Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall colors, Bowdoin College, Maine, October 2015

We got to Maine when Fall/Autumn colors were at their very best. Some of the most attractive colors were on the campus of Bowdoin College, a liberal arts campus in Brunswick, Maine. The college was founded in 1794 and many buildings date from the 19th century. 

One of the alumni of the college is poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1825) that I mentioned in a post on Grand Pre for his poem Evangeline. 

The gym. An alumnus of the college is Admiral Peary, of Arctic fame. Note the polar bear statue in front of the gym. 

The art gallery had a great exhibition on the influence of night in fine art. The galleries are largely underground.

And so, back into the USA, October 2015

After nearly five months in Canada, we passed into the USA at Calais, Maine, heading to Portland, ME. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Canada and look forward to returning soon. We have done more than 15,000 miles on the truck thus far.

At the same time, it is great to be back in the USA. From Maine, we head to Connecticut to stay with our friends Todd and Louise. Then to New Jersey and New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee and south to New Orleans. We aim to be in Los Angeles in mid-January.

Postings to this blog will now slow down somewhat. We will be doing much less of the intensive sight seeing, hiking and riding and cultural events that we have undertaken in Canada. There has, of course, been many things we have done on this trip that did not make it to the blog.

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, October 2015

From Wolfville in Nova Scotia, we moved to Moncton in New Brunswick. We had stopped briefly on our way through to Prince Edward Island. Our main objective was to visit Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy. We had to adjust our travel program to coincide with the closing of the provincial park at the rocks and were there on the very last day of the season. 

I'd read about the tides on the Bay of Fundy in my childhood -- that comes from access to my grandparents collection of the National Geographic dating back to the 1930s. The reality of the Hopewell Rocks is quite something, however. To be able to walk on the sea floor at low tide is unlike anything we had done previously. We were also fortunate to take a walking tour with one of the excellent rangers at the park.

Site of a recent rock fall

A pair of nesting falcons make their home on the top of this rock. We were fortunate to see one of these magnificent birds above our heads.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Walking on the campus of Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, October 2015

Acadia University is a well regarded liberal arts college which concentrates on undergraduate education. The campus is right in the township of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The university was founded in 1838, rather old for Canada. We spent a couple of hours walking on the campus on a lovely but cool October day.

Carnegie Hall
The main reason we went to visit was to see the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens. Funded by the Irving family (petrochemicals), the garden brings together visitors, students and faculty in a combined facility. There is a large research greenhouse behind the main building. It was fascinating to see the various research projects underway. Each project has a poster outside their section of the greenhouse. Just great.

Research greenhouses

Corridor of research spaces in the greenhouse
The main facility has a large reading room for students and faculty, with a coffee shop. I would have loved to be a student here!

Reading room

Outdoor plots

The botanical gardens concentrate on plants from the region, with different sections to represent the different periods of occupation.

This section are healing plants from the Mi'kmaq and Acadian periods

Although public and secular now, the University had Baptist foundations, hence the church building. Although only built in 1963.

Port Royal, Nova Scotia, October 20015

 The French constructed a "Habitation" at the mouth of the Annapolis Basin in 1605. The fort was mainly used as a trading post for pelts with the local Mi'kmaq people. The fort was raided and destroyed by English raiders from Virginia in October 1613. The 30 or so French settlers were not at the Fort when the raiders came and there was  no loss of life. The fort was, however, destroyed. The settlers were supported through the winter by the Mi'kmaq people. The settlement was subsequently established at the current site of Annapolis Royal.

In the early 1940s, Parks Canada built a replica of the Habitation -- the first reconstruction undertaken by Parks Canada.



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Looking to the Annapolis river

Looking to the Annapolis river and Bay of Fundy

Monday, October 19, 2015

Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, October 2015

Just east of Wolfville is the village of Grand Pre. Prior to their expulsion by British authorities (1755-1763), there had been a significant population of Francophone Acadians at Grand Pre. The great deportation took Acadians who had been living alongside Anglophone settlers and authorities for more than 40 years and sent them to France, Quebec and, in many cases, to Spanish occupied Louisiana -- the origins of today's Cajuns. This is a particularly difficult part of Canadian colonial-era history, that resonates even today. 

Parks Canada has created a National Historic site at the location of the traditional Grand Pre village. This site celebrates the traditions of the Acadians and tells the story of the expulsion. The way that the Acadians used dykes and modern farming techniques are explored in detail.

Unsurprisingly, the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie,  

Looking towards the traditional farmlands of the Acadians

Memorial church at Grand Pre

Statue of Evangeline

Memorial Cross made from stones from the original buildings at Grand Pre

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, October 2015.

After Mahone Bay, we moved to Aylesford south of Wolfville, on the Bay of Fundy coast in Nova Scotia. On our second day we traveled further south to Annapolis Royal, an important historical town in Nova Scotia's history. We first spent a couple of hours at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. This is a splendid garden run by a not-for-profit.

The first garden was the "Innovative Garden ," which shows how those with small spaces can garden successfully

Compatible planting of vegetables in small plot

Fruit trees grown on trellises against a wall

The roses in the rose garden were beyond their best in October, but those that were in bloom were attractive. The gardens showed roses in large beds that were planted during the French period in Annapolis Royal (Port Royal), the colonial period, Victorian, modern Canadian roses and miniature roses.

Miniature roses
One of the features of the garden is the number of sculptures.

Fall colors


 One of the most interesting exhibits was "Bird Watching" by Shauna MacLeod from Black Crow Pottery in Liverpool, NS -- 42 small ceramic birds spread throughout native plantings. It was so much fun to try and find all the birds -- we managed to identify nearly 30 birds but by no means all!

Can you find the bird?

A ceramic bird

A ceramic bird

A ceramic bird

A ceramic bird

The park has a replica house of the Acadian settlers. The thatched roof was under its annual repairs before the winter set in. You can see the mud and straw that has been applied to the peak of the roof.  

The Acadians used dykes to reclaim land from the sea. The garden has restored a 18th C dyke adjoining their property. 

The dyke and the land behind the dyke

The dyke and the land behind the dyke

Looking back to the gardens from the dyke
The Victorian gardens are unlike any Victorian gardens you have seen. It follows the formal layout of a Victorian garden. The planting, however, reflects the reality that in the Victorian period, ships from the area sailed all over the world - bringing back seeds for plants that most definitely  not native to Nova Scotia. The garden has a feel of one in Hawai'i rather than the Maritime Provinces. The long days of sun in summer mean that the annuals in the garden become unimaginably large.    

This plant must have been more than 20' high!

The Acadian  house:

Roof under repair. The mud and straw is being mixed on the table.

Looking out to the dyke and river