we had wanted to go to PEI (prince edward island) for their small halls festival, so we had planned to go this weekend...even though we did not end up attending any musical events.
friday (june 15):
-after Xs dinnertime snack (at 8:30p), we hopped in the car and drove up our b&b (willow house inn) in pictou. this was the same b&b we had randomly visited in cold february 2010.
-X stayed awake for 1 hour of the 1.5 hour drive and then woke up when we arrived. it took an hour after arrival before she finally fell asleep.
saturday (june 16):
-had to get up at 6:45a, i was exhausted but X woke up easily. i think she was excited for all the new things we were going to do. its funny how each trip we take is so different with her.
-our b&b breakfast was meh. we shared it with other guests who were up early to catch the ferry to PEI as well. nice people.
-drove on to ferry and did the 1 hour ride. the sun was out, and it was windy of course. i didnt know we'd be locked out of the lower car area so when X needed a snack, the only safe thing to eat from the boats cafeteria was rice crispies. she ate them by the fistful until the big cup was half gone. lol.
(on the ferry)
-drove off ferry to lord selkirk park. i feel it was ill-described online. they had a crappy, smelly "beach" area that didnt have much going for it, though the red dirt was pretty. we didnt stay long.
(red beach of lord selkirk park)
-X and i snoozed while dave drove to charlottetown. so cute! historic and artsy, the citizens seemed proud of their town, were clearly supportive of art/cultural activities, enjoyed a decent variety of things to do around town, and had nicely developed their scenic areas. i was really impressed. we couldnt help comparing it to halifax and wishing it were more like charlottetown, though in many ways that is just plain silly and unrealistic.
-in charlottetown we: walked their historic area (queens square), wandered around the confederation centre of the arts area (a whole city block!), chose castellos (italian) for lunch [ate outside on a pedestrian-only street, X ate like a horse], popped in to the childrens section of the library, got some local gahan house beer at a beer store, walked down to confederation landing and browsed the tourist shops at peakes quay, found a hip cafe for a smoothie and cookie [Xs tummy actually tolerated a few bites!], drove over to victoria park [such awesome playgrounds!], and grabbed dinner at the grocery store before leaving town.
(cute historic areas; the cool fishbone climbing thing at the victoria park playground)
-X dozed on the way out of town as we drove to victoria-by-the-sea. we had dinner at a picnic table on the water there. X was pissed to be woken up, but finally calmed down and we ate dinner with mosquitos.
-drove over an hour to our b&b (country stiles) in nappan, nova scotia. on the way, we crossed the PEI bridge (8 miles long & a $44 toll [you only pay PEI tolls when you leave, via ferry or bridge]). our b&b hosts were a nice energetic couple who were waiting to greet us. we were the only guests in the house. after a crappy previous night sleep and a long day...we got to sleep! beautiful sleep.
sunday (june 17):
-fathers day! gave dave a tshirt from favorite local brewery, garrison.
-b&b breakfast: non-dairy blueberry pancakes for X and for us...fruit and yogurt parfait with maple cream shavings, blueberry orange muffins, and local egg omelet with brie/ham/pear and lime/cilantro juice on top. best breakfast ive been treated to in...not sure how long. X correctly identified the flower decorating our breakfast plates as a pansy even when i thought it was a violet. crazy.
-drove to joggins fossil cliffs, a world heritage site. pre-dinosaur era fossils are exposed here in beautiful sedimentary rock layers along the beachs edge. the visitors center is pretty but we didnt stay long, we went down to the water. on the path down, X pointed to a sign and said "a wooly mammoth" before i even noticed it (the joggins fossils are from a time before the wooly mammoth, as the signs were explaining). you cant collect fossils without a permit there but you can take pics. X and i sat on the beach and threw rocks in the water while dave got his nerd on and explored the cliffs. even just sitting near the water, i found the pebbles surrounding me were like those on no other beach. it was a very beautiful and interesting place even if every rock we saw wasnt sporting a lizard footprint or a prehistoric bug. im glad we made the drive.
(on joggins beach; the fossils/neat rocks i found [note: the crab and crustacean pincher are obviously not fossils]; a big slab of fossil on the beach)
-drove to truro for lunch. got off at an exit that was a fast food gauntlet. we chose the first decent option called frank&ginos, an italian restaurant. dave noticed the "kids eat free on sunday" sign and i actually perked up...and then instantly felt ashamed of myself. really? that excites me? eesh. i also got a little smile when i noticed there was a paved path around a pond (complete with minnows) next door to the restaurant, so family-friendly!
this prompted me to think about restaurants (only two outings on this trip but i felt overloaded by eating out). the enjoyment of restaurants is gone for me. we cant really go where we want and we certainly cant eat at the pace we want anymore, thus my current preference is just not to go. but from this experience, if i must do a restaurant, then my choice is to go to a place that makes that task easy...enter the family-friendly establishment. so this is why the market exists. i felt disgusted with myself. and then while all this was marinating in my head, a family with 5 kids walked in (one girl, four boys). i couldnt stop staring and wondering about them. they were all behaving awesomely so it wasnt that, i was wondering what their weekends look like, how/how often they travel (if they do), and how they function in general. the restaurant bill (on a non-kids eat free day) would be totally prohibitive. i guess they just kinda floored me, and i couldnt look away. it was an interesting restaurant experience.
-drove to shubenacadie wildlife park. it was crowded. X saw the deer, cougars, emu, river otter, black bear, and fed every duck, swan, goose, and peacock in sight. she even had the peacock eat out of her hand. we missed about 50% of the animal habitats, but that kind of thing happens with a toddler. she had a great time doing what she was doing.
(at the exit of the zoo)
-then we drove home in high spirits and were glad to be back and unload.
*a much different (read: more pleasant) road trip compared to the fundy national park trip we took with 2 month old X. this was still too harried for me though. we havent figured out how to drive, eat, play, manage sleep schedules, and perform bodily functions in a successful rhythm yet. but, at least i know a weekend drive trip is doable now. i still dont know how my parents did all our trips as roadtrips growing up, or why they ever wanted to do it again once one road trip was completed. i assume it gets easier as they get older, or you have to wait longer in between roadtrips for your sanity to return and/or your memory to fade.
**the link to the complete photo album of the trip.