"" Writer's Wanderings: October 2022

Friday, October 21, 2022

Cruise Journal: More Of Halifax, Nova Scotia

So, okay, the climb to the citadel was a little taxing on my knee but we made it. I thought we would find just a little foundation of some sort of fort but it was way more than that. I should have read the description on my GPS My City app.

The hill we climbed is appropriately called Citadel Hill. The site was fortified in 1749 when Halifax was founded by the British. The Citadel was there to defend Halifax Harbor and the Royal Navy Dockyard (probably from those pesky rebels to the south).

Over the years there have been four citadels there. The one completed in 1776 is said to be the main reason that Nova Scotia remained loyal to the Crown during and after the American Revolution.

The last citadel (1828-1856) was designed to repel both an attack by land or from the water by United States forces.

By the end of the 19th century the citadel was used mostly as a command center for other harbor defensive works and provided barrack accommodations.

In 1956, restoration was made and it was opened as a living museum and historic site. There are men and women dressed in period uniforms and dresses who greet you and answer questions. Throughout the year but mostly during the season of visitors there are reenactments portraying life there in the late 19th century.

It was almost noon and the main entrance closed just as we were to exit. It was time for the noonday cannon fire. We couldn't see really well from where we were but there was a bench in front of the barracks and a lady in costume encouraging us to climb the steps to the porch above for a better view. I thanked her and sat down.

As promised the loud bang went off on time and the entrance was soon reopened. They don't actually shoot anything out of the cannon. It's all smoke and gunpowder exploding but they close the entrance because the cannon is right above it and they want to guard against any unfortunate accidents. 

We left the Citadel down the sidewalk we'd come up and I clicked on the next icon on our tour. It was the Public Gardens. We found it a few minutes later and thankfully after traversing some level ground. I needed to sit for a bit and we found a nice bench near a picturesque spot near the entrance. 

There was a rumbling noise and the source was two tummies that were hungry. As we sat, we looked at a Google map to see what eateries might be nearby. Outside the main entrance we stood, phone in hand trying to decide which way to go. A sweet lady stopped and asked if we needed help. I smiled and said we were just looking for a place to eat and she named a few down the street. Bob said we were just looking for something light and pointed to the one on the corner across from us.

"Smitty's?" She nodded slowly. "I'm sure it's as good as any and would probably meet your needs." 

Not a whole hearted endorsement but it was close. We thanked her and went to Smitty's. Turned out it was my kind of restaurant--all day breakfast, much like a Denny's. We enjoyed a nice lunch and after a rest were ready to tackle the remaining part of our tour. 

The next stop was the Halifax Central Library. Completed in 2014, it is an ultra modern building to say the least. We didn't go in but there's supposed to be a nice collection of miniature paintings on display.

We were soon on to St. Mary's Basilica. I love the peace and serenity you find in the huge old churches. The stained glass windows are always amazing. In Europe we discovered that often the history of an area is told in the windows as well as Biblical stories. 

The waterfront board walk was a straight shot downhill from where we were and was the last of the stops on our tour. We skipped over the two between the church and the boardwalk for lack of interest and the need to go put our feet up for a while before dinner.

The board walk was buzzing. it was a beautiful sunny Saturday and couples and families and all sorts of groups of people were out including a whole shipful of passengers I'd wager. It was an amazing place full of amusements, food trucks, restaurants and a few shops thrown in. An old ship was offering tours of their decks. We strolled along enjoying the festival atmosphere and then I found it. Smoke's Poutinerie. Take a look at the picture. It says it all. I had to pass though. I didn't want to spoil my appetite for dinner.

Halifax. While not the nature trove I wanted to see in Nova Scotia it was a very enjoyable port stop. 

Next up--a day at sea and then some time in Boston before our flight home. What would we do with our six hours in the city before our flight home?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Cruise Journal: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has been on the bucket list for a while and I was glad we were going to get to at least one port there. For some reason I had it in my head that we were going to see lots of beautiful natural landscapes. And maybe if we'd gotten away from the city we would have. It was one of the rare cases where I let my expectations overrule reality. 

On the way into the harbor we passed one natural landscape, George's Island, which is a national historic site. There is a fort on the island planted there to protect the harbor from invaders like those feisty Americans in the Revolutionary War. With the sun shining on the pretty white lighthouse it made a for a great photo op.

My knee and leg were feeling a little better so I pulled on my elastic brace, took an ibuprofen and fired up my GPS City app. Like Quebec, Halifax proved to be hilly but not quite as bad. It did not have the quaint streets that Quebec had but there were some interesting older buildings tucked in among the modern brick and glass buildings. 

We followed the City Introduction Walk and first up was the city hall. I was glad we got there early since there was a small group of sound engineers setting up in the park in front of the building for some sort of concert. The city hall was built in 1890. It's one of the oldest public buildings in Nova Scotia. The middle of the building sports a seven story clock tower. 

Across from the city hall was a beautiful old structure, St. Paul's Anglican Church. It was built in 1750 and is the oldest Anglican church in North America. 

The park area between the city hall and the church is called The Grand Parade and dates back to 1749. There are several monuments and memorials to peace officers and those serving in WWII.

We began our trek up a grade to find the Town Clock. I stopped for a photo opportunity and to catch my breath. I happened to notice an unusual weather vane and couldn't resist a picture. Yeah, that's my excuse for stopping and I'm sticking to it.

Finally we arrived at a grassy hill and saw the structure we were looking for. There was a fort behind it at the top of the grassy knoll but all we saw was a big set of steps to get up there. No way. We took a few pictures and then noticed it was almost eleven o'clock. We stood across from the tower to wait for the clock to strike the hour. It was not as impressive as I had hoped but it did count correctly.

I clicked on the next stop on our tour to get the directions and we started on our way again. In order to get to the public gardens, our next stop of interest, we were to go around the corner of the grassy hill where the fort was. 

Lo and behold! Around the corner was a gentle climb on a sidewalk to get to the citadel. I shrugged. "Let's do it." We started up, slowly. What we found was well worth the climb.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Cruise Journal: Sea Days Cherishing Quebec Memories

During our two days at sea between Quebec and Halifax we revisited the Tuscan Grille and had the most tender filet mignon I've had in quite a while. Evening entertainment continued to be excellent with singers and dancers and musicians. And we even got two lectures!!

The activity host Roxtar gave two excellent talks on the life and career of Marilyn Monroe. It was outstanding. We learned a lot more about her life and especially about the circumstances surrounding her death. It was recorded as a "probable suicide" but it sounds more likely that two different doctors were prescribing the same type of medication and she ended up with an overdose. He had much of his research backed up.

In going over my Quebec pictures there were still some that I couldn't post previously because I ran out of room. So here are a few more that I enjoy. I hope you will too.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Cruise Journal: Another Day In Quebec

 "Oh yeah," I said as I touched my knee. "It's swollen all right,"

There would be no stopping me though. As long as I could walk I was going to finish that tour route through Quebec. I pulled on my knee brace, took some ibuprofen and we were on our way after breakfast. 

There were two places I wanted to see out of the six that were left. One was Notre-Dame de Quebec. It was marked as a must see on my app. The route from the ship had us going uphill all the way. We moved slowly, Bob keeping up with my slow gimpy walk. 

Several times we stopped. I think we both needed to catch our breath as well as give my knee and leg a little rest. I always take a few pictures when we take a break like that, as if we stopped for photo opportunities rather than needed a rest.

One last steeper hill and we arrived at the church. The church has quite a history. It was the first parish in North America. Samuel de Champlain is rumored to be buried nearby. Champlain was the founder of Quebec. The church is actually a cathedral/basilica. It was build in 1647 and was the first church to be built of stone in the city. In 1664 it became the first parochial church north of Mexico and became a cathedral in 1674.

In 1759, the church was bombarded and burned and was then rebuilt according to the original plans. It burned again in 1922 and again was restored according to original plans. It is amazing that some of the old original fixtures have survived.

During the years 1654 to 1898 there were over 900 people buried in the crypt below the church and included twenty bishops and four governors. We didn't go down. 

The inside chancel lamp was donated by Louis XIV. There were lots of beautiful stained glass windows and paintings which date back to the French regime. The bishop's throne is original and a gold-plated baldaquin canopy is suspended above the altar.

Since we were close to the Hotel Frontenac we decided to walk down Front Street (a level area) and explore the terrace a little more. I wasn't feeling too bad. I think my leg nerves had gone numb so I was eager to take another look at it and the views.

On the Terrasse Dufferin we again enjoyed the views and now there was a woman beautifully singing familiar songs from several Broadway musicals. It was a wonderful atmosphere to take in and enjoy. We walked the length of the boardwalk and I felt like I was in the middle of a Renoir painting only there were no women with parasols and long gowns. 

Several places have windows built into the wooden boardwalk that show the remains of an old fort and chateau that was originally there. For a slight fee you can walk down a flight of steps and view the some of the original building and artifacts that have been uncovered. We passed because of the steps.

At one end of the boardwalk was an antique toboggan slide that dates back to 1884, 

There was one more place I wanted to visit before we returned to the ship. It was a quaint street of shops that was on our app tour. The street was below us so we took the funicular down after I declined Bob's invitation to visit the manhole cover that had caused my fall the day before.

Going down was not crowded at all. I guess most people don't mind walking down the hill or steps. 

We explored the shops along the way and soaked up the scenery and the sounds of musicians playing harps and keyboards and various other instruments. There were several seasonal displays in small little parks along the way that we enjoyed.

It was almost noon and I looked up at Bob. "We didn't get any poutine yet." Poutine is a Canadian dish of French fries and cheese curds with rich beef gravy over it. I've had it a few times, only one of which was excellent and that was in Toronto. I've never had a good one in the US.


We had seen a restaurant with a porch that had poutine on the posted menu not far from where the funicular was. We had about a twenty minute wait and figured we had better be there right at noon since there were only about half a dozen small tables on the porch. 

I found a spot on a bench across from the funicular and rested while Bob decided he really needed to get a bag of the caramel popcorn we had seen in the window of a popcorn shop the previous day. It was just up a huge flight of steps and around the corner. He made it up and back munching maple coated popcorn in plenty of time to get almost the last porch table for lunch. The poutine was different than that in Toronto but it was still good and satisfied my craving.

After lunch we continued slowly downhill to the cruise terminal ant the ship. It was time for more ice on my knee. We faced two sea days ahead and I hoped that I could get enough rest to be able to enjoy our tour of Halifax.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Cruise Journal: An Evening In Quebec CIty

When Bob had checked the Uber prices in the afternoon he'd found them to be quite expensive. Now that I was sitting on the bed with an ice pack on my knee, he was looking into it again. There was no way we were going to make it to Ciel! on foot. He was surprised to find that prices had fallen. I wondered if it was because there were more Ubers available in the evening and a little competition took the price down a bit. 

I had packed my old elastic knee brace that I used when my knee was so painful before knee replacement. My other knee had been giving me fits before we left and I didn't want to chance not doing our walking tours if it decided to bother me. Thankful for the foresight, I donned the knee brace and pulled my dress slacks over it and hoped the bulge wouldn't show too much. 

We probably would have taken an Uber despite my knee as the weather looked iffy. I hoped it wouldn't rain during dinner. The restaurant, Ciel!, was on top of the Hotel le Concorde with a spectacular view and. . .it rotated! 

The menu was unique. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Ours was in English but still had strange items on it. Of course I zeroed in on the wild mushroom appetizer. I love mushrooms. It came on a thin layer of mashed potatoes and was absolutely delicious. When it came to the main entree we both agreed on the pork with vegetables. We weren't real sure what we were getting but when the waitress explained it, it sounded good.

Meanwhile we were moving in a circle and watching the view slowly change as well as the sky. It was not only clouding over more but the sun was setting so pictures were not coming out very well.

What did come out well was our dinner. The pork was flavorful and the vegetables the tenderloin sat on were so good that Bob even ate the brussel sprouts which, if you know him, he would not normally touch.

Wanting to stay a while longer (we hadn't made a complete rotation) we ordered decaf coffees and an ├ęclair. The ├ęclair was a little disappointing. it was chocolate, a little dry and with a chocolate mousse filling. Not the pastry we had imagined. 

We left the restaurant and waited for our Uber in the main lobby. The Ubers couldn't come into the terminal area so we had a little walk to get to the ship and the gangway hairpinned back and forth to the deck where we were to enter. All in all a real test for a tender knee and leg muscles that were beginning to tell me I'd strained them. Would I be able to walk in the morning and finish our walking tour?

I remembered the RICE advice for an injury--Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. I had the compression. I needed to rest and elevate and Bob grabbed a glass of ice again from the bar so I could ice. Fingers crossed, I skipped the evening show and sat on the bed with my ice bag watching some nature show on the TV. A little prayer may have escaped my lips as well.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Cruise Journal: Quebec City

Do you know that sinking feeling either half way to your destination or at least at the point of no return when you realize you've forgotten to pack something? The first day of our cruise as we finished unpacking it hit me. I'd left the folder with our walking tour of Quebec and Halifax at home. All that work! 

The calmer spouse said I should try to download it again from the computer and see if we could print it out at the computer ccnter. When I looked it up again, I remembered there was an app I could put on my phone, GPS My City. It would mean using roaming data which we usually turn off on a trip but Bob was good with that so I downloaded the app and found the tour that I wanted for Quebec. Relief!

We were not scheduled to dock until noon and were surprised with an invitation as a Captain's Club member with elite tier status to watch our entry into Quebec's harbor from the helipad at the front of the ship. Camera in hand, we made it to the front and joined a crowd of others shifting in and out of spots for a good view and camera shots. 

The sun was shining! It was a great start to the day.

As we got closer, I could see the hotel Le Chateau Fontenac majestically marking the city and the historical section that we would spend the most time in. As we neared the dock, we hurried to the lunch buffet to catch a bite before the ship would be cleared through immigration. Was I excited? You bet!

Once we were off the gangway and through the terminal, I pulled out my phone and clicked on the app's map for the first stop on our walk. It mapped our way from where we stood in front of the Museum of Civilization (actually the first stop on the map right at the end of the dock) to a Quebec City mural. the voice on the app quietly guided us as well, much like the Google map does.

At the mural, I read to Bob the history of it that the app provided. Begun in 1999, it depicts 16 prominent Quebecois, historical figures as well as cultural icons. On to the next site. I tapped the numbered spot. Presto! The route was right there. I was loving this.

Along the way, we passed several beautiful Autumn displays and one wonderful character that was set up to play his accordion. He asked if we might take a picture of him with his phone, I'm guessing it was for his portfolio or marketing or, who knows, Facebook and Bob obliged. I figured it gave me license to take a picture as well.

The restaurant, Le Sapin Laute, was on our route as well, I recognized it immediately from the pictures I'd seen online. It truly was quaint and I was sorry we would not get to enjoy their brunch since they were now closed until four and we already had other reservations for dinner. It didn't stop us from peeking in the windows and hoping to return someday to try it out.

Before long we were in front of the entrance to the funicular that would take us to the top of the hill and the hotel. It was a welcome sight. Quebec is just as hilly as promised and there was no way I wanted to climb up hundreds of steps or lots of hilly streets. The ride cost $4 whether you paid Canadian or USD and was cash only. It was a fun ride up that ended on the huge terrace that is in front of the hotel.

Unfortunately the skies were getting a little cloudy and looking like maybe some rain. 

We walked about on the terrace a bit and then decided to go inside the hotel and check out the lobby. For some reason I thought our restaurant for the evening was in the hotel. After walking around the lobby for a time, we couldn't find it anywhere. When we asked a polite lady at the concierge desk she told us it was in a different hotel. Embarrassed, we thanked her and left. 

I looked up the restaurant again on Google and we mapped a route to see if we could walk it from the ship. On our way we decided we needed an afternoon coffee and stopped into a little restaurant that had a lot of character. Lots of stone and wood and a big fireplace that I'm sure would be welcome in the colder months. There were snow shoes tacked to the ceiling for decoration. We ordered coffee and a piece of maple sugar pie to share. It sounded good and it was even better than it sounded. Not as sweet as I would have guessed but, wow! I wished we'd ordered one each, but I shared.

We walked quite a way to find the hotel that had our restaurant for dinner. It was in the more modern part of the city. By the time we got there, we were seeking shelter from a rain shower. When it stopped, we started back toward the ship. I clicked on the Museum that was by the dock and my app directed us from where we were. It was mostly downhill to the ship but now it was wet and puddling as it sort of drizzled most of the way. 

Now, I know not to step on manhole covers when they are wet, but we were headed downhill in one spot and my attention was diverted just enough for me to plant a foot on a slippery manhole cover, slide and pitch head first to the ground. I sat feeling dumbfounded and just dumb. Stupid. I twisted my leg and landed on the knee that hadn't been replaced yet. Did I break anything? I just sat and prayed I hadn't. Around us were quaint shops and restaurants and a lady poked her head out of one and asked if I'd like to come in and sit in a chair for a bit. I was afraid to move.

Eventually I got back on my feet and felt like I could walk okay and we continued on, slowly and carefully until we made it back to the ship but now we had very little time to get showered and dressed and back to the restaurant for dinner and I knew I needed to ice my knee. Thankfully I had some ziploc bags and Bob got ice. How was I going to make it to dinner? There was no way I wanted to cancel. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Cruise Journal: Chasing Fiona--Two Sea Days

The news was not good. We watched reports of severe damage to Sydney, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, PEI. It was inevitable. There was another itinerary change. This one had good news along with the bad. We would obviously not be visiting Sydney and Charlottetown. But, we would stay longer, until four, in Quebec on day two and the captain put Halifax back on the itinerary.  During our sea days we had a Captain's Club (previous Celebrity guests) reception with the ship's officers. When it came time to greet Captain Dimitris Petras, I thanked him for the extra time in Quebec and putting Halifax back in which, I said, was on my bucket list. He grinned.

Now normally we enjoy sea days. In the past we've enjoyed Celebrity's lecture series that they usually have. I was expecting with some of the ports we were seeing there would have been ample topics for lectures. Not so. There was nothing scheduled like that. Instead there were all sorts of activities that involved the spa, the art auction, future cruise destinations (not the places we were seeing now), and the shops and boutiques merchandise and sales.

One of the spa seminars that would obviously encourage buying product was called "Go Home Looking 10 Years Younger." I heard a group of people discussing the possibility of attending and going home younger. One husband spoke up and said, "They're not dealing in miracles."

There was the usual trivia and some games like beanbag toss and everyday there was some kind of entertainment put on by the bartender at the Martini Bar. Not our cup of tea. Several arts and crafts times were available and I did try the adult coloring session. They handed out pictures to color and you could borrow colored pencils, sit anywhere in the big crowded Sky Lounge, color for 45 minutes and then turn in your pencils. I got half the picture of five parrots done. 

In all fairness, there were several groups and individual musicians that performed in various venues throughout the day. They were talented but it was often overcrowded where they performed. We did have a full ship.

And then there was the daily movie. The indoor theater that used to be on the ship is gone. Instead, there was an outdoor screen on the top deck of the ship. Not the warmest place to watch a movie although when Bob checked, there were a few brave souls wrapped in blankets watching the movie. 

We have been known to lay in bed and watch a movie on the TV but there was no opportunity to choose what you wanted to watch unless of course you wanted to rent the movie. One or two channels had old time movies running but there was no schedule and choice in what was playing. Other cruise ships let you choose free movies to view.

Thank goodness we'd brought our books. We spent most of our mornings in a lounge we found that was quiet, sipping a second (or third) cup of coffee. I was sorry we hadn't brought our decks of cards to play our favorite card game. 

The most exciting and fun thing we found to do was to accept the invitation by a group on Cruise Critic that were getting together to have a slot pull. Each participant put in $20 and individuals/teams got five or six pulls on a slot machine. The total of winnings would go up or down with each set of pulls. When everyone had a turn, the game was paused and the lady in charge handed out prizes supplied by the casino and some of the boutiques. Then we all voted on whether or not we wanted to continue or take what was left in the machine and divide it. There were about 20-25 people playing each day, cheering and encouraging. We got to meet new people. One day we got $10 back and another $40. By the time the cruise was over I think we broke even and I even came home with a casino trophy for getting the biggest hit.

I expected changes in the cruise line. All of the cruise lines have changed and they are still trying to get back to filling ships and moving on from the pandemic. I was just disappointed in the choices the line has made to cut costs.

What hasn't changed for Celebrity is their food. It was excellent in all the dining venues we tried. Prices have gone up for the specialty restaurants, almost double what I remember. And some of them were so out of sight in cost that I wouldn't consider them. The buffet, the Oceanview Cafe, was surprising. They had a great selection of foods, some prepared on the spot. We ate lunch there each day and actually chose that over the main dining room several nights and eventually made it the evening routine to go there for dessert and decaf coffee each night. 

The entertainment in the evenings was nothing short of perfect. Each night featured a different artist or group and the music was wonderful. 

We managed to survive. It was a cruise and we were on our way to a place I've wanted to visit for a long time, Quebec City.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Cruise Journal: A Morning In Portland, ME

The morning in Portland, ME, started out sunny but later began to cloud over. After breakfast we decided to walk into Portland and get some exercise as well as exploring a bit. The ship was due to sail now just after noon. The itinerary still called for stops in Charlottetown, PEI, and Sydney, Nova Scotia. We would have two and a half sea days before Quebec where our arrival was now at noon instead of the original nine in the morning.

As well as itinerary changes, I received notice that the quaint restaurant we had booked for brunch in Quebec was now closed in the mornings. With the arrival time changed in Quebec, we wouldn’t have made it anyway. I gave a sigh of relief though when our dinner reservation at another restaurant was still confirmed.

The morning in Portland was nice although the wind was picking up again and I wondered how rough our sea days might be. I loved some of the older architecture we saw in the buildings and we found the area where Cindy had said the cobblestone streets had been preserved.

We also happened upon Maine’s Narrow Gauge Railroad. With our involvement in the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad we always enjoy happening upon other groups trying to preserve some of the history of the older railways. Portland’s also advertised their Polar Express Train. We now do a North Pole Adventure.

We walked along the boardwalk which had several tables/booths set up with crafters and vendors. Lots of people were strolling or skating. It was a nice although windy walk.  There was a nice view of our ship at the dock as we returned.

During our sail out of the harbor, we watched from the upper lounge. It was exciting to see the very park and lighthouse we had visited the day before and enjoyed our delicious lobster rolls. Great memories were made.

We passed the afternoon reading and maybe a little napping…yep, we napped. Dinner was at the specialty restaurant, Sushi On Five (the restaurant is on Deck 5). This was a little different than the usual specialty restaurants where you pay a service fee. The menu is ala carte and you pay for the items you order. Prices were probably comparable to an Asian restaurant at home. Food was excellent.

It was what Celebrity calls Evening Chic attire for the night. Much is left to interpretation. You will see everything from jeans and Ts to fancy dress and suits. We even saw one tuxedo. We went middle of the road. I guess you would have called us casual chic, long skirt and blouse, Bob in a sport coat.

The evening’s entertainment was a lady, Ashlie Amber Harris, who paid tribute to Whitney Houston. She was very enjoyable to listen to. So far our evening entertainment had been excellent. Would it continue?

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

New England/Canada Cruise: Sunny Portland, ME

The early morning sun was a welcome sight as we ate breakfast. (If you’re on the Celebrity Summit, I recommend the French toast in the dining room.) We gathered our things and I was happy to be able to take my camera and not worry about it getting wet.

As we headed for the exit gate from the terminal, a lady asked if we needed a guide. Just beyond her we saw David’s smiling face and hand waving at us. “Nope,” I said, “I see our guide now.”

David’s wife, Cindy, was waiting in the car across the street and after hugs all the way around, we were on our way. Cindy pointed out lots of buildings and some history of Portland and then we were out of the city and into the surrounding areas of Falmouth and eventually Yarmouth.

David drove through beautiful countryside. Did I mention the sun was shining? Wonderful New England style architecture and lovely manicured yards made for a feeling of peace and contentment. I relaxed. After our soggy day in Bar Harbor this was heaven.

Cindy and David showed us around their warm and inviting home. They are situated near the water with wonderful views. Later, we drove through the downtown Yarmouth area which has numerous church buildings. Yarmouth is also known for over 50 former sea captains homes dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The truly exciting moment to come though would happen when we drove to Cape Elizabeth and arrived at Fort Williams Park. It was very windy but the sun was still shining brightly keeping the temperature tolerable. We strolled around the park and over to the Portland Head Light, the historic lighthouse at the point.

The lighthouse  sits on the head of land that is the entrance to the primary shipping channel to Portland. Built in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Henry Wadworth Longfellow is said to have often walked from Portland to the lighthouse and it is believed that his poem, The Lighthouse, was inspired by his visits.

Cape Elizabeth, where the park and lighthouse are located has quite an early history as does most of the eastern coast. The headland was mapped as early as 1529 but remained nameless. Seventy-five years later, Samuel D. Champlain charted it but it wasn’t until 1604 when John Smith explored it that it was named after Princess Elizabeth, the sister of Charles I of England.

But the “Maine” reason for being here was to sample the best lobster rolls in the state. The food truck business is called Bite Into Maine and was begun in 2011 by Karl and Sarah Sutton. The traditional lobster roll was topped with butter or mayo but the Suttons got creative with adding other flavors to the mayo like chipotle or wasabi, not much so as not to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the lobster. It became quite popular. Dave and Cindy ordered traditional rolls for all of us and we carried them to a nearby picnic table.

Now you have to imagine the challenge of eating the roll with one hand and trying to anchor the basket of French fries with the other because the wind was so strong. It was well worth the battle. The lobster was fresh and delicious. I suspect the one we had in Boston had come from the freezer. I could see why the company has gotten so many high accolades from food shows and travel magazines. It was truly the best.

All too soon we had to say goodbye to Bob’s cousin and his wife. We were due back at the ship by 3:30 as sailing was scheduled for 4 PM. Little did we know that while we were gone, the captain had decided to overnight in Portland and let Fiona pass us by. Our itinerary had changed again. The concern now though was for Nova Scotia which was about to take a direct hit from a hurricane that had gained strength somehow over the North Atlantic. I was happy to stay an extra night.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Sloshing Our Way Through Bar Harbor

The Weatherbug app was showing a morning dry spell for Bar Harbor. There was hazy sunshine at first and then it started clouding over. We had breakfast in the dining room. It was our first venture into the main dining since the night before we’d eaten in the Tuscan Grill. We were seated at one of the tables with the funkiest chairs I’ve ever seen. I looked across at Bob and thought to myself that all he needed was a crown and scepter. The chairs were very uncomfortable though and we discovered later that others of that kind had pillows for your back. We were careful not to get those again.

Originally, we had booked a tour on the Lulu Lobster Boat. It was a two hour tour to introduce you to lobster trapping and a nature tour of the harbor area. In corresponding with them a few months before they said they were all booked in the morning (probably ship excursions) and could accommodate us on the afternoon tour. They assured me they would be back by our appointed ship time to be aboard. We booked. Along came Fiona. They cancelled.

As soon as our gear was all together, umbrellas and ponchos for the rain we knew would eventually come, we headed ashore. It was an easy walk into town, the ship’s dock was very close, pretty much at the end of the main street.

As luck would have it, the Weatherbug was a little off in its predictions. We no sooner walked past a few souvenir shops and it began to rain—larger drops than we’d counted on. We ducked into a gift shop to get out of the rain that was increasingly getting harder. As we wandered the shop, I came upon some nice looking jackets that were waterproof and a lot warmed than anything we had packed. It took little convincing for Bob to agree to their purchase. The cost of the two jackets was just about negated with the refund we would get from the lobster boat.

Our new jackets on, we ventured out again. The rain had eased a bit and we were warm inside our souvenirs. We walked a bit farther down the road and explored a couple of side streets. Just about the time we thought we were surviving the gentle rain it turned on us and began to pour. Quickly we sought shelter under an overhang and watched the street begin to fill with water.

The rain would let up a bit and then pour down again and some thunder began to make us very uncomfortable. We started in the direction that would take us back to the ship, hoping that along the way we might find a coffee shop where we could go in and sit down with a warm cup of brew. Unfortunately there were few places like that and the couple of restaurants we found were full of people already.

We continued waiting for a little break in the rain to move forward and then stop under another awning or overhang as we made our way closer to the ship. The water was roaring down the middle of the street almost ankle deep. By the time we finally reached the ship, our shoes and pants from the knees down were soaked through. Inside our room, we sighed with relief and set our shoes and umbrellas in the well in front of our window. We hung our coats over a chair and a small table since I didn’t want to put them in the closet and get our clothes wet.

It took overnight and a little hair dryer work to get everything dry again. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon getting some coffee and napping and getting ready for dinner and the evening show which was a wonderful production show by the Celebrity Summit singers and dancers.

It didn’t take us long to drift off to sleep that night. We did so looking forward to our day in Portland, ME, where we would meet up with Bob’s cousin who had managed to rearrange their schedule after our itinerary change to spend the day with us.

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