A trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without a day or two at the beach…or a beach or two. Having been raised on the seacoast of Nova Scotia, we were all about beaching it in the summers as kids and teens. So today we took a lovely figurative stroll along some of the beaches of my youth. Leaving town, we drove past Arisag, Malignant Cove and then We went right around Cape George, often referred to as a Mini Cabot Trail. The vistas were breathtaking; the breeze held a promise of the coming winter months. One could almost feel the ice forming not so far offshore in preparation for the winter freeze. We drew in the lovely salty air and watched the wonderful pounding surf along the craggy coast.
Ballantyne’s Cove is a delightful little fishing settlement that might not have changed much in the last hundred years. A few fishermen worked in their boats at the pier and were more than happy to pass the time of day with us. Expecting to chat with Maritimers, we were quite surprised to hear the thick accent of New Zealanders. A long way from home and yet, fisherman just like any others we have met along our coastal travels. Looking down into their well equipped fishing crafts, I hid a smile when I recognized a large “Wheel” Pizza box over to one side. That brought me right back into at least the last 40 years if not necessarily 2011. The Wheel has been around Antigonish since I was a kid and the Pizza there is known at least nationally if not world-wide.
We then stopped at a quaint little place called “Fish and Ships” for a quick bite to eat and continued our afternoon drive along the coast. Every once in a while I would instruct my husband to stop so that I could whip ,out my camera to capture the scene set so perfectly before me. We hardly encountered another car along the way and chatted happily with our specially chosen tour guide, my lifelong friend and classmate, Barb MacG. Although she too had not lived in Antigonish for most of the last 40 years, her family had never left the area so she is a gem of information on the locals who dwell in these charming homes dotted here and there along the way.
The highlight of our afternoon was a visit to her two lovely Aunts at their summer cottage. And even more to my delight was the discovery that the cottage sits overlooking my favourite beach from my childhood. We always called it Grandpa’s Beach because my great grandparents did indeed own all the land surrounding the beach. There was an old farmhouse there when we were children and no driveable road to the actual beach but every summer, we spent countless days there exploring and wandering down to the cool crisp ocean to swim and play. We often set up tents there having the whole place to ourselves and I remember making fires on the beach to roast hot dogs and boil up fresh corn over the fire. Other beaches we covered in the last few days are different from I was a child; harsh winter storms have changed the topography somewhat but it was great to see. Some anew Mahoney’s Beach, Crystal Cliffs, Jimtown, Cribbons. This delightful little University town also boasts many more beaches close by. Before we haul up stakes here and head on to a new destination, I hope to visit Monk’s head, Pomquet Beach and perhaps Bayfield.
Who would have thought I’d have moved and settled in a tropical island to raise my own children. We certainly have the taste of the sea in our blood.
On the way home, we drove through several new neighborhood developments skirting the town. These home owners took full advantage of the Spring and Summer months by planting and maintaining lovely lush gardens. On a sadder note, I can see that many of the beautiful old homes of my youth have been made into apartments for students or as in my own family home, sold and redeveloped with a rather unsightly storefront replacing the once grand old front porch.
But time does march on. Who knows what folk will see here in another 40 plus years?