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Joanie's Canadian Maritime Provinces Vacation

August 2010
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    A million years ago in high school, a friend's family took me with them on a camping trip to eastern Canada and I'd wanted to go back for a while. Since I needed a relaxing vacation without spending tons of money (after someone losing my keys at work and getting ripped off by Run Local Locksmith; never EVER use them), driving around New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia seemed like a good idea. Of course, being a city girl, this maybe wasn't the most perfect fit since I should have spent more time looking at seals, going on whale watches, golfing, etc. but Andrew and I found some cool stuff. Quick stop in Brunswick ME for lunch where they had two old fashioned drive-ins bringing back A&W memories. We sat inside at Morse Seafood but did the full on car experience at Fat Boy. Got to Bar Harbor and immediately walked into town, chock full of tourists of course. Pleasant drink at the fancy Bar Harbor Inn but less than successful dinner stops (who the heck stops serving at 9PM on a Thurs. in the middle of summer? Food info here: CLICK - CHOWHOUND ). No visit to Acadia (see what I mean, I'm a city gal), just a quick walk around BH for a scone and coffee then the long drive to Moncton, NB.

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Moncton NB
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    We stayed at the fairly rundown Rodd Inn Hotel on Main St. in Moncton, right by the (supposed) tidal bore. The water's supposed to rise really high and this and that but it was a bust the couple times we waited for it. Went to meet LaManna (from the Seattle band the Valentine Killers but has been in Moncton for a while) and his friend Tom who I met when they came down for the New Bomb Turks reunion at the Abbey a few years ago. LaManna's new band The Beaten Hearts had been scheduled to play with two other good locals (Fear of Lipstick and Varsity Weirdos) but the show was postponed so a bunch of us just hung at the cool local watering hole The Laundromat which was fun. Music was in short supply on our trip, saw a bad cover band the next nite and another mediocre one the last nite of the trip. Oh well. Anyway, went to another famous site, Magnetic Hill, where you put your car in neutral and you go up a hill. But it's a very small incline so another disappointment. As were the PEI mussels and the martinis filled with ice cubes, WTF? That's the way they do it in Moncton I guess, but served by nice bartenders. Hit a couple good record stores (Spin It and Live Wire), played mini golf, checked out the big local market and a good flea market then it was time for the next leg.

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Nova Scotia

    The drive to PEI is really quick and the whole island is small, so we first went west to Summerside and got some lunch. Tried "bar clams" which are like the necks of our normal clams (check out this creepy video:, not sure I need them again. Walked around the very cute capitol Charlottetown then drove across the bridge to the Southport Motel, part of an RV park. No frills place but cheap, clean and great view of the water, and these cool birds that hang out on the cement fixtures by the bridge. Got some good food at Lot 30 then on to Hunter's Ale House where Andrew couldn't resist trying the fried pepperoni we'd seen on lots of menus and I got the sticky toffee cake which was excellent. It was Sun. nite music trivia and Blake the bartender was super nice and gave us a few answers. We did quite well (called ourselves The Wes Welkers, we made a displaced Patriots fan happy) but alas, went from 2nd to 4th in the last round. The next day was driving to some tiny towns and beaches, a proper lobster supper, back to Charlottetown for the shortest brewery tour ever, more walking, more food, more nice bartenders.

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More Halifax
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St. Andrews-by-the-Sea

    Got the car on the ferry to Nova Scotia then drove to the most metropolitan city of the trip, Halifax, where I'd pricelined a Westin for $63/nite, woo hoo. The city is like a combination of Portland ME and SF cuz of some major hills. Definitely more to do here, Argyl St. and the surrounding area had lots of good restaurants with two blocks just jammed with bars that was almost like being in Allston or the "Alley". Economy Shoe Bar was a cool place and the Sea Horse seemed like it could be good had decent bands been playing. We took the ferry and bus to picturesque Fisherman's Cove, ate the justly famous French toast at Emma's, did record shopping at Taz and Random Play back in Halifax (Obsolete Records sounded good too but not as conveniently located), visited the Citadel and some other historic sites, tried some local brews and had much better luck with food and drinks in general (long ass food report here: CLICK CHOWHOUND ). My 'travel agent dinner' at Bish was very good and cocktails were great thanks to Brian at Press Gang and Cooper at Mosaic. Damn, that was a mighty fine pear/ginger/cilantro drink Cooper whipped up.

    We had a long drive back to New Brunswick to St. Andrews (by-the-Sea), where I wish we'd spent more time. Good lunch on the way at Ossies, a cool old style place known for fried clams. Checked into the lovely Fairmont Algonquin where I really enjoyed those comfy beds, fluffy towels, beautiful grounds, etc. We walked around the pretty town, got an afternoon beer on the deck of an old school restaurant, hit the bar of the Algonquin then dinner in town on the deck again. Ended the nite playing pool at the locals' joint the Red Herring and hearing a bad cover band (mixing Pink Floyd into Bee Gees). A long drive back to Boston with a stop in Wiscasset ME for some more fried clams at the Sea Basket and thus ended our 1800 mile journey to Eastern Canada and back.

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