Friday, April 3, 2015

Photo Highlights of our London trip

Some of my favourite, somewhat "artistic" images of from our recent trip to England.
Shadows at Covent Garden
Kensington Park tree at sunset

Talbot's Study
Albert Statue at Sunset
The first photo (reproduced)
Mugs on Portobello Road
Ceramic Tiles on Portobello Road

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cape Breton overwhelms expectations...

Awesome tree on the way to Uisage Bahn Falls
We were quite certain Cape Breton would meet our very high expectations when we set out for a week-long visit last Saturday but we were amazed at how easily and how far Cape Breton actually those expectations.

What a spectacular place. Already blessed by nature with some of the most spectacular sights (and sites) in the world, Cape Breton burnishes its natural splendour with kindness, comfort and great food.

Even though we had talked about spending a week on the Island for more than a year, we only got down to planning and booking the trip 10 days before our scheduled departure. Add the fact that we planned to take our dog (an 85-pound Golden Doodle) and we figured we would face some significant challenges finding places to stay.

White Point, about half way out
Yes, we had to do some searching, with a number of hotels, inns and B&Bs on our list either having no vacancy or no rooms for dog-loving guests. But we ended up finding four places all around the perimeter of the Island that not only suited but turned out to be wonderful places to stay.

This allowed us to move about freely and get a taste of all the different areas of Cape Breton. We stayed at the Bras D'Or Lakes Inn in St. Peter's (in the south), McIntyre Cottages in Baddeck Inlet (central), Castle Rock Inn in Ingonish Ferry (east coast) and the Capeway Bed & Breakfast in Troy (south west).

We were awed by Cape Breton's shorelines and its mountains and were most taken (by far) by White Point, at the north-east tip of Cape Breton.

Uisage Bahn Falls
We hadn't planned to visit White Point but decided, on a whim, to check it out. What a great choice. The Point reaches far out into the water where the Bay of the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean meet and its rugged terrain is unbelievably beautiful. It takes perhaps 20 minutes to walk to the farthest accessible point and, when we went on a Wednesday afternoon, we had the place entirely to ourselves (except for one man picking wild blue berries).

Well, we had to share it with cormorants, sea gulls, ravens and bald eagles. But we weren't complaining.

From White Point, we drove on to Bay of St. Lawrence, an amazingly picturesque fishing village with a fantastic seafood hut called, you guessed it, "The Hut". Great food, very friendly service. Spectacular locale.

A Boat at the Harbour at White Point
We spent seven very busy, very happy days on Cape Breton, walking the many trails, visiting numerous arts and crafts places, and eating the great food. We don't feel like we saw even a small portion of what the Island has to offer and we'd love to go back to some of the places we did manage to visit.

I have realized now that we took way too many photos of late afternoon sun sparkling on placid waters and of Marlee Marie in various states of joy as she found herself off-leash on long wilderness trails, at the seaside or along the banks of various creeks and rivers. Even worse, my video taking ended up being a complete disaster, with lots of guard rails and sky and little of the scenery as it flew past the car.

Oh well, the trip was about making memories, not taking photos. And I still think we got at least a couple of good ones along the way.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To the lighthouse...

Just a brief note to introduce my favourite photo from our recent trip to Caraquet. I won't say anything more, other than that it was taken at the light house at the tip of Miscou Island, which is located where the waters of the Baie des Chaleurs and the Gulf of the St. Lawrence meet off northeast New Brunswick.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hotel Paulin makes Caraquet a great place to visit

Some photos from our recent trip to Caraquet, a lovely town on the Acadian Peninsula in the northeast corner of New Brunswick. We stayed at the Hotel Paulin, hosted by Gerard Paulin and Karen Mersereau, to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary and, to put it bluntly, enjoyed the best meal we've had in those ten years.

Hotel Paulin
The Hotel itself is a gorgeous, 18th Century building that has been in the Paulin family for more than 100 years. Carefully restored and updated, it offers magnificent suites, many with amazing views of the Baie de Chaleur. Add to that the culinary expertise of chef Karen Mersereau and you've got a fabulous facility that, all by itself, is worth a visit.

The town of Caraquet is nice enough, with lovely views of the Baie and miles of rocky beaches to enjoy. Unfortunately, Highway 11 runs right through the heart of the town, bringing with it a constant, noisy parade of transport trucks, motorcycles and other types of vehicles that make it hard to enjoy the town.
The Baie de Chaleur from our window

Karen and Gerard

Deck chairs outside the Paulin
We also found that, while Caraquet offers a number of really nice eating establishments, they are scattered along the main drag, getting lost in the shuffle of gas stations, fast food joints and sometimes tumble down houses.

Still, the culinary delights provided by Karen and Gerard at the Paulin are amply complemented by the food at places like Mitchan Sushi, Deja Bu, Restaurant Le Crapet, and Grains de Folie, making Caraquet a worthwhile place to visit.
Shimmering Baie de Chaleur

And the Hotel Paulin's suites are first class, large and quiet, beautifully furnished in a wonderful mixture of traditional elegance and modern convenience.
Exquisite Floral Touch