Saturday, August 22: Leaving Roomba behind, we set out to explore the North Shore of Nova Scotia. We’d read about an island called Annapolis Royal, restored to its historic nature for tourism; and of course, the famous Digby scallops.
Digby was a far piece away, but we decided to have a lunch of famous scallops there, then work our way back Blomidon way, hitting Annapolis Royal after lunch.
On the way out, with the tide out, we saw some of the enormous differential between Bay of Fundy related high and low tides. The photo doesn’t do it justice – it’s nearly unbelievable.
I was really looking forward to Digby, as it sounded like (from our NS guide book) a quaint fishing town, and on the map it looked beautifully situated in a harbor protected by land, but with a narrow opening to the Bay of Fundy. Jack was looking forward to it because of all foods, scallops are among his faves.
It began raining as we ventured south, and we took the “interstate” 101, so there wasn’t much to see along the way. We passed through the Annapolis Valley, a serious growing region for everything from apples and grapes to oat straw and hay.
Upon reaching Digby it was still foggy but the rain had turned intermittent. The guide book recommended a place called Fundy Restaurant for our scallops, and our first clue to the coming disappointment should have been that the place was nearly empty on an August Saturday.
The meal we got was lunch-priced and sized, but it was their special scallops (supposedly) pan fried in garlic butter. The waitress said it was served with fries and cole slaw.
When it came, the scallops appeared nicely browned, but we bit into them and found a) little to no garlic and b) they were overcooked and tough. The slaw was watery and uninspired, and the fries were pretty good. We paid quite a lot of money for these “famous” Digby scallops. Too bad.
The rain came and went, and I still wanted to get out for a quick walk around the harbor, so we left the restaurant for a wander. The harbor was a good walk – I love taking pictures of fishing boats and floats and such. The gray day added to the impact of the colors.
And then the fog rolled across the steadily increasing tide of the bay. Very interesting shots to be had there, one of which I took in black and white because I felt it would be most striking without color.
But Digby itself was seedy and drab. There were many empty store fronts, and lots of run-down apartments and dilapidated homes. The only people we saw about were elderly locals and maybe one family of tourists. It looked to me like a dying community.
And we drove 1.5 hours for this?
At this point, the rain began more steadily, and walking about a restored old downtown (the largest collection of pre-1800 buildings in NS), or the historic gardens (!), so we did a drive-by (I got a photo of the sculpture in front of the garden entrance):
And then headed to the Annapolis Tidal Station Interpretive center. A great storyteller explained the history and theory behind the turbines installed 30-some years ago to test theories about generating energy from the enormous Fundy Bay tide surges. Some of the ideas, including the one we could see at work at this center, were great theories, but in practice, proved to be far from practical for useful energy generation. It was quite interesting and we were dry for the experience.
Highlights of the drive (alongside the excellent tidal generation presentation) were: sighting of a bald eagle, a redtail, and an osprey. As we drove the back road to our campground, we saw an enormous, very dark-colored rabbit. And saw another right in camp. On the ‘other wildlife’ side, we saw a flattened fox and skunk along the road. And CROWS! I think I’ve never seen so many crows in my life. Thinking of CJ almost constantly.
We had briefly discussed combining efforts on a dinner with Mike and Mary (the Alto 1743 owners in camp), so we stopped to get a small amount of additional provisions to add to the effort. And we heard from our friend’s mom, who’s going to shelter our Roomba at her home while we take our ride, starting Monday. While both trying to eat our store of food down in anticipation of leaving everything behind for 10 days, we decided to get some asparagus and a little more wine. But as we emerged from the grocery place, it was positively tipping with rain, and thunder and lightening had entered the mix. A quick google on our Canada phone showed weather warnings for dangerous amounts of heavy rain. So as we headed back to our site, we stopped at Mary & Mike’s to see if they were in and to postpone our sharing a meal until they get to Meadows of Dan in mid-October.
As we rounded the bends back to our spot, we saw that the wind and/or rain had played havoc with our awning, and everything was wetly draped over everything else. The good news was that the bicycles and the one open window in Roomba were dry; and that most everything else could be wiped down pretty easily. The bad news was that my slippers for indoors were soaked, and our two camp chairs were holding pools of water.
Pretty easy to set everything back up, but boy is the ground, air, and most everything wet wet wet. And since it was foggy and/or rainy all day, Roomba’s solar panels didn’t give the battery much help while we were gone. But we didn’t use much, being gone, so we felt sure we’d be able to make it through the night. Hope tomorrow is – if not sunny, then brighter and drier.
Saw this as we ate dinner, so maybe the weather will break tomorrow.