Monday, July 12, 2010

Showers and Flowers

July 10
Grand Manan to Brewer, Maine
We made our reservation yesterday for the 11:30 ferry off the island today. Getting out to the island is free, and no reservations are taken. Getting off the island requires a reservation made one day in advance. It costs $36 for the car and driver, and $18 for each additional person. We had to show up 45 minutes before departure, which gave us just enough time this morning to pack up the car (in the rain), get one last pastry and latte breakfast at our favorite bakery, and search for treasures on a beach known for washing up beach glass (in a drizzle).

We passed the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, which was crowded with people, despite the persistent rain. There was even a tenacious guitar playing singer performing under a tarp, in addition to all the raincoat-clad venders and islanders checking out their wares. We didn’t stop, even though it was clearly the hotspot of the morning. We understand after just a few days here that to live successfully on this island, you have to be willing to carry on with your plans regardless of the weather—rain, fog and cold are inevitable qualities of island life up north. We are just glad they are not a significant factor in our island life back home. Quite the opposite. Which is why the natives are at the Farmer’s Market, and we are huddled in our car grateful that we just made it back to the car from the beach before the hard rain started pelting down.

Our ferry ride back to the mainland is once again fogbound, so we again miss out on the opportunity to spy pelagic birds or whales. Instead, we enjoy a Canadian picnic—a baguette we bought at the bakery this morning, some Canadian cheddar cheese and apples. (Obviously Dick snapped this lovely picture of the ferry on a different day!)

Fortunately, the weather on the mainland is much better. We decide to take a little detour to St. Andrews, Canada’s first seaside resort town. The Algonquin Hotel, built in 1889, still stands in all its splendor as a reminder of the island’s rich (we mean wealthy) heritage.

We visited a much newer addition to this lovely village, Kingsbrae Garden, which opened in 1998 on 27 acres of a former estate’s grounds. An Edible Garden welcomed us with the sign that said, “Feel free to munch a bunch,” and we took it at its word, gorging on blueberries (both tiny wild ones and jumbo domestics), and tasting several varieties of currants and a bit of Italian parsley. We enjoyed the fragrant Rose Garden and the colorful Bird and Butterfly garden. There were beautiful lilies blooming in the Upper Pond, and many different varieties in bloom in the Hydrangea Garden. The Sculpture Garden presented a couple dozen sculptures in natural niches, separating them by the contours of the land and by tall ornamental grasses and other plantings, so that each sculpture could be appreciated by itself in a setting constructed to complement it.

We took plenty of pictures, but the experience of the garden was so much more than just the beautiful arrangements of flowers in both formal and informal settings. The sounds of birdsongs and frog croaks, classical music and wind chimes; the wonderful aromas of the flowers baking in this 85 degree sunshine; and the experience of strolling the curving paths that led from one themed area to the next, never knowing what pleasure was around the next corner; were all part of our enjoyment of our visit to Kingsbrae Garden.
Afterward, we drove into the town of St. Andrew, the most quaint and picturesque version of a beach town we have visited on this trip. Dick was in search of the universal beach town food--fudge, and he was not disappointed. We used up our Canadian money buying fudge and fruit smoothies.

Then we took our sweet treats and sweet memories over the border to the USA. We are heading home.

1 comment:

  1. Fudge, flowers and bakery, oh my! the herring sounds interesting, in the museum.