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youth group trip to nova scotia and prince edward island

youth group trip to nova scotia and prince edward island

Jun 27th, 2015, 05:08 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 51
Okay, after returning home last night, here is my report of our week-long trip to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. We traveled in two mini-vans with 2 adult and 7 eighth graders from our church youth group. We started our adventure at the church at 9 PM on Friday night just to pack up the vans and sleep overnight anticipating an early AM departure from Hillsboro, New Hampshire. At 2:45 AM I woke up and saw that the other adult, Bob, was also awake so we woke up the youth and were on the road at 3:15. It was a long drive that first day but we crossed the border to Canada in Calais without incident even with just birth certificates and permission to travel letters from our youth's parents. I had discovered right before the trip that my cheap trac phone would not work in Canada so I traded phones with my daughter in law for the trip, but despite that her phone did not work once we crossed the border and despite all kinds of attempts from our son in NH, I could only receive calls but not call or text out nor could I retrieve voice mails. Luckily Bob's phone did work and when someone's knee went into his charger and broke it, my charger again luckily was interchangeable with his. At our first gas stop in New Brunswick, we were not surprised but still shocked by the price of gas - $1.23 per liter so over $6 a gallon. At any rate we arrived at our first church stop - Hillsborough United Church in Hillsborough, New Brunswick - late afternoon and were able to drive the 10 minutes down the road to Hopewell Cape in time to see the high tide there. Back to the church for supper and then back down to Hopewell Cape with the administrator of the church and her children to see the same spot at low tide and to walk the ocean floor where just hours before it had been at high tide. Very cool! Then back to the church and to sleep on the floor there.

Sunday morning on a tip from a pastor of another church, we had cinnamon rolls at the Cinnamon Soul Cafe - the absolute best cinnamon roll I've ever had (you know it will be good when there will be an 8 minute wait while they bake!) and then worshipped at the church where it happened to be confirmation Sunday so we enjoyed the service planned and led by the three young girls being confirmed. From there we drove to Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia arriving around 5 PM. The campground owners were great - as we arrived it began to rain lightly so we hurriedly set up camp with a big tarp over our three tents and cooked our supper and ate in a covered picnic area at the campground. The owners didn't blink an eye when NONE of our credit cards worked after crossing into Nova Scotia despite having called the companies before we left home to say where and when we would be travelling and just said to set up and we'd figure it out in the morning. We did have wifi and my little chrome book proved invaluable with no phone access and my husband recalled the credit card companies and got it all straightened out. The owners also scrounged up a couple extra poles to help with the tarp set up and even loaned us a sleeping bag to use as a mattresws when Bob's back started bothering him. The campground has an in ground heated pool which one of our youth enjoyed and a campers lounge where we ate most of our meals since it continued to pour and with high winds throughout that day and most of the next.

Monday in the rain and fog we abandoned our idea to drive the whole Cabot Trail and just drove the lower parts. We had lunch outside the Celtic Interpretive Music Center and then went in to have a treat of sodas while listening to the lunch celidh ( not sure I'm spelling that right - it sounds like kay-lee and was terrific celtic fiddle music). By the time we drove to Margaree Bay the sun was peeking out and we were able to walk the beach and pick up all kinds of colorful rocks and sea glass (big hit with the youth). We were able to enjoy some of the scenery in the slightly clearer skies so didn't feel like we had lost too too much on not driving the whole Cabot Trail (although a disappointment and the reason one contributor to this forum had suggested always having two days there). Back to supper at our still raining campsite, a treat of ice cream sundaes for one of the boy's 14th birthday, and playing trivia games inside the tents at night.

Tuesday morning the skies were clearing and we packed up early and drove an easy drive to Halifax at Fort Massey United Church. When we arrived, the pastor there informed us that a woman from the church would be bringing in a pot of stew for us for supper that night. We drove to Peggy's Cove that afternoon and totally enjoyed walking on the rocks and seeing the lighthouse and little shops there. When we arrived back at the church, we discovered actually three woman and the minister having prepared indeed a beef stew, and also a baked ham, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, rolls followed by ice cream sundaes and a variety of cookies and bars - a wonderful surprise and we all had dinner together and all felt like we had made some new friends. After supper the pastor along with another family from the church took us on a walking tour of the waterfront and historical buildings around Halifax including the brand new library designed to look like a stack of books.

Wednesday morning we walked back down to the waterfront and hung around browsing in shops and then left around lunch time for Trinity United Church in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. We did get delayed about a half hour with construction on the confederation bridge, but had time to visit Cabot Beach Provincial Park and also stock up on groceries before supper. We walked down to the piers and admired the waterfront at night.

Thursday with the sun shining bright and clear blue skies we spent the day at the beach on the north side of the island having been clued in at the church about a little known beach. We were the only ones there for the first couple of hours and then joined by a handful more people later. The same brave girl from the swimming pool went swimming there, while the others amused themselves building replicas of towns in the sand and collecting beach treasures. We stopped at a Robin's shop where the other boy turning 14 this week (what would be the odds?) bought two dozen doughnuts that they all rapidly consumed! We left PEI around 4 PM and stopped at the Toy Factory along the way where the cashier treated us all to lollipops and salt water taffy and arrived in at Hillcrest United Baptist Church in St John, New Brunswick around 7 PM and had a quick supper out at the Coffee Mill at the Lancaster Mall - wandered the mall for awhile and back to the church to play basketball at their newly-renovated gym. As with every other church we stayed at, the pastors and youth leaders and church administrators and sextons were all wonderful and so gracious in their hospitality.

Friday we left St John at 7 AM and drove home to New Hampshire stopping for a big treat of a delicious lobster lunch at Gilbert's Chowder House (a real find!) arriving home at around 4 PM.

Along the way we sang along to countless CD's particularly one the youth had made themselves from their favorite songs (O Canada sung with particular gusto) and two Beatles CD's, argued constantly about who should sit where in the vans, played games, and thankfully napped.
the gas prices and grocery prices were much much higher than the US, although our restaurant meals were comparable in price. It was a wonderful trip with a great group of youth and we met so many wonderful people along the way. It was a lot of driving, but doable. A couple more days would have been desirable and I look forward to going back at another point with my husband at a more leisurely pace.

Thank you so much to all of you, particularly northwest male, for all your help and suggestions!!
barbaralois is offline  
Jun 28th, 2015, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,467
It does sound like it was made more fun by generous contributions/offerings by church-connected people all along the way. Those who made the nice dinner array on the one night were particularly impressive.

But, I think that the connections they make/feel in the process make it well worth it to such hosts.

And, thankfully, at campgrounds, the hosts aren't out anything (serious) in the way of material goods, so they have a bit of a different criteria when weighing how cooperative to be with guests.

And nobody goes through the repeated efforts and exasperations you must have gone through, IF merely trying to pull one over on them.

A group of teenage churchgoers would be a priceless ruse for anyone scheming to land a free campground night.

The Cabot trails was what it is, in your experience... BUT at least you got to see contrasting pictures at Hopewell Cape... in a matter of just hours, so all of those teens sorta lived what they were supposed to learn while in the process.

Generally, it all seems as if it went rather well... and if no individual had a HUGE crisis that dragged everybody else down, that is another thing for which you can be thankful.

Your report was good, and I hope everybody has a few memories to hold onto for a long time to follow.

Well done!
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jun 30th, 2015, 03:57 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 51

I laughed out loud at the elaborate ruse of using a group of churchgoing teenagers to score a free night camping - good one! And no one did have a major breakdown - minor aggravations like any time you are in 24/7 contact with a group of people - but that I expect.

Overall it was good despite not having great weather and on to the next adventure!
barbaralois is offline  
Jun 30th, 2015, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,038
I've lurked on this thread since way back in April --didn't post because I had no useful info/advice to offer. But I was in awe of your plans and how they were working out.

Just wanted to post that it sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful trip and one those lucky kids will remember always.
janisj is online now  
Jul 1st, 2015, 08:08 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 51
oh thanks for our comments, janisj. I wondered if anyone else was reading it!
barbaralois is offline  
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