Maine Journals

Crumbling Houses in Maine and Nova Scotia

An August 2007 trip to Maine by Green Dragon

New Hampshire Photo, New Hampshire, United States More Photos
Quote: Two weeks in rural Maine (middle of the state) and Nova Scotia in August 2007

Preplanning and Arriving

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Pre-trip:This trip idea was borne out of both obligation and desire. An obligation to visit my in-laws, and the desire to see Maine in its summer glory. Granted, I’d visited Maine before, but in the winter, in the grim, dark, cold weeks around Christmas and New Years. The world was then covered in grey snow, and we were stranded without our own transportation, captive to our hosts for transportation and entertainment.This trip would be different. As my darling husband loves road trips, he would get one – he drove his car up two weeks early, so as to have some time with his family alone before I arrived by plane. This not only gave him some time with his grandmother (her bi...Read More

Driving up the New England Coast

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New Hampshire Photo, New Hampshire, United States
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Saturday morning I woke up quite early to make my flight. My father was kind enough to awake in the early dawn with me, to drop me off and save me two weeks of parking fees. Our friend worked there at the TSA, and was kind enough to recommend I not get there before 6:00am for my 7:30am flight – security doesn’t even open until 6:30am, and there are only three gates. It was not exactly a bustling city airport like O’Hare or Miami International.All went well in security, and the plane came in on time. I sat next to a young lady with the smallest iPod I’d ever seen – perhaps half the size of a tic-tac box; and bright pink, of course. Between that and her white iMac laptop, sh...Read More

Pemaquid Point and GPS antics

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Papier Mache Dragon on Pemaquid Point Photo, Maine, United States
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We woke up rested and ready to rock, despite a fairly hard bed. We headed down for some blessedly mundane McDonald’s breakfast (we didn’t want to risk the hotel breakfast after last night’s culinary tragedy), and set the GPS for Pemaquid Point. This was a beautiful area, filled with roses, butterflies, sailboats and cormorants. Spending a while soaking in the relaxing seaside beauty seemed like just the ticket to counteract the hectic beaches of the day before. Jason climbed down to the rocks and the beach, but I only had sandals on and wasn’t quite ready to trust these flimsy footwear to the ravages of Atlantic coast rocks. I stayed at the vantage point over the point, and took lots of bea...Read More

Deer and Bridges

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Deer Photo, Maine, United States
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This morning we broke our fast at a northern US fixture, Tim Horton’s. They need one of these in Gainesville, seriously! Great bagels, divine iced cappuccino (and I normally don’t like coffee), donuts, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, good old-fashioned recipes. Evidently Wendy’s owns a stake in the company, but the farthest south they have come so far is Kentucky… so I must be patient. Jason’s laptop decided to make our vacation all the better by dying on us this morning, so we took a trek into Bangor to bring it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Since we were on vacation, we didn’t have our Windows disks with us, and Geek Squad said they would need them to reinstall ...Read More

Flying Cars and Horses?

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Flying car in Newport Photo, Maine, United States
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We woke up early, breakfasted, and went into Corrina to buy some fresh grown vegetables at the local farm stand. We picked up Maine new potatoes, corn, some maple sugar candy (gotta feed that sweet tooth!) and other various things. We brought them home and decided to go exploring near Skowhegan for the day. I was beginning to notice the definite preponderance of broken down buildings – be they working farms or stores, houses or barns – and the tendency for the average Mainer to sell anything it can to get buy. I saw junk sales on the lawn, stores offering lobster, auto repair, bait, and massage in the same establishment. I noticed many small farms selling off excess produce, and antiq...Read More

Antique Trucks and New Computers

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Crumbling shack Photo, Maine, United States
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We headed into Auburn for the new computer this morning – a rather overcast day, but nonetheless nice for its cool weather. We had to call for an address, as the GPS couldn’t find it right away, but find it we did. We bought it, and took it out to the car – where Jason had to take everything out, hook up the battery, and play with it a little first. Ostensibly this was to check that all was in working order – but I know he was just itching to get his hands on it and play. Boys and their toys.We took the scenic route home, via Skowhegan, and decided to (finally!) try a small local place for lunch. We found a place called the Old Mill Pub on the GPS, and it was in a neat spot, rig...Read More

Early Morning Moose Hunt - in Vain

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Morning mists Photo, Maine, United States
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Up early early early! Crack of dawn, here we come! I was up at a quarter to 5 to trek up to Moosehead Lake. I wanted to see a moose, and this was the best chance I had, so off we went. Of course, we could have been driving right next to entire herds of moose and not known it for much of the trip up – the fog was thick, the pre-dawn light was dim, and the world was quiet in a shroud of cold white and grey. We headed up the road to Greenville, a trip of about 1.5 hours. We saw chipmunks, rabbits, logging trucks, and moose tracks, but no moose. We saw bear crap (yum) and some incredibly beautiful spots, but no moose. The moose were definitely avoiding...Read More

Overloaded Truck

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Overloaded Truck! Photo, Maine, United States
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We woke early (though not as early as yesterday, thank the gods!) and had some biscuits and blackberry jam for breakfast – my brother-in-law makes great biscuits. I spent the morning helping my mother-in-law with some much-needed laundry, and hung around the house a bit. Jason decided to make some clam chowder for dinner, so we went to pick up more potatoes and fresh seafood, including some steamer clams. Well, we ended up eating those for lunch instead, and Charity (the 8-year-old) joined us. She didn’t even have a problem peeling the skins off.We went for some ice cream at a local place, the Lake Shore Restaurant, right between two lakes in Dexter. Saw lots of people well tann...Read More

A Home Day

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Well, we got as far as Bangor, and realized that it was simply pouring. Even if we could see well, any photos I would get would be terrible. We reluctantly headed back to the house for some home time, and decided we would go when we get back from next week’s trip to Nova Scotia.We had lunch in Dexter with Jason’s Uncle Jimmy and his wife Holly, and my father-in-law. The pizza was quite good, which surprised both Jason and me. There are many House of Pizzas throughout Maine, but it isn’t a chain – simply the name many people choose to give their local pizza restaurant. Back home again we watched some television and did some true relaxing. We also researched our ferry/drivi...Read More

To Moncton We Will Go!

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Nook & Cranny Restaurant Photo, Baileyville, Maine
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We woke up early to get on the road, as it was a long drive to Moncton. However, we ended up getting on the road around 8:30am, which was pretty good. Breakfast was at Tim Horton’s, and gave us the caffeine fix to get through the drive.We drove to Bangor via I-95, and took Route 9 to Calais (border). Most of this route was simply trees, trees, and more trees. However, the occasional isolated village or roadside stop broke up the monotony and offered some interesting insight into the area. We stopped for lunch near Alexander at a roadside restaurant called "Nooks and Crannies". Though we waited a long time for lunch (there was a large party who arrived just before us), the...Read More

Peggys Cove

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Peggy's Cove Photo, Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia
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Today we travel to Halifax. We wandered around a bit, looking for a drug store in vain. We did find a topless dancing place next to a Catholic School – no wait, no lines, come right in! Armed with our GPS (changed to a man’s voice for variety) we headed on – and on – and on. Straight highway, lots of trees. I thought there were lots of trees in Maine, I really did. Ren & Stimpy weren’t kidding when they said Canada reeked of trees. Each hill we crested I imagined would show Halifax in front of us – and at each hill I was disappointed. It sure doesn’t SEEM like that long of a drive when you are looking at it on a map. I stand humbled and corrected L We almost broke the GPS – we tried to c...Read More

Lobster Traps and Pictou Harbor

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Lobster Traps Photo, Nova Scotia, Canada
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We woke fairly early, but decided not to go exploring the Citadel this morning as we had originally planned. We did discover that last night’s dinner was charged four times on the credit card. However, the waitress had said she’d had some problems getting the charge through – hopefully the three bogus charges will drop away. (They did the next day) We stopped for gas around the Shubanacadie Canal, and grabbed something to eat at our mainstay, Tim Horton’s. We took the more scenic southern, coastal route to today’s destination, Pictou. There were countless beautiful coves, lakes, and lots of roadwork and orange barrels to break up the scenic monotony. Monotony, you say? ...Read More

Digby Scallops, Yum!

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Annapolis Royal Photo, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
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Breakfast was tasty, made by Debby and cheerfully served by Jamie. He made his scones (with candied fruit, as you find in fruitcake) and they were absolutely delicious. And I’m picky about my scones! There were homemade jams of crabapple, peach and strawberry. There was also a croissant sandwich made with herbed scrambled eggs. All in all, it was a very tasty breakfast.We wandered off to the Hector ship, and I went into the interpretive center to explore. My father-in-law came as well, though I think he was more interested in examining the post-and-beam construction of the building than anything else. They have a nice tableau of things around the voyage, including life before and af...Read More

Back to Maine We Go

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St. John Ferry Photo, St. John, New Brunswick
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We were up around 9, though we had been shooting for 8. Our ferry was leaving the dock around 1pm, so after breakfast at our usual place, we wandered towards the ferry. Or, what we thought was the ferry – the GPS insisted that the Pizza Delight store was the ferry, so we navigated the old-fashioned way – by sign. Luckily it was well marked, and we got to the ticket booth.Then I realized I had bought tickets for the next day instead (grr!). Not to worry, they had room (barely). However, I later discovered why this happened – my husband’s new computer was set one day ahead, so when I checked today’s date, and bought tomorrow’s tickets based on that, it was all screwed up. Bah. That’s ...Read More

Back in Maine

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Near Moosehead Lake Photo, Maine, United States
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Friday, August 24th:Well, today we were supposed to go to Acadia, as our previous trip was rained out, but the weather was once again determined to stop my trip, it was raining all day. We relaxed instead and did some laundry, worked on my in-laws website, and hung around. We drove up in the afternoon for some homemade ice cream at Butterfields in Dover-Foxcroft. I ordered moose track ice cream – and got barely any chocolate. The moose are even avoiding me here! Grrrrr.We went back to the house for some yummy deer meat for dinner. Life is good.Saturday, August 25th:Today we take our leave of our thankfully tolerant hosts, my in-laws, and head down ...Read More

Ramada Conference Center Lewiston/Auburn

Hotel | "Terrible Food, Hard Beds"

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We stayed at this place as a last resort, not wanting to search longer for hotels that were likely booked up, as it was August in Maine, high tourist season. This was convenient, but rather expensive for what we were looking.We also made the mistake of eating at their buffet. Ugh! It was cheap – and deservedly so – at $5.99. That should have been our first clue. It was worse than high school cafeteria fare, but we were tired, we were hungry, we didn’t want to drive anymore, so we ate. Even the dessert was sad and tired. The food was tasteless, runny and burnt, and some was unidentifiable.The room was rather spacious, and there was a brick wall on the one side. The bathr...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 18, 2008

Ramada Conference Center Lewiston/Auburn
490 Pleasant Street
Lewiston 04240
(207) 784-2331

Tim Horton's

Restaurant | "Great Breakfast, Fast Lunch"

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Tim Horton's is a chain restaurant throughout the northeast US and Canada. They serve mostly breakfast, though they have sandwiches and soup for lunch as well. We were never disappointed with our meals at TH, and were often well satisfied. We loved their iced cappucino (and I'm not a coffee drinker!) with caramel and whipped cream on top. They have delicious donuts, bagel breakfast sandwiches and all sorts of morning pastries.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2008

Best Western Moncton

Hotel | "Hard Beds"

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We stayed here just one night on the drive from Maine to Halifax, but the beds were hard and very difficult to find comfort on. We tossed and turned all night. The place was clean and convenient, and had a good price, but it wasn't worth it with the hardness of those beds. People who like sleeping on the floor would enjoy this place - not me.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Best Western Moncton
300 Lewisville Rd
Moncton, New Brunswick E1A5Y4
1-506-388-0888

Nook & Cranny Restaurant

Restaurant | "Greek and American Food"

Nook & Cranny Restaurant Photo, Baileyville, Maine
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We stopped for lunch near Alexander at a roadside restaurant called "Nooks and Crannies". Though we waited a long time for lunch (there was a large party who arrived just before us), the food was good.

My in-laws each had Greek salads and souvlaki, I had a burger, and Jason had fried clams. The burgers were very juicy and had a wonderful flavor, and there was plenty of food for your money

They had some interesting decorations about the place, such as a half of a boat built into the corner of the building. The inside was chintzy and lacy.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Nook & Cranny Restaurant
575 Airline Rd.
Baileyville 04694
(207) 454-3335

Dexter House of Pizza

Restaurant | "Great Pizza!"

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We had lunch in Dexter with Jason’s Uncle Jimmy and his wife Holly, and my father-in-law. The pizza was quite good, which surprised both Jason and me.

The crust was nice and thick, chewy like I prefer, and they piled the ingredients on heavy. The cheese was wonderful, not too salty like many chain restaurants do.

There are many House of Pizzas throughout Maine, but it isn’t a chain – simply the name many people choose to give their local pizza restaurant.

Definitely a family restaurant, with big tables and booths.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Dexter House of Pizza
55 Spring St.
Dexter 04930
(207) 924-7910

Salty Sea

Restaurant | "Overcooked Seafood and Bad Attitudes"

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We wandered down to the harbor, and went to the Salty Sea – wish we hadn’t. The appetizers were ok, but the dinner was definitely NOT. The seafood was all very overcooked, and the service was rather slow. We had salmon and fried clams, but it was practically burnt. They also had no cider (boohoo!)

The attitude of the servers was one of disdain and boredom. They seemed like they could be doing much better things than serving us that evening, and could care less. We will not go back, and I don't recommend it.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Salty Sea

Pictou

Le Paysan

Restaurant | "Seafood with French Flair"

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This was on the other side of town from the Best Western, and it took a good 20 minutes to drive (the back way, of course). It had wonderful seafood and steaks, much more food than I could finish! It was a big place, decorated almost like a cafeteria, and had plate after plate after plate of food, all of it tasty.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Le Paysan
4520 Principale Rue
Moncton E4V1R1
506 525 2464

Marriott Halifax Harbourfront

Hotel | "Soft Beds, Convenient to all Sorts of Touristy Stuff"

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We found the Marriott Harbourside after some fun with the GPS and delayed instructions, and were delighted (and relieved we made it in one piece). I found this hotel via Priceline for $75 a night, and it was great. The lobby was clean and beautiful; it was right on the water, next to great little touristy shops and restaurants. The rooms were spacious, and oh, the beds were so heavenly soft and comfy. Especially after the monk-like pallets of the night before. Bliss! They couldn’t fit the big truck in their normal parking garage, so we were asked to park in the receiving area. Odd that, you wouldn’t think a pickup truck too tall, but there it was. Perhaps they haven’t yet caught on ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Marriott Halifax Harbourfront
1919 UPPER WATER ST
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J3J5
1 902 4211700

Old Mill Pub

Restaurant | "Great Sandwiches and Lots of Stairs"

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We took the scenic route home, via Skowhegan, and decided to (finally!) try a small local place for lunch. We found a place called the Old Mill Pub on the GPS, and it was in a neat spot, right next to the river. It was two stories, and had been built out of an old mill, which means it had a fantastic view of the river right next to it.

I had a chicken pannini; Jason had a club – good food, nice atmosphere, but a trek up rickety little stairs for the upstairs tables. The table next to us housed a family vacationing from the Isle of Man. It was a decent value for the price.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Old Mill Pub
41 Water St # R
Skowhegan 04976
(207) 474-6627

O'Carroll's Restaurant & Irish Pub

Restaurant | "Irish Welcome!"

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We chose O’Carroll’s, an Irish-style pub, for lunch – it was about a block away from the hotel (Marriott Harbourside). It was a charming place with nice old ironwork on the radiators and tables. Jason and I had a wonderful steak-and-kidney pie, not so great calamari, and the in-laws both had salmon. I finally got my long-awaited pint of cider, and loved it. We had dessert (divine!) and chatted with the staff about live music that night. They were very friendly and helpful, and we felt very welcome there. It was a relaxing afternoon that we really needed after two days of driving from Maine.We ate there for dinner the next night, and it was a very different experience. We ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

O'Carroll's Restaurant & Irish Pub
1860 Upper Water St
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1S3
+1 902 423 4405

Offshore Diner

Restaurant | "Great Seafood on the Coast"

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We found a great lunch at a small roadside café called ‘Offshore Diner’, not far from Camden. I had my first taste of New England lobster stew; we had steamed clams, lobster and fried seafood platters for lunch. The food was delicious; the stew was creamy and full of big chunks of lobster, the clams were wonderful and tasty, and I couldn’t finish all the food they brought.

The decor is sort of dated, we felt the golf crowd might be in shortly, but the food itself more than outweighed any detraction the surroundings may have offered. It was a good price for value as well.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Angler's Restaurant

Restaurant | "Great Seafood, not So Great Dessert"

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The whole family headed to a seafood restaurant in Newport for dinner, called Angler’s. This must be a popular place, as it was quite crowded, but their food was delicious. We had my sister-in-law’s daughters with us as well, and the youngest, Charity, ordered smelts. She calls them ‘the bony things’, and loved them (she’s 8, I think). I had fried oysters and clams, and great clam chowder. The bread pudding, however, left much to be desired – it was more like unsweetened bread mush.

This was definitely a family restaurant, crowded and noisy, and the waitresses were friendly and familiar. Again, good value for tasty food.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Angler's Restaurant
542 Elm Street
Newport 04953
(207)368-3374

Willow House Inn

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Hotel | "Soft Beds and Lots of Stairs"

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I was a bit apprehensive when the street of the B&B didn’t show up in the GPS, but I should have saved my worry – we found the street very close to the harbor, and went up to our rooms - on the third floor. Oh, my aching knees! My father-in-law and husband’s knees were complaining as well, I could hear them. However, we settled in, chatted with our warm and friendly hosts (Debby and Jamie MacLean) and got a recommendation for dinner at the Salty Sea Restaurant. After dinner, we spent a pleasant couple hours chatting with our hosts and other visitors to the B&B about our travels, our homes, the wine our hosts made, and many other things. I slept very well, with soft beds and co...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Willow House Inn
11 Willow St.
Pictou B0K 1H0
(902) 485-5740

Your Home Away From Home

Restaurant | "Home Cooking and Riverside Setting"

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We had lunch at a small roadside diner called ‘Your Home Away From Home’ which was also a motel. The chowder was incredibly good (had mushrooms) but the lunch and dessert was merely acceptable; burgers and lemon pie. The setting was nice, right on the river, with hummingbirds visiting the feeder while we waited. The place was built over the river, and had a huge deck around the back so you could sit and watch while you ate, if you liked.The owner also told my mother-in-law all about Cape Breton Island, and how we needed to visit in September and October during the Festival of the Colors. Evidently this is when the leaves change color, and the normal tourists have gone home. Those that...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Courtyard by Marriott Boston Revere

Hotel | "Incredibly Difficult to Get In and Out Of"

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We found the Courtyard by Marriott in Revere and wow, what a mess! Not the hotel itself, but the road it is on. US1 at that point has a fenced median – so turning around means exiting and re-entering the road, about a mile down each way. Getting to the other side, you need to do the same thing. The road has absolutely no shoulder and there is a tall fence on either side, making it more claustrophobic than some English sheep track with hedges on the side. And the traffic is very busy and fast on that road, so it’s a mess.

The hotel room itself was fine, with comfy beds and clean bathrooms, but oh, that road is evil.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Courtyard by Marriott Boston Revere
100 Morris Street
Revere, Massachusetts 02151
781-324-1900

Fisher's Gallery

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Restaurant | "Wonderful Seafood and a Great View!"

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We went down to the recommend ‘Fisher’s Galley’ for dinner. Digby scallops were supposedly world famous – I was looking forward to trying them. The wharf was great – very much the typical fishing village. The tide came in and rocked the boats, the sun set, and the gulls cried.We went upstairs and had dinner on a deck overlooking the harbor. There was a band called B-Town Boys playing bluesy rock music (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Green Onions) down below, and the wharf was very pretty. The gulls were playing in the harbor. The chowder had been highly recommended by our B&B host, Heather, and she was not lying, it was absolutely delicious! It was stuffed full of succulent seaf...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Harmony Bed & Breakfast

Hotel | "Roomy, but a Bit Sparse"

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We went on to Digby, having explored Annapolis Royal a bit. Digby was an odd place, with a very historic, touristy dockside area, and a very commercial suburban area. We found our B&B on the waterside, and checked into our suite. The B&B was the Harmony Inn Suites, and we had our own room in behind the main house. It was two big double beds and a huge room with hardwood floors. Since it was behind the main house, along with about 5 other rooms, it was shielded from any traffic noise, but also from any view of the bay. It was in walking distance of the water, though, and of downtown. It was a good value for the money.Breakfast was evidently just some pastries in a bowl left f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 19, 2008

Harmony Bed & Breakfast
111 Montague Row
Digby
(902) 245-2817