Montreal and Ottawa

Today Duke and I started week four of our six week 2012 road trip.

Sunday we drove along the St Lawrence River from Quebec to Montreal.

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Monday we walked all over Montreal.

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We bought a one day Metro pass and went out to the Olympic Park. the Olympics were in Montreal in 1976. That was the year of Nadia Comaneci. Remember her? I had forgotten, but building the Olympic stadium cost over twice what it was originally projected to cost. Montreal just finished paying it all off in 2006.

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 The swimming pavilion was pretty amazing. It has 6 pools. In this picture you can see the olympic swimming pool, the diving pool and the raised part is the synchronized swimming pool where we saw the Canadian Olympic team practising. The coaches can watch the swimmers under water through the glass sides.

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This is the olympic stadium. it didn't have a roof when the olypics were here but now the roof is held up by an enormous tower.

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A funicular goes up the right hand side in this picture and we rode it to the top for  a view of all of Montreal.

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We left Montreal on Tuesday morning and drove to Ottawa. We toured te parliament building and even got too watch a speech in the House of Commons

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This morning we left Ottawa and drove west. Tonight we are in a fishing cabin on Lake Nipissing. We are going to go fishing for three days. There is no cell phone coverage here but we do have wireless internet in our cabin. Isn't technology amazing! Our view out our front window is very peaceful and beautiful.

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Quebec

We spent Friday and Saturday nights in Quebec City. Friday we drove from Grand Falls (Grand-Sault) into Quebec and then southwest along the St Lawrence Sea Way. There were lots of dairy farms and houses that all looked freshly painted. They were white with colorful red or green or blue trim and then an occasional blue one with yellow trim or some other happy combination. Lots of bright red tin roofs too.

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Along the water there were great picnic spots every few miles but when we found this one we had to stop and use it!

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French is very definitely the language of Quebec. The only people we heard speaking English were tourists. and unlike in the rest of Canada where the signs are in French and English, in Quebec they are only in French. I used Bonjour and Merci a lot but beyond that I had to switch to English. People are very friendly and helpful.

We stayed in a wonderful hotel ( Hotel Pur) that Duke got on Priceline for around $100 a night. The halls are all black and the room numbers are painted on the doors in foot tall orange numbers. When we walked into our room I had to take a picture.

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We walked and walked and walked all  over the city exploring the fortress, the old city, the narrow streets and the parks. A while ago I read David Hackett Fisher's book Champlain's Dream and it was fun to see the city Champlain founded in 1608.

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We talked to the organist in this Presbyterian Church which is the oldest in Quebec. He explained that the Church was founded by the Scottish Regiment who defended Quebec from the Colonists.

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Quebec City has been wonderful now we are on to Montreal.

PEI Ancestors and heading west – Road Trip 2012

 We spent three nights on Prince Edward Island. The first two were in the Capital, Charlottetown and the last was in a B&B in Kensington.

While we were browsing in Charlottetown we talked to a shop owner who told us a cruise ship was coming in the next day. Apparently they get about 35 cruise ships a year. Before we left Charlottetown on Wednesday morning we drove by the wharf where we had dinner our first night. As you can see the cruise ship dwarfs the restaurant.

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We drove west on the Island to the towns of Hunter River and Hazel Grove. The plots marked "Heirs of E.C, Bagnall" in Hazel Grove on the map below would have been where my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother lived before they moved west with their family.
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 My Great Great grand parents are buried in this cemetery.

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 Prince Edward Island is verdant green with startlingly red soil.

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And of course it is the setting for the book Anne of Green Gables.

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A lot of the restaurants and sites weren't open yet. They only open during the tourist season of July and August. We had a hard time finding a resaurant that was open for us to have dinner Wednesday night but finally found one and had a great dinner. We saw a couple of foxes as we were searching.

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On Thursday morning we left Prince Edward island and headed west. We spent Thursday night in Grand Falls (Grand-Sault). The falls in the middle of town were Niagra like. During the summer you can zip line right over the gorge!

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We spent the night in a lodge a few miles outside of town. We were able to take a hike around the lake. Unfortunately their German restaurant wasn't open yet.

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Friday morning we left the Province of New Brunswick and headed into Quebec.

Road Trip 2012 – From Maine to Prince Edward Island

As I write this on Wednesday morning, May 23 we are starting week three of our road trip. We spent last Saturday night in Bucksport, Maine, just south of Bangor. Bucksport is at the mouth of the Penobscot River.

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We had our best restaurant meal of the trip so far right across the street from our hotel. Duke had steak and lobster and I had giant scallops. Mmmmmmmm.

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Before this trip I had never heard of Fiddleheads. They are a local delicacy, the curled tops of ferns, and are only available in the spring. I really want to taste them  I thought I was going to in Bucksport. They were the vegetable of the day and the waitress said they only had one order left. But by the time she put my order in they were sold out for the night.

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We crossed the border into Canada at Vanceboro, Maine. We must look harmless because the Canadian border patrol guy let us through after just a couple of questions. He didn't even ask us our names or look at our passports.

We spent Sunday night in Fredericton,  the capital of New Brunswick. The weather the last few days has been fantastic. As we wandered around Fredericton on Sunday the temperature was 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

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From Fredericton we drove down along the Bay of Fundy. We were in St John as the tide was turning. We saw the eddies in the water as the water was changing its direction of flow.

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The last few days we have seen millions of dandelions. The fields are yellow with them.

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The Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island opened in 1996. It is 13 kilometers long. The toll of $44.25 is only collected as you leave the island.

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My Grandmother Marion Bagnall Gibson was born on Prince Edward Island and I have always wanted to visit here. We spent our first two nights here in Charlottetown, the capital. We are staying in a B&B and have been able to walk everywhere. The first night we had lobster and PEI mussels on the wharf. They were great!

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Tuesday morning we did some research in the provincial archives which are on the top floor of this building. We located exactly where my Grandmothers family lived and where some of the family is buried. We also found out more about the original Samuel Bagnall who came to Philadelphia from England. He was a loyalist and ended up here in Prince Edward Island after the revolution.

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 Today we are headed out to explore the countryside.

New England – Our Road Trip 2012

As we left Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Wednesday morning we were beginning week three of our 2012 summer road trip. We spent Wednesday night in Groton, Connecticut. The Naval Submarine Base in New London is just up the road from where we stayed. There is a museum next to the base and we go to go  onto the first nuclear powered submarine, The Nautilus. The Nautilus is the first vessel to complete a submerged transit beneath the North Pole on August 3, 1958.

Just getting to go onto a submarine was very cool, but seeing the extremely cramped quarters and imagining the pride the sailors who served there must have had was a great experience.

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 Foxwood and Mehegan Sun, the two biggest Casinos in the U.S. are near Groton too. Of course we had to check them out. I especially liked Mohegan Sun it was beautiful.

 On Thursday we headed towards Boston. First we stopped at the capital of Rhode Island to visit the capital building. I learned that the official name of the state of Rhode Island is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

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 From Providence we went to Quincy Massachusetts. I have always wanted to see where John and Abigail Adams, and John Quincy Adams lived. The Adams National Historic Park includes the houses where they were born and the house where they lived in later years. I read and really enjoyed biographies of both Adams presidents and also of Abigail. They are probably my two favorite presidents.

Four generations of Adams lived in the Old House at Peacefield. The last Adams to live there was Brooks Adams, great grandson of John Adams who lived there until 1927 when the houses were turned into a historical park. As a result the houses contain the furniture, paintings and other stuff used by all the Adams. It was amazing to see the desk that Adams used to write the Massachusetts Constitution and all the other things that figured so prominently in our history.

On top of that we had two fantastic guides. Their knowledge and passion about what they were showing us actually brought tears to my eyes as I thought about what this great family did for our Country. If you haven't read John McCullough's biography of Adams or watched the movie you should!

The tour of hte Adams houses and the fantastic library built to house their books were absolute highlights of the trip.

 

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This is the Old House at Peacefield

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Our Passionate and knowledgeable tour guide of the house.

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The library is the building on the left.

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 We spent Thursday night with my brother and his wife near Boston. They have a new outdoor pizza ovena and my brother made us really delicious pizza for dinner. It was a wonderful treat to get to spend some time with them and visit with them at their house. On Friday morning Charlie went ot work and Annie took us for a hike in a beautiful park near their house.

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Friday morning we went to the New Hampshire state capital in Concord. There was a school group touring when we were there so we learned a lot. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is the largest in the country. They have 400 representatives. When the guide told the fourth graders that the representatives are each paid $100 per year there was a gasp of shock!

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Friday night we spent with our friends Marc and Christina who have just moved to White River Junction Vermont. It was fun to visit with them and we got to see the outside of the house they just bought. They don't actually close on it until July.

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Saturday we visited another state capital, this time Montpelier, Vermont. It was small but beautiful. Montpelier has the smallest population of any state capital, only about 8,000 people.

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Last night we spent the night in Bucksport Maine, A beautiful town right on the coast. We had a fantastic seafood dinner. As soon as i post this blog we are headed up the road into Canada.

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