A Quick Visit to Rural Quebec

I spent a few days in rural Quebec this summer staying with my friend Rockchick and her boyfriend Rockguy, and their cats — we mustn’t forget them. We were all off to the country wedding of some great friends of ours (and what a wedding it was! But that’s another story).

Here’s a little taster of rural Quebec in August. And, yes, you do want to go there.

A jaunt to Hudson. Lots of mooching around shops and flea markets. :-)

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And lunch at the Willow Inn, with a view over the Lake of Two Mountains to Oka.

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Vintage car rally in a parking lot we stumbled upon in St. Lazare (oh, my brother Carguy would’ve given an arm and a leg to be there).

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August is corn season. You can buy it at roadside stalls in front of farms all over the countryside. There’s nothing like eating corn that’s been picked that morning. It’s enough to get me back to Quebec every August.


A walk in the woods in St. Lazare.

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The wedding was at a fantastic sugar shack restaurant in the countryside called Le Pied de Cochon. The theme was lumberjack chic. Well, it would be wouldn’t it? Oh, and the food was AMAZING.

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Maple cream profiterole tower drizzled with maple caramel. Lit with sparklers. For the wedding cake. Oh my, oh my.


There was a garden party the next day. The orchestra were music student buskers my friends found on the streets of Montreal and the food was catered by the good people of Le Pied de Cochon.

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Being as the venue was on a river, some of the guests arrived Canadian style.

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Oh, and I mustn’t forget the cats.


Newfoundland Flowers

I love photographing flowers, so on my summer trip to Newfoundland I could often be found in a field with my camera, getting close to flowers, not to mention bees, ladybirds, and butterflies. We all get so caught up in the “big picture” in our busy lives, it’s good to remember the beauty of small things.

Fireweed was turning the fields mauve all along the coast.

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And blue dotted the fields everywhere, in irises, harebells, vetch, and, of course, blueberries which were just ripening.

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The heady scent of wild roses wafted over the August fields.

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And white! Labrador Tea, daisy, yarrow, roses….

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Everywhere, just everywhere, beautiful lupins coming into flower.

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Sunny yellow flowers lit up the green fields and covered rocks with summer.

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And every now and then, a touch of red.

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berries  flowersAnd random mixes.

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Nature is generous. We should take some time to notice.

A Weekend in and Around Ottawa

So, it was goodbye to New Brunswick and Cuz K, and onto another (very small) airplane to head to Ottawa via Montreal to visit my great friend, Loon, and her boyfriend, Walter. FYI, here’s the plane.

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We spent a lovely day mooching around Ottawa, hitting the market (where we ate the best fresh blueberries and freshly baked bagels) and Parliament Hill, and ending up with some huge pina coladas on the deck of the Baja Grill overlooking Dow’s Lake.

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The next day Loon and I headed across the provincial border to the pretty village of Wakefield, Quebec on the Ottawa River, where we did more mooching, a bit of early Christmas shopping, and eating (at Kaffe 1870). Loon insisted we poke our nose into the famous Black Sheep Inn music venue too before we left. My kind of holiday.

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The next day it was back on the plane to London. I’m already planning my next Canadian jaunt.




On the Road in New Brunswick

New Brunswick was a revelation for me. I wasn’t a stranger to Canada’s east coast, what with being a Newfoundlander with many family connections in Nova Scotia, but I’d never spent much time in the only officially bilingual province in Canada. So, Cuz K (a Newfoundlander who’d grown up in New Brunswick) made sure my summer visit was going to change all that.

But first, we had a fabulous cousins’ party to attend to when our cousin Beergirl arrived from Halifax, well supplied with coolers of beer and other alcoholic delights. Oh, did I mention that Cuz K has the most amazing view from her house over the St John River in Nackawic?

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Other the the beautful countryside, Nackawic is reknowned world over (according to local signage) for being the location of the world’s biggest axe (only to be rivalled, I think by the world’s large hockey stick in Duncan, BC — I’ve got a picture of that too).

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Shaking off the vestiges of our jolly evening, it being August and holiday time, we packed up our swim gear and headed to the beach the next day.  The sun was hot and glorious, the ocean fresh and reviving, and there was lots and lots of space. And it was a Saturday in August. Am I going to tell you the name of the beach? Would you tell me? (Okay, okay — it’s the New River Beach Provincial Park).

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After the beach we headed into the pretty seaside town of St. Andrews for an early supper of fish and chips washed down with mouth-watering Bloody Caesars (and a Virgin Mary for the driver) on the outside terrace at The Gables. We finished off our day with a walk along the pier as the sun began to set.

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At King’s Landing, New Brunswick

After my wonderful holiday in Newfoundland I hopped a (very tiny) plane and headed to Fredricton, New Brunswick to meet up with my cousin, Cuz K, who I’d be staying with for a few days in Nackawick. The first stop on Day 1 was the historical site of KIng’s Landing, on a glorious summer day.

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Around St. John’s, Newfoundland

My last couple of days in Newfoundland were spent in and around the capital St. John’s. And by “capital” you’re thinking concrete skyscrapers, and modernistic tower blocks, you’re in the wrong city. In St. John’s the key word is “colour”.

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One of my favourite parts of St. John’s is the fishing village of Quidi Vidi which hugs the harbourfront.

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We stopped by the excellent Mallard Cottage restaurant in Quidi Vidi for dinner one night. The restaurant is tucked into a tiny cottage overlooking the harbour. One of the best meals I had in Newfoundland.

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The next day I had a good wander around the city, enjoying the relaxed vibe and the gorgeous weather.

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Queenie’s husband Wizard Rob and I headed south one day to get me on a whale boat. We stopped by pretty Petty Harbour on our way.

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Then down to Bay Bulls to catch the whale watching boat at Gatherall’s. We were on the look out for hump whales and puffins.

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Gatherall’s: http://www.gatheralls.com

Mallard Cottage: http://www.mallardcottage.ca

A Newfoundland Road Trip

I’ve been very remiss these past couple of months. I haven’t finished posting the photos from my summer road trip around the outports of Newfoundland with my cousin Queenie. Oh, I’ve been meaning too… but, you know, life.

So here it is, the penultimate post about my wonderful Newfoundland holiday. Then tomorrow… marvelous St. John’s. Oh, and do me a favour? Let’s just let Newfoundland be our little secret, okay?

A short drive along the coast from Eastport is the outport village of Salvage (pronounced Sal-VAAAGE), with a stong ‘A’. Canadian radio host Michael Enright calls the 5.6 mile walk between Eastport and Salvage “the most beautiful in the world”. Well, I’m not going to argue. We spent a couple of hours exploring the town, and the location provided an embarrassment of riches for my camera.

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We left Easport a few days later and headed along the northern coast, through the remote seaside town of Wesleyville. The weather had turned misty, making for some evocative images.

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Just down the road we found the fantastic art shop, Norton’s Cove, run by artist Janet Davis and her husband. Have a look at her website: http://www.nortonscovestudio.com where you can buy her unique Newfoundland artwork.

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We made an overnight stop in my hometown of Grand Falls, where we caught up with relatives and had a wander around the town. I even caught my cousin’s son make a home run at the local LIttle League game.

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Then we hit the road again the next day, for our final stop, St. John’s, the oldest English-founded city in North America.