Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Wolfville state of mind

This is our third day in Wolfville and we’ve relaxed into a new mindset since staying here. It’s the home of Acadia University and a very sweet small town in a stunning setting on the Bay of Fundy surrounded by rolling hills and small farms. 

People are super-friendly here (as they are in all parts of Nova Scotia) and the drivers are relaxed (ditto). Nobody is rushed or pushed and people acknowledge each other with smiles everywhere.

We’ve spent the last couple of days exploring some of Nova Scotia’s amazing museums. Yesterday morning we visited the museum at Grand Pre, the site of one of Canada’s saddest stories—the expulsion of the Acadian people who had created farmlands and communities from the 1680s. In 1775 politics decreed that they would be taken from their land and sent to British colonies around the world. I didn’t realize the extent of this diaspora until we visited this memorial. The land that the Acadians reclaimed from the sea by means of dykes is now a Unesco Heritate site. By the way, the Acadians were allowed to return some time later but by then their land was settled by people from the New England states and the British Isles. Many Acadians settled other parts of the Maritimes like Cape Breton and PEI. Others stayed where they were in Louisiana and the Caribbean or Europe.

These photos were taken at the Grand Pre site showing the size of land that the Acadians had reclaimed. 

The one below is from a display at the museum showing a model of the land with the village at the top, the fields in the middle, and the salt water hay harvest at the bottom. You can see the extent of the dikes and the drainage.

This morning we visited Prescott House, a Georgian home built in the early 1800s. It was purchased in a derelict condition in the 1930s by Mary Prescott, a descendant of the builder, and restored and furnished with period pieces.

And this afternoon we drove to the Ross Farm Museum set on 60 acres of rolling farmland. It began in 1817 and stayed in the family until the 1960s.  In that time there were five generations of the same family that worked the farm. Today it is still a working farm, but this time with costumed interpreters who braid straw for hats, work with oxen, bake bread on an open fire, harvest wheat using the old machines. They even raise piglets for market. 

These photos are from the Ross Farm Museum.
The hay wagon in front of the 1817 house.

 A worker in period costume with one of the oxen.

A wooden machine with gears for compressing hay into square bales.

And below, one of the five fireplaces in the cottage shown above. This is the kitchen fireplace ready to be used to make soup in a demonstration this afternoon.

This province has such a rich and diverse history and we’ve only touched its surface. an example, the place we're staying in, The Evangeline Inn, was the childhood home or Robert Borden who was a prime minister of Canada and appears on our $100 bill. 

But back to Wolfville. It turns out that we’re here for the beginning of the Deep Roots Music Festival, an annual event the last weekend of September. Some amazing artists are appearing including Matt Anderson and Sylvia Tyson. Since we’re leaving tomorrow we can’t take in much of the festival but tonight we’re going to see a chanteuse called Ariana Nasr, who sings the songs of Edith Piaf.

And the little restaurant attached to it is a classic laid-back spot where the waitresses are cheery and chatty and the food is fabulous and reasonable. We had a lobster clubhouse--very good and a glass of wine from the vineyard across the street.

We've been tasting wines from this area and like the Tidal Bay appellation attached to the Bay of Fundy I think.

Tomorrow we're heading to PEI by way of the Confederation Bridge. We shall see if we mange to get into a PEI state of mind while we're there. 


  1. This is a part of the area I've missed getting to.

    I recommend since you're on the island making a good driving tour of it. There's a lighthouse out on West Point that's well worth it. You'll find a bit of a culture shock by how small the province is.

  2. WOW ! What a beautiful area.
    I have never been to PEI but many Japanese tourists love to go there.
    Anne Of Green Gables was such a huge hit in Japan when it was translated, that many Japanese went there for honeymoons besides vacations.
    I was in Japan one year when a special Anne Of Green Gables stamp was issued.
    I can't wait to see your photos.

    cheers, parsnip


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