Posts Tagged ‘Annapolis Valley’

We left Bridgetown relatively early and stopped at the Eggplant Cafe for breakfast. It’s typical of small places along the route–I had read about it in a tourism promotion, but had trouble finding it–the cafe is in a little building near the library with no sign! Good thing I had looked up the exact address or I would have missed it entirely. Great egg with bacon, mushrooms, sprouts and other vegetable sandwich with a great cup of coffee!

We headed back to Highway 201 and Middleton. We had some pretty steep hills which were great opportunities to allow Zander to walk and sniff for critters–especially the chipmunks! Part of the challenge is that my rear brake keepsĀ  making strange sounds and bumpy sensations on the downhills. I have adjusted it several times, but I think the trailer keeps torquing the frame.

The day was overcast and windy but no rain; the road has light traffic and wanders through farm country. Passed a number of small family or village cemeteries along the way before eventually seeing the huge regional cemetery. The smaller ones were older headstones dating to the 1700s in certain cases and seemed to be all one family or a very small community. The road meanders past corn and potato fields, vineyards, large gardens of beans and peas, horse farms, cows, sheep, and dog kennels.

I love the older architecture, whether large barns, carriage houses, or houses. The houses have vividly trimmed in reds, blues and purples that reminds me of fancy gingerbread houses at Christmas. Yards include manicured lawns, vegetable and flower gardens, and endless stacks of wood. There seemed to be a transition from pottery-like figurines of children or women to chainsaw sculptures of fishermen, bears and eagles as I got closer to Wolfville.

We stopped at one house that must have covered a half acre of various types of gardens, a couple of ponds, benches to rest on, and birds all over the place. All of this created by an older woman over decades. What a gem for a rest and bite to eat.

I loved the Eden Golf and Country Club and it’s play on Eden and heaven!! It seemed to come out of nowhere, but was quite the golf course from what I could see. Of course, I have never understood the fascination with chasing small white balls around the countryside.

Middleton, about 3o kilometres of cycling from Bridgetown, is a larger village–both a Foodland and Save Easy and Rona and Home Hardware! Not that any of them look like they are doing booming business. The selection is really narrow and lots of challenges to keep my diet gluten-free. Beans and rice with some meat are becoming the favorite along this section–with store-made salads. We are staying at the Middleton Hotel Suites. A motel built in the 1960s by my guess. We are in the back units which haven’t had any upgrades–dark curtains and rugs, stale odor, can outside for smokers. I have been amazed at how many people of all ages smoke in these small towns. Owners quite nice and accommodating. At least it is well under $100 which is hard to find in the Annapolis Valley. We cooked our beans and rice on the camp stove outside the room alongside the construction workers who brought major gas barbeques!

Discovered my first tick! It was one of the larger ticks not the Deer ticks who carry Lyme disease. I was hoping Zander would keep me safe. His medication kills the ticks when they bite him. Guess this one went right for me!! Oh joy!

Continued on the next morning passing more orchards and signs indicating the farms were established in the 1700 and 1800s. It’s still early for getting food from local food stands, but the fields clearly foreshadow the crops to come. As I got closer and closer to Greenwood, the site of Canada’s largest air force base, the housing begins to look more standardized, military-like at times. Found a pet store for Zander’s food and pressed on toward Kingston. Unfortunately, all pet-friendly places were filled, but the Pillowcase Bed and Breakfast in Berwick had a room. They were on their way to drop off grandchildren in Lower Sackville, so they arranged for me to get in and have a shower. Then, Zander and I sat on the deck for awhile, took a walk, watched local soccer games, saw a huge dairy barn with the cows already in for the night, and observed how Lamb’s Farm was using some land for conservation measures.

Doug and Lorraine returned around 8 p.m. when I discovered they had lived and worked in Alberta and only owned the B&B for about 3 years. The house was built in 1848 and is located on 7 acres. They have a great garden where the strawberries were already huge on the vines. They also have a small flock of chickens, which Zander was fascinated with. I didn’t let him get too close, and as we walked away, the chickens came to the fence and watched us walk the perimeter of the yard! Not only did Lorraine cook an incredible breakfast but then gave me a tour of Berwick and Harbourville while we waited for the worst of the rain to pass.

We left in a drizzle which disappeared as we turned on to Highway 221. It is a very beautiful route through more farmland with smaller communities with only one store to hold its centre. I stopped at Henry and Kristin’s place in Woodville. They are part of the Warmshowers group that provides a bed or camping for other cycle tourists. I have hosted cyclists, but never stayed. Unfortunately, I needed to get to Wolfville for the bike shop, so I was just stopping in to say hi. They generously gave me a tour of the farm and invited me for lunch. Their 6-month old Blue Healer, Lucy, did her best to get Zander to play with her, but only sporadically would he engage. The lunch was great and mostly local food–and it turned out to be a god-sent to get me to Wolfville. They moved in to the farm last September and are envisioning it as a working farm, B&B, and educational centre to learn about various farming skills. Currently they have someone working with them from the Woofing program!

Just as we left their place, it began to rain again–not heavy but Zander is unimpressed with the rain at the best of times. The road was relatively quiet with good visibility even with grey skies. We did get to Kentville and Wolfville right at rush hour, so we had to walk several points given the lack of shoulder and traffic. Arrived safe and sound to stay with friends in Wolfville.

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We spent five nights at Annapolis Royale hoping to avoid cycling in the rain. Zander barely walks in the rain let alone cycle all day! We sat out horrendous rain storms, a thunderstorm, and long, slow drizzles! Finally, I could take the inactivity no more–and we cycled regardless. Turns out that day was overcast and cool, but rain began shortly after we got a room in Bridgetown.

Annapolis Royale is this small village at the mouth of the Annapolis River, and I stayed at the Dunromin Campground.Our first day in the area was filled with sun and warmth. I decided to stay one more day to do laundry and shop for food–and then the rains descended and Zander seemed “down”. He suddenly became very subdued, not interested in leaving the tent, ignored people, and uninterested in walks. Checked with the local vet, but all the vital signs–temperature, eating, drinking, and pooping were normal. So, staying a day or two to seemed like a wise choice. I was able to do lots of reading, writing in the journal, and meditating. Zander slept or snuggled close. Each day we went into town (about 2 kilometres away) for food, to check out another part of the town, or just see what was going on. It’s early in the season, so the town is almost empty during the week.

A couple of times we ate lunch in town. One of the things I have appreciated in many of these small tourist destinations are the number of restaurants that have gluten-free options and Zander can sit with me on the patios or decks. The German Bakery and Restaurant made the best macaroons I have ever had–they were a daily treat!

Annapolis Royale encompasses land that was highly fought over by the French and English and the history of mistreatment and expulsion of the Acadians. Fort St. Anne is the major historical park, which Zander enjoyed walking and rolling in the grass. It now has a number of beautiful old, Victorian bed and breakfast places, some interesting restaurants, and typical arts and antique tourist stores.

Annapolis Royale lies close to the Bay of Fundy and is highly affected by the tides. When they built one of the first wharfs, it was a long ramp out to the middle of the river to accommodate the various levels of the 29 foot tidal changes. The Bay of Fundy is shaped like a deep funnel with wave patterns that are highly resonant with both sun and moon tidal effects. So, within 24 hours, the tides rise and fall about a foot an hour. Near the village, a tidal power generating station takes advantage of this.

We also discovered the French Basin Wetlands–about 15 hectares of pond, bog, and wetlands that help purify the local water. It has a 1.2 kilometre trail which we explored, chased chipmunks, and watched the various waterfowl including Blue Herons and mallards. We saw cormorants (either the Great or Double-Crested) near the tidal power station–they were huge.

Zander seemed to perk up and Highway 201 through Annapolis Valley is known for little traffic==so Sunday we left. It had rained the night before, but was overcast but no rain during the morning. We headed up the valley toward Wolfville looking for a motel with a warm bed, hot shower, and dry surroundings. The first section had some pretty steep rolling hills. I am not sure whether it is the myasthenia or what, but my legs seemed strong with my lungs struggling. We walked a number of the steep hills, which Zander loves because he gets to sniff so many new smells. However, some of the downhills were great and we reached 41 kilometres per hour on one! We had lunch at a small, old barn where they gather apples during the harvest. Passed a small store with apple jam–self-serve, leave the money in the till! The road passes mostly small, moderate homes. A number of people stopped me to ask about Zander’s seat, talk out of curiosity, or just waved. Eventually, I had panoramas of the Annapolis River, fields of crops, huge family gardens, vineyards, and apple orchards.

Bridgetown came in two hours–so I am averaging about 12 kilometres an hour, which is about the same average of my B.C. trip. And that includes breaks and walking time for Zander. It is part of the average on regular roads–the downhills provide a higher speed that increases the average over time. We got here before the rains started again. We were able to buy some food at the grocery store–all the restaurants were closed–and settle in for the night. Zander slept snuggled close to me; I think constantly being stimulated by new smells exhausts him. Supposedly, the weather will clear tomorrow–even if it is just overcast.

I felt good and energized when we reached Bridgetown and thought I could go on for a couple of more hours. Clearly, Zander’s seat makes these types of hills much more difficult–if not impossible even at the lower gears. And he gets very antsy after a couple of hours–so it is not clear to me how we negotiate longer distances. He seems to enjoy many of the aspects of camping, is comfortable being left in the tent alone, and explores when he is put down to walk alongside the bike. But some down days seem necessary for him. The next couple of days will be short, but we will move from place to place each day.

These “little towns” or villages along the Annapolis Valley include one grocery, one Home Hardware, post office, community centre and/ore recreation facility, a handful of restaurants, and some tourist shops surrounded by homes. Bridgetown has its own varieties of older, Victorian-like homes with more moderate or one-story apartment complexes. It does have a golf course which created a fair amount of business before I arrived Sunday afternoon. But by late-afternoon Sunday, all food places but Tim Horton’s were closed.

We will push on toward Middleton and Greenwood on Monday looking for a pet store and some kibble for Zander. Hopefully, the sun will actually appear, although I see thunderstorms are predicted for Wednesday.


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