I stand by my choices. 


Even the stuffed friends started to get bored in the car & wanted a change of scenery. 


We made it! 

All in all, I am so so so glad we went. Cape Breton is a truly gorgeous place. Well worth the drive. We 100% lucked out and had perfect weather the entire time we were there. It was just amazing across the board. 

Tomorrow the plan is a water park, which will be a whole different experience. And then home! We will have packed a lot into this week. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Halifax

We packed a lot into our day and a half in Halifax. We started by getting up early to catch the ferry from St. John to Digby. It goes directly across the Bay of Fundy and is supposed to be a beautiful trip. Unfortunately, it was rainy and foggy and instead of beautiful cliffs we saw 



Oh well. 

Once we got off the ferry we had about a two and a half hour drive to Halifax. We decided to make the drive a little longer though so we could stop along the coast for some lunch & to stretch our legs. We ended up in Chester, where we ate at a totally adequate diner and then walked around Graves Island Provincial Park just as the fog was beginning to break, which was a nice way to split up the journey. 



We then drove on to Halifax proper and found our airb&b with no problem. After a quick trip to the grocery store and a homemade dinner (with vegetables- hallelujah!) we walked to the Halifax public gardens. They are small, but really lovely. 


Pete, pretending to break the bench. 




See the adorable little elf house? 


Ah yes, the native Halifax cactus. 


Ironically, not a Canadian goose. 

Today was a much slower paced morning than the past couple of days, which we all appreciated. I even got in a run! I feel so virtuous. 

We then went to the Citadel, which was really cool. It looked a lot like George's island in the Boston Harbor Islands, but kept up much better and with lots of people answering questions in historical dress. They also had this really neat program for kids where the kid had to use a spy kid to break a code using clues given in a comic book. Jax was totally into it and we used it to guide us around the Citadel. 


JUST like our annual George's Island Picture. 


The changing of the guard ceremony. The oncoming sentry is being inspected. I think he passed when he got hat feathers up his nose and didn't snort. 


Inprisoned in the Citadel. 


Lea is tolerating me with all her heart right here. 


Codebreaking! He had to measure the mouth of the cannon. 

There was also a super cool exhibit about a Canadian WWI trench. They were short staffed today and the children were remarkably good natured about my being the one to explain different things about the trench and the war to them. 


The trench and what it would have looked like staring into No Man's Land. 




Very cool view through a peephole. 

Back home for a little break, some lunch and a re supply trip to the grocery store, and then on to Fisherman's cove, which is a recreated fishing village about 25 minutes from here. Except I was unaware that old timey fishermen survived on totchkies and homemade fudge. Boring, and not really what we were looking for. 

However, there was a really nice little inlet with a boardwalk and it was a gorgeous day. So we took a stroll, put our feet in the water, built a couple of cairns, pet a bunch of happily frolicking dogs, and generally had a good low-key time. 




Family selfie! 




My cairn



We treated ourselves to a really delicious (and healthyish) dinner at the Wooden Money tonight, and got ready to move on to Cape Breton tomorrow. 

A longish drive is ahead of us, and I'm not sure what the Internet situation is in the national parks here, so it might be a few days. I'm confident they'll be good ones, if Halifax was any indication. 


Downtown Halifax with a little open-air dessert. 

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