Saturday morning, while enjoying breakfast, we were surprised when a gentleman in full British redcoat arrived. It was the town crier! He had his bell and scroll and apparently goes around to most of the B&Bs and Inns on Saturday morning and later does a stint at the Farmer's Market. This was our destination as well. First we had a walk around the gardens around the Inn. They have it done up really nicely and there was lots to admire.
The Farmer's Market is known to be the best market around and i'd have to agree. Not a lot of stalls with fruit and veg but it's very early in the season. There were lots of things to look at, gifts, crafts, bakery stalls (nom!), antiques. There were several musicans playing in various locations. I saw a couple of painters whose work i liked and bought a card from each that had a print on it. We both spent some money and enjoyed poking around the tables.
We walked back through the main street, window shopping and looking into a couple of gift stores and then stopped for a cuppa at the Fort Anne Cafe, one of the older establishments in the town, across from the entrance to, yes, Fort Anne National Historic site which we didn't go to see. I've been before, and it's worth looking around.
We decided to drive to the village of Bear River for the afternoon. Bear River is a small, somewhat hidden village that many people only find when they get a bit lost, or so we were told by one person there. It's a pretty, hilly village, centered around the tidal Bear River and there is also a First Nation reserve near there as well. The buildings that are on the riverfront are built on stilts because they are right on the bank and the tide can get quite high, it being connected to the Bay of Fundy which has the highest tides in the world.
There are a lot of craft shops and artisans that live in the area. Many of them sell their art in the Flight of Fancy shop in the center of the village. There used to be a windmill on the riverside as well with a tourist information centre in it but it was recently torn down. Shame, that. We parked in a lot by the river and discovered a shop called Oddacity Designs right there. There were some really lovely and creative things and both of us bought something straight away. This shop also has a section of second hand clothes and knick knacks so you might find a treasure or two there as well.
We looked into some of the other craft shops and a second had book store as well. We had lunch in a nice little cafe by the bridge over the river and took in the small Bear River Heritage museum that has lots of photos and artifacts from the area. One thing that really caught my eye was a tabletop ice hockey game where the "players" are flippers controlled by levers at either end of the game. We had these in the 60s and 70s but they were made of metal then. This was wood and had a little goal net at either end. Very neat!
There isn't a lot in Bear River, but certainly enough for a couple of hours with a stop for a bite to eat or a coffee. We'd had our fill and drove back to Annapolis. Mom was a bit tired after three busy days so she wanted to have a rest. I used the wifi with my iPod for a bit and read my book later.
We dined in the hotel dining room that night. They have a small but exquisite menu. It isn't cheap but the offerings are most definitely in the category of fine dining. The food was wonderful and so beautifully presented. The chef, owner Greg, really has a flair for it! We had a good discount but it's also worth a splurge if you're in the area.
Sunday, and it's time to leave. Mom wanted to get on the road early so we checked out right after breakast with lots of thanks to our hosts. We drove back up through the valley on the main highway, though we did stop in Kentville for a coffee and in Grand Pre to have a look at the Just Us coffee museum. It was a small one, with lots of information about Fair Trade coffee producing. They have the roasting "factory" that you can watch but as it was a Sunday, nobody was working. There's a cafe and shop as well but since i'm not a big coffee drinker, I bought some spicy hot chocolate instead. It will probably wait until winter before i try it! We stopped at one of the large Farmer's Markets to get some strawberries before heading back to the city. We finished our trip with strawberry shortcake when we got home.
We had a really nice break and the weather couldn't have been more perfect! It was warm but always with a nice breeze. We were lucky as it can get very hot in the Valley but up by Annapolis, you get the breeze off the Bay of Fundy. Most parts of the province are beautiful and this is no exception.