Annapolis Royal 2010
August 15, 2010
Please find above a Flickr pictorial slide show representing VanRamblings' summer vacation, and 60th birthday celebration, in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. We thank Corinne for her warm hospitality, and the good folks of the Annapolis Valley for their tremendous kindness.
The slideshow is not fully complete, so in the days and weeks to come we'll fine tune the photo display, re-order parts of the slide show, and add some pictures and video. For now, though, please enjoy the current slide show.
To access a SlideFlickr version of the pictorial slide show above, click here. For a full screen version of the Flickr slide show above either click on the full screen expansion icon bottom right of the slideshow above, or click here.
August 14, 2010
As VanRamblings composes this post, we are sitting in the front room on the top floor of Corinne's home listening to Rose Cousins in concert just down the street at The King's Theatre, her voice and music drifting through the night air to VanRamblings' most appreciative ears.
Today, although we continued our preparations to leave 'our Annapolis Royal home' early on this Monday coming (witness the picture above of our wash on the line), we did in fact make it to the Saturday Market, where we set about to purchase some small, we hope interesting, 'gifts' for friends in Vancouver, as we wandered through the many Market paths.
VanRamblings also attended at the Fish Market to locate Digby scallops, fresh off the boat. Anyone who knows VanRamblings appreciates just how much we love Digby county's awesome scallops, pan-seared in butter and oh so sinfully delicious. Where, in previous visits to the Maritimes, we managed to inhale a pound of scallops each and every day of our visit, on this vacation we've thoughtfully restricted our scallop intake to only a quarter pound of plump, large Digby scallops per meal, lunch and dinner.
On this scorcher of a Saturday, VanRamblings thought better of roaming the streets of town in the heat of the early afternoon sun, and took the opportunity to do a wash, allowing our clothes to dry in the reflection of the sun off the Annapolis River, a gentle river breeze aiding the process.
Instead, we wandered over to the Fort Anne Café, had ourselves a coffee and read the Globe and Mail, after which we took a restful afternoon nap.
August 13, 2010
On our third to last day in Annapolis Royal, VanRamblings slept in, enjoying the peace of the early morning, before wending our way to the kitchen for our morning coffee. No breakfast today, though, as Corinne was having luncheon guests and a feast was planned. Time enough later for noshing.
By 9:30 a.m., on this warm, sunny summer's day (complemented by a wafting breeze off the Annapolis River), Corinne and guest headed in the direction of the Save Easy, on the outskirts of town, to purchase scallops and haddock for our visitors. Haddock could be found, scallops, not so much. Fortunately, there were fresh scallops in the fridge at home, which proved more than adequate for our guests, and present company.
While out on our stroll, vistas presented themselves that had previously gone unrecorded by VanRamblings, all of which photos should find their way into Sunday's upcoming SlideFlickr presentation, a sample of which may be found here (a photo taken of Annapolis Royal, from the Granville Ferry side of the river) and here. Nothing short of gorgeous, huh?
August 12, 2010
Following breakfast, VanRamblings took a stroll with Corinne along the boardwalk, towards the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.
The gardens were planned in the 1970s to celebrate the Annapolis Valley's rich heritage. Originally a French settlement, established in 1605 under the leadership of the Sieur de Mons, Annapolis Royal's founding colony was called l'Acadie, its culture referred to as Acadian, as it is today. Over a period of 105 years, the British made six attempts to conquer the Acadian capital, until they defeated the French in the Siege of Port Royal, in 1710. Shortly thereafter, the town's name was changed to Annapolis Royal.
Designed to represent the gardens of the Annapolis Valley at various periods in Acadia's history, the Historic Gardens has something for every garden lover: formal Victorian and Rose gardens, La Maison Acadienne et Potager (a French settler's dwelling), an innovative garden representing the modern period, a blush of perennial flora and fauna, a riot of textured, leafy shrub borders, and reproductions of pools spanning the centuries.
Covering 17 acres, and showcasing the Annapolis Valley from a horticultural perspective, as far as VanRamblings is concerned, Annapolis Royal's Historic Gardens easily surpass Halifax's Public Gardens.
Our garden tour continued long into the day with a visit to ...
August 11, 2010
VanRamblings was up early to begin a day of birthday celebration.
Overnight, for the second night in a row, there'd been a spectacular thunder and lightning storm, the rain pelting down with gale force velocity. Just the kind of overnight weather VanRamblings loves!
Still, upon arising, the skies were blue, the sun was shining. Another spectacular day in the Maritimes, and a great day full of promise in Annapolis Royal. And, did we mention, it is VanRamblings' 60th birthday!
After our usual breakfast (granola, yogurt, blueberries, tiny home-baked muffin, and coffee), we headed over to the Market Square for the Farmers' Market, the mid-week summer market about one-third the size of the spring, summer and fall Annapolis Royal weekend market. Upon our arrival at the Square, we spotted a gorgeous hand-crafted wall-hanging quilt, and were stunned to find the price was only $10! Needless to say, we've been admiring our tremendously-priced, and beautifully-crafted, purchase all day.
Over the course of the hour we spent at the market (there was an Acadian fiddle player that kept us enraptured), we also picked up a jar of Gilbert's Cove crab-apple and cranberry jelly, and a glass jar of French Shore organic strawberry jam (nicely wrapped and now in our suitcase); a colourful print of a hand-painted depiction of Annapolis Royal, as well as a hand-printed 'post card' of the same (which we sent off to our friends, at work, in Vancouver); a tiny cinnamon bun and a couple of squares of milky fudge.
August 10, 2010
For VanRamblings, Monday and Tuesday proved to be a busy couple of days (although 'busy' is a relative term when in come to Annapolis Royal).
After spending the morning exploring Annapolis Royal — walking along the boardwalk, sauntering over to The Queen Anne Inn, checking out the various museums, galleries and shops, as well as spending a bit of time at The Internet Cafe — it was home for a great lunch, fresh caught scallops and greens from Corinne's garden, made into a scrumptious salad.
After lunch, we traveled on over to Granville Ferry to Michelle's home on the Annapolis River (opposite side of the river on which Corinne resides) for Film Club, a monthly film buff discussion group. Consisting of a group of 7 - 10 Annapolis County women (sometimes men attend, as VanRamblings did on Monday), mostly retired, each month these erudite women meet to discuss a film suggested by a member of the group. This month it was Nick Cassavetes' adaptation of Nicholas Spark's 2004 best-seller, The Notebook. In September, the movie up for discussion will be Tim Burton's modern-day fairy tale, Big Fish (which, Christmas of 2003, VanRamblings' loved).
Monday afternoon's discussion revolved around the issue of Alzheimer's, the experience various members of the group had with the malady (friends, family), and how realistic was the film's depiction of the degenerative illness. The issue of 'passion' was discussed — some members of the group felt that 'passion' transformed as one aged, but there was dissenting opinion on the matter. Most group members felt that Joan Allen's seemingly latter-day humanistic conversion was inconsistent with her conduct throughout the film, and such plot device only served to take them out of the film. There was general agreement, tho', that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams had very real heat in the film; VanRamblings offered that, in fact, Gosling and McAdams fell in love during the making of the film, and lived together for five years subsequent. Discussion group participants swooned.
Following Film Club, Corinne and guest traveled over to the grandeur of the North Hills Museum, an Annapolis Valley heritage home owned formerly by Toronto-based antique collector Robert Patterson, who in retirement moved to Annapolis Royal, and set up his home as a Georgian manor, a perfect representation, and collection, of period décor. Patterson bequeathed his home to the people of Nova Scotia, as a heritage site, in 1974.
Well, that was only part of what VanRamblings was up to on Monday. Just wait til you read about our many adventures on Tuesday ...
August 9, 2010
For VanRamblings, one of the great joys of vacationing in Annapolis Royal revolves around the absolute tranquility of the evening and early morning hours. Life in Vancouver for us tends to be a noisy affair, at the best of times, and to arrive in Annapolis Royal and experience the peaceful serenity of the Annapolis Valley means more to us than words can express.
One week into our Maritime vacation, our east coast sojourn has proven to be everything that was necessary for us to transcend our protean life.
In Halifax, our stay at Dalhousie's Howe Hall was more comfortable and welcoming this time around than has been the case previously, and our welcome and stay has been pretty spectacular in the past. The habitants of Halifax were just as friendly and engaging as has always been the case. And, as per usual, hoofing it around town, when conducting our pedestrian self (and, yes, we get the pun ), we continue to be taken aback that when preparing to cross a street, when simply standing at a corner, vehicles proceeding down the road will always stop, not just sometimes, but always.
We also took note of one salutary change: every little coffee shop around the Halifax region serves certified organic free trade coffee. Were such fortunate circumstance the case in our west coast Vancouver home.
In Halifax, the buses run frequently, and it's easy to get around town. During the summer, Halifax's Metro Transit runs a free downtown / harbourfront transit service called Fred (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown), shuttling both Haligonians and visitors throughout the downtown core —
seven days a week, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A first-rate tour service, with an on-board tour guide providing commentary on historical highlights, Fred transports appreciative passengers throughout the summer months. Again, Vancouver would do well to learn from the Halifax Fred experience.
An insight into Annapolis Royal after the jump ...
August 8, 2010
VanRamblings attended the annual birthday celebration of Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuart, and the Queen of the British Commonwealth at the time the village of Annapolis Royal was first settled.
Bishop Park, on Highway 201 between Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown, proved to be the perfect open setting for this most august celebration set as it is within the verdant, rolling hills of the Annapolis Valley, the blustery winds of the valley providing relief from the heat of the day.
Tomorrow, VanRamblings will continue our exploration of Annapolis Royal, and in the afternoon attend, with Corinne, the Film Club (discussing Nick Cassavetes' The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams).
We'll see you here tomorrow!
Today, VanRamblings will travel (with Corinne) to Queen Anne's Picnic, Bishop Park, Route 201, 1 - 4 p.m., having received an invitation from the Queen herself, this very morning.
We'll leave after a scallop and salad lunch (VanRamblings loves Digby scallops although we are, this time around, attempting to reduce our scallop consumption from one pound a day to a more reasonable amount).
Today, by the way, is Roger Brant's 57th birthday. A husband, father, blues musician of some note, union organizer and all around good guy, Roger is one of those unsung heroes who populate British Columbia's west coast metropolis, a citizen of our community who contributes to the humanity of VanRamblings' home, not least because of the annual contribution (for two decades) he makes by heading up a sound team at one of the Vancouver Folk Festival's day stages. Later in the week, Roger's wife, Audrey, also celebrates a birthday (same day as VanRamblings!).
August 7, 2010
The Farmers' Market, in Annapolis Royal's town square continues as a summer staple, a decade's long institution. Lush, organic, a cornucopia of farm fresh eggs, milk, cheeses and meats and a panoply of fresh-baked breads, pastries and pies, as well as historical handicrafts of every description, Annapolis Royal's Farmers' Market is not to be missed.
After standing in line for fresh-baked morning croissants, warm from the oven, Corinne and company trundled on home for a mid-morning breakfast, fresh blueberries from the garden, organic yogurt, and homemade raspberry jam spooned on to the open croissants, which we tore apart with relish. We returned to the market throughout the morning (most of the video above was shot between 8 and 9 a.m., before the scheduled market opening). "Get there early if you want the croissants," Corinne averred.
And we did.
VanRamblings arrived in Annapolis Royal late on a splendid, star-filled Friday evening, proceeded 'home' to sit in Corinne's kitchen and partake of a glass of milk and warming gingerbread cookies, after which we proceeded to bed.
Upon arising at 7:30 a.m. this morning, we looked out our window and filmed the video above, an early morning perspective of the Annapolis River, overlooking the village of Granville Ferry (pop: 106). After experiencing the oppressive humidity and heat of Halifax, VanRamblings was pleased to feel the strong cooling breeze, keeping the heat of the sun in perspective.
At the moment, we're sitting in The Internet Cafe, given that Rogers' iPhone tethering has failed to work in Annapolis Royal (which may limit our posting in the days to come). We're attempting to sign Corinne up to Bell Aliant, and create a wireless network (which, it would appear, VanRamblings will not be able to avail ourselves of prior to our departure on August 16th) for our beloved hostess. In the meantime, on a limited basis, VanRamblings is able to avail itself of the wireless network at the town library (we sit outside on a bench under a tree ... romantic, yes, but a tad inconvenient).
Peaceful, serene and transformative, once again, VanRamblings in Annapolis Royal has proved to be a friend-filled, quietening experience. The Farmers' Market this morning (we purchased fresh-baked croissants, after which we proceeded home for breakfast) was utterly fabulous, as usual, as we were greeted by friends we've made while staying in Annapolis Royal, in the past.
We'll try to post a Farmers' Market video later today (over at the library).