friday night we packed while X slept and made plans to quickly get out of the house in the morning. on saturday we were able to, more or less, accomplish this. unfortunately, i forgot to get the cooler bag full of X-approved food into the car. :( so it goes. we did the hour long drive up to the wolfville area of the valley without any major issue. X self-entertained in the backseat for about half the trip and then i climbed in the back seat and watched a video on daves computer with her. this got us to our destination with very little fuss. hooray!
we pulled in to noggins farms (busy) parking lot and headed toward the fun. we had initially thought we could apple/pumpkin pick AND do the play area stuff in the same visit. ha. the line for the apple picking tractor/hay ride was too long to make that idea happen. so we decided to ditch the apple picking and paid our entrance to the family fun area. there were two corn mazes, a rope maze, a tire mountain for climbing, a sand pit, tunnels, slides, and hay bales to play on, a bouncy rope "spider web", and a water pump station where you pushed ducks down a pipe with your stream of water. in short, a GREAT place for kids!
we started out in the mini corn maze while X was still getting acquainted with the place. she seemed to have a decent time, and then we burst out of the maze at the foot of the tire mountain. like a moth to a flame she was immediately at the bottom tire grasping to go higher and higher. she climbed all the way to the summit unassisted. she didnt want to come down, but lots of big kids were running around and distracting her and making me nervous that she might get bumped and fall down the mountain. we eventually persuaded her to come down.
(waving hello in the corn maze, eating her apple; climbing the tire mountain; made it to the summit!; climbing on hay bales)
and she went right in to the sand pit. she made her rounds to each kid in the pit to stare at them, see what they were doing, offer to help scoop sand in to their truck or pail. she had a great time. it was also a hotbed of parental hovering and insecurities about sharing and being nice. it made my blood pressure rise. this was one of my longest times being around all different kinds of families and seeing how extremely variable parenting styles can be. my eyes and ears were on absorb overload with how differently people talked to and interacted with their kids.
at noggins, there was very little of substance to eat for lunch (sweets and buttered corn basically) so we did the best we could for a "meal" by offering X stuff from our snack bag. and then it was time to load up and drive to our nearby b&b. due to busy roads and construction (in the farmland!?) a 10 minute drive took almost 30 minutes. X was, thankfully, pretty patient with the situation. and when we finally arrived at our b&b X was enamored by the air guns being shot off nearby and the open farmland and the breeze. once we showed her to her room and she looked in every nook and cranny, i was able to convince her to take a nap. and i passed out with her. dave ran over to the nearby port pub (we have eaten there twice before, once just dave and i and one time i went with my mom and al) for some late lunch take out and came home with a tasty burger and some decent chicken cashew curry.
after we recharged and refueled, we explored our b&b. they had just fed the horses a mound of hay for dinner so we took X out to see them. she got a kick out of seeing them so close and without any commotion from other kids or people. one of the horses snorted several times which X thought was awesome and she kept saying "see black horse. see brown horse." when she wanted to go between the separate fenced areas for each horse.
our b&b people were nice: a newfoundland husband and his swiss-german wife along with their two adolescent children. they also had 2 dogs and 4 cats. lots to entertain X! the people also ran a cat hotel. we mentioned our cat and the cat hotel she goes to near us when we go out of town...and our b&b people said they were close friends with them. these kind of "small world" findings happen way more often in nova scotia than in any other place ive been before. anyway, the b&b people gave us some local area suggestions for the evening and we headed out.
we drove to kentville to view their "pumpkin people". apparently the whole town bands together each year to create these pumpkin people scenes. basically scarecrows with pumpkins for heads, they choose various locations throughout town to stage themed scenes. this year the theme was superheroes and villians i guess. i was pretty underwhelmed, but it must be a fun thing to do as a community, and of course, the kids get a kick out of it. we got a few pictures of X among the pumpkin people, before she peeled off for the playground.
(these arent actually the pumpkin people [duh] these are just some cute painted scenes near the pumpkin people)
for dinner, we thought we might attempt a sushi/thai place that at least would give X some rice/noodle/veggie/chicken options. the b&b people spoke of it highly, mentioning that they felt lucky that a decent sushi place was actually so close by. we thought greasy pub food (which was the bulk of the other local offerings) wouldnt be as easy to find X-friendly things, so we took a chance on the sushi. sushi fang turned out to be good. great prices, lots of food, and it tasted like a middle-of-the-road sushi restaurant we might find in SE michigan (which i think is a compliment). the staff was very helpful with X items and we were able to leave feeling full.
back at the b&b, X played with the indoor animals and charmed the owners. i popped out to hit a nearby grocery store for some fresh fruit, so we could have some lying around. dave watched the UM v northwestern game and X played hide and seek in the room. it was a great room: a double bed and a twin bed, a large private bathroom and a private, attached living room. there was a lot of space to lounge.
bedtime came and that went well, but sleep was not so great. perhaps there was some kind of soy sauce in one of my sushi rolls because Xs stomach seemed upset overnight. not horrid, but not happy. thus, i did not get a lot of sleep. in the morning, dave went down to eat hot breakfast and bring me some food up on a tray. (he said while he was down for breakfast, two other guests [strangers to each other] were chatting. both were from newfoundland. they discovered...that they were distantly related. small world once again). i got to eat and shower in peace while dave took X out to greet the horses. its all she talked about when she woke up, and she was happy to see them.
then we packed up and hit the road. on that road, we passed a car dealership that said "we decapitate high prices"...um, okay? then we made a short stop at the noggins farm again to pick up a bag of apples and some nice carving pumpkins because we had neglected to make these important purchases the day before. and then we made the relatively short drive down to windsor to take in their giant pumpkin parade.
we had been to the pumpkin regatta a couple years back with daves parents, and thought the festivities would be up Xs alley this year. plus, the weather was basically summer temperatures so it was a great day to be outside, no matter what the occasion. when we got off at the proper exit for windsor, there was a police car blocking traffic into town. people who wanted to get to the parade from this end of town had to park across the highway and walk over the overpass. only in nova scotia, or only in a small town like this, have i seen such bizarreness. there were no signs in advance warning of these parking curiosities, there were no other people directing the parking, and people seemed fine parking on highway overpasses, in the ditch, or on the shoulder of the highway on or off-ramps (i shit you not). and many of these people were with small children. seems perfectly fine to me to park and open my door right on to a busy highway...? as it was, we parked in a park-n-ride lot and put X in the carrier to walk over the overpass with her. i didnt care for this, but it was the safest option we had.
it was hot in the sun, so we found a good spot on the curb on the shady side of the street and waited. the parade didnt come our way for almost an hour, so X had to get up and walk around and check things out in order not to go crazy. i cant even tell you how many kids we saw on leashes (tons on leashes at noggins farm too). i found it quite disturbing, but i wont go off on that any further.
finally, there was some hope the parade was coming. a decorated motorcycle gang charged down the street and made all kinds of noise. X loved it and asked for more when they had gone. and finally the real parade started. at some point people came by passing out candy for kids. before we could shield her, X had three suckers thrust into her hand. three! we couldnt just rip them from her and say no, so we said "everyone gets a sucker" and she got to eat her red sucker while dave and i ingested green and purple ones. of course she had a gay ol' time eating her sugar circle and dripping sticky slime on us. it was the highlight of the day for her, im sure.
after the fanfare, the crowd dispersed because the actual pumpkin regatta wouldnt start for an hour or so. we needed to get some food and get ready to head back home during nap time. we found the "lucky italiano" restaurant was able to accomodate us with hot paninis to-go. yum. im glad we had something solid in our bellies to be able to make it back home on. then we trekked back to the car, changed a diaper, and X slept her nap in car.
it was a busy but lovely little vacation. not super relaxing, but obviously quite fun for X, especially all the activity on saturday. im glad we were able to enjoy a beautiful fall adventure.
(our weekend route: halifax - noggins farm - b&b - kentville - new minas - windsor - halifax)