We went to Canada last week for a couple of Elder Hostel programs on Campobello Island and an R&R on Grand Manan. The organizers for the Elder Hostel put us up in the Prince Cottage, which is next door to the Roosevelte Cottage. Both houses are part of the
. It is very chic and the food is great. Campobello is in Canada but is only accessible from Lubec, Maine. Campobello has an interesting history. It was a hereditary
In July and August a private ferry runs between Campobello and Deer Island, NB. Rather than drive all the way around to Calais and cross the border there we took the little ferry to Deer Island, and a second ferry to Letite, on the mainland. The double-ended ferry lands on the beach. There is a little tug attached to a big hinge on the side which pushes the barge. It holds about a dozen cars. It's quite a maneuver to back the barge out and reverse the direction of the tug while spinning the ferry 270°.
The ferry off the other end of Deer Island is a little bigger and the ferries to Grand Manan
are serious boats! The Grand Manan V
can take 65 cars and 350 passengers. While were driving through the blueberry fields in Washington County I had remarked to Julia that all the blueberry desserts we had eaten were too fancy and that somebody should serve blueberries and cream, straight up. Well, this is what we found in the canteen on the big ferry. Yum!
When we landed on Grand Manan there was a church blueberry dessert social - where there were dozens of blueberry sweeties of various kinds. Kind of ironic.
The weather was beautiful while we were there. It had been rainy and foggy all summer until last week. After a concert at the Convert Hall we looked forward to a couple of days of relaxing. The herring haven't come in yet, so there weren't any whales. Whale Cove is where the Right Whales
come to have their calves. They follow the herring in. One of these trips we'll see them. There are only about 350 of them left. Everybody blames entanglement in fishing gear for whale deaths but actually more of them are killed being hit by ships. They are kind of slow and like to float - which is why there were the first whale hunted to near extinction - starting in the 17th century.
Even though there weren't any whales geology is very interesting. There are basalt columns that are reminiscent of the Giants Causeway
in Antrim. We did some beach walking and collected a handful of stone for Julia's Stones of the Western World
collection. She has stones from Maine, Canada, several beaches in Scotland and Ireland. The amazing thing is that some of the stones from Muscongus Island, two miles from here, are identical to stones she picked up near Findhorn
The days were great - the nights were a challenge. The B&B we were booked into was an old place with small rooms, which doesn't bother us, but the bed wasn't level. The room was too small to turn the bed so we spent the night climbing to the upper edge while the blankets slid off the opposite side. Our friend Russ, when we told him our tale of woe, told us we should have blocked up the low side of the bed by putting the legs in my shoes. A good trick that I'll have to remember should we be in that situation again.
On our way out I ran into John P. on the ferry, who played
Captain Rowan when The Grand Design
was performed on Grand Manan last summer. He invited us for lunch and a private whisky tasting. After admiring the view, shooting the breeze, and eating some sandwiches, John brought out a menu of single malts for us to choose from! We tried several, some smoky tasting ones, some milder ones, and one 25 year, cask-strength whisky. Although there is only one road and it isn't easy to get lost, we didn't think it would be prudent to try them all in one afternoon.
Before we left we picked up some dulse
. Grand Manan dulse is the best there is. Real seaweed connoisseurs claim that the very best grow on the west side of the island. The dulse we picked up was on the southeast side. We purchased a couple of pounds from the island store, too. We like to give it to the actors when we do the Grand Design so they can appreciate what it would be like to have nothing else to eat for three months. The dulse in the picture was drying on the shore at Whale Cove.
We had a private function (euphemism for wedding) in Gouldsboro on Saturday. On the way there we stopped to pick some free range blueberries by the side of the road. Maybe we'll make a fresh blueberry pie like they serve at Helen's Restaurant. Its just a pie shell filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit - simple, elegant, tasty.
Why is it I'm always writing about food?