We have had some wonderful days here in the valley. Lots of memories already being made!
To just briefly keep you up to date, we have been settling into our hotel and getting over some jet lag. You wouldn’t think that the jet lag traveling from Vancouver would be that bad, and it’s not, but we have all been sleeping in late (even the kids)! So, we have had some late starts to our days.
For the last couple of days, we have mainly been exploring the area around Wolfville. There are a couple of used bookstores that I remember going to as a child and they are still here! I am a huge fan of used bookstores and to be able to meander through the shelves of the same bookstores I frequented as a child brings back lots of memories. I remember my Dad taking me to the Odd Books bookstore here in Wolfville as a child because he wanted to trade all these Hardy Boy, Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins books I had torn through for some Time-Life Science books. Dad got very annoyed at the bookseller because the owner wouldn’t trade with my dad. The bookstore already had so many and they didn’t sell very well. Annoyed, Dad ended up buying the Science books anyway.
One of our discoveries was the Annapolis Cider company which had a shop on Main St. This establishment was not around when I was younger, so we stopped in to partake of some of their cider. It was delicious! They had a whole variety of ciders and, honestly, they were all delicious! The kids enjoyed some non-alcoholic cider and several glasses of corn nuts! We are definitely going back there.
Yesterday, we crawled out of bed and made our way to Grand Pre. Grand Pre was one of the areas where the Acadians were expelled from the Annapolis Valley after the Treaty of Utrecht, which gave these lands to the British. The British, not thrilled with the idea of French-speaking people in the area and pressured to provide lands to their own settlers, evicted the Acadians, sending them by ship to the American Colonies. Many of the Acadians eventually ended up in New Orleans where the term “Cajun” originated. Grand Pre is the focal point for that history and it made a great stop for the kids. They each got their own activity booklet and we spent a good morning helping them to complete the activities to learn more about the history. It was a beautiful morning wandering around the historical gardens and church.
Highlighting dramatically how things have changed since I grew up, we visited one of the many wineries that have spring up. When I was younger there was only one winery in the area. Since then, the Annapolis Valley has diversified to become a massive wine producing area with small wineries built all over the valley. We visited one of the vineyards recommended to us by my Uncle Paul and were not disappointed. The highlight of the visit, however, was not the wine! In the middle of the rows of grape vines, was a red British style phone booth. When we entered the phone booth, all of us crammed in there like sardines, we discovered that we could actually make free phone calls anywhere in North America! Naturally, we had to call the Grandparents! It was quite surreal to be calling people from a phone booth in the middle of a vineyard.
Following that, we traveled through the places I frequented as a child. The village of Canning, my old elementary school and the farm I grew up on, traveling past my Grandparent’s old car repair shop and original home on the way. We finally ended up at the old farmhouse I grew up in. It is still being run as an equestrian training centre by an old friend of the family and we had some very pleasent moments reminiscing with Susan Fraser, who now owns the farm. She was a good friend of my parents and it was nice for the kids to hear some more about my parents and how respected and loved they were by the community. We spend lots of time wandering the property, traipsing through the fields and petting the horses in the barn. My old treehouse was still there, which thrilled the children.
We have also had the opportunity to visit my childhood friend, Nicholas and his family. We spent a relaxed evening with them. The highlight for the kids was the motorized hoverboard they owned. They spend a lot of time playing on that. The kids also had the chance to visit the baby chickens in the chicken barns they own. Siena and Liam both got to hold the baby chickens, which made them very happy! However, some cleanup was involved afterward.
We also had the chance to visit with my Uncle Paul and Aunt Ann, who graciously invited us over to go swimming.
All in all, it has been a busy but relaxing start to our visit in Wolfville.