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Trip Report It was a lovely week in Nova Scotia and PEI

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1. Who we are: three friends of long standing and the granddaughter of one, age 11.
2. We flew on different flights to Halifax. Just a quick observation that Delta managed to make all of us late.
3. Day One: Inn on the Lake near the Halifax airport. I have posted a review on TA of this and the other properties we visited. It was a great choice although the bar was closed (so was the liquor store in the airport) when we arrived and the badly needed drink could not be found. The convenience was great, the room was super and we had a very comfortable night. It was especially convenient as our flights had all been delayed and we did not arrive together. The hotel's shuttle service and proximity made it the best choice for us. An added bonus was a very good breakfast featuring fresh strawberries!
Day Two: After the berry fest we headed to Pictou. We walked around this very charming little town for about an hour. We had what was probably the worst meal of the trip in the Salt Water Grille next to the Hector. Not recommended, despite the fact that it was staffed with delightful servers.
We drove over to Caribou and caught the ferry. We immediately made our way to the third deck where the COWS shop was and began our effort to try all the flavors. We fell a bit short because one of our number insisted on having Messie Bessie everyday. I am not naming names, but cmcfong will be dieting for a while. The ferry ride was about an hour and a quarter long and quite pleasant. We all ooo'd and ahh'd as we watched the beautiful PEI on the approach. We drove straight to Dalvay by the Sea. The ride was longer and slower than we had expected, but the views were beautiful. To my mind the central fact of PEI is the strong color everywhere. The red soil, the incredibly green grass and trees and the blue skies punctuated by the glorious wildflowers (pink,white, blue) and the roses/peonies are just simply breathtaking. It is a calm beauty not one of stark or dramatic sights. The Gentle Island is a fitting nickname for PEI.
I handled all the bookings so my friends were not prepared for Dalvay by the Sea and they were thrilled with the surprise. It is beyond wonderful. We had a three bedroom/2 bath cottage on the lake. All of our meals were included in the rate. Beach towels, croquet equipment, kayaks, etc were also included in the rate. Bike rentals are separate. The cottages are new and quite attractive. The beds are very good, firm and with high quality linens. As mentioned the review is posted on TA. We went straight to dinner on arrival. The food was very, very good. Although the menu didn't change from day to day, there were specials and a wide variety from which to choose. Every single meal I had was excellent. I love fresh halibut and salmon and the chef has mastered both! The scallop appetizer with celery puree and sweet potato chips was wonderful. And, omigosh, the lobster salad! Whew, and to top it all off they had an incredible tea (what was I saying about my diet??????). After dinner we enjoyed a leisurely walk down the beach. Miles and miles of it and we were the lone strollers. Paradise pure and simple.
Day Three: My friends and the granddaughter headed to Anne's Land. The granddaughter is 11, has waist length red hair and the fair coloring of the Scot/Irish....plus a fascination with Anne of Green Gables. Apparently the first person they saw there took one look at her and said "Welcome home, Anne!" She enjoyed the double takes and outright stares, particularly from many of the Japanese visitors. I did not go as I have previoiusly visited there and wanted to go biking instead. I rented a bike from the hotel. It was well maintained and in very good shape. The man in charge of rentals was quite careful about adjusting it for my comfort. I also got a helmet and an ice cold water bottle. The ride was wonderful, I did around 28 miles. No coasting, the way is flat. I had hoped to take the Confederation Trail but it is substantially farther from teh hotel than I had thought and the bike was just not going to fit in the trunk. As it happens it was not an issue. I had a great ride. I loved that I rode without seeing litter or roadkill, both of which can significantly detract from road rides, and surrounded by beauty. I had a view of the ocean almost the entire time. Although I am not a birder, I was able to see many different shorebirds and a few birds of prey during my ride. Great way to spend the day. When my friends returned we had time for another long walk down the beach before dinner. What a treat.
Day Four:
A tremendous fog greeted us. Later the rains started. Although it continued to rain off and on throughout the day, we were ready to do a little sightseeing so we went to Charlottetown. A brief aside, one of my friends has been a heavy smoker for almost forty five years. She was prescribed a new medicine which seems to be working but which made her sick as a dog. She spent most of the day in the car as we toured Charlottetown. This is a lovely town with a very attractive waterfront. We browsed the shops and just walked around. We returned to Dalvay for another beach stroll to finish the day.
Day Five: After breakfast we checked out and headed to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia via the Confederation Bridge. This was a much longer day in the car than we had anticipated. We stopped in the New Brunswick visitor center not long after getting on the highway. It is very well done and worth a stop if you need maps, info or a bathroom break. We took the Glooscap Trail down towards Grand Pre, where we stopped for an outstanding lunch at the Grand Pre winery. We had our lunch on the patio/ Perogola. Highly recommended. The Glooscap Trail is in relatively poor condition, lots of bumps, potholes, etc. and traffic is very slow. While the views are pretty, it can make for a long day. I recommend getting on the faster roads for this leg.
We hooked on to the Evangaline Trail and arrived in late afternoon at the Hillsdale House. We had rented the adjoining rooms of the Carriage House and were very pleased with the accomodation. The hosts, Val and Paul (and the resident Bernese Mountain Dog, Hannah) made us feel very welcome. They gave us some ideas for walks and sites and recommended the Garrison House for dinner. Garrison House is excellent. What a terrific meal...fresh Digby scallops with sundried tomatoes, feta and fresh onions followed by more fresh berries... WOW! Annapolis Royal is a very charming and quite walkable town.

Part II- Whales and more......

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