Thursday, August 13, 2009

Days 3 and 4

Day 3 - Monday the 10th

"If it's Monday, this must be Moncton..."

We woke up to a steady downpour outside. I drove out to a supermarket to pick up some fresh muffins and cinnamon roll buns for breakfast - thought it'd be nice to have that instead of splurging on some greasy stuff at a fast food joint.

Still raining when we got out into the van and I didn't have much hope we'd get a lot done today besides driving as the forecast was for more rain throughout the day. To my delight, the rain let up as we were approaching Grand Falls in northwestern New Brunswick, so I hopped off the highway and parked at the Malabeam Info Centre so we could explore the Grand Falls gorge. Spectacular, and I'm sure it would have been even more spectacular if it was bright out to accentuate the sparkling water. Right on cue, it started raining again just as we were done with the gift shop after exploring the gorge.

We then drove along a side road down to Hartland, home of the "world's longest covered bridge" -- if you've got a little extra time, I always recommend taking a side road not far off from the main highway as it's usually a far more interesting drive. I've been on the newer main highway in New Brunswick, and while it's nice and all that, let me tell ya that the side roads are infinitesimally more interesting to go through. It tells me more about the local people and I enjoy seeing the different ways of life and the tiny hamlets along the way.

Anyhoo, back to the topic. The bridge was nice, it was narrow enough to require a stop sign on both sides of the bridge so drivers had to take turns going through the bridge.

(click on the pictures to see it in full size)

Kitschy, sure, but the kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed it.

After the bridge, I decided to hop back onto the main highway so we could get into Moncton by a reasonable time so we could decide if we wanted to go ahead with The Hopewell Rocks with the weather being uncertain. After checking into the hotel, it was still raining and we felt kinda tired after being at the gorge earlier in the day, so we elected to skip the Hopewell Rocks for now, will probably go there on our way back home. The big kids have already experienced the Rocks and the little kids won't miss it if we end up not going. We ended up going to the mall that was next to the hotel, bagged some good deals and some new clothes for the little boys, then picked up some ready-made foods to bring back to the hotel to eat. When you're on "kid time", sometimes you just don't feel like bringing kids to a restaurant as they get all hopped up and it's a little more relaxing to feed them and let them run loose in a large hotel room.

Tuesday the 11th

What a great day.

We woke up to a very wet outdoors as it apparently rained cats and dogs overnight. Fortunately, it had stopped by the time we got up, so it made loading up the van much easier. Our first stop was in Shediac, a town on the Acadian coastline, and we added another notch on our one-degree-of-separation-from-HD game by climbing up on the 'worlds largest lobster'.

After the stop in Shediac, we hopped onto the Confederation Bridge for the 12-km drive over the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Still cool to take the bridge even after a half-dozen trips over there by now. Once off the bridge, we stopped at the Gateway Village to let the little kids run wild at the playground and the big kids to go shopping. Here's a piece of the bridge...

After the Gateway Village stop, we headed over to meet up with Pene's cousin and her son for lunch. They have a little cottage that is right on the shoreline and with the tide being low, it was a treat to walk along the coastline and dig up some shells and rocks to keep as souvenirs, an enthralling time for the kids in particular. Definitely more interesting than the typical tourist traps. Had a nice lunch and conversation to catch up on the news as we missed seeing her the last time we were on the Island in June for the funeral of Pene's grandmother.

Afterwards, we went for a drive through the countryside (by now, the sun was fully out and the skies had cleared up) to Charlottetown, explored a couple of minor attractions and checked into our hotel.


Puffy said...

Great pictures! Fun places!