Terra Nova Fun!

August 9, 2011

We arrived at Terra Nova at about 5:30 p.m., slightly behind schedule.  Once we got into the town, we realized that the directions to Krista & Stefan’s cabin were on my phone which had no service.  We stopped at a convenience store to ask if the clerk might happen to know them.  The clerk didn’t, but said that we should go to the top of the “sand pit”, which was where the best cell phone service was located.  We went up there and called them and it turned out we were only a minute away.

We came in, got settled and the kids all began playing together.  Krista & Stefan got supper started and D’Arcy went back up to the sand pit to call the St. Pierre tour company.  It turned out that the passport had not been delivered, and the mail doesn’t come in until after the boat leaves on Monday.  We decided it makes the most sense to continue our trip to St. John’s next and then go to St. Pierre at the end of the week, before setting sail to go back to Nova Scotia.

Playing cards

We had tacos for supper, a meal which all ten of us devoured happily! Thank you Krista & Stefan for coming up with something to eat that was safe and loved by all!!  After supper, we sat down and realized how exhausted we were.  D’Arcy was falling asleep, so Krista & Stefan told him to go lie down in Gabriel’s room for a bit.  They told me that they realized we were tired and that they wouldn’t normally ask us to go out, but they had something planned for us.

We woke D’Arcy after about a half-an-hour and went to their friends’ cabin.  Tracy & Wade had a house full of family.  The kids all played with their girls who were 13, 11 and 10 while we visited inside.  Krista & Tracy disappeared for a little bit, and D’Arcy went outside to check on the kids.  Olivia was just on her way in to find us.  She was happy to play inside with their dog, Razor, a cock-a-poo with an insatiable desire to catch balls.

The next thing we knew, out came Tracy & Wade with the (semi- frozen) head of a HUGE cod that Krista had caught earlier in the week, a so’wester and some Newfoundland Screech.  They then began to make us honorary Newfoundlanders by “Screeching us In”.  We had to wear the hat, and when Wade asked us if we were honorary Newfoundlanders, we had to say, “Yes I is me old cock – and long may your big jib draw!”  Then we had to kiss the cod fish and take a shot of Screech.  I was wishing at that point that I got to drink the Screech first!!  Both D’Arcy & I did it, and then it was Wade’s sister-in-law Ana who was visiting from Calgary’s turn.  After that, each of our boys performed the whole ritual, and the girls just drank the “Screech” (Purity Syrup for all of them!) There was no way they were going to kiss that fish! It was great fun and we were happy that we had come back out, despite being tired.

D'Arcy, kissing the cod

Alex, looking hesitant...

Evan was next.

The girls with their "Screech" - no way they were going to kiss a fish!

The whole family of honorary Newfoundlanders!

Back at Krista & Stefan’s cabin, we got the air mattresses and sleeping backs set up and went to bed after midnight.  Sarah slept with Lily and the rest of us slept in the living room.  D’Arcy got up early and went for a run, but the rest of us slept until 9:35 a.m.  We had a light breakfast of cereal and yogurt and then got ready to go to the community hall for the Terra Nova Day celebrations.

Usually the celebrations are held outside, but because it was so cold and wet, they held it in Eddie Eastman Hall.  He hails from Terra Nova and both of his Junos are on display at the Hall.  The volunteers had games set up for the kids like bowling, golf, hit the balloon with the dart, a fishing pond, bean bag toss, etc.  Each game was 50 cents to play and the kids were given a Dollar Store Prize at each one. What a fun way to spend the morning!  We had lunch there as well – hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and smoked meat sandwiches.  A meal and drink was just $2 each!  We played a couple more games after lunch and then went back to the cabin to get a few things ready for supper before heading back out for the afternoon.

One of Eddie Eastman's Junos.

We came all the way to Newfoundland for Montreal smoked meat!

Our first stop in Terra Nova Park was at Ochre Hill, where we set out to climb to the top of the fire tower.  We got about two flights up and froze.  I had visions of the girls falling through the open risers and led them back down.  D’Arcy got up another flight further than I did, but it was windy and he also quickly made his way back down.  Stefan took our boys and went up the fire tower as far as they could go.  Alex froze at one point, but I have to give him credit – when Evan and Stefan kept climbing, he went too.  The views were spectacular, I’m sure.  (They were even from the second flight!)  We continued along the trail and set the cameras up on timers to try to get a group photo with the ten of us.  We were amazed at how well it turned out and had some laughs as D’Arcy & Stefan tried to scramble down the rocks before the timer went off!

The fire watch tower

The view from the second landing!

Olivia, Gabriel, Lily & Sarah - do you think Olivia's having fun?

Checking out the view with a little help!

The two families together

After Ochre Hill, we drove to the Information Centre to warm up and play in the touch tank.  Krista works at the park, so she was a wonderful tour guide!  The biology teacher in D’Arcy came out and he was teaching the kids all kinds of information about the sea creatures.  They had a lot of fun exploring – Olivia picked up a starfish and Alex was even brave enough to pick up a crab!  The park staff put on a video for the kids of Buddy Washisname and the Other Fellows exploring Terra Nova Park and searching for Moose.  We spent some time at the playground and then went on another hike with a GPS which told the story of people who had worked the land at the site of the park in the early 1900’s.  They were loggers & ran sawmills, but fished all summer.

The real iceburgs were too far north, so we haven't seen any

Touch Tank

Alex and the crab

The biology teacher emerges

Sarah the acrobat

The boys

Poor Olivia - not having any fun at all!

We decided we still had time and energy to fit in one more short hike, so we drove to a trail which ran along a brook to a waterfall.  It was a trail that Krista had hiked in September to assess damage from Hurricane Igor.  Everywhere we’ve been in the past few days, we’ve seen signs of the destruction and rebuilding from the Hurricane.  There are new culverts being built everywhere!

The waterfall was beautiful and we took the opportunity to get a few more photos taken.  The kids loved throwing rocks into the water and we found some moose droppings!  We still haven’t seen an actual moose yet though.

Some of the trees down from Hurricane Igor

With Krista

Playing at the water's edge

Fast friends!

The only sign of moose so far!

We noticed the bear warning on our way out...

We went back and the girls played outside on the trampoline while the boys played Uno with Gabriel.  When the boys joined the girls on the trampoline, the arguments started and the trampoline time was over.   Tracy, Wade & their girls arrived, bringing traditional Newfoundland “cooked dinner” (Salt beef, carrots, turnip, cabbage & potatoes) complete with Peas Pudding!  It was delicious – and safe for Olivia!!

Deep frying the turkey

Trampoline fun!

After supper, the adults sat around the table talking & laughing while the kids played and did crafts.  Evan, Alex & Wade played a game of crib together and the boys both skunked him!  Apparently Stefan will be bringing this up many times in the future…  Olivia ended up falling asleep in the midst of the chaos and the rest of the kids watched a movie while Olivia slept on Alex’s lap.

The infamous crib game!

Crafts!

Safe & cozy with Alex

It was close to midnight again when everyone finally got to bed, but what a fun day.  The kids love hiking and exploring outside.  Evan declared the day to be “awesome”.  The Muellers are very easy to be around and we enjoyed meeting and getting to know their friends as well.

Our final morning in Terra Nova, we got up after nine again.  Krista & Stefan made breakfast of strawberries & yogurt, toast, potato wedges, bacon and fried bologna while we got the van packed up.  After breakfast we went outside to plant the trees that we had picked up the day before at Terra Nova Days.  Olivia had a meltdown when we allowed Alex to help her dig her hole.  We were certainly seeing signs of late-night hangover from her!  We got photos of the kids with the trees and we’ll look forward to seeing how big they are the next time we are able to return. We said our goodbyes with hugs all around.  Hopefully they will be coming back to Nova Scotia next summer to meet their new niece or nephew and we’ll get to see them then.

Planting trees

We set off just before noon and went to find one of the geocaches hidden in Terra Nova.  We were hardly out of the yard when Olivia asked if she could take a nap.  We gave the kids the option of staying in the car if they were too tired to go, but they all jumped at the opportunity.  We hiked across a bridge and about a kilometre down a trail.  We went out onto a beach and realized we were on the wrong side of the water.  The girls, again, occupied themselves by throwing rocks into the water while the boys searched through the bushes.  By the time we went around to join them, the boys had already found the cache!  We took a Canada Flag lapel pin and left the glass traffic light and another business card – wondering if we can write the trip off as an advertising expense now?! Evan ran all the way back to the van while the girls took turns getting piggy-backed by their father.  Olivia announced that she needed to go to the bathroom, so we took the quick trip back to Krista & Stefan’s, knowing that the next gas station was quite a distance away.  After all, they did tell us that we were welcome to come back at any time!

Exploring parts of Newfoundland we might not have otherwise seen!

We had more hugs, got a bag of strawberries for the road, and said our goodbyes before heading out towards St. John’s and our next adventures!

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Although I have been sleeping well in the tent, I have to admit that it felt good to sleep in a bed and have a hot shower this morning!  I was the first one up – around 6:30.  I got up to finish adding photos to the blog.  The internet was spotty and taking a long time, so I had given up last night.  Because I don’t have to look at the computer to type, I’ve been multi-tasking and typing in Word while we drive and then copy & paste then add the photos.   Isn’t technology great?!  If I don’t write it down right away, I forget everything that’s happened…

Everyone got up around eight and we had breakfast and got cleaned up.  We repacked a fair bit of our stuff, putting our camping stove, etc. at the bottom of the trunk, since we won’t be using it anymore. Packing & unpacking for six people is a lot of work!  We were finally ready for the day’s adventures around 10:30.

As we were trying to get out the door, we realized that Sarah’s sneakers were still soaked from last night. We stopped at the bank to get some cash and I ran into the discount store to pick her up a pair of crocs.  We were planning more hiking and geocaching and her flip-flops would not cut it!

The rain had stopped, but the wind was bitter.  I think the temperature is only 12C, and when the wind is blowing off the ocean, it cuts right through your clothing.  We went to Dungeon Provincial Park which was amazing. As we drove up the road, there were horses, roaming wild, and grazing in the pasture.  There are two geocache sites there. The first was to calculate the diameter of the dungeon.  D’Arcy & the boys did it by walking around measuring their paces and then using a calculation to find the circumference of a circle to find the diameter.  (One of those times it’s handy to have a math teacher along…)  The girls and I wandered along, staying away from the edge!

The Dungeons

Learning about how the Dungeons were formed. Sarah is loving any interpretive signs, now that she can read!

Trying to figure out the Math

So beautiful and rugged

A tender moment

Olivia's "Clubhouse"

The Dungeons, NL

Geocaching

Geocaching - the cache we finally gave up on.

We never did find the second one.  Evan & Sarah gave up and went back to the van to read and get warm.  D’Arcy thinks he knows where it is, but the kids (and I) were nervous about him getting too close to the edge of the cliffs.

From the Dungeon, we went back to the Bonavista Lighthouse.  My father gave Sarah some spending money for the trip and she was determined to buy postcards.  We were also hoping to see some whales now that the fog had lifted.  As we drove up to the lighthouse, we could see the whales spouting in the water.  In the parking lot, a couple from British Columbia told us that there were five whales playing.  We climbed up to the top of a rock and there turned out to be a whole pod of whales, probably a dozen, spouting and breeching.  It was fun to watch and the kids were excited.  A family from Saskatchewan were there and told us that the whales were feeding on capelin.  When the kids got tired & cold, we went into the gift shop and Sarah found postcards – a package of ten for $5.00.  You’d think she won the lottery!

Two of the whales in Bonavista

Bonavista Lighthouse

We had a late lunch of leftover pizza and chocolate milk in the van before going to see the replica of the “Matthew”, the ship that Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) sailed on and landed in the New World.  While we were there, D’Arcy had a call from St. Pierre Tours to tell us that the mail had been delivered, but Alex’s passport wasn’t with it.  We went to the library to find a C@P site so that D’Arcy could try to track the package.  He was able to call someone at Canada Post who told him that it will be delivered today by courier.  We are trying not to panic.

Model describing The Matthew

Description of John Cabot landing at Bonavista

Exploring The Matthew

Alex

In the Galley

On our way out of Bonavista, we stopped at the Old Bonavista Boardwalk for a final geocache.  The boardwalk runs 1km around a pond.  The girls were excited to see ducks, since they’ve been keeping a “wildlife list”.  We all got out of the van and searched for the geocache, but it was D’Arcy who found it.  For this one, we took out a glass traffic light charm and left a small toy turtle.  The kids think this game is great fun – and so do we!  What could be better?  We’re outside, working together as a team, using our brains to solve problems and – best of all – it’s free!

More geocaching

Ducks!

Found it!

From Bonavista, we drove to Terra Nova to stay with our friends Krista & Stefan at their cabin.  Their children, Gabriel & Lily are the same ages as Sarah & Olivia.  They stayed with us just last week on their way home from a vacation in New England, so the girls had been asking how long it would be until we get to go to Gabriel & Lily’s?  We’re all looking forward to having two nights in the same place and having a great visit!

Geocashing and Exploring

August 5, 2011

The heavy rain held off through the night.  I woke at five and the outside of the tent was slightly wet, but had dried off by the time we got up at eight.  Because we hadn’t unpacked much, we were able to get the tent and our belongings packed up quickly.  We stopped in to say goodbye to Carl, who was a wonderful ambassador and so helpful and kind to us!

The drive from Frenchman’s Cove to Bonavista takes about four hours.  We stopped in Marystown for coffee & smoothies for the road.  Just as we got out of town, the girls announced that they had to go to the bathroom.  For the record, there is NO place to stop along the road from  Marystown to Goobies.  At one point, we pulled over to let Olivia pee on the side of the road, but she had some performance anxiety and decided she could wait for the gas station.  We finally arrived back in Goobies. Sarah insisted on washing the van windows, something I remember loving to do while on trips with my own family when I was growing up.  The girls wanted to go over and see the moose again.  The bull moose is anatomically correct which made for some interesting conversation!  We stopped in at the Visitor Information Centre and got some information on Bonavista and the girls got activity books.

Our next stop was Clarenville where we went to the Co-op to get supplies for lunch. We took the scenic route from Clarenville and stopped in Trinity to have our lunch – another beautiful Newfoundland town!  We had sandwiches, fruit, yogurt & pudding at a picnic table on the water.  A man from Trinity came along with his dog, Charlie, and the girls had fun petting him.  We also chatted with a couple from Quebec City who were traveling on motorcycle.  After we ate, we walked up to the Library and used the C@P site before touring around the rest of the town.

A picnic in Trinity

Trinity, Newfoundland

We headed to Bonavista and it started to rain heavily.  During the drive, we decided that we would find a place to stay rather than sleeping in the tent again.  We found a “cabin” (small apartment) at the Hotel Bonavista & Cabins.  I think we all enjoyed having some of the comforts of home!

After we checked in, we drove out to Bonavista Lighthouse and searched for our first geo-cache! Despite the rain & fog, the setting is beautiful!  There are Inukshuks built all along the cliffs’ edges.  After we found the geo-cache, we took an eraser and left a toy that we had found in our van when we bought it – and a business card of course!  There were puffins flying everywhere.  It was a fun activity and the kids are looking forward to finding their next one.

Geocashing

Inukshuks

Almost found it!

Found it!!

 

Having fun with the family!

All those white spots are puffins!

We came back to the “cabin” and cooked pizzas while the girls watched some television and D’Arcy and the boys played crib.  We were happy to be warm & dry while the rain pounded outside!

A Day of (Mis)adventures

August 5, 2011

The boys & I woke up in the tent shortly after eight a.m., only to discover that D’Arcy was already up and out for a run.   We lazed in our sleeping bags, chatting quietly and the girls continued to sleep peacefully until closer to nine.  When D’Arcy got back from his run, we got up, lit a fire and started to make breakfast and hot cocoa.  The weather was cool & grey, but the skies were threatening rain.  We decided that we should pack up as quickly as possible, so that our things wouldn’t get wet.  Our itinerary for the day was to drive to Fortune and catch the ferry to St. Pierre & Miquelon, France.  We were all excited.

Breakfast at the Campsite

We were packed up by eleven and stopped at the park check-in where we could get cell phone & internet service.  D’Arcy called the ferry company to confirm our reservation and was told that they had been trying to contact us.  The French Government ferry that we were booked on had gone on strike!!  They could take us over that day, but couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to get us back.  When D’Arcy called back to ask how far in advance we needed to check in, they informed us that the workers had refused to bring the boat over so the crossing was cancelled.  The private tour company ferry left at 11:30 a.m., so there was no way we could get to St. Pierre.

We started making a flurry of calls.  When D’Arcy tried to call the B&B in St. Pierre, we discovered that his phone wasn’t enabled to make international calls.  My phone is, but I’m with Rogers (only until my contract is over!) and have no cell service here.  Carl, at the Provincial Park was fantastic through this.  He let us use his phone and we charged the call to my parents’ house because somebody had to answer to accept the charges. We were able to cancel our reservation for the night and told them that we would be there the next day.  We also booked the private ferry for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.  We decided that we would drive around the Burin Peninsula and stay somewhere in Fortune, near the ferry.

The Burin area was beautiful and quintessential Newfoundland.  Steep, rugged cliffs, narrow windy roads, water, and brightly coloured wooden houses.  Parked on a rock by the water, the girls were delighted to see a VW Beetle, painted blue, with moose antlers on the front and a giant key coming out of the trunk.  Burin was the location of a tsunami in 1927 and so we visited two museums and an art gallery.  Every Wednesday evening, there is an outdoor jamboree on a wooden stage between the museum and the art gallery.  The girls insisted on putting on a performance of their own, creating characters “Savaria” (Sarah) and “Teddy” (Olivia).  Teddy had lost her dog and Savaria was searching for her brother because they were playing hide and seek.

The performance

We got back into the van and drove around the peninsula to Fortune, where we were going to pick up our ferry tickets.  Parked in the parking lot, we got out the passports, only to discover that we only had five!  Alex’s was still at home in the lock box!!  At this point, we felt deflated.  D’Arcy went in to check with them if it was possible to go without his, but he needed to have a government issued photo ID.  We were all disappointed and Alex felt terrible.  I reminded him that it was not his fault – I was the one who forgot to get his passport.  He had even asked me before he left if I had them all, and without double checking, I just said yes.  I assumed they were all together.  Evan reminded him that we are all a team and that if Alex couldn’t go, then none of us would go.

We talked about how important the St. Pierre part of the trip was to each of us, and thought about alternatives.  We went in to a local diner to have supper and figure out what to do.  We made some calls and my parents were able to save the day!  After telling them where the key and lock box were, they went to our house, got the passport and couriered it to the tour company!  It should arrive on Friday.  We looked at the map, rearranged our trip, and will go to St. Pierre on Sunday, overnight.

With the “extra” day, we decided to travel to Bonavista, one of the places we wanted to see, but didn’t have time to fit in.  We called Carl at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park and got our same site back for the night.  We arrived at 7:30 and D’Arcy & the boys set up the tent and got the campfire lit while I started to get water ready for hot cocoa, and got the ingredients out for s’mores.  It was threatening to rain through the night, so we unpacked only the bare essentials.  While we were getting set up, Sarah & Olivia were playing.  Sarah had a baseball & glove and was throwing the ball into the air and catching it – most of the time!  She missed one that hit her in the face and knocked the lens right out of her glasses!  This makes two pair of broken glasses so far this trip! (D’Arcy broke the arm off his while on the ferry…)  Luckily, I had brought both Sarah & Alex’s extra pairs, so when we get to St. John’s we’ll go to an optician and get them fixed.

We sat around the fire, listening to the loons on the water and made – and burnt – our s’mores.  When talking about what we learned during the day, the kids mentioned that we need to be flexible and that we should double check for things like passports before leaving! We all decided that our day of misadventure actually turned out all right in the end.  We had a relaxing evening around the campfire, we’ll still get to St. Pierre and now we’ll get to Bonavista too.  It involves some extra 400 odd kms of driving, but I have agreed to relax my DVD-watching-in-the-van rule during roads that we’re traveling on for a second (and third… and fourth… ) time.

S'mores!

Laughing around the fire after a long day!

Alex enjoyed his s'mores!

Olivia has told us that she loves Newfoundland because she loves throwing rocks in the water at our campsite!  I don’t think she’d care if we didn’t go anywhere else!

View at our campsite

Our Newfoundland trip has just begun and we’ve already had our fair share of adventures & misadventures!

Our first adventure began the week before we left, when we took our ten-year-old Toyota Sienna in to the garage to get it tuned up before leaving.  They had hardly begun to look at it when they called to tell us that the frame was rusted through on the front passenger side and in their opinion, we shouldn’t take it on the trip.  Thus began our search for a new vehicle.  Having four children (two still in booster seats), a van was our only option.  We did look at a used Honda Pilot, but it just didn’t have enough space.  Long story short, we ended up buying a 2010 Honda Odyssey with 22,000km at 4:45 on Friday afternoon of the long weekend, planning to leave on Monday.  Nothing like the 11th hour…

Sunday night, we had two rooms of guests who were both up and out fairly early.  We scurried around, cleaning rooms, washing bedding, and getting packed up.  We had a goal to leave the house between 1 – 2 p.m. and we pulled out of the driveway at 2:30!  Evan had sold tickets for a baseball fundraiser that had to be dropped off on our way out of town and away we went!

Our next stop was a visit to D’Arcy’s aunt & uncle, Myles & Alice, in the Monastery area. That was a highlight of the trip so far!  D’Arcy’s cousin Paul was there from Ontario with his family and pet bunny.  Olivia had a grand time petting the bunny.  Paul’s kids showed the girls a fun came of loading up a toy dump truck with bouncy balls and dumping them down the stairs!  They were protecting themselves with pillows and laughing & squealing.  So much fun!

Olivia & Robinson

Most fun game ever!

Sarah made my day when we were driving in Cape Breton and she announced, “I’m watching the Nature Channel out my window – and it’s in 3D!”

We got to the ferry in lots of time and I was very impressed when as we checked in, the girl (another St. FX grad!) commented, “Oh – you’re traveling with a peanut allergy!”  She told us to feel free to take our cooler with food on board. We got in the line and the excitement in the van was palpable.  The girls decided that they needed to go to the bathroom just as the announcement was made to return to your vehicles to prepare for boarding.  Sarah decided that she could wait, but it soon became apparent that she couldn’t.  We were in lane #9 and were watching the other vehicles board in order.  We decided to risk it, and D’Arcy ran her to the bathroom.  The rest of us started to panic when they skipped over from loading Lane 6 directly to Lane 9!!  Luckily, we were farther back in the Lane, so just as we would have to move, Sarah & D’Arcy came running back!

We got on board and checked out our very tiny, cramped, 4-bearth cabin. After some finagling, it was decided that Evan would sleep on one top bunk and D’Arcy & Sarah would sleep on the other top bunk.  We’ll switch it up on the way back.  We went out on deck to watch as we set sail and then after a quick tour of the decks went back to our cabin for stories and bed.  (It was after 11:00 p.m. by this time.)  Olivia was so tired that half-way through her story, she asked if we could finish in the morning.  The swaying of the ship put us all to sleep very quickly.

Luckily, the kids all seem to have inherited strong “sea legs” from their parents and none of us had problems with our stomachs on the fourteen hour ride.  In the morning, we showered and went out to the Lounge area to have brunch and play games.  The ferry has a games room where you can borrow different board games so the boys played Battleship while the girls played Snakes & Ladders and then D’Arcy & I joined them for a game of My Little Pony Memory.  The girls were so happy that the ship was fitted all over with “ballet bars”!

Leaving Nova Scotia

Brunch on the Ferry

Battleship!

The ballet boat!

This takes me back to my days as a crane operator on the MS Scotia Prince!

Fun times on the ferry

So bright - and hot!!

The kids and the moose at Goobies, NL

It was a beautiful, bright, but cool day when we arrived in Newfoundland.  We disembarked from the ferry and headed towards our first destination – Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park on the Burin Peninsula.

We made a couple of stops along the way – one in Goobies where we got gas and took pictures with a statue of a moose, then again in Marystown.  We realized that we hadn’t brought a flashlight and we wanted to pick up a second air mattress for the tent. We tried a couple of Home Hardware stores, and Canadian Tire was closed, so we had to go to Walmart.  We picked up what we needed and proceeded to the cash.  The air mattress rang in $15 more than the sticker on the shelf.  The cashier called the girl in the outdoor section who couldn’t find the sticker on the shelf.  I ended up taking the air mattress back to her.  It was no wonder she couldn’t find the sticker – she was looking at a totally different product!  I got the sticker and took it back up to the cashier.  She had to call a supervisor over and the supervisor told her that she should have done a price override.  The two of them started arguing about what the proper procedure was, rather than ringing it in.  The lady behind me told them that their behaviour was inappropriate.  The supervisor stormed off, but didn’t complete her procedure, so I couldn’t pay until she came back and pressed some more buttons.  She wouldn’t even look at me or at the cashier, and pounded the keys on the register before storming off again.  The cashier looked at me and said, “After ten years of doing this, I think I know when I can do a price override or not!”

We finally arrived at the campground at about 7:30 p.m., 29 hours after leaving our home.  D’Arcy & the boys got the fire going and started setting up the tent while the girls explored and I started supper.  We had steak, and new potatoes, carrots & onions cooked over the fire.  It was delicious!!  We sat around the fire and realized that we were exhausted!  We decided to put off making s’mores and went to bed and were asleep in no time!

In the tent

Conversation between Sarah & Mom, earlier today:

Mom: Sarah, what would you suggest we have for dinner tonight that would prevent you from complaining?

Sarah: Do we have carrots?

Mom: Yes.

Sarah: Do we have broccoli?

Mom: Yes.

Sarah: Do we have peas?

Mom: Yes.

Sarah: Do we have corn?

Mom: Yes.

Sarah: Well I guess that would be about it.

I am officially on an adventure!  This winter, I became aware of a professional development opportunity, sponsored through the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to attend the Professional Development Program at Cornell University.  As a university student studying Tourism & Hospitality Management, I used to pour over the journals from the Cornell School of Hotel Management.  I doubt I ever passed in a paper without at least one reference to those journals. I knew I had to apply! I was accepted to take the first course towards a Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management.The past few days, I have been scrambling to get ready for the trip.  It’s a busy time of year to start with; D’Arcy’s been marking exams and coming up with final assessments, the kids have all had their year end activities and the B&B has been in full swing!  D’Arcy was up all night last night so that he could get his marks submitted and bake bread (our end-of-the-year teachers’ gift).  When I came downstairs this morning at 5:50, the table was set, the muffins were made and there were eight loaves of bread on the counter and four in the oven!

Oatmeal Brown Bread for the teachers!

This morning, as I served breakfast, I mentioned to the guests that I was excited because I would be leaving late morning to fly to Ithaca, New York.  We had a West Coast crew this morning – British Columbia & Washington State. As president of the school parent-teacher group, as soon as our guests left I scooted out and, with my sister-in-law, took two trays of fruit and six dozen muffins up to the school for the teachers to show our appreciation for all they do.  I came back home and helped my father finish the kitchen clean-up.  Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road for the airport! I had received an email that my flight was delayed by and hour, but my father was anxious to get me to the airport!  (Keep in mind that this is the same man who tried to get me to my wedding a half hour early!)  My flight was delayed, so I dropped some of our Belgravia Bed & Breakfast brochures off at the airport Visitor Information Centre.  As I was talking with Natalie, we discovered that her cousin is my teaching mentor at the Nova Scotia Community College!  It’s a small world! I went upstairs to US departures and breezed through security.  I went on to be cleared through US Customs and got pulled aside!  At first I thought it was because the purpose of my trip was to study and they thought I needed a certain Visa.  I got taken into a secondary area and asked to sit in  a sterile environment while I waited for the Customs Agent to look up all the information.  It turned out I was screened because the name on my passport is not the name on my birth certificate!  I’ve never heard of this!  He told me all my information is incorrect and that I can’ t just “change my name”!  Talk about stress.  Luckily, I had other ID with me and so pulled out my driver’s license and my Nova Scotia health card which have my name on them, exactly as written on my passport.  He allowed me to go through but told me when I get my passport renewed, I should get them to change my name.  Actually, I will be applying for a NEXUS card instead to be pre-cleared and avoid the opportunity of something like this happening again!

Through security but before going through US Customs!

I went into the holding area which was really quite lovely.  It is bright and airy and clean.  I had a burger and watched the planes, then did some homework.  Our daughter has a severe Peanut/treenut allergy, so we never eat nuts of any kind when we are around her; since I will be away for a week, I had my first Crispy Crunch chocolate bar in over four years!  Yum!! The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has been voted best airport in its class for the past seven years, and after traveling through three airports in one day, I understand why!  It was a very pleasant experience. My flight finally took off from Halifax to Philadelphia and I figured that when I landed I would have about 20 minutes to switch terminals and make my connecting flight to Ithaca.  As it turned out, I needn’t have worried as when I arrived, I discovered the flight to Ithaca had been delayed by an hour-and-half.  My friend Kate, who grew up in Upstate New York, but now lives in Boston, has met me for the weekend, so we spent our time in the airport getting caught up after I called the owner of the B&B where we were booked to let her know what was going on.  When we boarded the plane to Ithaca, we were told that due to severe weather earlier in the day, there was a backlog for take-off and we were behind approximately 22 other flights.  We ended up sitting on the runway for an 1hour and 45 minutes before take off, so it was close to 9:00 when we finally arrived in Ithaca.  Luckily, our bags came right through and the rental car was waiting for us. We drove to Thomas Farm B&Band brought our things in.  We have a sweet room with a loft, so freshened up a bit and then headed back into downtown Ithaca to find something to eat.  Along the side of the road, Kate pointed out the fireflies – the sky was just full of them and it was just beautiful.  We also had a possum run across the road in front of us which was another new experience! Most of the nicer eating establishments were closed and we decided that we weren’t quite up to going to one of the College pubs, so we went to “Collegetown Pizza” and had a slice of pizza and wrote our names on the wall with many others!  We came back to the B&B where we poured over the tourist literature of the Finger Lakes area and made a plan for Saturday before calling it a night.

My name is there for posterity

D’Arcy is home looking after a full-house by himself.  We had some returning guests arriving who I am disappointed to be missing… Next up:  Exploring the Finger Lake Region of New York State!