Clare, or the "French Shore", lies between Yarmouth and Digby on St. Mary's Bay. It was settled from 1769 by returning French-speaking Acadians who had been exiled in 1755 by the new English masters of l'Acadie, or Nova Scotia. That is not to say there is not a large Acadian presence in Yarmouth itself and along the shore south east from there between Yarmouth and Shelburne. Dead tired of winter, we went there in early May, 2014, a two hour run from our home in Lunenburg County following the inland route. We had reservations in Argyle.
First designated as Port Forchu or Forked Harbour (a translation of the Mi'kmaq Maligeak by Samuel de Champlain), the new name remembered Yarmouth, Massachusetts, when settled by New England Planters and fishermen.
This lighthouse at the Yarmouth Harbour Entrance still bears the name "Forchu." A shipbuilding centre from 1850. By the 1870s Yarmouth reached its pinnacle of fame and prosperity possessing more tonnage per capita than any other seaport in the world. All of this was swept aside by the advent of steam and the consequent decline of Golden Age of Sail.
We passed through Yarmouth and drove out to the light at 12:30, returning along this road built on a tombolo. After washouts that concrete barrier was built to give some protection from tidal surges in heavy weather.
The present lighthouse was built in 1910 on the high land in the background at right.
Long connected to fishing, the town is located in the heart of the world's largest lobster fishing grounds and lands more of that marine delicacy than any other Canadian port.
The town was founded in 1761, when a large group of pre-Loyalist New England Planters emigrated from Sandwich, Massachusetts.
Acadians originally from the Grand-Pré district returned to this area from exile in 1767 but are a minority in the Town of Lunenburg.
United Empire Loyalists arrived in 1785 following the American Revolution butterssing the English-speaking elements of the town.
As wooden shipbuilding declined in the late 19th century, Yarmouth's shipowners re-invested their capital in factories, iron-hulled steamships, and railways and in fisheries.
While iron-hulled steamships led to the decline of Yarmouth's wooden shipbuilding industry, they also made the port a vital connection between Nova Scotia's rail lines and steamships destined for Boston and New York.
Currently it remains one of four Atlantic ports designated for clearance of international ship landings.
Another grab shot of eastern Yarmouth Harbour from that western forked rtongue of land.
The profile of the land is close to sea level lacking the drumlins that characterize Lunenburg Country.
With global warming these salt-marshes are endangered.
Ruth was ecstatic.
Yarmouth is known for some of the most exuberant examples of Victorian homes, a legacy of the wealthy captains and shipowners of the town's seafaring Golden Age. These photos are sequential.
Back on the main drag in Yarmouth having rounded the head of the harbour.
This town of just under seven thousand, is a bit smaller in population than Bridgewater. Losses were blamed on the failure of government to support a ferry connection with the United States.
The silence back then was dispiriting!
Ruth and I were amazed to find this shop on the main street.
It was located here at left.
We did not need anything, but went in.
This town does have historic buildings, some untouched others messed about with.
We made a very small purchase and then went on tour.Tourism has been a major industry in Yarmouth since the 1880s when Loran Ellis Baker founded the Yarmouth Steamship Company. In 1998 Bay Ferries introduced the first high speed catamaran passenger-vehicle ferry service in North America when it purchased HSC Incat 046 from Incat in an aggressive bid to expand the Yarmouth /Bar Harbor ferry service. This was their Yarmouth terminal.
Following a decline in American tourism to Nova Scotia and record-high fuel prices here, Bay Ferries sought subsidies from the federal and provincial governments for its Gulf of Maine ferry service. It did not get them. In December 2009 Bay Ferries announced that it had sold it's Cat.
In 2013 the provincial government posted a request for proposals for re-establishing a ferry service, stating that a successful proponent would receive a $21 million subsidy over a 7-year period. In September 2013 it was announced that Nova Star Cruises was the successful bidder and in November 2013 it was confirmed that the service would start May 1, 2014 with the MV Nova Star offering daily round trips between Yarmouth and Portland.
The ferry was not profitable in 2014. Nevertheless they have a bus service, of sorts, out of Digby. Hummm! South shore Nova Scotia does not, no matter what some folks say!
On leaving Yarmouth we made a brief stop here. Big but not unique.
Yarmouth has been struggling to keep its airport viable.
No such worry about Kent Building Supply. Leaving the Municipality District of Yarmouth.
We did eventually locate "Ye Olde Argyall"or Aygaler Lodge located in the municipal district of in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. The district occupies the eastern portion of the county and is one of three municipal units - the other two being the town of Yarmouth and the Yarmouth municipal district. Argyle is a bilingual community, in which native speakers of English and French each account for about half of the population.
The five rooms that we offer to our guests at the Argyler Lodge deliver comfort, with top-quality bedding and towels, private entrances and bathrooms and wide-screen tvs.
This place is not that old and was constructed as a private cottage. It is located at 52 Ye Olde Argyle Road, Lower Argyle, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Protected by the shelter of a massive covered verandah, the dining room offers the best of the view and the comfort of shade; you can eat or enjoy a beverage outside, if you wish.
Entry is on the land side of the building. View from the parking lot.
No bathing beaches on this part of the southwestern shore. The Old World Argyll or Argyle is a county on the west side of Scotland. The title Duke of Argyll is vested on the head of Clan Campbell.
Breakwaters are essential in this low-lying part of Nova Scotia. It is somewhat ironic that it was one of the Dukes of Argylle who harried the earliest French settlers burning Port Royal to the ground. For a while the Bay of Fundy was renamed Aygylle Baie.
Opening hours are Wednesday through Saturday for dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday brunch buffet from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The dining room serves more than a view. Our award-winning cuisine and local Nova Scotian wines and brews, together with the freshest of local ingredients makes for an experience, not just a meal. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher! All this is true although the offering was not low in saturated fats. Unfortunately we arrived on a Friday which happened to coincide with their local country acoustic music night, and we do like to converse while eating.
A very restful evening, and the following morning offered up the beginning of a yet warmer day.
Not an action filled mini-vacation but a welcomed break in routine.
We toured a bit in the vicinity of Barrington Passage. Davic Brown transports fish products.
This end of Nova Scotia is in an even earlier growing belt for plants thanLunenburg County. At this point in the afternoon it had clouded over and was cooling off, so we made a straight dash for home.
The earliest Acadian settlements were in the vicinity of the Bay of Fundy where there were fertile farm lands. The Clare or French Shore is not as well-endowed which is why the current residents are largely engaged in some part of the fisheries. Port-Royal, the capital of Acadia (1632-1710) is present-day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, and one of a few places where one can see a colonial French farm house.
"The twenty-fourth of May is the Queen's birthday. If they don't give a holiday, we'll all run away!" That was the warning sung out by school-children of my day. The "queen" in question was Queen Victoria and the time, World War II period. That date usually signalled the bloom of native plants. Dr. Cook, the local chairman of the board of school trustees invariably granted our wish. The current holiday is no longer called "Victoria Day," and is no longer tagged to that particular day. However, it still seemed worth celebrating especially in 2014 as the Hillsdale Inn in Annapolis Royal was offering a regular customer e-mail special. We again took to the road through Caledonia past Keji National Wilderness Park.
Milford House (insert) evolved from a halfway post house situated between Annapolis Royal and Caledonia and operated under that dame in the late 1890s. It became legendary after owners Del and Dora Thomas agreed to build auxiliary log cabins for American sportsmen in 1902. These cabins increased in number and an annual migration of American hunters, fishers and naturalists was well established by the 1920s and continued as the main until the early 1970s when Maritimers rediscovered the place. The Tent Dwellers, by Albert Bigelow Paine romanticized the business of being entertained in this wilderness situation. On September 7, 2000, a devastating fire engulfed the lodge but it was rebuilt and back in usiness by the following summer. We had intended going to stay at the Lodge. Last year on May 18 a similar fire reduced the replica to ruins. It looked like this when we stopped there a few days later.
Looks like a faint hope as a vacation destination for us this year. "Nova Scotia’s Longest Running Family Oriented Wilderness Resort" is, however, still very much in business having "25 seasonal (May-October) lakeside cabins on 2 lakes, 3 winterized cabins available year round, all with a covered verandah, working fireplace (wood provided at no charge) and private dock. Canoes for rent, walking trails, fresh water swimming, tennis court, playground, fishing, licensed dining room (spring of 2015) and pet friendly. In rebuilding, the owners say they have only missed two days due to winter weather.
On the outskirts of Annapolis Royal. We stopped but did not buy as the South Shore has more greenhouses offering less expensive starter plants.
When it comes to real bus transportation the North Shore has us trumped. "Dial-A-Ride" is pretend. We checked in a few minutes after the above photo was created. The Inn is on the left side of the road, a short walk from every important local destination.
We always come accompanied by paperbacks, but can't resist trying out widescreen TV, which we do not have at home. Arriving late Friday we usually became sessile.
The beginning of a long break. First off, Saturday morning: downtown
On Saturday we did our traditional walkabout.
That brick building once the town post office was unoccupied in 2014.
Needing nothing made that a short tour. On the main drag trending away from the waterfront, we noticed that the last season's art gallery had yielded space to a vintage clothing supplier.
That sidewalk sign confirmed our guess that Nova Scotia's commercial art galleries are largely moribund if not dead. Painting pictures has become a game since my day when it was a business.
This day was cool but the gardens were way cooler.
Our underlying reason for coming off season was to see what Annapolis Royal's Historic Gardens look like in the seminal state. Historic Fort Anne is, of course, closed and this time.
These gardens are less than two decades old. The growing season here is about the same as at home.
You can tell by Ruth's wearing apprel that this was not an English May day. Cold and windy!
Cold enough that we were without company for most of our walk. This will later become an English Imperial Garden with plants from all quarters of that lost state.
.In the distance you can see one of the local Victorian buildings peeking through foilage.
Rhubarb is vigorous even in our climate.
Another view of that British garden, which we have also seen at its luxuriant best. We will pair up images one day!
.In a more general area. Ruth never wears headgear.
At home the deer are fond of some variants of this plant. We have figured out what they do not like.
A few plants such as the Newfoundland Violet were in full bloom.
This is what can be expected to be in bloom at this date.
You can no longer skate on our lily ponds.
In the true north strong and free you cannot expect continouous tropical growth throughout the entire yaer but the speed with which plant life develops in summer is almost alarming. You can hear grass growing!
At the blink of an eye plants flower and produce seed pods.
We live in a surreal country where anything can (and does) happen. Fences around the gardens are to keep our deer not to keep people , but they also divide public from private property. The outlook is on ancient Acadian dykelands. The pathway surmounts these man-made landforms.
If you are a Scot, you may appreciate this heather garden. The only place where it has been transported and naturalized is Halifax.
The garden planners kept the trees.
And these trees keep the birds.
In 2014, this south-facing part of the garden was under development.
Some varieties of tulip were actually past prime.
All photos are sequential representing what you might see during a leisurely walk.
The only inauthentic part of this image of an Acadian home is the mown grass.
This is a more likely setting as seen from the southernmost path.
The elephant grass has not begun its summer life cycle. This boardwalk prevenst visitors from damaging the plants.
This Fundy location has hills unlike the Yarmouth area.
Up a slight slope for a south eastern look at that Acadian colonoal homestead. It has colombage construction, which means that those vertical timbers are first emplaced and then short horizontal timbers are dropped into place between them, allowing spaces fir windows and doors. Fundy mud and moss make the place somewhat windproof.
There was a time when I might have considered building one.
The roof is thatched and the bake oven seen under a lean-to had an opening into an interior fireplace.
These plants were all a few days ahead of our own at home, but are probably fertilized regularly.
This is the area where experimental varieties are developed.
And thus, quite satisfied with valjue received, we departed.
Said to be a home of Acadian vintage. The dormers and portico are "new."
The Queen Anne Inn where we have both been guests in different lives.
The once and perhaps future railway station, on the road back to our inn.
Earlier on we had stayed at this B&B.
Across the street: The officer's quarters (now a museum) at the former British Fort Anne.
The smallest eaterie in town at that time. We have a bad habit of rising too early in the day to obtain food and drink in strange places.
Quite debilitrating and dehydrating!
Reality is much stranger than fiction.
But the former is more comforting.
I thought that photographers were extinct!
The Sinclair Inn is now a museum. Since my dad was an extreme Mason, I once overheard that a very early lodge had meetings on the second floor. Secret societies are hard pressed to keep their secrets these days.
Old service stations and garages (unfortunately) never fade away. It costs a fortune to rehabilitate the soil. I know because my dad sold one for $5,000 and never lived to regret that fact.
.Far Fetched Antiques features stuff from East Asia.
.The rickshaw was inoperative, a stage-set.
This business may be far-fetched but has survived for many a moose-moon.
Never on Sunday. On that day some of the vendors are at Mahone Bay.
This gift shop had a successful run in Lunenburg before retreating to Port Royal, where it foundered a few years ago.
Always liked touring both stores. Sadly, they had nothing we wanted or needed. A shoe store moved in afterwards... I could be wrong about this!
Maybe a local car. With a population of less than 1,000, this place needs wealthy taxpayers.
Whoosh, whoosh! Those buses are more impressive than that BMW.
Our ambulance service is privatised unless you are a patient being moved between hospitals. We have been able to afford this help when needed, but not everyone can!
These folk think of themselves as situated on the cutting edge but are supported by supposed fine artists who churn out conventional work.
All this stuff, traditional or not, is completely redundant. I have decades of experience leading to this conclusion.
Following a second night at Hillsdale, we returned by thelong route which allowed a tour of Ruth's old haunts in the Annapolis Valley. Not many photos, but this is identified.
Ruth had said that their might be delays during planting season in this agribusiness belt.
Obviously, not everything in The Valley was hunky-dory, or whatever the agricultural equivalent is called.
This place was memorable for Ruth.
But very little remains intact! This is a place which has a short blooming season.
Is that a strange combo?
Almost every small community in Nova Scotia had suffered degradation of traditional organizations. The Masonic in Mahone Bay closed in 2015.
As a teenager Ruth was the paid organist here.
A bit further on, a yard sale.
We stopped and Ruth walked back.
As I have said, we have very few needs and are indifferent consumers but interested observers.
What is to be said of this shore?
It has variety.
And strange juxtapositions.
This little town aroused extra interest for Ruth.
Yet another venue.
We took a side road to see this plant.
Everything here is a bit different and anything but Acadian, in spite of the fact that this was their colonial home.
Kentville, Nova Scotia, named after Clark Kent.
It has suffered reverses sibce the days when the CPR built that hotel seen in the distance.
The Cornwallis Inn has its origins in the Aberdeen Hotel. It was purchased by the Dominion Atlantic Railway in 1919, rennovated, landscaped, and renamed the Cornwallis Inn. This new Cornwallis Inn was built on Main Street and opened on December 9, 1930, Today, it houses businesses and apartments.
Will we lunch here? Closed!
Not much further east on that long highway we discovered a greenhouse which did not have a great deal of curb appeal.
Who would guess that it also offered food?
This place was even larger than the big nursery at Chester Basin.
This walkabout took some time.
Still a chance of frost, but Ruth purchased a couple of plants.
Perennials are her thing.
The cafe was not open but we were able to pick up sandwiches and drinks.
On reaching Wolfville that afternoon we felt the need for something mor substantial and considered this place but decided the menu was a bit fat and salt loaded.
A hub for agri-businesses and Acadia University, this is a town which flourishes.
This was a holiday Sunday, so there was not much student prresence.
W.Side streets to the north all give views of the famous Grand Pre marshlands occupied by "good Yorkshire" once the Acadians were expelled.
Buildings are so perfectly maintained on thinks of Main Street, Disneyland. Notice the underground wiring on this side of the street.
I can think of only one restaurant on our shore that offeres crepes. No restaurant would come up with such an esoteric name. The latest established in Lunenburg town are enigmatically named "Rime" and "Lincoln Street Food."
Even where there is above ground wiring it is restrained when compared with that in the Town of Lunenburg.
Churches like this one are hard to retrofit and impossible for shrinking congregations to maintain.
We walked all of the main street and were happy to see this theatre still functional.
.The other icon is the oldest building on the campus. As the afternoon clouded over it became cold and windy. We took the fastest route home by way of Windsor.
And found slightly different weather on the Atlantic coast.