Monday, August 24, 2015

SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial: St. Margaret's Bay, Nova scotia

The rocky coastline of St. Margaret's Bay is a beautiful place. We drove Route 333 which is part of the Coastal Heritage Trail several  times . On one of those drives we noticed a small sign that said SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial and decided to stop.

SwissAir Flight 111 crashed on September 2, 1998 after taking off from JFK in New York on its way to Geneva Switzerland.  What I didn't remember about the flight is that it went down in St Margaret's Bay about  5 miles from shore near  tiny fishing communities of Bayswater and Peggy's Cove.  The fishing fleet of St. Margaret's Bay were the crash sites first responders and the townspeople of the villages played host to the hundreds of recovery workers and grieving family members that were drawn to the scene.

All 229 people on board perished when the Aircraft hit the water in a collision so hard that houses on shore shook. The plane had changed course to attempt an emergency landing at Halifax International Airport about 50 miles northwest of the crash site.

I remember this event so clearly. There were rumors at the time of sabotage and terrorism. The RCMP Investigation ruled that the crash was caused by a cockpit fire that overwhelmed the aircraft. That investigation is questioned to this day by conspiracy theorists who speculate about a missing treasure in diamonds and other gemstones that were in the cargo hold.  


The monument consists of 2 stone markers placed on a flat expanse of granite.

One has 3 carved slots in the top to represent the 111. it is engraved in English and French:

In memory of

the 229 men women and children aboard SwissAir Flight 111

who perished off these shores

September 2, 1998

They have been joined to the sea and the sky.

May they Rest in peace.

The second stone, a tall oval, stands to its side and reads:

In grateful recognition of

all those who worked tirelessly

To provide assistance in the recovery

 operations and comfort to the families

and their friends in a time of distress.

The monuments are not alone. Those souls are not forgotten. Flowers have been placed on the worn granite stones, painted rocks and coins left near the markers. Visitors sit or walk in quiet contemplation. It is a place of stark beauty and overwhelming sadness.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Winnipesaukee Scenic Train.

On Thursady August 20 th. Bonnie and I visited the Weirs Beach area of Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. 
They have a very nice 1/4 mile wood deck type "Boardwalk. Right next to the boardwalk are a set of train tracks. 

The train tracks are home to the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad-Hobo Line. 

So we both paid for the 2-hour train ride. This ride was along right next to Lake Winnipesaukee from Meredith, NH to Lakeport, NH. 
We past by many beautiful  lakeside homes, parks, forests/woods and beachs. 
And the train also passed by Weirs Beach & Paugus Bay on the way to Lakeport. 
This was a great way to relive the history of train travel within this area of New Hampshire.  
The last stop of the day was to enjoy a nice lunch at the lakeside restaurant overlooking Weirs Beach & Marina. 
We both had a great time visited this part of Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. 

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Dingy in Peggy's Cove.
We have arrived in Nova Scotia and chose to stay in the South Shore region to enjoy the Atlantic Coast.  The landscape is dramatic and much different than the Fundy Coast of New Brunswick. Here we find a rocky granite coast line with exposed boulders and tide pools next to wild flowers and lush grasses. 

Saturday morning we drove around the coast to the Hubbard's Barn Farmers' Market. It was more of an event than we anticipated. We were able to stock up on fresh produce and found coffee from a local micro-roaster all while listening to live Acadian Music.

Peggy's Cove home.
The coastal road is very  twisty here, the coast line full of small  bays and inlets. There of dozens of tiny islands off shore. This irregular coastline is home to many lighthouses including one of the most famous at Peggy's Cove.

Peggy's Cove is a tiny fishing village. It's picturesque buildings and rocky prominences have played  scenes in a number of movies, including some of Fred's Favorites in the Jesse Stone series starring Tom Sellek.  (more about those in a later post)

We found it to be as beautiful as promised (sometimes with great intention) and very crowded.  There are a number of small shops selling local crafts alongside those offering tee shirts and bumper stickers. Amos Pewter has a comparatively large store that offered handcrafted pewter giftware as well as casting demonstrations. My favorite store was Hags on a Hill, a co-op style market for artisans of St Margaret's Bay. There is a great Espresso booth in one of those shops with Adirondack chairs on the back deck. We took the opportunity to sit for a while in that quiet place and enjoy the atmosphere of the cove.
Peggy's Point Lighthouse.
Peggy's Point Lighthouse is impressive. It stands alone on a huge expanse of grey and pink granite. It was built in 1915 and remains an active aid to navigation. The 50 foot tower  is topped with a fixed red light that marks the entrance to St Margarets Bay. We were able to walk around it and enjoy the sounds of the Atlantic crashing against the rocks. A Canadian Coast Guard cutter passed by.
Canadian Coast Guard Cutter on St. Margaret's Bay.

William deGarthe Memorial.
 We also enjoyed the memorial created by local artist and sculptor William deGarthe. The bas relief sculpture is chiseled and carved onto a 30 foot granite rock face next to his home as a monument to the lives of local fishermen. He began the 10 year project in the 1970's at the age of 63. The sculpture includes the images of 32 fishermen, their wives and children, Saint Elmo, and "The Peggy" a young woman rescued from a shipwreck as its sole survivor and married into a local family. Legend states that Peggy's Cove was named after her .  Others, with less imagination, attribute the name to the fact that Peggy's Cove is at the entrance to St. Margaret's Bay. 

Fred enjoying the Peggy's Point Lighthouse grounds.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Coastal Lighthouse Route.

Confederation Bridge from Marine Rail Park, Borden-Carlton PEI.
Fred and I had not planned to visit Prince Edward Island on this trip to the Maritimes but being so close we couldn't let the opportunity pass. We have always loved a day trip, and PEI gave us a perfect excuse for a drive.

We left Hopewell Cape early and headed North. The weather was iffy, very foggy with some misty moisty rain.   The kind of day where you are not sure if it's raining or if the fog is just getting thicker.

We entered PEI via the Confederation Bridge and headed West as we had decided to spend the day exploring the North Cape Coastal Drive. Our goal being to visit as many lighthouses as we could fit into the day. Lighthouse adventures are an enjoyable way to spend a day. Lights are often a bit of a mystery to find since even though they are marked on a map, most don't have addresses and you must guess about access roads and best vantage points for viewing. Many of them are bordered by private or commercial property and require negotiation to see them at all. 

Port Borden Rear Range Light

Port Borden Front Range Light.
The first lights that we saw were the Range lights for the Harbor of Borden-Carlton.  The Front Range Light has been abandoned and neglected since 1997. It is located on the grounds of a cannery so we could only see it from a distance. The Rear Range Light has been moved to the base of the Confederation Bridge in The Marine Rail Park.  The lights were automated in 1957 and then decommissioned in 1997 when the opening of the bridge rendered local ferry service obsolete.

Canola Fields.
The drive West  took us through rural farming communities.  There were potato fields as far as the eye could see. We rounded a corner at the top of a slight grade and came upon these beautiful fields of Canola's bright yellow flowers.  They were like patches of sunshine on this cloudy day.

Summerside gave us the opportunity to see 3 lights.

Indian Harbor Light
We got a distant look at Indian Harbor light across the Dunk River where it meets Hillsborough Bay. This light was constructed and put into service in 1881. Indian Harbor has been automated since 1961 and remains an active aid to navigation.

Summerside harbor Range Light.
Summerside is also home to 3 range lights.  We were able to locate 2 of the 3. These range lights guide vessels to the mouth of Summerside Harbor. They are similar in appearance with square lantern rooms and a white, trapezoidal daymark with a red vertical stripe.

Cape Egmont
Cape Egmont was one of the lighthouses that we had to work a bit to find. The road out to the light is off limits so we found a small Marina nearby that got us close enough to grab a picture. A very optimistic sailor was working on the Key West I.  This light was completed and activated in 1884 as a guide overlooking Northumberland strait. It was electrified and automated in 1958 and remains an active aid to navigation. Cape Egmont was awarded provincial heritage status in 2013.
We left Cape Egmont and headed inland.  The town of O'leary is home to a museum dedicated to Prince Edward Island's  largest crop.   The Canadian Potato Museum was a don't miss for us.  The museum  tells the story of potato farming but also the history of PEI's farming community. Fred enjoyed walking around its large  collection of farm implements and machinery and sampling the best hand cut french fries in the world!
The Canadian Potato Museum. How could we pass it by?

North Cape Light.

Leaving the potato museum we headed straight to North Cape, the northern most point of the island. The North Cape Light provides a guide to protect mariners from what is said to be the longest rocky reef in North America at 1 1/2 miles. The reef divides the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait. North Cape is an impressive structure at the top of a rocky cliff 76 feet above sea level. It was a pleasure to get close enough to see the beauty of its lens.

We were surprised to find the light house surrounded by a Wind Farm and the Wind Energy Interpretive Centre.  The Interpretive Centre has created an interesting and rustic walking path called the Black Marsh Nature Trail that meanders between the rocky red clay cliffs and the field of wind turbines.   There were small birds nesting in holes in the cliffs and a lone Great Blue Heron fishing in the ocean below. 

The Wind Energy Interpretive Center at North Cape.
Back on the road and heading South we located Tignish Run near Judes Point. This decommissioned light was in operation from 1887 to 1997. It has since been moved from the Harbor Entrance to Fishermans Haven Park where the community has adopted it and built a park around it. There is a playground, a boardwalk and a red sand beach.  The light house is open to the public when someone is manning the ice cream shop next door (they were closed).  

Tignish Run
We attempted to locate Old Miminigash Range Light but despite treks down 2 muddy, potholed dirt roads and a hike on the beach we were unsuccessful  in our search.  We did however  locate a car wash.

Northport Range Light.
Our last sighting of the day was Old Northport Range light in Northport. This was another off shore structure but we got a good view of it from the dock of a local restaurant.  Old Northport range was manned from 1885-1961 and now automated remains an active aid to navigation.

We crossed back over the Confederation Bridge tired but happy after a day of exploring. we saw enough of the Island to know that when we visit the Maritimes again we will spend a few more days exploring the shores of Prince Edward Island.
Flags of Canada and Prince Edward Island.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Canadian Railway Museum: New Brunswick

The Canadian Railway Caboose
 Hillsborough New Brunswick is home to The New Brunswick Railway Museum that preserves the history of the Canadian Railroad.  We have always commented on train whistles whenever we hear them. There is something about that sound hanging in the breeze that catches the imagination. It makes us think about journeys and wonder where that train is rolling off to and what it is carrying. So when found the museum by accident, seeing all those train cars in the yard pulled us right off the road.

The visitors center, which is a replica of a rural railway station,  was staffed by two gentlemen that were members of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association. They had a lot of knowledge about the Canadian rail system and  great enthusiasm for everything train.

The museum had a large collection of cars and engines. We were able to walk and sit inside many of them.  It was interesting to see that one of the cars had ties to Schenectady, New York.

There are also two buildings filled with train related artifacts that told a pictorial story of the railroad. We were fascinated by the large rail yard consoles that were full of switches to change the directions of the tracks.  Here we also saw a Velocipede meant for solitary rail travel over shorter distances of track.

There are  two snow plows on display. These plows operated independently leaving the engine free of impediments. One is double sided so that it didn't have to be rerouted to change direction in inclement weather. The other is a Jordan Spreader which was advertized as a Spreader,  Flanger, Scraper, Bank Builder,  and Snow Plow. Quite the versatile piece of equipment!  I am sure that both were necessary to keep the rails open in the Canadian Winter.

This double bladed snow plow can be used in either direction.
Fred particularly enjoyed the railroad firefighting equipment.  Each tank was able to hold 10-12,000 gallons of water and one had a self contained fire pump.  The flat bed car in between was used to hold hoses and other related fire fighting tools.

Vintage Railroad Firefighting equipment.
There are rails set up in the yard and we were able to take a short ride on a work wagon that would have been used to transport rail layers after a day of carrying timber and swinging heavy hammers at metal spikes.
Fred tried out the drivers seat of this retired Canadian Railroad Engine.
Fred and I kept thinking of his Grandfather Bonneau as we walked through the exhibit.  Pipere had worked for the railroad in Canada before moving to the United States.  We don't know what it was he did for the railroad but being in the museum sure made us curious.

We couldn't pass up visiting the Creaky Cranky and thinking how much our boys would love it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cape Enrage, New Brunswick

Cape Enrage Lighthouse
 Cape Enrage is home to one of the oldest lighthouses on the Fundy Coast of New Brunswick.   The original light was commissioned and built in 1840.

Cape Enrage is considered a very hazardous area for marine traffic.  The Cape got its name because of a rock reef that causes very turbulent waters during Fundy's dramatic tidal changes. The reef extends out into the Bay almost halfway to Nova scotia.
Walk down a series of metal staircases to reach to fossil rock strewn beach.

The light was built as an aid to navigation for a well traveled shipping route.  Ships heading toward Moncton, the Peticodiac River and Shepody Bay settlements  all passed the dangerous coastline of Cape Enrage.  Shipbuilding and stone quarrying were important industries in the upper Bay at that time.

Cape Enrage light house and fog horn.
Cape Enrage boasts two beaches, one of sand and one covered with rocks containing fossils that have fallen from the eroding cliffs. The beaches are only navigable at low tide.

Fossil Rocks
Cape Enrage has recently added 2 attractions, Zip-line and Rappelling adventures.
The Zip-line is a 600 foot ride across the rocky coast.
The rappelling is down a 142 foot cliff that hangs over the Bay.
We did not do either but people looked like they were having fun.

Shipyard Park
On our way back to the campground we passed Harvey Bank Shipyard Park. The park was built to honor a local heritage of shipbuilding. It was an interesting site and was also home to the Anderson Hollow Lighthouse which was originally located on a breakwater in Waterside, New Brunswick.

Anchor in Shipyard Park

Anderson Hollow Lighthouse

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Covered Bridges of New Brunswick

View of point Wolfe bridge from a scenic overlook in Fundy National Park.
New Brunswick is home to 60 covered bridges most of which are maintained by the provinces Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.  We have enjoyed walking and driving a few of them and learning how to give a polite toot of the horn when part way through to warn other cars that someone is using the one way path.

Albert County, where we stayed, has 9 bridges. 

Crooked Creek #3

Crooked Creek #3 on Crooked Creek Road spans the Crooked Creek. That sounds like a nursery rhyme doesn't it?

It was built in 1945 and is 93 feet long.  The bridge is only 10 1/2 feet tall which seemed very short to us in the truck.   I guess we are used to looking at clearances more carefully since we started driving a 12 1/2 foot rig.   You will be happy to know that it didn't slow down the Fed-Ex truck at all.

Sawmill Creek #0.5
 Sawmill Creek #0.5 is no longer in service as a driving road but is part of a walking trail that winds along route 114 through farmland with coastal views.  it was built in 1908 and is 104 feet long.

Point Wolfe
Point Wolfe is located on a turn in Fundy National Park. It is at the sight of an old saw mill. The red bridge is 94 feet long. The current bridge was rebuilt in 1992 using the design of the original.
Point Wolfe crosses a deep ravine

Fred in the window at Sawmill Creek
We have been delighted to cross these wooden wonders, to see the exposed beams in their roofs, to look out their windows and to drive across their wooden floors.  I am so happy that New Brunswick values them and is preserving these pieces of history.
I love the sound of driving on the wood floors of the bridges.