R&R managed their first two night stay in the Annapolis Valley West, at Annapolis Royal and Digby back in October 6 and 7 travelling as far east as Kentville before returning home to Mahone Bay by way of Route #12. They had intended to proceed to Wolfville and possibly Grand Pre or Blomidin, but were disuaded by a break in cloud cover which accelerated humidity and air temperature tovalueswhich made walking uncomfortable.
I have always thought ofmy birthday on October 13th as the lasy gasp of summer. excepting possible for a brief interlude of Indian Summer a bit later. The above excerpt from an American press release makes it clear that a good deal of the North American land mass has had the "hots" this fall. Down there humdity as been high in some of the seaboard cities and that's never fun!
Meanwhile, up along the forty-fifth parallel in Nova Scotia, one headline read as above. The weathe gurus were saying that many air temperature records were shattered in September.
Logically the heat should have eased on the continent in October, but that did not happen in the east. Blue skies smilded more often than not. Halifax, situated on the Atlantic Ocen is not renouwned for high air temperatures. It was only 12ºC and the maximum there when R&R travelled to The Valley on Saturday, October 21. There the forecast was for 17ºC but it was a warmer day with a slight wind.
September set records, but not be outdone October followed suite. The first column cites records with no reference to date. The second, gives new records set on October 25. Those top shot values of 23.3ºC would have been dismissed by a friend from Tennessee as merely, "a brisk day," but locally, "Don't that beat all?" Especially for late October.
Since that date, forecasts have pointed to 14 days with temperatures abpve the freezing mark and averaging well above historic markers.
And the long time prognosis does not promise snow for Christmas at Mahone Bay. "The Valley" is typically hotter than "The Salt," in summer and colder, in winter. The probability of seasonal snow hits a peak in Lunenburg County after the New Year toward the end of January and first of February. The sun in ascedant by then, but radiant heat has to penetrate snow cover before it warms up.
Here is the general geography of western Nova Scotia. Red areas are places where there is litlle soil cover. Lunenburg would not have much, except for the fact that the last glaciation dragged soil and boulders across the province from the general area we visited. Today's "mountains" would be categorized as "hills" in other parts of the world. Nova Scotia's numerous hills, several low mountain ranges represent the eroded and weathered Appalachian Mountains which once rivalled the Rockies in height. Most of the land in Nova Scotia is bedrock and that means that farming land, which lies in lowlands is vitally important to human habitation.
This image belongs to East Coast Balloon Adventures. These aircraft are least subject to unexpected updrafts over flat lands like The Valley. We wil give them a nod later. This image is borrowed since it shows the Bay Of Fundy and North Mountain in a manner impossible for me. This stretch of lowland is the largest in Nova Scotia and the land is the most fertile. The valley is 130 kilometres in length and varies from 5 kilometres to 14 in width. The soils consist of eroded red sandstones and shales and the broken down products of related rocks and minerals. The other large agricultural area is in Cumberland County.
For the record here is South Mounatin as seen fro the more or less level valley. The view is to the south west. South Mountain is a granitic ridge stretching from the Annapolis Basin at the west to Mount Uniacke on the east. It forms the southern edge of the Annapolis Valley and shelters the valley from the climate effects of the Atlantic Ocean.
In contrast to its northern counterpart, named North Mountain, South Mountain (red) rises gradually over dozens of kilometres from the Atlantic coast and descends in a sharper manner at its northern edge where it meets the Meguma strata to form the south wall of the valley. North Mountain is a narrow southwest-northeast trending volcanic ridge stretching from Brier Island in the west to Cape Split at the east. It forms the northern edge of the Annapolis Highlands along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. It rises more dramatically from the valley floor although more gradually in the northwest. The coast has many vertical cliffs. The Digby Gap separates North Mountain in the lower Bay of Fundy.
Crops need fresh water to flourish and they have that!
The highest point on North Mountain is a ridge is at Mount Rose in Annapolis County, north of Lawrencetown (771 feet). In the case of South Mountain the highest, is at an unnamed ridge in Kings County, 26 kilometres southeast of Berwick near Lake George. The highest elevation in all of Nova Scotia is White Hill in the Cape Breton Highlands at 1,755 feet. The watershed were first farmed by Acadian, French- speaking settlers, who found them subject to flooding, and built dikes to control this situation.
North Mountain is believed to have formed during the Triassic, during the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a portion of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, a gigantic flood basalt and intrusive complex along the east coast of the United States, Europe, northwest Africa and South America. Basalt is also found lining much of the Bay of Fundy. The Late Devonian South Mountain Batholith is the largest batholith of the northern Appalachians Geologists think that mantle-derived magmas intruded the lower crust of the Meguma Terrane and induced large-scale melting of basement rocks producing granodiorites. Over 200 million years ago, when Nova Scotia was in the subtropics, red Triassic sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and rivers in what is now the Province’s Annapolis Valley. These rocks remain as cliffs found in this region, including those in Blomidon.
North is at left. The North Mountain basalt would originally have issued as lava flow over a flat surface. It has since titled downard as the Bay of Fundy Basin opened along Fundian faults between the Meguma and Avalon Terranes.
There are tourists who who travel emasss, in small groups or as individuals. They have every motive under the sun: adventure, photography, bicycling, boating, flight, scientific research, religious, sex, to mention a few. Google: Types of Tourism if that is your interest. . "In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion." - Robert Runcie
"Tourists don't know where they've been. Travelers don't know where they are going." - Paul Theroux
That said, R&R are on the road again to see more of the province we call home. We cannot say "We've been everywhere man," even where our recent travel has been entirely restricted to this land mass. Here is where we are headed, the dear knows where we will travel. There is always novelty in the rapidly changing face of communities and weather, but Ruth does like driving down "cul de sacs." That allows for some adventure, the development of the unintended. First stop: Wolfville, Nova Scotia on the Minas Basin, which is familiar territory, described in these pages earlier on.
This was another cloudless day. There are still tourists filling the streets, but at this season an older crowd who rise and shine later than the high season people.
With all the dust and incnvenience involved in separating waste water from drainage water this summer it is surprising that tourists have frequented this little village. At mid day traffic is a zoo and back street passage to places one needs to go is blocked.
That probably has a good deal to do with our need to travel. Mahone Bay has been a noisey, frsustrating place for local drivers and pedestrians. Where do people get their ideas for business signs. "The Lost Gallery" near "Here Nor There," foundered long ago. "Novel Experience?" Neither here nor there is defined as synonymous with "irrelevant, unimportant, unrelated, impertinent." Away, away from Mahone Bay. That's what I say.
In other years, the frost has been on the pumpkins and spoiled this display before lat October.
The Anglican compound across Parish Street from the Irving gas station.
In the opposite direction from the gasoline pump island. Gassing up here can be terrifying at noon hour.
I don't photograph all day long when we travel. Here we are half way to Wolfville at New Ross.
We were slowed by this truck trailing what we at first took to be an cattle carrier. Thankfully it turned off here.
We always save a walk in New Ross for late in the year as it is only thirty minutes away. This is the Christmas Tree Centre of Lunenburg County, but that is another tale for winter-tide.
We tarried not, but took the highway across the width of the province headed toward Kentville.
First view of the Annapolis Valley.
Come on down. Having seen Kentville earlieron. we turned right at the bootom of South Mountain.
"Home of Acadia University." This was a small outfit when I was at Mouny A' in the 1950s.
That's the main highway overhead. We followed it to get here.
That cluster of grapes says, "wine grower ahead."
Not here. This is the Blomodin Nursery, one of the largest plant retailors.
Right turn for Wolfville. That's the nursery sign at right.
This is a university building at right. That sign reading "Devour" was a puzzler. We knew that this university and many others has had drinking problems but... Turns out this was the seventh "Food Film Fest," at the former Acadia Motion Picture Theatre, October 25-29. It involved an opening Cocktail Night (sold out), as well as seafood and meat-sampling "workshops." Everything available during this five-day event was on the market for $999. "Devour! The Day Trip Pass+ $115.00 (includes 2 films, 1 workshop, 1 tasting tour & Devour! Express return bus ride from Halifax)." Pricey touristy stuff!
This is the Wu Welcome Centre at 512 Main Street. In November 2013, the Wu family of Hong Kong provided Acadia with a gift of $1.5 million to construct the Wu Welcome Centre at Alumni Hall. The gift was a tribute to Hong Kong businessman Dr. Jieh Yee Wu from his children, who were Acadia graduates. The original or front section of the building is Alumni Hall, built in 1852 by John Lothrop Brown. It was sold to Acadia in 1920 andbecame a residence for presidents of the university unti 1994, when the building was transformed into office space for the Alumni Association and renamed Alumni Hall. The addition to Alumni Hall will serve as an entry point to campus, meeting the needs of prospective students and families, visiting alumni, special guests and the Acadia campus community.
Immediately north west of that palace, Raymond Sports Field and bleachers, home of the Axemen and Avewomen football and rugby fraternities. One passes between this complex and Festival Theatre on the road to the local Farmers Market.
The heating plant?
Our destination? The Wolfville Farmers Market, not because we needed anything but to see how it might compare and contrast with other markets seen earlier ths year. We counted New Glagow's version as the most relaxed experience. This 9,000 square foot former apple warehouse now houses about 60vendors from mid May until a date immediately before Christmas on Wedbesdays and Saturdays.
Started in 1992 with three vendors in a parking lot, it still includes some outdoor marketeers. There is live music outdoor during reasonable weather.
The Wolfville Farmers’ Market is a Non Profit Cooperative whose mandate is support of smaller scale food and craft producers. They manage a "Community Hub" at this Market and three other locations. From these locations customers can place orders for foodstuffs and produce through the week and collect them here on Tuesdays. When the building is not in use by vendors it is rented out for community events.
Probably because it is a university town, Wolfville has more ethnic food possibilities than other markets we have seen. Having passed on breakfast, Ruth ordered from Isheh & Hussam; and Mahmoud & Nieleh's Syrian food stall. German, Moroccan and Indian food are a part of an interesting mix.
The Valley wine industry only commenced in the1979 with the establishement of Grand Pré Winery. By 2015 there were 70 grape growers and nearly two dozen wineries in the province. There were 632 acres of vinyards in production in 2015. In December of that year, the provincial government announced funding to support the expansion of the industry, with a goal of doubling production by 2020.
The east end of the building has rudimentary tables and benches for eating purchases.
Coffee is available way back there. Although the market was crowded, R&R found seating and ate their gourmet breakfast.
We then commenced a clockwise walkabout of the premises, passing the Mediterranean Food outlet near the entryway in the centre of the place.
Westward ho! This winepurveyoy also sold hand crafted pottery wine cups.
Pointellist pencil drawings from photos using a grid system. Allison may relate to this, except that she worked with a diamond pointed stylus on polished granite. Maybe she still does?
The west end.
Opposite the art corner.
The crowd here was not as universally happy as those we saw at the less crowded and frantic Hubbard's market. Lots of university students, and perhaps that is why the emphasis here was on prepared food and drink as oppossed to raw foodstuffs and produce. Will return again at a less busy season, not this year. The New Glasgow Market has an edge in terms of variety and traffic flow.
Back in the parking lot and the side opposite the Wu complex on Main Street. The theatre is in a former 60-year old curling rink converted to a hockey arena for the Acadians. This unlovely building has been reconfigured as 514-seat thrust stage, based on the Stratford model. Today it is used for Acadia’s Performing Arts Series. It also serves as office and practice space for their School of Music.
Walkabout to the east. This billboard represents wine growers present at the market.
The streets are an uproar of traffic, but the downtown is less crowded than Mahone Bay would be this morning. Not that marquee. The Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre is one of the last soft-seat theatres owned and operated by another cooperative since 2004. It host music concerts, dance performances, live theatre, film screenings, fundraisers,
meetings, literary readings and whatever when it comes to the performing arts. It was the location for "Devour." The theatre opened in 1911, and Al was the youngest manager of any movie theatre in Canada. He remained in that poistion until 2000, but is still an interested member of the co-op board.
Definitely not Alex Colville who was chanccellor of Acadia for a spell and ended his days living here. The only similarity in valley landscapes is their horizontal aspect.
To go vertical a painter has to be imaginative.
Paddy makes the brew and peddles it but that solid wood door gives no clues as to the work area or pub facilities. This beer sells at a bit less than a growler in Mahone Bay, but the microbrewery at home is totally open to the public and has a large outdoor patio. That cash and carry offer probably appeals to the yoiunger set?
There are fancy vehicles parked along the street. The bank was a busy place.
Lots of watering holes and restaurants. This one crowds the street and forces pedestrians to run shoulders when passing. That's especially true these days since Nova Scotians have an overeating problem.
This "walkability" map takes one around two blocks and features all the retail establishments. Unlike Lunenburg Town, Wolfville is entirely on the flat of the land and should no lead to cardio-vascular problesms for any age group. Only thing is it excludes the tourist bureau an a lovely park seen as a green blob at the right hand side of the map.
This looks down from the corner where the map is sited to the harbour, which should not be missed, especially if you are interested in authentic Acadian dikeland.
We continued along Main Street to see if there were changes since the last visit.
Mahone Bay is rife with jaywalkers, Wolfville is free of them, not only because they have crossing lights but also because traffic is not slowed by road construction. The speed of flow on this sometimes grid-locked street is everything the law allow and sometimes more.
The region is famous as an apple-growing area so naturally... "Visitors to the cidery can view the cider making process by peering directly into the cellar while enjoying a selection of our ciders at the tasting bar. The cidery is open 7 days a week, offers tours and has a spacious retail shop with art featuring Annapolis Valley scenery."
In again out again. Ruth said she was spoiled by Lunenburg's variety of choice and low prices of quality goods.
Major campus buildings were on the far side of the street and this corner sees a lot of precupitous movements when it comes to car driving. Quick reactio times are needed to survive here.
Otherwise... However, you won't come to rest here. This pioneer cemetery is on the main drag near the Wu Centre.
UNiversity building seen on leaving the town retracing our route in from the west.
At the corner of their parking lot an independent sales operation of some undefined sort.
Scores of elegant homes, of which this in a minor sample.
Sterling Apples (now entitled Stirling Fruit Farms) little pumpkin patch. This agri-business is one of the oldest having grown apples for three generations. Their farm markets are open year around. "We have seasonal U-Picks at our Wolfville location in the Annapolis Valley. Join us in the summer for our Strawberry U-Pick and from early September to the end of October for our Apple U-Pick and Pumpkin U-Pick. Always check ahead for hours of operation."
Their farm market buildings are on the south side of the highway opposite those pumpkins.
This road to New Minas, the home of box stores in The Valley is slow progress on a weekend. This gives one time to see that Blomidon Provincial Park is left at the next intersection.
We took that turn to the north, were now in the rural land of "agri-growers." This is quite the opposite of growers which offer their meat, fruit and produce at the Wolfville Farmers Market. Agri-Growers Limited is comprised of 8 farms, harvesting 4,500 acres and shipping 25,000,000 lbs of mixed vegetables and fruit out of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. They not only grow fruit and vegetables but package them for resale and ship them to retail outlets. Their headquarters is at Port Williams on the highway to Cape Split. Actually, that is the closest community, seen here in the distance.
Port Williams has a population 1,120 and Google recognizes it chiefly for its Port Pub Bistro. Greatvalley Juices and Barrelling Tide Distillery. This last suggests there is a tidal bore in the Cornwallis River over which this bridge passes. Their products include vodka, gin, run (yes run) and liqueurs. Is that all there is? NO! The Sea Level Breweryw which opened in 2007 was the first microbrewery in the entire Annapolis Valley. They share quarters with the pub. Owner and Brewmaster Randy Lawrence produced Sea Level’s Indigenous Pale Ale, with 100% locally derived Nova Scotia ingredients all from within 10km’s from each other in 2016.
It doesn't all centre on the pub close by the river as this photograph makes clear.
It is a short drive across the valley even here at the widest part near the Minas Basin. There is a lot of evidence suggesting that family farms are still in operation, and Stirlings is not the only source of pumpkins for Hallowe'en.
At this time massive killing frosts had held off and the trees in this area were not in full colour as they had been in the centre of the province two weeks before.
It is about a 20-minute drive through this lowland. On every side, in the distance there are signs of agribusiness asopposed to the traditional small farming operation.
It takes big, fast, expensive machinery to plant and harvest crops onthese somewhat featureless plains.
The only sign of loss is local garages and service stations, most done down by oil and gas contamination of nearby soil. Only Irving could afford to remediate the situation and replace leaking underground tanks. They are almost the only remaining petroleum product retailer in Nova Scotia.
We had visited Canning several times in the past/ It is a village at the crossroads of Route #221 and #358. In has a population of 2,589. This place wasf irst called Apple Tree Landing or Habitant Corner remembering Acadians expelled from the entire valley in 1755. The current name remembers a former Bruitish Prime Minister,George Canning. Once the shopping and rail hub of Kings County it suffered three major fires which helped reduce its importance.
Canning is the last major community on the lowlands. If one follows the road straight through town to the east one remains on the plains. Route #358 leads to Noth Mountain whose sudden rise is indicated by grey shading. Our destination was The Lookoff, which we had visited in earlier years. It has a view encompassing five counties. Ruth had travelled beyond that popular place three decades ago and walked the Cape Split Trail. She had not remembered much of the highway between these two areas.
There is a population out there and Canning remains as a shopping centre for them especially in winter. Canning merchants and farmers founded the Cornwallis Valley Railway which ran from 1889 to 1961, connecting the village to the Dominion Atlantic Railway mainline in Kentville, Nova Scotia. This was responsible for the prominance of the place in times past, but unfortunately the past seems irrevocable, although nothing is impossible in this world. This is a voew of their main street.
Currently, some of the lerger businesses are away from the main drag as parking there is limited. The village is home to Glooscap Elementary School, an elementary school with a student population of over 200, and Northeast Kings Education Centre, a middle school/high school with a student population of around 920 students and 80 staff. Northeast Kings Education Centre is the first AP Capstone designated school in Nova Scotia and the first in the world to offer the virtual AP Capstone Program.
The old grey mare ain't what she used to be, and neither is country and western musician Wilf Carter. He was made an honorary citizen in 1978 having spent much odf his childhood here and in the surrounding area. He was actually born at Port Hood.
This is that corner where one needs to take a left turn. The boy scout overlooking the intersection was the late Harold. Borden, who was born in Canning. His dad, Sir Frederick was Minister of Militia prior to the First World War. Harold was a long-remembered casualty of the Boer War, who died in the Battle of Witpoort.
The stretch of road from Canning northward to the rise in land in invariably flat. Some of the farms here are quite grand and so are some of the dwellings, although the palaces are usually completely hidden from public view.
However, there is a mix of expensive, traditional and inexpensive new housing, Here is the first view of North Mountain, now about five minutes distant.
This antique auto matches the house of its owner.
Next door, AGRIBUSINESS.
This is where this particular Nova Scotian world ends. To lighten the WWW load we have set up part 2 on a separate page. Please click on "Next."