Friday, September 19, 2014: Before leaving Beth Crosby's house and the Wolfville, Nova Scotia area, I packaged up about a dozen envelopes with review copies of our three new Chaudiere Books poetry titles (Kiki, Amanda Earl; Singular Plurals, Roland Prevost; Garden, Monty Reid). We'd been carrying a box of such for the sake of eastern distribution (copies were left with more than a couple of people en route), but we didn't want to have to cross the American border with such. Given the books arrived the day prior to our departure, we couldn't not drive around with copies to show off (and/or sell and/or give away).
We were heading back for another night with Anne in Saint John, before heading towards the American border (a far shorter drive than how we arrived). Before leaving the Wolfville area, we swung over to Hortonville for the sake of the Acadian Cross and New England Planter's monument. Horton's Landing, which became Hortonville, eventually evolved slightly to one side as Wolfville, and the landing at Hortonville is not only where the New England settlers landed in 1760, but the point from which the majority of Acadians were deported in 1755. Given that a number of the important families in the region (including a couple Christine is descended from, such as the Steeves) are descended from these New England settlers, it does remain a slightly unsettling series of memorials and episode of history. Important to keep in memory, and attempt to properly understand, as best as possible. Still, strange that one has to drive, basically, down a farmer's back lane to get to said monuments (we waved; he waved back from his tractor). And of course, the view (including of Cape Blomidon--which I'm learning to spell without having to look up) was spectacular.
But before the ferry: we managed two stops at a series of stores called Frenchys. Apparently they're famous here. I picked up a new jacket. Apparently we had no choice.
The Dukes of Hazzard, which was completely amazing. And yes, the driver of the General Lee did honk his horn as he drove off the ferry (people actually cheered, including myself).
Is it wrong to suggest that this might have been the highlight of the trip?
Ken Norris, but such wasn't in the schedule), for the sake of two nights in a house from 1790 with Christine's bookbinding pal, Stephanie Gibbs, who was good enough to drive the few hours north to meet up. And when I say "the wilds of Maine," specifically Dresden.
Exhausted from the drive, we lived with little-to-no internet (which had already been driving me mad for a couple of days), and Stephanie prepared the most magnificent meal for us, as we enjoyed a series of wines we'd picked up on our travels, as well as some she'd brought.
The drive was long. We were wearing a bit thin. After a week on the road, it was good to remain somewhere for two nights.
As well: Rose had been leaning towards walking for some time, and managed a series of half-steps while here, which Stephanie was enormously amused by (her first steps are American!). But nothing official, as of yet (it has happened since, though).
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, where we saw some wee lad was celebrating his birthday (which was a slightly uncomfortable thing to walk through). There were ancient train cars, a history of the trains, and other things about trains. Stephanie explained that the rail system in Maine, when it was built, couldn't hook up with the other train lines throughout the United States due to the fact that the tracks (and, therefore trains) were far too narrow, so most if not all of the system was pretty much abandoned. Part of the museum included one of the trains still operating on a section of the track, which rolls a few miles down the track (with a beautiful view of the waterfront) before pausing (to allow photos, and a short walkabout) to return back to the station, clickety-clack, clickety-clack.
Oh, those winding Maine roads. The drive was short, but took absolutely forever.
Once back at the house, Stephanie left for her own drive back home.
We drove and we drove. Rose woke from her morning nap, and cranked until we pulled over for lunch, managing to discover Portsmouth, New Hampshire and their magnificent Portsmouth Book and Bar, which everyone needs to go visit. How incredible was this store! I found a copy of a book of mine on their used book shelf (as well as other titles by Canadian poets Douglas Barbour and A.F. Moritz), and we not only spent a handful of our American dollars on their incredible selection of used books (and had coffee, as we fed Rose some lunch), but left a few copies of the new issue of Touch the Donkey as well (I produced a handful of copies of the third issue a bit early, especially for this grand trip of ours). I finally picked up a copy of C.S. Giscombe's legendary Giscome Road (for example), as well as a variety of other titles.
And the bookstore had free WiFi (glory be!). All was good with the world.
The hotel was lovely (we spoiled ourselves, slightly). We even managed to have dinner in a nearby restaurant as well, which Rose allowed (helped by the fact that we were early enough for the dinner rush that the restaurant was mostly empty). She ate, tossed food around (as babies do) and waved and smiled at everyone. The sun, as you already know, shines down upon her.
We walked down by the water, to see what we could see, along the shores of Lake Champlain, named after that fellow who once wandered by our own little locale, and lost himself an astrolabe...
Outside the flannel store, a jazz-statue pointed at us.
We drove north, and north. Christine didn't want to utilize her cellphone for the sake of directions, so we used our gps (which had been invaluable over the past few days of lack-of-cellphone-service). Unfortunately, instead of the plan we'd had to drive through beautiful New England and cross the border at Cornwall (I'd really been looking forward to crossing the International Bridge there), the gps took us "the fastest route" (dammit) and we crossed somewhere around Sherbrooke, Quebec, having to make our way back west through Quebec and down Highway 401 (we were annoyed by this disruption to our little plan).
There were, admittedly, cute little houses and cute little farms along our Quebec drive.
There are some traditions that should very much be held.
We were home by 4pm, relieved and exhausted. After this, I don't think any of us ever wanted to get into a car ever again.