Once again we are preparing for a journey with the remarkable outfit Road Scholar. As a not-for-profit organization, their mission is continuing education through travel for those of us who have reached a certain age.
AND starting on Sunday we will be live-blogging the entire adventure!
As we found last year on our trip to The Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu with Road Scholar, this philosophy brings together like-minded travelers who are interested in experiencing and learning about destinations in depth. Local experts and guides provide insights way beyond anything the typical tourist would ever see.
This time Road Scholar has been kind enough to provide an excursion for us through Canada’s Maritime Provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. We won’t need as much preparation as we did for South America — we won’t be snorkeling in the ocean or climbing a mountain — but we have been happily studying the background of the regions we will be visiting.
And a rich history it is, involving sailors and fishermen, pirates and generals, battles and treaties, shipwrecks and rum running, and the birth pangs of two great nations.
Our journey sets out where Canada began, on Prince Edward Island. In 1864 the Charlottetown Conference led to forming the British North American Union, now the Canadian Confederation, so P.E.I. is known as The Birthplace of Confederation. The island has also been called the Garden of the Gulf, for its lush, green lands surrounded by the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Perhaps this inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to set Anne of Green Gables on the island, guess we’ll find out when we visit Green Gables Heritage Site in Cavendish. We just finished re-reading the classic novel in preparation.
Will the music be similar to Cajun music?
Next, we travel to areas in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that were once settled by the Acadians. We are excited to learn more because it involves the history of the people who became known as Cajuns, after they were driven out of Canada. We have been enamored with Cajun culture for years and are really looking forward to discovering their roots.
As a part of our investigation into this history we will be stopping off in Grand-Pré, made famous by Longfellow’s poem about the expulsion, Evangeline.
After our adventures with the Acadians we will be heading over to Halifax, the capital and biggest city of Nova Scotia, and the unofficial capital of The Maritimes. Halifax was also the entry port for millions of immigrants into Canada. We will be visiting the former ocean liner terminal Pier 21, sometimes called the Ellis Island of Canada to learn more about the history of the country’s population.
We will also be examining Halifax’s role in two of the early twentieth century’s biggest disasters, the sinking of The Titanic, and The Halifax Explosion. When The Titanic sunk in April 1912 the survivors were taken to New York, but for those that perished, at least those that could be found, the bodies were brought to Halifax. We will be stopping by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to see their permanent exhibit on the role Halifax played in the disaster.
Lesser known, but every bit as tragic, we will also examine the Halifax Explosion. We had no idea, but on December 6, 1917 a French ship filled with explosives bound for the war in Europe, collided in the harbor with Norwegian ship resulting in the largest blast in history until the invention of the atomic bomb.
Of course no visit is complete without sampling local delicacies, and in our experience Road Scholar does a great job of making sure we will get to partake in authentic fare. Atlantic Canada is world renowned for seafood. There is no better place on the planet to get lobster, mussels, or cod, and we will have the opportunity to learn about how these are caught.
More important, we will get to enjoy the catch. In fact, after a ferry ride from Nova Scotia back to Prince Edward Island, we cap off our expedition with a traditional P.E.I. lobster dinner.
A boat ride AND lobster? Okay, now we are really getting excited!
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com