dave came home from work on friday with the idea to try a night out at a b&b (well, it had been my idea for a while but it never got off the ground). he found a great deal ($60 for a king-sized bed room with hot breakfast in the morning) at a nice little place on the northern coast that faces prince edward island. he called them that night and booked the room. the plan was to head up on saturday after his ultimate game.
so, i picked him up at the gym on saturday and we drove north. the weather turned to snow at some point in the drive, but we did finally arrive in the town of pictou (pronounced pick-toe) and stepped in to the willow house inn. we immediately found out we were the only guests that night, which i guess wasnt such a surprise, but it was amusing. we were shown up to our very large room with an extremely comfortable king sized bed (i think the mattress was that fancy memory foam stuff) and then invited down for tea.
(map marker is on pictou)
in the dining room, the b&b owners were spending the evening with a couple of friends of theirs. they were finishing dessert when we got downstairs, so we sat and chatted with them for a bit. the woman was from cape breton island and her husband was from france (clermont-ferrand to be exact. see map below.). they were older and friendly and had lots of questions for us: how did we like living here, what have we seen so far, what brought us here. and through the course of chatting the woman mentioned she worked locally for end-of-life care (aka palliative care) services. i mentioned that i just started a project at work on that topic and she was tickled to make the connection with a young stranger.
(map marker is on clermont-ferrand, france)
after they left, we sat for a long while longer with the b&b owners. they were discussing some of their travels (their favorite u.s. spot seemed to be california) and spent lots of time sharing the history of town, the area, and the province while giving us a nice rundown of the fun things to see and do. new activities on my to-do list, per their suggestion: the pictou lobster carnival, the great canadian lumberjack challenge (apparently the local firemen smoke salmon on cedar planks all day and serve a community dinner at night during this event. yum.), and touring the glenora single malt whiskey distillery in cape breton (not that i like scotch, but i can think of some potential visitors who would be interested. plus, its always fun to learn about something direct from people who make it). as for the history, apparently pictou is the site of the landing of the ship hector (on september 15, 1773) that brought the first group of scottish people to the land.
anyway, after much chatting we finally made it up to bed where we sprawled out and fell asleep. in the morning, we were greeted with a wintry scene of the town from our window and a view of the water. we headed down to the dining room where fresh (and still warm) biscuits were awaiting us along with a colorful row of homemade jams and jellies (strawberry, blueberry, peach, and grape). there was juice, milk, a row of cereals and some slices of fresh bread for toast, plus i got some scrambled eggs with cheese whipped up for me as well. i basically gorged on the biscuits though. yum.
(our b&b in the morning snow)
after breakfast we packed up, said our thank yous and goodbyes, and took a little walk around town. the walk basically consisted of the main waterfront area and the two or so blocks of main street. in the waterfront area they have docked the original ship hector. its a very beautiful boat whose image, for me, conjured up adventure, like the ship from "goonies."
(the ship hector; a squat lighthouse on the waterfront near the ship)
heading back from the waterfront down main street took us past a few notables. one being the scottish gift shop with tartan-wear for babies and kids. another being the local knife company. and lastly, right near our b&b was another b&b which bore a plaque reading "former u.s. consulate." now why on earth would there ever have needed to be a consulate here? i cant imagine the town as ever being that big or having such a need. bizarre.
official tartan pattern of nova scotia; the former u.s. consulate building in pictou)
back at the car, we piled in for the drive back. we popped in to the town of new glasgow to find it was mostly a commercial/industrial-type city, so we proceeded to truro to find lunch. as it was sunday, we had a limited selection of restaurants that were open. we finally had to settle on the kind of place i hate. a kitschy seafood joint in a strip mall totally overdone in maritime decorations and touting itself to be the best fish n chips in the atlantic provinces...sure. dave got the fish and i got a burger (fearing fried food overload). the "fish" was mostly batter (though the tartar sauce was decent) and the burger was tiny and ick. our coconut cream pie was large but "meh." overall, we were glad to get out of there without a huge dent in our wallet or explosive diarrhea.
but, the trip, in general, was a nice, if brief, diversion from everyday living. an inexpensive getaway from home to explore a new area. plus, with the new recommendations for nova scotia activities to add to my list, it makes for potential future fun. so, good stuff all around and good idea dave. :)