Earlier this year my brother, sister, Pam and myself started to plan a big milestone (80th birthday party) celebration for our Mom. She lives in Granville Ferry, across the Annapolis River basin from Annapolis Royal, one of the oldest European settlements in North America.
Fort Anne sits at the point in Annapolis Royal with a commanding spot over-looking the Annapolis Basin. It’s a star-shaped, earth-walled fort that was built in the colonial times and passed from the French to the British a few times over its history.
The town itself has not changed much in 400+ years. It has only one traffic light and no fast food, or malls within 20 miles. The Saturday farmer’s market in town is the event of the week. Someone was working on a new dory on the wharf.
We had two parties for my Mom and the weather was beautiful for both days. The first one we held at a historic B&B in town, The Hillsdale Inn, for family and her friends. We even had a bag-piper play for the afternoon.
All of her relatives at the party gathered for this shot.
After folks started to leave we had an awesome game of croquet on the lawns there. Some games are just made for beer drinking.
The next day we had a second party for just the relatives in the community center near her house. The menu for this party was lobster.
My sister was a flurry of activity coordination and cooking for the parties, which she enjoys doing. For the rest of us, it was nice to just sit back and enjoy the time talking with each other.
Pam and I stayed at the Inn a couple of nights during the parties, but spent the rest of the time parked at Dunromin Campground, within walking distance to my Mom’s place. The spot we got was the same one my grandparents had there as a seasonal guest for years while I was growing up – pretty cool.
After the parties most folks needed to head home. We took our son to Halifax for his flight stopping at The Tangled Garden to restock our supply of mint jellies for future lamb dinners.
His flight was at 5am so we had a nice dinner in town at the Alexander Keith’s brewery and then dropped him off at the airport hotel before heading back to my Mom’s place.
We did some sight-seeing while we were there. Over the mountain is Parker’s Cove, a fishing village hidden back in the trees. The tide was out, exposing the rocks along the coast, where the tides here are 20 feet or more.
We also visited the Habitation, or Port Royal, the original French colony in Nova Scotia. I found out this trip that my great-grandfather was part of the crew that rebuilt the fort in the 1930s to become one of Canada’s first parks.
The inside of the fort is decorated as it would have been when it was being used by the French beaver trappers and traders at the time. The fort was raided at some point in its history by the British from Virginia, who took everything they could carry away. The French trappers were away and came back to a ransacked fort. The spent the winter with the local Indians and were restocked from France in the spring.
We also had lunch at the beautiful Luckett Vineyard. The food was as good as the view. The telephone booth in the vineyard allows you to call anyone in North America for free.
The evening view from my Mom’s kitchen is very nice. I refinished her deck this trip and the foam on the water due to the changing tides seems to glow in the evening twilight.
We had our fill of great home-made fish chowder, poutine and lobster during our visit, played some rousing hands of cards and dominoes, and with the favorable exchange rate things were not as expensive this stay. Pam and I are now heading towards our next set destination of this summer’s adventure – Minnesota.