We planned to be in Mahone Bay (Nova Scotia, near better-known Lunenburg) for their Wooden Boat Festival, and we weren't disappointed. Mahone Bay is one of the prettiest towns in the world.
This panorama is very wide (there's a smaller version here).
On this trip, we got very lucky with two B&Bs. One was the Fisherman's Daughter in Mahone Bay. This 1840s house is between the two white churches in the panorama above.
The oxen sampled the salt water but didn't like it much. The driver coaxed them as far in as he could, then they reversed and hooked the sled up to a tackle that was used for the launch. They put rocks on the sled so it would sink while the dory floated free.
On the main stage, there was continuous music and other entertainment. We saw Fiddlin' Jim Hamm, a guy playing polkas on his accordion (and people dancing polkas!), and true Nova Scotia-style music by Gypsy Reel, who live in Vermont. One of the band members is Claudine Langille from Martin's River, just a couple of miles from Mahone Bay.
One of the more interesting events of the Wooden Boat Festival is Fast and Furious Boatbuilding, which has a very particular set of rules. The contestants are all allowed to use the same set of materials, with no exceptions:
Each team of two builder/sailors is allowed a maximum of four hours to build a boat, using hand tools only. No plans, they have to keep the design in their heads. Then, a couple of days later, they have to race these creations.
Our innkeeper, Marcia (dark hair in the first photo) and her friend Marlene finished their boat in less than two and a half hours. It was one of only two boats that had no sails. Their plan was to paddle it, and then employ their secret weapon, demonstrated by Marlene in the third photo.
A ghost story began in Mahone Bay during the War of 1812. British warships chased an American privateer, the Young Teazer, into Mahone Bay. She was about to be taken when her master set her afire, choosing to destroy the ship rather than be taken prisoner. The Young Teazer was carrying a lot of ammunition, so the day's events were over quickly. Almost immediately the ship exploded, killing all aboard with a force that was felt for several miles along the shoreline. Since then, there have been stories of the Teazer sailing Mahone Bay. Sailors have reported being nearly run down by the flaming ship, and observers on shore have told of seeing her sail on the bay, only to disappear in a sudden burst of flame.
Every year, the people of Mahone Bay re-enact the burning of the Teazer. Two "British ships" chase the "Teazer" up into the head of the harbor, using a road flare to simulate the burning and a shotgun to simulate the British cannon. There is a small model Teazer, too, but we weren't close enough to see it burn.
Then they have more conventional fireworks – a pretty good show in its own right.
Blue Rocks is nearby, a side trip on the way down to Lunenburg. Not much to do but enjoy the scenery. At the right time of day, the blue color of the rocks is overwhelming. Even in ordinary light, it's obvious.
William and Lila Young operated the Home from 1928 until it was ordered closed in 1945, as a boarding home for unwed mothers. The babies were sold for adoption. Many of the babies died in the Home, and were buried in the same wooden boxes used to deliver groceries to the Youngs.
Cahill's book sparked an interest in people – now adults
– who had been born
and sold in the Ideal Maternity Home. Several of these people held reunions
on the site in 1992 and 1997. At the second one, they dedicated a monument
to the babies who had died there – about one in every ten.
In Peggy's Cove, William de Garthe carved the Fisherman's Monument outside his studio. From left to right, there is a guardian angel watching over a fisherman's family, Peggy of the Cove, and fishermen at work.
The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove is photographed and painted more often than most others in Canada. The post office is inside. Any letters mailed there get a distinctive postmark in the shape of a lighthouse.
The sign warns tourists in very direct language to have proper respect for the sea, but many don't think that applies to them.
Swissair Flight 111 crashed offshore near Peggy's Cove in 1998. There are companion memorials to the victims in Bayswater, where the remains are buried, and in Peggy's Cove at Whalesback. This is the memorial at Bayswater. A plaque there says:
The communities of Peggy's Cove and Blandford were central to the recovery operation following the crash of Swissair Flight 111. The Whalesback and Bayswater Beach Sites were chosen for their proximity to those communities and because they have view lines to the crash site and each other.
The three sites combined – Whalesback, Bayswater, and the actual crash site – make a triangular shape, which is reflected in the design of the memorials; Bayswater Beach is the western tip of the triangle. As you stand at the monument, facing the ocean, the line on your left is a sight line to Whalesback. The line on your right leads to the crash site, which lies on the horizon.
The remains of the passengers and crew are buried at [the Bayswater] site. At the request of family and community members, the quiet, modest memorials are consistent with the coastal environment.
on to Halifax