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  • Rae

Part 12: Road trips, fall colours and big progress on the build!

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

One of the things we really love to do is take a road trip. We pack up the car with snacks, water, a cooler bag, hiking boots, beach chairs and outerwear to cover anything (it's the same here as in Alberta – you just never know what you might get for weather)... and with a loose plan in mind, off we go.

And so it was that we set off for a tour of the wine region on September 21, what would have been my mom's 79th birthday (I always like to do something fun on her birthday in her memory), and headed across the province, this time on Hwy 12, to Kentville, and then on to Blomidon Winery. A very pretty part of this province, situated on Minas Basin part of the Bay of Fundy and... that amazing red earth.

Discovered a lovely Baco Noir wine here. Yes, Nova Scotia does have some nice wines!

I can't get used to this red! It's fantastic and so different from the ocean side where we live.

It was a gorgeous day – warm and sunny for the first day of fall and the drive was beautiful – red cliffs, orchards, vineyards, rolling hills and farms. We stopped at Gaspereau Vineyards for lunch and what a great choice!

Lobster sliders. Yes please!! We sat outside surrounded by the vineyard... just lovely and the food was excellent. We each had a different white wine and they were both so good we bought a bottle of each.

After that deliciousness, we drove on to Luckett – very busy and popular with wine tours... they have an old English phone booth in the middle of the vineyard that you can call anywhere in North America for free... pretty fun!

Our next stop was Avondale Winery – they were having a garlic festival... it was very busy, so we didn't stay long. However, the vineyard looked lovely and we've heard that the restaurant is good, so we'll be back.

Our last stop was at an orchard for some apples and pears. Delicious!

Nothing better than apples right from the tree!

September 23 was a big day on the build – the garage doors were installed which meant we were now closed in! There is a single garage door on the workshop and a nice big door on the garage. SGM Garage Doors did a beautiful job and explained to us how to keep the seals in good shape. Alan and I have NEVER had a decent garage in any home we've lived in – they always seem to be left unfinished with ill-fitting doors... so this is going to be so nice. We'll be able to open the shop garage door to work in the courtyard on projects.. it's all happening just as we've planned.

AND... drum roll please... the shingles were finished! Pretty sure the guys were right sick of that job! But it looks so beautiful!! Thanks Chris, Ryan, Kyle and the rest of the Risser crew! You all did such an amazing job.

As September came to a close, we marvelled at the warm autumn weather and beautiful colours on the trees! We felt bad for our friends in Calgary when we heard that they were getting a snowstorm and we remembered those September snow storms that would end a very short fall in a hurry...

The view of our cove is always changing and always beautiful... at least to us.

Something fun came up for me... I saw that the Lumberjacks Hockey Team were looking for someone to sing the National Anthem, so I offered. There is a regular singer and I could fill in when she can't make it! I've sang 3 times now – the toughest part is remembering 'IN ALL OF US COMMAND'. It's a great opportunity for me as an aspiring singer to work on adding power to my voice and getting in front of an audience – its so fun to sing with the team and referees on the ice ready to go... I hope I get to do it more.

I knew my lumberjack shirt (from Kicking Horse Ski Resort, BC) would come in handy!

On Saturday September 28 we experienced something really unique – the Scarecrow Festival in Mahone Bay. What a great added bonus this lovely little town has been for us ... before we moved here we had visited Lunenburg, but we were not aware of this pretty town made famous by it's Three Churches. Now, it's become one of our favourite places. I think there were something like 250 scarecrows – so imaginative and really fun! Here are just a couple of favourites:

Had lunch on the patio at the very sweet 1860 Kitchen + Public House – very pretty... and delicious food! Their pergola is exactly what we want to build for our courtyard!

A project for the Spring! A pergola for our courtyard - we even want the same Edison lightbulb-style lights!

We've been trying to get a wharf consultation... no luck. Either the companies are too busy and booked up, or they just don't show up! I even put a request out on Lunenburg Bulletin Board... no shows... if anyone knows of a good wharf builder we'd really like to talk to them! We have some riverfront property begging for a proper wharf!

October 1st, I celebrated 17 years as an independent company (est. Oct 2002) by going to a great business summit at Oak Island Conference Centre.

There were 2 highlights for me: the first was a presentation by Don Bureaux, the president of NSCC in Halifax. It was so inspiring – how Nova Scotia is changing and innovative... and people like Alan and I are part of that change, bringing expertise and enterprise to this province, and how geography matters less... check out to find out about the amazing work Don is involved with. The second highlight was Sickboy Podcast - these guys were also really inspiring; they've created a series of podcasts that deal with illness, death and dying – subjects that most people are so uncomfortable to talk about, they handle with an incredible sense of vulnerability, authenticity and humour! The whole day was really great, inspiring and a great opportunity for some good networking.

On October 5th, Alan and I decided to check out the entirety of our property! Something we hadn't done yet... hard to believe but true, but it's 17 acres and we've been a little busy. Wow! We have a dense forest back there - it feels so untouched and wild...

Just a small sampling of the huge variety of funghi in our woods.

We are now members of the Western Woodlot Services Cooperative, a non-profit organization that comes in and assesses your woods; basically they will help us to be good woodlot owners, doing what's best for the trees and all vegetation... very cool organization and we're looking forward to being able to access our property with some great trails eventually.

The weather continues to be beautiful... we're still walking on the beach as often as we can get there... maybe we'll be doing this all winter too?

Beautiful Hirtles Beach. We're not swimming anymore, but it's still lovely.

October 7th and the start of another busy week... first of all, a new pole is installed by Nova Scotia Power, necessary for us to upgrade our power to 200 amp. And all the insulation is getting done!

The drywall is starting too but we have another road trip to do! A few months ago, I heard about Celtic Colours - a music festival happening on Cape Breton Island. Neither Alan or I have ever seen the Cabot Trail, so we booked in for the Thanksgiving weekend. We travelled up to Antigonish - a pretty university town... and then across the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton Island! The colours were beautiful and we made our way to our first hotel - Glenora Distillery.

The tour was great, interesting – this is the oldest single malt whiskey distillery in North America. We enjoyed a great tasting in the bar and enjoyed some celtic music after dinner. The Glenora is a beautiful place to stay – really nice modern rooms. It was a great first day of our trip!

We started the next day with a stop at Inverness Beach. Beautiful.

Love beach grass, boats in the little harbour and the lobster traps getting ready for the upcoming season.

That picture of me in the beach grass? That's my Maritime commercial shot LOL

And then the Cabot Trail... well, each of these photos deserves full width size, so enjoy...

We had an overcast day but it was still incredible. I wanted to stop every two minutes...

Our second night was booked at the Keltic Lodge. What an incredible location - right out on a point of land with ocean on both sides.

We checked in and did a nice little hike out to the point – lovely ocean views and Ingonish Beach is off to one side. It's a great old building with hardwood floors everywhere BUT, and it's a big but... the food is quite terrible, and for foodies like us, it was a big disappointment. They have 2 big, uninspiring dining rooms, very limited wine list... they actually had a buffet for dinner (we hate buffets) in one of the dining rooms – and it was not good. Another buffet for breakfast, no menu options. And the entertainment was one guy with a guitar in this huge ballroom with a tiny bar at one end. Really disappointing and I can tell you, TripAdvisor got some scathing reviews from me. We won't be staying there again until we hear that things have drastically changed.

The next morning, we set out again to finish the Cabot Trail and make our way to Baddeck.

It started to rain and at times it was pouring, but it was still beautiful and sometimes the mist over the water was lovely. We drove down the coast and through Wreck Cove and took a sweet little ferry at Englishtown. We decided to drive to Sydney and had a fantastic lunch at Governor's Pub. It was pouring, but we could see that it was a charming city.

After lunch , we drove along the big Bras D'Or Lake, and made it to Baddeck in the late afternoon. Baddeck is a really sweet town! Super charming! We booked in to the Lynwood Inn and discovered that the Parish Hall where we wanted to go to a Celilidh was right across the street! Perfect.

We felt like pizza and if you're in Baddeck, we recommend Tom's Pizza – excellent homemade crust and really good. and a bonus: live entertainment! Rob MacLean was playing – good guitarist and singer and we sang songs and had an excellent time. We talked to him afterwards about playing in our studio next year – we'll keep in touch!

We had tickets to the Ceilidh though, so we had to leave. Gillian Head and Adam Young were playing traditional Cape Breton music - we had front row seats and it was super fun! Gillian even did some step dancing and there was a round of square dancing... great time!

Lovely stay at the Lynwood Inn... so quiet and cozy.

The next morning we walked through town and found an excellent spot for breakfast, The Freight Shed, right down at the dock. There is a lighthouse in the harbour and lovely old buildings in town.

We decided to drive home along the Eastern Shore – so glad we did. We came across some fantastic old abandoned boats... well, I LOVE taking photos of old boats.

The name of this boat is Penny Lane III. As big Beatles fans, I think we need to get a big canvas print done.

And this one was interesting too... there is such a sense of wonder about old boats – the stories they could tell.

Back home and things are progressing nicely! After the Thanksgiving Weekend, our drywall was finished and the taping and mudding has been completed.

Grant and Adam from Grant Taylor's Contracting are doing an amazing job – we are not surprised... all the contractors that Risser's has brought in have all been topnotch.

Grant doing his magic!

It's an exciting process and now we're looking forward to getting heat and electricity in the place!

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