A REAL PEOPLE DAY
Today, both Fury and I got a break. Fury got to sit in her princess parking spot in a garage and I got to shower and dress in real people clothes and ride in a car for the day! And I promise I took a whack of pictures......
We got up in decent time and Greg had made a really nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, and fresh croissants with blueberry jam from a local market. Candice only had to work for a couple of hours today and her shift was in St. Andrews, so we all jumped in the SUV and headed over there. St. Andrews is a touristy little town and fairly lively with activity. Of old, it was the place where the well-heeled folks came to spend their summers, so it is full of interesting, Victorian-style homes of yesteryear.
One of the first little stops we made was at a Celtic cross memorial on the beach. There must be quite an Irish population in the area as this cross was erected “In memory of those men and women and children who died of hunger and disease fleeing the potato famine in Ireland and lie buried on Hospital Island. Lovingly remembered by their descendents, who persevered and help build this great nation.” Sounds like an interesting story to discover.
The morning plan had been to run over to Minister’s Island before Candice was due to check in at work, but we had the tides wrong and couldn’t get over there. Instead we toodled around St. Andrews a bit. In doing so, we discovered the Sheriff’s House. Elisha Andrews was the son of Reverend Samuel Andrews, who had come to Canada as a Loyalist and was the first Minister in St. Andrews. Elisha was appointed Sherriff at a fairly young age (probably his early thirties) and built the house in St. Andrews in 1818. It was a very grand residence at the time and is still a very beautiful house in its preservation as an historical site. He built it close to the jail to keep a better eye on prisoners. A sheriff was fined if prisoners escaped and were not recaptured. Sheriff Andrews remained in the demanding position until his health began to fail in 1832. He died the following year at the age of 61.
After dropping Candice off at work, Greg and I had the arduous task of visiting the Chocolate Museum in St. Stephen. On the way over to the chocolate museum, we had stopped briefly at the viewpoint for St. Croix Island. This is the original landing spot of Samuel Champlain in North America and is an International Heritage Site. Weathering the winter wasn’t easy and many lives were lost to the cold and disease. However, they persevered, obviously, as they were the foundation of the French presence in North America.
The Ganong family started into the chocolate business in St. Stephen in 1873 and while the original factory has been turned into office space and the chocolate museum, a newer factory still operates in St. Stephen today – still operated by the Ganong family. It was a very interesting story and it is clear that the Ganong family took pride, not only in their product, but in their community. They had a great deal of business savvy and expanded into candy making as well. By diversifying their product range, they could survive when competitors entered the field with one type of product or another. The family was well respected by their employees and their customers. I did not know that they were the creators of the chicken bones candy and spearmint leaves, both of which I like! Of course, they managed to relieve me of a few dollars by having the gift shop right next to the museum.
Making off with our goodies from the chocolate museum we headed back to St. Andrews to meet Candice for lunch at The Gables. This is a very busy little restaurant and it is easy to see why. The food was great and the service friendly. If you want a table on the patio in mid-summer, you are probably in for a bit of a wait. I had the lobster roll, which is lobster on a hot dog bun, of sorts. The hot dog buns in Quebec and New Brunswick are not what we are accustomed to in the west – they are better! Finishing up our lunch, we were still a bit early to head to Minister Island for low tide, so we stopped at the St. Andrews blockhouse. This was one of 3 defense points set up during the War of 1812 to discourage an American incursion into Canada. A beautiful setting, of course, as all of these coastal defense points are.
Finally heading over to Minister’s Island, we found that tide was indeed out as schedule and we were able to drive over the sandbar. The water level at high tide rises over 24 feet to bury the bar!
Minister’s Island was where the afore-mentioned Reverend Samuel Andrews (father of Sheriff Elisha Andrews) fled during the American civil war. Samuel Andrews was a loyalist and life was pretty difficult for him after the war, so he came to Canada with his family. He lived on Minister’s Island during his life and the property was kept by his son until financial hardship forced the sale of some of it.
Eventually, the island became the summer estate of Sir William Van Horne. This wealthy gentleman made his fortune in the railways and was responsible for the engineering of the trans-Canada railway. This “summer” estate was a full-fledged going concern. They raised animals, had dairy cows, sheep, horses, etc. Sir William built a 50-room house on the island where they regularly entertained the influential people of the day. A stone bathhouse is built on the beach where one can climb down the stairs to changerooms and come out onto the ocean. It is a stunning setting and the house is just amazing. The barn is the largest I have seen anywhere and had all kinds of ingenious technologies built into it. Including placing the windows too high for the staff to look out because one day, on approaching the barn, Sir William found the workers standing around looking out the windows.
Sir William was an avid painter and zoologist and indulged these pursuits in the 5 or 6 months a year that they spent on the island. He felt that sleep was a “habit”, and a bad one at that, and rarely slept more than 4 hours a night. He had a room built at the front of the house, close to the front door, so he could work and wander without disturbing the rest of the house. The property included a carriage house, a garage and tennis courts as well. Sir William’s home on Minister’s Island was obviously a resort for the rich and famous.
Making our way back over the bar, we headed back to Candice and Greg’s to get the dogs fed and rest our eyes for a bit. Then we hauled ourselves down the road for dinner at Birch’s. I indulged in more seafood, ordering the shrimp and scallops, which were delicious! That was followed up with an amazing, homemade coconut cream pie. I don’t think there is much chance I’m going to waste away any time soon.
Getting back after dinner, it was time to pay some attention to Fury. Greg helped me get her up on her centre stand for a chain inspection and lubrication. That was followed up with a tire pressure check and top-up and then some organization of all my stuff in preparation for departure tomorrow. A bit of map-scanning and planning and we are more or less ready to go, so long as I get my butt into bed!
Here’s to tomorrow’s adventures!
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Flower: Purple Violet
My name is Alyson and I'm journeying across Canada by motorcycle. All provinces and territories north and west of here can be found under the Explore My Nation header at the top of this page.