Wednesday, August 8:
After another WalMart night, we left St. John on the Fundy Coastal Drive, winding along the coast through the trees with periodic glimpses of the bay. Our drive took us through Musquash Marsh and St. George marsh, bringing back memories ofr our trip to Alaska last year as there were numerous patches of fireweed in these boggy areas of low grasses, stunted bushes and dead whitened tree stumps. A light fog drifted in and out as we drove through the communities along the water, finally coming to Black’s Harbour on the edge of Passamaquoddy Bay. While our stop was brief, we did learn that Black’s Harbour is home to the world’s largest sardine industry.
From sardines to chocolate, our next stop was St. Stephen, “Canada’s Chocolate Town” and home to Ganong Chocolates. As luck would have it, the town’s Chocolate Fest was on this week, so of course we had to join in the festivities. Ganong is celebrating their 134th anniversary this year and employs 300 people in St. Stephen. They were offering tours of their plant throughout the day, so we spent a really interesting hour learning all about the mysteries of candy-making. They started off with hard candies, jelly beans and jellies, but of course we were all waiting for the main event – the chocolates! All the steps in the making of Ganong chocolates were demonstrated, but it was when we arrived at the assembly line where the completed chocolates were sorted that everyone starting nudging one another. It looked exactly like the scene from the classic “I Love Lucy” series where Lucy and Ethel are working on the assembly line with increasingly hiliarious antics as the assembly line starts moving faster and the chocolates keep coming. I half expected the ladies on the line to start stuffing chocolates into their bras! Of course, Massey kept asking when we could start sampling, and finally at the end of the tour, they took us to a room with a huge table loaded with samples of all different kinds of chocolates, as well as hard candies and various confections. It was like a feeding frenzy – everyone was milling around the table like sharks, and chocolates were going into mouths, pockets and backpacks with amazing speed. It was truly a chocaholic’s dream!
We had thought we might travel across country through Maine to Quebec, but after a look at the line-up to the U.S. border that stretched all the way down the main street, we decided to stay in Canada. Fortified with a home-made lobster roll at a little diner in St. Stephen, we struck out for Edmondston, New Brunswick, our last Maritime destination. The River Valley Scenic Drive along the St. John River was scenic with forests that turned to lush farmland full of huge fields of potatoes and corn. Rain that had begun as a light drizzle soon changed to a downpour and thus began a set of circumstances that caused us to miss one of the finalists for Canada’s 7 wonders – the Hartland covered bridge, the longest in Canada. With decreased visibility due to the rain came road construction that made it difficult to see signs and exits for the small towns, and to top it all off, I fell asleep. By the time I woke up and realized we should be looking for Hartland, we had already passed it by a good 70 km. So the Hartland bridge will have to wait for another time.
We found a nice little campsite off the road a bit at Paradis de la P’tite Montagne near Saint Andre, where Zorro had his first experience with a fox. All of a sudden, I heard him madly barking and I looked up just in time to see a fox hightailing it into the forest. Luckily, Zorro was on a leash so he couldn’t go after the fox as I don’t suppose he’d been much of a match. But he was pretty proud of himself all the same. As the evening progressed, the weather became increasingly cold, windy and rainy, so we decided it would be movie night, the first movie we’ve watched in our entire trip. So we put “Insomnia” into the laptop staying warm and cozy inside Shoestring, despite the howling wind outside.
posted Sunday August 2007