October 16, 2011

Nova Scotia

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Nova Scotia.

Fredericton's Saturday Market
IMG_2986: Fredericton's Saturday Market
View from the Lookoff
IMG_3062: View from The Lookoff
Rocky Beach at Scotts Bay
IMG_3064 at Scotts Bay
Royal Family as Scarecrows
IMG_3100: Royal Family at Scarecrow Festival

On Friday the sixth of October, we drove all day long through Massachusetts, along the coast of New Hampshire and through central Maine. As the sun was setting we entered Canada at the end of I-95 and drove another 40 minutes to a beautiful new home overlooking the St. John River. Again a wonderful Couchsufing family hosted us. We spent all day Saturday exploring Fredericton, New Brunswick. The best thing was the Saturday farmers' market that looked more like a county fair than an ordinary farmers' market. There were dozens of vendors providing lunches. There were cheese and meat sellers from which we got some excellent sausage. And the fruit - mostly apples - and vegetables were a beautiful sight.

Eating Fish and Chips
IMG_3067: Eating Fish and Chips
Melinda Norris
IMG_3166: Malinda Norris

Sunday was another long day of driving. In the late afternoon we arrived in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Wolfville is in Kings County and I had long wanted to visit Kings County. This is where my great-great grandparents came from; their surnames were Tupper and Porter. We were staying with a wonderful Couchsurfing host, Melinda Norris. She had the hobby of spinning and knitting wool and other hairs. One night she brought us to a country shop, called Gaspereau Valley Fibres - Farm Wool Shop. Betty bought two skeins of wool. From which she made two cute little scarves for our granddaughters.

Over the next five days we saw much of this extremely beautiful peninsula. One day we drove to Scotts Bay and Halls Harbor where my family came from. Both villages lay on the Bay of Fundy. While those ancestors were said to be farmers, they must have enjoyed the fruits of the sea, because the bay is plentiful with lobster, fish and mollusks. We enjoyed fish-and-chips in Halls Harbor. Another day we went to the other side of the peninsula, where we visited Chester, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. These picturesque towns were a delight to see. We took lots of pictures. In Mahone Bay as part of a autumn festival, they had dozens and dozens of scarecrows in montages. Again we stopped for a lunch of lobster bisque for Betty and homemade meatloaf for me.

Our impressions of the Cornwallis river valley were very positive. The land along the river is very rich and two long ridges protect it. We saw many, many orchards with trees laden with ripe apples. We found the people friendly and helpful . We could see that the people had a good sense of humor too, because, like the Scarecrow Festival of Mahone Bay, Kentville and Wolfville had montages of pumpkin people. Checkout the photos to see for yourself.

On our last day, we visited the very small village of Annapolis Royal, which was the first European settlement in Nova Scotia. It is a nice little village that seemed geared to the summer tourist trade. We had a nice lunch of fish-and-chips. The nicest shop that we saw was full of Southeast Asian antiques and art. We could hardly believe that such a small village would have such a shop, but there it was. After talking with the owner, we learned that the shop was able to survive from the patronage of distant customers and the super rich summer residents that come to Nova Scotia. There are the remains of the very old Fort Anne in Royal Annapolis, but only one structure was still there. After Annapolis Royal, we checked out Digby. We did not find it an interesting town to visit.

Pumpkin People
IMG_3145: Pumpkin People
IMG_3120: Lunenburg
At Fort Anne
IMG_3154: At Fort Anne
Posted by bill at 04:29 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2011

The Beginning of a Fall Journey

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Ann Arbor to Northampton.

Troll Hollow
IMG_0003: Troll Hollow
Alex and Betty
IMG_0005: Alex and Betty
Betty and Sculpture by Henry Moore
IMG_2937: Betty in a sculpture by Henry Moore
Toronto Skyline
IMG_2942: By the St. Lawrence Market
Bill at Niagara Falls
IMG_2959: Bill at Niagara Falls
To view a very short video
of Niagara Falls
that I recorded, press HERE..
Bill by Lake Skaneateles
IMG_2976:  Bill by Lake Skaneateles

We were supposed to leave on September 19th, but Betty and Birgitta insisted that we delay a day so that I could visit a doctor. My back was killing me and my self-medication wasn’t working all that well. He prescribed a lidocaine patch that helped a lot as our travels began.

The first leg on Tuesday brought us to brief stop in Chicago. The really good thing about this stop was that we got to visit with Orlando Bryant. He has an apartment right downtown on Michigan Avenue. The bad thing was that we could only stay one night. Orlando, we promise to come back for a long week-end.

Wednesday, we headed to Ann Arbor. We had hoped to visit with Bob and Brenda Montgomery before Ann Arbor, but they were not at their cabin on Lake Michigan. In Ann Arbor, we stayed with Cat and Alex for several days. Ann Arbor is a nice college town. We got see much of the campus and, while we did not attend the sporting event, we did get to see the enthusiastic Michigan fans after a Saturday football game. While there we went to an automobile museum with a great collection of old Kaiser and Hudson cars, not to mention some old GM and Fords. Another place we went was the little hamlet of Saline, Michigan. There we enjoyed a small art fair and a local musical group, called the Saline Fiddlers. We also visited University of Michigan Arboretum. It was nice, but Betty loved seeing the little troll community in the woods. I guess it is a good thing that we did not see any trolls as they can be quite the tricksters. Cat seemed loaded with academic work, which is typical for beginning PhD. candidates. Alex was still waiting on a job. They were really settling into the community. A week after we left, Alex called to say that he had gotten that job.

On Monday we were on our way to Toronto. We did not go directly to Toronto. While Betty’s great-grandfather, Francis, and his father, Thomas, and mother, Sarah, were born in Ireland, they immigrated first to Grey County Ontario. Francis married Johanna Younge there in 1860. They started a family there in Normanby Township. So we went to do some research and see the graveyard where Thomas, Sarah and Johanna are buried.

We spent two days in Toronto. We couchsurfed with Oliver Stock. He was a wonderful host who lived in downtown Toronto. We spent two days walking all over the city. It really tired me out, because my back was still aching some. Still we saw Chinatown, the St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery district. The distillery district was loaded with art galleries and we wandered. On Wednesday evening we went to an excellent play, called After Mrs. Rochester, at the Alumnae Theater. Afterwards we went out for beers at a nearby tavern. We had a great time.

We left Toronto on a Thursday morning. We were on our way to Syracuse. We passed right by Niagara Falls so we had to stop. I had never been there before. The falls is a powerhouse with so much water flowing down it. It is not as large nor as magical of Iguacu, but it was sight to behold.

We couchsurfed with Sarah and Annie for three nights in Syracuse. I wanted to stop here so that I could show Betty where my ancestors, Zenas and Nancy Miller lived. We found the cemetery where they are buried the Town of Scott. I am sure that they lived quite close to the cemetery. We also drove to Ithaca and Auburn and we stopped to walk by Lake Skaneateles and the town on its shores.

We are spending nearly a week in Northampton. I had wanted to come here because my ancestors lived up and down the Connecticut River valley with Northampton as the starting point and spreading out from there. There is a farm in Haydenville, just a few miles from Northampton, where the Millers lived for more than 200 years. The last Miller that lived there died in 1923. The first Miller that lived there was the first settler in Williamsburg, which was officially incorporated in 1735. We couchsurfed with Randy in Springfield on Sunday night then moved on to Shel and Dina’s home in Hadley the next two nights and now we are with Jim in Amherst. All our hosts have been great. Shel and Dina were really great. They are just a few years younger than us and they have very similar political views.

I met with a local historian to get a sense of the local resources. Most of my time has been spent in the Forbes Library in Northampton. We did get out to Haydenville and Williamsburg one day. I met a distant cousin, Russ Warner, and his wife Elaine. We spent several hours with him talking about the family tree, and our lives and our children. It was delightful.

Betty and I are headed to New Brunswick tomorrow and onto Nova Scotia after that. I will write again from Nova Scotia.

Posted by bill at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)