Saturday, July 30, 2011

Berwick - the last leg

As our Canada trip wound down, we spent the last few days at a Christian "ashram" in Berwick, one of the small towns in the Annapolis Valley (which is the northern half of Nova Scotia). It's also the apple-growing capital of Canada. The choice of lingering here for a few days was the suggestion of the Anglican priest friend who planned my itinerary and I am so glad I took his advice. After tons of driving, I needed a few days to just relax before the three-day drive home through New England. The second photo shows the camp, where people stayed in cabins much like this. And the first photo is of Miss Veeka in a presentation put on by the youth the last day of the camp. She danced like a pro. Her time at the camp was mainly spent with other kids - instead of me - which was a relief for both of us in that we were not constantly in each other's hair. During one of the afternoon breaks, she and I did repair to a local mountain spot - Aylesford Lake - for a swim, as the hot temps that were cooking the US east coast at the time were bringing weather in the upper 80s to Nova Scotia.
But we stayed 10 miles away in a neighboring town where the Alexas, our host and hostess cooked us lovely breakfasts and treated us like royalty. All too soon we had to push off to catch the ferry from Digby back to St. John, New Brunswick. On the way, we briefly stopped in some lovely gardens in Annapolis Royal (one of many small historic towns along the way), then had a very agreeable 3 hours on this ferry. It cost us a mint ($130) for the ride, but they had a movie, some structured time for kids and decent cafeteria food. Arriving at St. John, it was quite foggy and nasty. St. John is reputed to have the worse weather in the Maritimes - always cold and damp - so we took off for that night's stay in St. Stephen, right on the US border.
The next morning, our hosts, Bob and Mary Smith, took us out to breakfast with friends and then we zoomed back across the border at Calais with only a 15-minute wait; not bad for a Friday morning. It took us all morning to get to Bangor, then the better part of the afternoon to cut across Maine through the Sebago Lake region to get to our destination for the night; a ski area in New Hampshire. Why there? Because the hotel fees up and down the Maine coast were horrible. Nothing was under $175/night. The Best Western in Waterville Valley was only charging $109/night which was cheap, believe it or not. Which is how I got my first glimpse of the White Mountains.
The route we chose to get there was the Kancamagus Highway, a 34-mile route that led us past rivers with nice swimming spots (Veeka and I tried one at Rocky Gorge), lovely views and plenty of national forest. Waterville turned out to be a tiny community in a vale totally enclosed by mountains and we spent all the following morning exploring there before heading south to my childhood haunts in Connecticut.
More of that in another post, but, yes, we are home now and this past Thursday, I appeared with several other authors at a multi-author event at the new Busboys & Poets in Hyattsville, which is part cafe, part concert venue and part art gallery. All of us in Hyattsville are delighted to have something this sophisticated within walking distance. See the link here for a short clip of our readings.

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