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? Yes, monotony. There are only so many picturesque coves and trees you can see until you say: Nay! Enough!
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 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 are left are invited into people’s houses for ‘kitchen rackets’ and ‘frolics’, dancing and singing. People hop from place to place all evening long, throughout the festival. Sounds like grand fun to me, anyone else care to join us? Not this year, though.
We headed north across country and made it to Pictou around 5pm, despite efforts by GPS to misdirect us. 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. (The B&B was called the Willow House Inn; www.willowhouseinn.com)
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!)
We wandered back on the pier, and had some ice cream, which did much to set our attitudes back to pleasant. I had Puppy Paws ice cream, and it was yummy. We also saw an older gent come into the harbor on a bright blue motorboat – and then out again. He had a bright green parrot in the middle of the boat. We therefore dubbed him Parrot Poop Pete, the Pesky Pirate of Pictou. Arrrr!!!!
The view across the harbor was beautiful as the sun set. We sat and watched the birds play in the water, and the folk walk up and down the pier for a while. The only part of the vision that marred it was the out-of-place factory across the bay, spewing out factory smoke, breaking up the perfect skyline of trees and sailboats.
We enjoyed seeing the Hector, a reproduction of the ship that brought Scottish settlers from the highlands to Pictou in the 18th century, after the highland clearances. There were several McKenzie passengers on the list, and that was my great-grandmother’s name, so I had some relatives on the voyage. (All the McKenzie’s come from the same origin, so we’re all related).
There is summer music every evening in Pictou, and we heard some bagpipe music wafting over the pier as we watched the sunset. To me, it was the most relaxing, enjoyable part of the trip. The music seemed to skip over the rippling water.
On our way back to the B&B in the growing twilight, we walked past a group of three children selling pony bead jewelry for ’10 cents… or less!’. We bought a couple for a quarter each, and went on.
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 cool weather.