This is the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The landscapes can vary so much in this province, but this particular part of it reminds us of home. The valley runs parallel to the Bay of Fundy, along the Western side, nestled between two mountains. The mountains shelter the area and have created a sort of micro climate, perfect for apple orchards and vineyards, both of which are abundant.
We spent a day driving around Grand Pre - a UNESCO world heritage site and a memorial to the Acadian people forced to leave. As early as 1605, the French settled in the valley in Port Royal (Samuel de Champlain), and made their way up the valley becoming the Acadians. They were known for their use of dikes to hold back the tidal waters, creating rich farmland. In 1755, the British forced the Acadians to leave, but the french influence is still evident today. Then New England Planters came in, invited to occupy the farmland left vacant, and take over cultivating the area.
We packed a picnic and ate at The Lookoff (on the North mountain), which offers the most beautiful views of the Valley. And it's not just the scenery that's so charming - situated on the farms are old Colonial homes and grand barns. Classic four-square farmhouses are also prevalent and occasionally you drive past a grand Palladian home with it's large chimneys.
While the climate is very similar to ours here in the Niagara Region, they are probably about two weeks behind us. This meant that we got to enjoy the Apple orchards in blossom, and the Lilacs in full bloom.
We'd be driving down the valley on the original highway 1 (which winds through each small town), and we'd be almost giddy pointing out home after home.
This was my favourite little cottage in Nova Scotia.
At the other end of the Valley is Annapolis Royal. The little towns along the rivers in Nova Scotia remind me of a folk painting.
I didn't take near as many photos throughout this part of the trip as I usually may have. We spent a lot of time driving, and I tried to just enjoy as much of it as I could in the moment with the kids.
After spending a few days in Nova Scotia, we began our trip back home. Our first stop was in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick (deemed Saint Andrews By the Sea). It was Canada's first seaside resort community, with the grand Algonquin Hotel up on the hill overlooking town, and charming seaside cottages and inns at the water. We stayed at the Seaside Beach Resort, a collection of little cottages that reminded me of Nantucket.
Next we headed towards Woodstock, Vt. We stumbled across this little town called Wayne, ME on our way. We had to turn around and drive through it a second time because it was about as classic small-town USA as you could hope for - from the general store to the bunting flags hanging from the river bridge behind it.
Here I quickly popped into an antique shop - Bittersweet Antiques, while Ryan admired the owner's garage.
We drove past Mount Washington and by the time we made it to Woodstock, the town was asleep. It was still pretty to drive through, but we promised next time to spend a couple days there.
It added so much to have the kids with us experiencing things. It wasn't always easier, but it was an adventure! And an adventure is what we were going for.