Tristan’s Trip Report – Week 5

Atlantic Canada Roadtrip Route

July 25th, 2016 (Day 29)

From: Caledonia, N.S.
To: Graves Island Provincial Park, N.S.
Activities: Auto Salvaging, Long walk on a Beach, Lunenburg Photog-ing
Stayed: Graves Island Provincial Park, Camping

Have I mentioned that Nova Scotians are awesome? Dirk (co-owner of the Art of Germany B&B) offered to take me up the street to the local mechanic. Apparently Dirk had toasted his 2004 Civic up there and thought I might be able to find a part or two. I find it worth mentioning that Dirk (who’s German) loves Honda Civics and thinks they are just about indestructible… unless of course your head gasket goes like Dirk’s did.

Cost of a lost Coolant Reservoir Cap: Free
Cost of self-salvaged Coolant Temperature Sensor: Free
Cost of removing excess coolant from reservoir: Free

Feeling like family among strangers: Priceless

It’s funny, I couldn’t replace the part immediately because I had to wait for the engine to cool down, but once I brought that salvaged sensor into Jane and put it in the cup holder, the old part must have figured out that I meant business and decided to start working again. Weird.

We decided to celebrate learning how to properly pronounce Kejimkujik by visiting it’s sister park, Kejimkujik National Park Seaside (probably should be called 2.0) on the south shore. There, we nearly broke the internet with our photo that makes Nova Scotia look like the Caribbean.

You'd think you were in the Caribbean with water this blue and not the southern shores of Nova Scotia.
You’d think you were in the Caribbean with water this blue and not the southern shores of Nova Scotia.

The rest of the day was spent making executive decisions.

  1. Direct drive to Lunenburg, skipping other sights because of upcoming rain and the need to get beauty shots of the tourist trap.
  2. Camping in order to reduce costs.
  3. Planning an “easy day” for tomorrow due to forecast rain.

Did you know that “quiet time” at Graves Island Provincial Park is 10:30pm? Our neighbouring campsite’s cock-rock radio confirmed it for us.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,119km


 

July 26th, 2016 (Day 30)

From: Graves Island Provincial Park
To: Graves Island Provincial Park
Activities: Scoping Mahone Bay, Lunenburg-ing, Ironworks Distillery tour
Stayed: Graves Island Provincial Park, Camping

Nothing like sleeping while desperately clenching to keep your head, toes and pillow from touching the tent walls because they’re being pelted by rain. #gettingbacktonature

It was decided that today was to be an “easy-day”, and so it was.

Lunenburg Nova Scotia
Admiring Lunenburg from across the bay

We drove through Mahone Bay which is a picturesque tourist haunt before making our glorious return to Lunenburg. It was rather cloudy, so we holed up in the library for a lil’ wifi, then skipped over to the delicious Salt-Shaker Café for lunch. We made a second appearance at the library before doing the tasty Ironworks Distillery Tour.

Distilleries in Nova Scotia
Inside the old blacksmiths building that is now home to IronWorks Distillery.

See, easy read, easy write… easy day.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,208km


 

July 27th, 2016 (Day 31)

From: Graves Island Provincial Park, N.S.
To: Halifax, N.S.
Activities: Pier 21 Museum, Family Immigration Research, Restaurant Take-Down!
Stayed: Four Points by Sheraton, Hotel

Today we drove into Halifax and checked into a hotel, a nice reward after a couple of nights spent in our tent.

We made our way over to Pier 21, which for those of you who might not know, is one of the most famous immigration ports in Canada. Over 1,000,000 people have come through Pier 21 to make Canada their home, including Arienne’s grandparents. We were treated to a guided tour by the lovely Eleanor, who took us through various stages of an immigrant’s journey into Canada. The tour was particularly moving, especially when considering the hardships people left and then continued to endure as they tried to find a place to call home. The exhibits are very well done and tell stories from many generations and cultures.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Some of the luggage that immigrants brought with them through Pier 21.

Another great thing about going to Pier 21 is visiting the Family History Centre where researchers can help you find documents relating to your family history, whether your ancestors came through Pier 21 or not. Unfortunately for Arienne, her grandparents’ information hadn’t been released into public records yet, but for me, I was able to see immigration records for three of my great-grandparents. The wonderfully talented Cara, the researcher who was helping me, was ready to start digging even further into records from Scotland and Ireland, but time was getting tight. Seriously, if you ever want to learn more about your family history, you simply must visit the Family History Centre at Pier 21.

We decided to go for dinner at “The Old Triangle Irish Ale House”, which is rated the 3rd best restaurant in Halifax on Trip Advisor. We were darn hungry.

We were seated upstairs on the second floor. Nice space. Empty space. We ordered the mussels to start. Arienne ordered a lamb burger, I ordered a cheeseburger.

I was so hungry I was hunched over in my chair, trying to protect my stomach from it’s own insatiable hunger. We waited. We waited some more. The mussels arrived and we were so hungry they were gone in 87 seconds. Didn’t even have the chance to taste them, we were that hungry. “How were the mussels?” the waitress asked. “GONE!” I stammered with the desperate look of “more food now!” But alas, we waited. We sat alone in a room and began debating whether or not we had been forgotten about, which was possible since there were times we were the only people on the entire floor. It got so bad (more than 1 hour) I had to get up and go over to the waitress and ask her “have you ever seen the Silence of the Lambs? Seriously, is our food coming anytime soon?” When our burgers finally arrived, they were dry, boring, and will hopefully be forgotten about, just like they were by the wait staff at The Old Triangle Irish Ale House.

On a happier note, hotel beds are nicer than sleeping bags. #thankscaptainobvious

Total Kilometer Count: 5,272km


 

July 28th, 2016 (Day 32)

From: Halifax, N.S.
To: Halifax, N.S.
Activities: Halifax Citadel, Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour, Peggy’s Cove
Stayed: Four Points by Sheraton, Hotel

Not all pillow-top mattresses were created equally. The pillow-top at the Four Points in Halifax, dynamite! The pillow-top of our king mattress that I had to bulldoze up the stairs back at home? Needs a stick of dynamite.

We started the day by checking out the very impressive Halifax Citadel, before moving on to the Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour.

Breweries in Nova Scotia
Tasting one of the latest beers to be brewed at Alexander Keith’s Cornerstone, an EPA.

Did you know that Alexander Keith’s was mayor of Halifax three times?
Did you know that citizens of Halifax are called Haligonians?
Did you know you that you need to be quiet when people are singing a song? (Dedicated to the dude who kept talking while three ladies sang a beautiful tune during the Keith’s brewery tour.)

Yeah, the Keith’s tour is a little pricey but they really do a great job of entertaining you while letting you sample a very nice amount of beer. Kudos to the ladies who performed at the ceilidh (house party) which is the last stop of the Keith’s Tour. And once again, dude, you really need to shut up when people are performing.

Off to Peggy’s Cove we went. Arienne did some really nice photography, right Arienne?

The iconic lighthouse at Peggys Cove! ❤️ #visitnovascotia

A photo posted by Arienne (@seeusoontravel) on

Sorry, but I have to say this. Do not eat at the restaurant at Peggy’s Cove. I got the lobster roll for $18.99. Here is what I ate. Two bread rolls, half a potato (mashed and ice cream scooped), a fist-full of lettuce, three dollops of mayo, and 2 tbsp of what I hope was lobster. Arienne got the lobster and crab potato cakes. Let’s just sum up her experience by telling you she annihilated a bag of crispy minis immediately when we got back to the hotel.

One thing to note. If your wife loves sunsets… and you go to Peggy’s Cove… and a huge fog descends on the cove just before sunset… and you think there’s no hope for anymore reasonable photos… and you think it’s probably best to just head home… DON’T. You may never sleep on that king sized pillow top mattress again.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,363km


 

July 29th, 2016 (Day 33)

From: Halifax, N.S.
To: Halifax, N.S.
Activities: Filming, Eating and Drinking our way around Halifax
Stayed: Four Points by Sheraton, Hotel

Oookay. Today was a big work and play day as we made our way around Halifax with the newly anointed queen of Snapchat, Cailin, who is a videographer and food blogger at Travel Yourself. I’m not really one for Snapchat and the like, but I will admit that Cailin makes some really fun and humourous snaps (is that what they’re called?) and filming with her was a ton of fun. She also drives a Honda Civic that is almost exactly like Jane, just one year older. It was endearing.

Like when we filmed with Mike Corey in Fredericton, I won’t bore you by listing all of the places we filmed, although when Arienne edits the video together I’m sure you’ll get up to speed. Cailin, who is an expert on lobster rolls, brought us to “The Bicycle Thief” hoping I would have a better experience with lobsters rolls this time around. I ate the spaghetti. I was still hurt from the Peggy’s Cove lobster roll disaster. Yes, it was a disaster! No… you’re over exaggerating.

Nova Scotia
Arienne and Cailin digging into much better lobster rolls

Oooh… my lovely sister Erin gave me the low-down on Halifax’s secret speak-easy, Noble. It’s a hidden bar in the bowels of an AMAZING dessert café called The Middlespoon. We learned the secret code for that night, and blushing worse than a nun in a sex shop (what is she even doing there?) I blurted it out to the hostess. I thought “for sure we’re not getting in now”, which happens from time to time to people who don’t say the code correctly, but fortunately with a wink and a nod we were told we would be brought down shortly.

Speakeasy bar in Halifax
Inside Halifax’s ‘secret’ bar, Noble.

Minutes later, after meandering our way through the kitchen, down halls, and finally past an enormous boiler room door, we entered Noble. We sat in a former boiler room, now speakeasy, and enjoyed possibly the finest designer cocktails, all 2.5 ounces or more (swoon!) in an incredibly cool but demure atmosphere. It should not be missed. Stay tuned for Arienne’s article which will provide more info.

*First day that Jane was not touched/driven during our entire trip.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,363km


 

July, 30th, 2016 (Day 34)

From: Halifax, N.S.
To: Halifax, N.S.
Activities: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Eating Dulse, Halifax Distilling Co. Fireworks
Stayed: St. Mary’s University, Dorm Room

Busy busy day today. After a late breakfast we ran around downtown to get some extra b-roll video footage before stopping by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. We were on a tight schedule, which created an epic internal struggle of galactic proportions between the gravitational pull of all things history, and the push of a tight shooting schedule that had no margin for error. And so… I worked really hard glossing over all the exquisite exhibits, even the one on the Titanic. But I flat out put a full stop when I found the exhibit on the Sir John Franklin Expedition. I eat that shit for breakfast. (You eat …? Yeah Yeah)

Where to drink in Halifax
If you’re looking to grab a drink in Halifax, Argyle Street has lots of bars and restaurants to choose from.

Right, the tight schedule regarding filming was about a piece Arienne had arranged with a bunch of the very best travel bloggers, videographers and writers around. On our travels we had acquired dulse, which is a Maritime snack that is essentially dried seaweed, and thought we would film everyone trying it out for the first time. With us today were Dave and Deb from The Planet D, Mariellen from BreathDreamGo, Jenna and Jordan from Stoked For Saturday, and of course Cailin from Travel Yourself. We had everyone take turns trying Dulse. Here is my description of what dulse tastes like:

Imagine wading into the ocean with your shoes and socks on. Come out and play a one-hour game of basketball. Remove your shoes and socks, and lay your socks out in the sun to dry for about an hour. When so dry the Sahara would be jealous, insert the socks into your mouth. That is what dulse tastes like.

We then hopped over to the Halifax Distilling Co. which is a brand new distillery that focuses on Maritime style rum. And oh yeah… it is run by two women, who make a refreshing addition to an industry dominated by men. They make great rum. Look them up.

After taking in the fireworks celebrating Natal Day in the Halifax harbour, we brought Cailin with us for a glorious return to The Middlespoon, and down into Noble (the Speak-easy). We had THREE desserts and just about had a sugar overdose… but oooooohhhhhh baby was it good.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,366km


 

July 31, 2016 (Day 35)

From: Halifax, N.S.
To: New Glasgow, N.S.
Activities: Driving, writing and editing
Stayed: Travelodge, Hotel

Okay. So last night we slept in the St. Mary’s University dorm room. “Why?” you ask. Well, 200,000 people had descended on Halifax for the long weekend and we could not get a hotel room for the life of us. It was a private room with “shared bathroom”. It was not very expensive. It was not very good.

The room was sweltering with only a small window that opened about 4 inches. Arienne went downstairs to ask for a fan that “can be provided upon request.” Apparently they were all taken, said the two people working at the desk, looking refreshed, surrounded by 4 fans. I am ashamed to say that both Arienne and I ended up wetting the bed, not because of incontinence but because we must of each poured 3-4 litres of sweat into our vessels of repose.

I spent the night alternating between dreams of being lost at sea in the Atlantic and debating with Arienne over which water bed would compliment our condo. Occasionally I would awake to find that I was indeed self-basting, lest my skin crack and the white meat get dried out. I must have been delirious.

At about 7am, I was reminded of a dorm mate from years ago as two of our neighbours decided to carry on a conversation immediately outside our door. They must have failed to read my tips on how to be a good dorm-mate. This was confirmed when I went to the one washroom and toilet that was to be shared amongst the 5 rooms in our block. Our neighbour had graciously decided to play “stuff the turkey” with our toilet and had been festive enough to make sure there was more than enough for Tiny Tim.

Well, it was time to #GetTheHellOutOfDodge. We booked it to New Glasgow and spent the day holed-up in our hotel room catching up on work, and washing out the memories of our 1 night in a University dorm.

Total Kilometer Count: 5,558km


Coming up for week 6: Cape Breton, Louisburg Fortress, Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the start of the Cabot Trail.

Missed any of Tristan’s previous reports? Check them out here:

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  • http://www.globeguide.ca/ Globe Guide

    Haha this cracks me up! Shame about the lobster rolls though- I had a similar experience with them on the east coast, sometimes they were amazing and other times I’m like ‘uhh, I think we just paid $15 for mayonnaise”

    • Tristan

      I really want to believe there are good lobster rolls out there, and I’m sure there are… it’s nuts that that you can get a whole lobster for $13/lb, or get a pound of mayo and a touch of lobster for $15. Regardless, thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it.:)

  • Roman

    you had me in stitches … great write-up… loved your description of what dulse tastes like. :)

    • Tristan

      Roman, I can have some Dulce shipped out to you if you like!

  • Crystal Richard

    Oh my gosh – you visited so many of my favorite spots in Halifax and on the South Shore, but most importantly, I’m THRILLED you experienced Noble. My best friend and I go every time I head up to Halifax to visit her and it’s a five star experience every time.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      We had a blast along the South Shore and in Halifax. We’ll definitely need to make a return trip! We got a inside tip about Noble and absolutely loved it! We went 2 nights in a row :)