Tag Archives: tourism

My Favourite Place in the World…The Bay of Fundy

Since my posts this week have been in the “tourism” vein, I thought that rerunning this post from last April would be a fitting way to end the week…feel free to vote…we need all the help we can get:

For the last 26 years, I have lived within half an hour of my favourite place in the world: the amazing Bay of Fundy!  On the CBC news this morning, I learned that the Bay has made the finals of an international contest to designate the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.  It’s the only Canadian nominee in a prestigious list of 28 tourist attractions which includes the Dead Sea, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest.  I’ll put “my Bay” up against those places any time…

Located on the east coast of Canada, the Bay of Fundy stretches some 170 miles between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/).  It has the highest tides in the world: 50 feet (time between low and high tide is 6 hours and 13 minutes).  There’s even a blog about the Bay of Fundy: http://bayoffundy.blogspot.com .

My first experience with the Bay was when I lived in Moncton – we had relatives visiting from Ontario, and we took them to Hopewell Rocks to show them the huge flowerpot rocks carved by the powerful tides of the Bay.  I remember going down the many steps to the beach (and then huffing and puffing all the way back up!).

Hopewell Rocks at Low Tide...

After moving to Saint John in 1997, the Bay was literally five minutes away…this is where I discovered my beloved Bayshore Beach – the place I have already instructed my loved ones to scatter my ashes when I’m gone.  Bayshore was a “happinin’ place” in the early part of the 20th century, but fell out of favour when West Side residents started travelling more in cars.  The water at Bayshore is bone-chillingly cold a lot of the time…you wade in, and by the time you get to shin-depth, you’ve lost all feeling in your ankles – the kids still swim there though!  The beach is sandy, but also covered with interesting stones and seaweed, as well as driftwood.  The kids love looking for “beach glass,” small pieces of glass that have been worn smooth by the action of the sometimes violent waves of the Bay.  There are a few shells on Bayshore, mostly clamshells, and the occasional hermit crab.  A few years ago, I remember sitting on the beach for at least an hour, watching a small bright green beetle crawl around on my arm (people think I’m strange, but I happen to like insects that don’t bite me!).  Fog can roll in from the water at any time – the West Side is known for its natural air conditioning!

Bayshore Beach...

A few miles from Bayshore, the Irving Nature Park offers a picturesque mix of nature trails, beach, marsh area, and cliffs.  Each trail (varying lengths) is named for an animal found in the area: Squirrel, Seal, Deer, Heron, Frog, and Chickadee.  All trails are groomed with cedar chips.  We have spent many happy hours at the Nature Park…I remember seeing the biggest porcupine I’d ever seen there…he came lumbering out of the tall grass as we walked by, and then waddled off on his way.  Periwinkle shells, as well as pretty stones can be found on the beach at the Nature Park.  We also like to visit the park in the winter and toboggan down the big hill.  More athletic types bring their cross-country skis and use them on the trails.

Irving Nature Park Coastline...

If we want a change of pace, we hop in the van and travel 45 minutes to St. Martins.  There are caves there that we enjoy exploring at low tide.  Fishing boats equipped with lobster traps bob in the water nearby.  There are some beautiful nature trails on the Fundy Trail as well – in August, we take buckets along to harvest wild blackberries.  I’ll never forget my oldest daughter’s stricken expression when she found out after walking for an hour that the trails there weren’t circular like at the Nature Park – “You mean we still have to walk back to the van?!”  One of the most challenging trails is the Hearst Lodge Trail – I would recommend it only to people who enjoy fear!  After starting out on what we thought was a nice little walk, we arrived exhausted, muddy and traumatized at the Hearst Lodge some 2 hours later – not for the faint of heart!  I wondered why we saw people walking with ski poles on the way up, and I soon found out (note to self: flip the map over next time to see the level of difficulty before starting on the trail)!

St. Martins Caves at High Tide...

Another pleasant drive is in the other direction to St. Andrews (about an hour).  This charming little town was originally settled by the Loyalists – many of the original 18th century structures survive.  St. Andrews is known for the century-old Fairmont Algonquin Resort, the Kingsbrae Garden, the Huntsman-Aquarium Museum, and the Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre.  Its main street is lined with boutiques and cafés…I enjoyed a lovely cup of blueberry tea there once.  We have also visited railway magnate William Van Horne’s 50-room mansion on Ministers Island – the island is accessible only at low tide.   

It would be awesome if the Bay of Fundy became of the official Seven Natural Wonders of the World…please place your vote here: http://www.new7wonders.com/en/index/.  Winners will be announced next  year.

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Filed under memories, tourism, travel

‘Salt’y Tears…The Jolie Bids Adieu…

This is the final installment in a 3-part series chronicling The Jolie‘s visit to Saint John, New Brunswick.  I would like to thank my friend, Omawarisan, for his crazy idea ingenius plan that seems to have brought so much joy to my readers…this series was also incredibly fun to write!  Thanks again to Jim for driving all over town and putting up with rude stares as he photographically recorded The Jolie’s tour (he did all the touristy shots and labelled them too – he’s a lover, not a speller!).

If you haven’t read the first two parts, please take a few minutes and catch up…read quickly…The Jolie is anxious to be on her way!

Part 1

Part 2

Here’s the disclaimer (again):  This piece is purely for entertainment purposes and has no basis in fact (all Saint John tourist information is correct).  Any resemblance to living people (except my family) is coincidental. 

We left off Part 2 with The Jolie terrorizing exploring the Saint John City Market.  The Jolie did have an unpleasant encounter with the proprietor of one of the local fishmongers…for fun, I told her that “swimming with the lobsters” was a tradition in New Brunswick, kind of like swimming with the dolphins (a total lie!).  Well, The Jolie was bound and determined she was going to do it!  When she saw the lobster tank at the Market, she demanded to speak to the Manager.  The guy came out from behind the counter, and extended his hand to The Jolie…she ignored it. “I want to swim with the lobsters!  I came a long way to do that!”  The manager calmly explained that she might have some germs on her that could make the live lobsters ill.  “Do you think I don’t shower?” The Jolie asked indignantly.  While assuring her that everyone has germs, even movie stars, he offered to pack up a couple of big lobsters for her to take home.  The Jolie grudgingly agreed, “Well, I suppose…they probably taste better than Cambodian cockroaches.  Can you send the lobsters to Nunavut?  That’s where I’m headed after this.”  The manager wrote down the address, and promised to ship the crustaceans to the Far North right away.

Our next stop was King’s Square, which is across the street from the Market’s Charlotte St. entrance.  Until the mid-19th century, the Square was pretty primitive…people came to draw water from public wells, to view criminals in the pillory, or to celebrate special occasions with an ox roast.  The militia used it for training, and the butchers in town slaughtered their cattle there.  In 1844, city officials decided to make the Square more like an English country garden…a plan was made that included paths coming out from a central octagon, shrubbery, trees, and flowers.  Some work was started, but destroyed in the Great Fire of 1877.  The majority of the development at the Square was completed after that (in fact, most of the oldest buildings in the Uptown date to 1878).  The current bandstand was built in 1908 (restored in 1987), a memorial to King Edward VII.  The Jolie posed in front of it:

The Jolie and the King's Square Bandstand...the trees lining the paths were planted in the late 1880's...

The Jolie got a lot of stares from passersby as we walked through the Square…Saint Johners weren’t being their usual friendly selves:

The Jolie didn't get the attention she expected...

I overheard the following conversation between two old biddies:

“Imagine…goin’ out in the middle of winter in a tank top!  How come she’s not wearing a coat?” the first asked her companion.

The answer: “Maybe her money keeps her warm…she sure doesn’t have any body fat!”

Body fat must have been on The Jolie’s mind too, because the minute we arrived at our bookstore, Dave Shoots, Bookseller, she jumped on the scale to see if she’d gained any weight from the Timbits she’d eaten!

The Jolie tips the scales...

The Jolie proudly declared herself “weightless” (kind of like her performance in “Beyond Borders”).  At least her upcoming trip to Nunavut won’t cost much…maybe I should buy her a “fanny pack.”

While she was in the bookstore, The Jolie was photographed with a “local boy” who left Saint John and got famous (sadly, that’s usually how it happens!):

The Jolie and Stompin' Tom Connors...Prince Edward Island claims him, but he was born in Saint John...

Other famous people with Saint John roots include: film mogul Louis B. Mayer (born in Russia, but grew up here), actor Donald Sutherland (Kiefer’s dad, for you young whippersnappers!), actor Walter Pidgeon, and inventor Dr. Abraham Gesner (kerosene).  The infamous Benedict Arnold spent six years in Saint John after the American Revolution, but Saint Johners don’t like to talk about it!

The Jolie explored the bookshelves looking for reading material:

The Jolie checks out our fiction...

“Where’s your Danielle Steele section?” The Jolie demanded.

“Down the street, at the bookstore we don’t own,” I replied.

“What kind of bookstore is this?” she whined.

I smiled.  “A discerning one.”

The Jolie then asked to borrow a dictionary…I think she needed to look something up…

The Jolie consults a dictionary...

After returning the dictionary to its place, the Jolie headed for the children’s section…she wanted to send some books home for the Nanny to read to the kids.  I found her absorbed a few minutes later:

"Now I know my ABC's...next time won't you sing with me!"

Soon, I declared it was time to get packed up for the next leg of The Jolie’s tour.  She allowed me to wrap her in bubble wrap, and only whimpered a little when I put the packing tape over her mouth…for the first time since she arrived, The Jolie was speechless!

“Good luck in Nunavut, Dear!  Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out!”

*No action figures were harmed in the writing of this piece (I left airholes in the box).  The Jolie will next appear in Iqaluit, Nunavut in I’ll Have Nunavut.  I hope she’s not allergic to cats!

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Filed under blogging, books, satire, tourism

The Jolie Tour, Part 2…Eat, Drink and Be Bitchy…

This is the second installment of a series begun yesterday…please read Part One here to get up to speed…[The Jolie says to “Make it snappy!”…she’s hungry].

It’s against the law here not to “go to Tim Hortons for coffee” (you don’t actually have to drink coffee…”going for coffee” is an activity).  Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution started by a hockey player as a “summer job” back in the 1960’s before athletes were paid millions of dollars to play.  Unfortunately, Tim was killed in a car accident in 1974, and didn’t get to see the huge success his little coffee shop is today (at the time of his death, there were 40 franchises).  Today, many Canadian cities have multiple Tims locations …when I lived there a few years ago, Moncton, New Brunswick, had more Tims per capita than any other city!  Every spring, Tims has a popular contest called “Roll Up the Rim to Win” where you look for a prize under the rim of your paper cup…they give away cars, TV’s, and free coffee and donuts (the last two things are all I’ve ever won!).

Since The Jolie’s little tummy was growling, we took her to the Lansdowne Tims location…after telling us what they wanted, Anna and Brianna escaped to the safety of the Shoppers Drug Mart, preferring to shop for shampoo instead of being seen in public with The Jolie and their Action Figure Tourist Guide parents (we’d dropped Hope off on the West Side at her dad’s, and Devin stayed home because there wasn’t room in the car for everybody…what a generous gesture!).  Before going in, we asked The Jolie what she wanted.  “I’ll have an Espresso Macchiato with a quarter inch of milk foam and chocolate sprinkles on the top!” she ordered.

“Whoa, baby,” I said.  “Back up the truck!  This isn’t a fancy L.A. coffee place…the people who work here wear hairnets and sturdy shoes, and usually aren’t third-rate actresses!  They call everybody, ‘Dear’.  You can have coffee or tea or hot chocolate…if you’re good, I’ll get them to put a French Vanilla flavour shot in your coffee!  What do you want to eat?”

The Jolie thought for a minute before answering, “Get me a smoked salmon on rye, sliced very thin with the crusts cut off, and just a couple of capers on top.”  Her face fell when she saw the look on mine.  “Really…they don’t have that either?”

“When you’re in the Maritimes, Dear, ‘Capers’ are people who hail from a part of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton.  They get mad if you try to spread them on a sandwich, or criticize their funny accents.”  I took pity on The Jolie: “How about a nice Chicken Club on a whole wheat baguette?”  I hoped that throwing a French word in there made it sound fancier (I also hoped I wouldn’t have this trouble again).  It worked.

“I suppose that’s all right,” The Jolie pouted.  I dropped her in my purse, and we went in and ordered our food.  I paid with my Tims card (yay…I had more left on it than I thought!), and we carried the plastic tray to the table.  Jim glanced surreptitiously around before I pulled The Jolie out of her hiding place and set her on the table.

The Jolie engages in the great Canadian pastime...coffee at Tims...

In between bites of her sandwich, The Jolie found it amusing to yell “Barista!” repeatedly.  The girls behind the counter kept ducking to escape her wrath (I heard one of them ask another, “Is that Spanish for double-double?”)!  We explained to The Jolie that there is no “table service” at Tims…if she wanted something, she’d have to go up and ask for it!  She passed.

We’d gotten The Jolie a couple of Timbits for dessert.  Timbits are donut holes…Tims makes a fortune selling them for 15 cents each.  The Jolie demanded to know why we were feeding her “leftovers.”  She changed her tune once that Honey Dip hit her lips…

After lunch, we gathered up the girls and continued our tour.  The next stop was the Saint John City Market, which has been in operation in its current location since 1876.  When the Market was built in the late nineteenth century, Saint John was one of the world’s leading shipbuilding centers, and the roof of the Market is modelled after an upside-down ship’s keel.  The kids made themselves scarce again while we took our photos.

The Jolie looks down over the City Market...

The Market is open year-round every day but Sundays.  The day starts at 7:30 a.m. with the ringing of a large bell at one end, and finishes the same way at 6 p.m., except on Saturdays when the Market closes at five.  In addition to fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods, the Market is a cornucopia of items ranging from local crafts, giftware and souvenirs to ethnic food from various locales.  There is also entertainment on the weekends, although we got there too late in the afternoon to see it.  The Jolie offered to do “a reading” but they didn’t have a mike stand short enough for her (which is a good thing, because not a lot of people would be interested in hearing an excerpt from her upcoming book, Pezed Off…The Jolie World Tour!).

Dulse from Grand Manan is something a lot of tourists take home with them when they visit New Brunswick:

The Jolie in the dulse bin...

Apparently, The Jolie was confused about what you’re supposed to do with dulse (and also has trouble reading upside down), because before I could stop her, she was doing this:

The Jolie exploring the benefits of dulse...

“What do you mean, you eat it?  I thought it was a beauty treatment!” she sputtered, as I hauled The Jolie out of the bag.  “We pay big bucks for seaweed at my spa in L.A.!”  She spent the next hour removing bits of purple vegetation from her hair…

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of The Jolie’s visit to Saint John, New Brunswick!

*Disclaimer: This post is entertainment and any resemblance to living people (except Jim and I and our kids) is purely coincidental.  I also didn’t eat the blue pill!

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Sunday, Seals, Siamese Twins and Sci-Fi…

On Friday night, Hope had a friend come over for a sleepover…as kids do, Hope stood gazing into the freezer, looking for “something to eat” as every child does.  “Are those waffles?” she asked.  Vaguely remembering buying waffles a couple of months ago, I answered, “Umm-hmm…” without looking up from my computer screen (as every blogging mom does).  “You and Gabrielle could have those for breakfast tomorrow morning.”

Fast forward to Sunday morning (Gabrielle was long-gone):  I came down from having my shower to hear a fabulous story about Hope putting a chicken burger into the toaster!  She was fooled by the woven pattern stamped into the meat.  Note to self – don’t put stuff in the freezer in unmarked plastic bags!

To make the morning even better, Hope and Anna spent the next hour bickering (whipping the dog’s tennis ball at each other until one cried).  It ended after I ordered them each to make a list of ten nice things they could do for their sister, and then do one each day.  The first day, Hope came up with telling Anna, “You dress cool.”  To which Anna replied, “You sing well.”  We’ll see what today brings…

After brunch of (burned) toad-in-the-hole flax bagels (accompanied by more bitching), we went to Superstore to pick up last-minute school lunch makings (stores here are closed on Labour Day).  I vetoed the 24-pack of lunch-sized potato chips…I refuse to pay $3.49 for 120 chips!  Hope was happy to get pear-flavoured applesauce, and yogurt tubes.  Anna got Bear Paws and Vachon snack cakes.  I grabbed some bread, and a pack of bologna and ham for “real food.”

We brought the groceries home, and unloaded them.  We got right back in the van after that…Jim had suggested we visit the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews.  Anna and I had never been, and Jim hadn’t been for at least 10 years.  Hope had been there on a couple of school trips.

On our way, we stopped at McKay’s Blueberries in Pennfield.  The lineup was long, but it was worth the wait.  We watched as people walked by laden with pies, muffins and jams.  Finally, it was our turn:  Hope had a strawberry sundae, Anna had a blueberry sundae, and Jim and I had blueberry shortcake with homemade biscuits.  Everything was covered with real whipped cream!   Awesome deliciousness!  I have to say my mood improved remarkably after that…

We arrived at the Huntsman Centre  about 3:00.  What we didn’t know is that they were in the middle of an $8 million dollar renovation, which meant that the entire aquarium population was housed in temporary facilities while a new building  was being constructed.  We paid our admission in a large tent…the attendant informed us that they would be feeding the seals at 4:00 (we knew that already).  We proceeded to the seal tank, where two harbour seals swam around.  After that, we watched sturgeon and stingrays in another tank.  We made our way to the “main building” where several other marine animals were displayed.  Hope had fun with the “touch tank” where a number of sea animals could be picked up – her favourite was the starfish.  I tried to stay out of the way of the hundreds of strollers (okay, I’m exaggerating – it was probably five).  It was a pretty small space!  We were finished our tour by 3:30.  We went back to the main tent and sat down to wait for seal-feeding time.

Jim took this picture of Hope and a starfish...

This is Hope's photo of a rare blue lobster...

This is Anna's shot of an anemone...

 

We staked out a space beside the fence just before 4.  Finally, two female attendants came out with plastic dishpans filled with herring.  Each had a bright blue rubber glove.  One of the women proceeded to give us background information about the two seals:  They were father and son: Loki was 17 years old, and Snorkel was 5 years old.  The son did tricks (Dad was learning by watching the son).  The attendant explained that the tricks were to help prevent boredom (for the seals).  “We don’t want bored seals!”  The crowd (which was filled with bored toddlers) was getting restless…the woman asked if anyone had any questions.  I listened in amusement as I overheard the young mother next to me tell her 5-year-old to put her hand down: “Just let them feed them!” she hissed, holding her restless 2-year-old.

The attendants started throwing individual fish either into the tank, or up on the sidewalk next to the pool.  Anna, Jim and Hope snapped hundreds of photos as Snorkel performed some cute tricks, including “kissing” the attendant on command (she made a comment about her husband wondering why she smelled like fish when she came home…ewww!).  It was fun to watch – harbour seals are very dog-like in their facial features – they’re called “seadogs.”  In fact, our Saint John hockey team is called the Saint John Seadogs.  Hope was annoyed because she was standing beside a kid who kept yelling, “I want to see their whole body!” over and over again.  After the show was over, the little girl beside me finally got to ask her question…I forget what it was now.  Everybody headed for their cars (except Hope, who headed for the port-a-potties – she loves those – NOT!).

Anna took this picture of Snorkel...

The senior attendant with Snorkel...photo taken by Jim...

A full-body shot of one of the seals...these guys are about 300 lbs...photo by Anna...

This seagull was hanging around hoping for a handout...apparently seagulls are one of seal's menu choices too...

Back in the van, Anna mentioned that she wanted to go into St. Andrews to see if the candy store was open…it had been closed in the spring when we were down in St. Stephen for Brianna’s cheerleading competition (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer-mom-part-2/).  Kandy Land was open this time…I was happy to find Milk Duds (I’ve never paid $2.29 for a box, though!).  Jim and Anna got surprise bags, and Hope filled a tube with banana-flavoured powdered sugar (it had a name we can’t remember, came from a big machine, and cost $1.99 – it must have been good!).

We hit the highway, bound for Pennfield again.  Jim and his friend, Scott, had discovered a good Chinese restaurant there right next to McKay’s:  It was called (are you ready for this?) Highway’s Good Wok.  I don’t make this stuff up!  We all ate until we were about to burst.  Jim ordered Curried Chicken and Vegetables, and Hope kept edging away…she doesn’t like the smell of curry.  I traded her eggroll for my garlic spareribs – the eggrolls were amazing!  I had chicken chow mein and sweet and sour chicken balls too.  Anna had beef and broccoli, chicken balls, and garlic chicken wings.  Everybody had fried rice, which was also very good – not too greasy.  While Hope and I made a pit stop, Jim and Anna paid the bill and got doggy bags for the rest of their food (Hope and I finished ours!).

We arrived home about 7:30, and I rushed out to the garden to pick tomatoes.  I needed two mixing bowls to hold them all!  The yellow light bulb tomatoes were really starting to come now (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/blackberry-cobbler-and-light-bulb-tomatoes/) …I even found “regular” tomotoes (I think they were Early Latahs) which had grown as Siamese twins…The beans will have to be picked tonight…there was no light left last night!

Tomato Siamese Twins...photo by Anna...

While a load of laundry went through, Jim and I watched another episode of “Eureka”…despite it being sci-fi, I’m really starting to like that show (not to mention that the star, Colin Ferguson, is Canadian, and very hot!).  It’s been on since 2006, but I’d never seen it until Jim found out about it from Scott.  It is filmed mostly on location in British Columbia.  The writing is pretty sharp, and it’s funny too!

Colin Ferguson in his "Sheriff Jack Carter" uniform...what's not to like?

So that was my last Sunday of the summer…sigh…

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Things I Learned on My Summer Staycation…

I’m back at the bookstore today after our first 11 days of vacation…here’s what I learned:

1. Laundry and dirty dishes never take a vacation…in fact, when everybody stays home, their volume increases!  Wishing clothes would fold themselves doesn’t work.

Why can't clothes do this themselves?

2. Cleaning under furniture once in a while is a good thing…on a hunt for the satellite remote (it has to go back to the company in a couple of weeks because we’re changing over to fibre-op TV), we moved our couch.  Lurking underneath were bowls, spoons, forks, plates, assorted food wrappers, pencils, pens, dozens of ponytail holders, and a mystery object, which we later identified as a petrified clementine which resembled an oddly-shaped peach pit.  All together now: EWWW!  Oh, and we didn’t find the remote there either…

3. Our dog hates the vacuum cleaner…I think he thinks it’s some sort of loud animal.  He barks and whines and tries to bite it…we have to put him out on the deck to use it.

Jake's worst enemy...probably because he hasn't seen it enough to get to know it...

4. Sleeping in never makes me feel more rested…it just makes me feel guilty that I’m not accomplishing more (I think I’m the only one in my family who feels this way).

5. Wallpaper is now pretty much obsolete…Jim had to go all over town to find some…it was on sale for $5/roll because the store was selling out of it.  It’s just as frustrating to put up now as it was 25 years ago (which is why I let him do it himself!).

This isn't Jim...

6. I’m grateful for what we have after finishing the book “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.  This was our Book Club choice…it was a tough read because I was so outraged that no one did anything to help Jeannette and her siblings!  It’s amazing to me that they all survived with their sanity intact.

This book made me furious!

7. Small things excite me – finding out we had a cherry tree and blueberry bushes in our yard after living there a year-and-a-half was the highlight of my week (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/surprise-surprise-surprise/)!

8. The number of times Hope has to pee on a road-trip is roughly the number of miles divided by 25.  There’s Gravol for carsickness…I wish they’d come up with something for “travelbladder.”

We always give Hope this when we travel...

9. I’m loving the headphones Jim got me for my birthday…I can plug them into the computer, and listen to CBC “Concerts on Demand” while I work on my blog…Jim and Anna got a kick out of watching me “get down” to Garrett Mason and Colin Linden’s rendition of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” yesterday (I think they were both giggling hysterically) http://bit.ly/c0dJcL .

10. Our hummingbirds are fearless…one buzzed my head while I was picking beans in the garden the other day…they like the nectar from the scarlet runner bean blossoms!

Hummingbirds love these blossoms...

11. Kids “can’t hear” you when you ask them to do chores, but announce that food is ready, and they’ll knock you over getting to the table!

12. I like my regular routine…as much as I love the kids, I really don’t want to be home with them every day!  I was happy to get up at 5:30 this morning and come to the bookstore, even though I have a ton of work to do.

A corner of our store...

Next vacation is in mid-August…

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Eating Around New Brunswick…

Anybody who has ever read this blog knows that I love to eat, so I thought I would share some of the special places we’ve found to eat in New Brunswick.

When driving up to Moncton for the Book Sale last night, we stopped for supper at a little place in Sussex we’d never tried before: The Broadway Café at 73 Queen Street (http://www.broadwaycafe.ca/). 

The café only has a few tables, but the atmosphere is cosy and inviting – the booths are made of light-coloured wood with rounded corners.  Since we arrived at 4:30, it was too early for the supper menu, so we ordered from the lunch selections.  We both opted for sandwiches – Jim got the smoked meat, and I had smoked chicken.  The sandwiches were served on beautiful homemade multigrain bread with cucumber and tomatoes (Jim’s had dill pickles slices on top too).  Instead of fries, there was a lovely side salad made with a variety of greens, and slivered carrots.  The dressing was pleasantly garlicky and tasted homemade as well.  If we’d had more time, we probably would have had dessert, but we were on a schedule.  We had water to drink (although the café is licensed)…with tax and tip included, two of us had a nice meal for $20!  We agreed that the Broadway will be added to our list of favourite restaurants!

Our favourite place in St. Martins is Fiori’s, the restaurant at Salmon River Bed and Breakfast (http://www.salmonriverbandb.com/) …it is on the main drag and only open March to November.  The dining area is small, but cosy.  The walls are covered with local art, and there are shelves around the room with lots of books (St. Martins is a “Booktown”).  The owners are Mike and Barb Fiori, transplants from Colorado.  Mike, a retired police officer, does the cooking, while Barb serves the meals.  Barb makes wicked desserts, which she delights in telling customers are calorie-free because they’re homemade!  The carrot cake is to die for, chock-full of walnuts and raisins – we split a piece because the serving is so large!  My usual choice for the main course is the Grilled Chicken Breast Platter…I choose fries instead of chips as a side.  There is also a small salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  Last time we went, Jim had the Fiesta Platter, a Mexican-inspired combo of a taco, a burrito and a tostada.  He enjoys spicy stuff more than I do!  Fiori’s is also licensed if you’d like to have a glass of wine or a beer.  With drinks and dessert, a meal for two comes in at around $35.

My favourite lunch place in Saint John is currently the Urban Deli at 68 King St. (http://urbandeli.ca/).  I love a good spinach salad, and the Urban makes the best one I’ve had in a while!  It has grilled portabella mushrooms, feta cheese, tomato, smoked meat bits, and egg, all drizzled with an amazing maple vinaigrette!  It is well worth the $10 it costs.  The service is excellent at the Urban.  It is recommended that you get there slightly before noon if you want to get a table!  They also have great soups and sandwiches, some served on Montreal-style bagels.  The Urban has a good selection of wines and beers on tap.

Our favourite pizza place is Pomodori at 83 Hampton Road in Rothesay (http://www.pomodori.com/Pomodori/Home.html).  The restaurant cooks all its pizza in a wood-fired oven, and all ingredients are as local and organic as possible.  Two types of pizza are offered: Pomadoro (tomato) and Bianca (white) – prices range from $8 to $13 each depending on toppings.  We usually get one of each and share them.  For the red: the Con Carne with Italian sausage, bacon and pepperoni.  For the white: the Chicken Pesto with feta and homemade pesto.  These are traditional Italian thin crust pizzas – the dough does not overpower the taste of the toppings.  For dessert, there’s homemade gelato and/or biscotti, which you can chase with a shot of espresso if you like.  Pomodori is also licensed with many local offerings on the beer list – the fittings aren’t fancy – wine is served in juice glasses.  While you eat, there is a large screen on the wall with a slide slow running – sometimes local photos, sometimes info on local food.  A few months ago, Pomodori introduced a rewards program for regulars like us, Casa di Pomodori – you get a reward for every four pizzas you buy.  Jim and I will celebrate our 2nd Anniversary at Pomodori on Sunday night – I’m going to try their Spinach Salad – they put spiced pecans in theirs!  Yummy…can’t wait!

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