Category: Canada

Family Fun and Celebrity Sighting at Rissers Beach, Nova Scotia

Our walk near Rissers Beach, Nova Scotia

Our walk near Rissers Beach, Nova Scotia

Weather in Nova Scotia can be unpredictable, but this past weekend we lucked out!  We had planned a family trip to Rissers Beach area to stay in a family friend’s cottage.  It was a 3 bedroom, winterized cottage with views of the ocean and surrounded by farmland, walking trails (and this may sound creepy but…) a beautiful graveyard from the 1800’s.  We went with my husbands parents and his sister, her husband and their daughter.

In the evening before bed and early in the mornings, Nana and Papa took the girls for a walk to find deer and they spotted some each time.  They apples from the trees along the way and loved their time being wrapped up in blankets and carried on their little adventure.  Saturday was warm and sunny.  Warm enough that when we went to the beach, my little bug immediately wanted to get in the water.  She gleefully ran in and out of the waves as if she didn’t even notice that it was freezing cold water!  The first beach we went to was Crescent Beach with white sands that appear to go forever.  It is one of the few beaches in Nova Scotia that you are allowed to drive on.  A few cars were there, and a small plane flew by but didn’t land.  Later there were people horseback riding as well.  One of them looked exactly like Nicole Kidman, but I’ve googled this fact and can’t find any information that she may be visiting this weekend.

Not far down the road is Rissers Beach, with a campground that has sites right on the ocean.  Sites 21,22 are good ones, because they have trees for privacy but are also still on the ocean.  Washrooms are nearby.  In between beaches there are antique stores and a kayak adventure business.  Kayaking would be perfect for families with older children as there are many coves and islands nearby to explore.  A little futher down the road is Petite Riviere where we visited The Maritime Painted Saltbox which was a quaint barn housing paintings, folkart and furniture created by the owners of the property.  There is also a vineyard and a river for fishing in the area.  Green Bay is a road leading along the ocean again, with many cottages for rent.  It offers beautiful scenery and small sandy coves to sunbathe, swim and walk.  This is where we ran across local celebrities, ‘Ricki and Julien’ from the Trailor Park Boys television show and movies.  They were apparently there to celebrate a friends birthday that weekend, but this picturesque setting was far removed from the trailor park we see them in on T.V.!

Overall, I highly recommend this area of the province.  There is lots to do with the kids in nearby towns of Bridgewater and Lunenburg.  On the way home on Sunday, we took the Lahave Cable Ferry across the river and took the scenic lighthouse route back towards Lunenburg.  In October the leaves are brilliant colours of orange, yellow and red.  It is a great time of year if you enjoy hiking and outdoor activities.  Alternatively July and August would be great for a beach holiday.  If you want any more information about the area, feel free to post a comment!

Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach

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Open Farm Day in Nova Scotia

This past weekend, the government of Nova Scotia, Canada, hosted an event called Open Farm Day.

photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Agriculture website.

photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Agriculture website.

There were 52 farms across the province participating featuring all different types of farming and various activities planned at each site.  We chose to visit this one.

Farm: Sunni Knoll Farm
Type: Dairy
Host: van de Riet family
Civic Address: 234 Mill Village Road., Shubenacadie
County: Halifax East Hants
Directions: Take exit 10 from highway 102, come to 3 stop signs and turn right at each. Drive approximately 1 km down Mill Village Road until you reach civic number 234

There were lots of activities for the kids at Sunni Knoll Farm! It was a beautiful afternoon, bright sunny and not too hot, not too cold.   As we rounded the bend on approach to the farm, we were overlooking bright green pastures as two horses came bounding along pulling a wagon of laughing kids and parents up and down the rolling hills.  We parked and got out to meet our friends who had been there a few minutes.  A fellow Mom was quick to inform me that she wasn’t sure about the llama, but the farmer taking her around to the kids was worth a second look, so we headed in that direction first!  My daughter wasn’t so sure about petting the llama, but she really enjoyed saying the word over and over again.

Next we went to visit with a goat that a young girl was showing off to the guests.  We thought it must have been pretty cool to have your own goat, and she told us that she actually had 6 goats of her own (and was quite proud of that fact).  I had to make a quick escape from the goat because my ‘little bug’ became fascinated with its rear end and started trying to stick her finger there.  The other adults pretending not to notice as I quickly pulled her away.  Luckily the next area had a bottle of hand sanitizer for public use.

The cows were pretty exciting for all of the kids.  They fed them grass and moo’d back and forth.  The baby calves were also very sweet.  At 4pm they started to milk the cows and you could go in to watch the process.

The cows

The cows

I loved this whole experience but was a little disappointed with this because I thought we’d see a demonstration by hand.  I guess that is rarely done these days.  It was all done by machine.  I think the highlight for the kids was the display of antique tractors.  They got to sit on them and pretend to drive and none of them wanted to get off.  There were also chickens to visit and a really neat version of a sand box.  Instead of sand, the box was filled with dried corn (feed) and it had plenty of tractors and farm toys to use to dig around and play.There was some art for sale including traditional hooked rugs and painting exhibits and a BBQ provided by the local Shu-Mil 4-H Club as well.  The trails and the fields made for a beautiful place to take a stroll with some peace and quiet.

All and all it was one of the best afternoons we’ve had in a while.  I will definitely be taking our family to visit some more farms at next year’s event!  It has also inspired me to look into some more fall activities in Nova Scotia and I found a great website for U-pick farms and associated activites.  It lists farms in U.S., Canada and several other countries.  Check it out and let me know if you have any other suggestions for fun fall family outings!

Serious tractor driving going on!

Serious tractor driving going on!

The farm version of a sand box.

The farm version of a sand box.

O-O-Mexico!

This James Taylor theme song, keeps playing over and over in my head this week.  All this talk of Mexico and the ‘swine flu’ is really only making me reminisce about the lazy pre-parent week we spent on the Mayan Riviera.  It was the end of January 2007 and we were exhausted.  We usually pack our vacations with adventure and sight-seeing but this time all we wanted to do was lay on our beach bed and relax.  We went to the El Dorado Seaside Suites and loved every minute of it.  Our suite had a jacuzzi tub right in the room and our patio stepped out to a soaker pool that was sort of like a moat around the resort.  We were the second row in from the beach but could still see it from our patio.  It was only a 1 minute walk to the beachfront, 3 restaurants, bar and entertainment area and the resort had a very small and cozy appeal to it.  img_0175We loved the beach beds.  They were queen size mattresses that swung beneath a thatched roof that you could lounge on while watching the sun set.  Every nook and cranny had one of these beds, even in the bar area.  We watched the evening entertainment while laying back with a glass of wine one evening.  The food on the resort was excellent and you could order all meals a la carte if you wished.  They weren’t the slushy, high sugar drinks that you get at most all-inclusive resorts but the real thing, made for you personally by the bar tenders.  We developed a love of mojitos on this trip and the champagne and orange juice was served all day!  We walked the beach and explored some of the other mammoth resorts, but were always happy we’d chosen our smaller more intimate atmosphere.  We’d also got a great deal on this last minute trip using Selloffvacations.com so that didn’t hurt either.

It is unfortunate that the travel industry in Mexico is taking such a hit with the onset of the H1N1 flu virus.  Canadian and U.S. governments are now advising against any non-essential travel to Mexico and there are reports of cruises and flights being cancelled and many attractions and tourist destinations are closing.  Having said that, would I go to Mexico right now?  Probably not.  Now that I am a parent, I will be following advice and taking the travel advisories seriously.  Let’s hope that the international spread of the virus, will be slowed by this downturn in tourism and that those affected will have a speedy recovery.  In the meantime, everybody should be taking precautions to prevent the spread of infection by using good handwashing techniques, avoidance of coughing and being within 1 meter of those coughing in public and where known cases are occuring, those individuals will stay in isolation.  For those that are traveling through major international gateways, you will need to follow these guidelines carefully and some are even considering wearing N95 masks in these situations.  Individuals that are at high risk, such as young children, elderly and immunocomprimised individuals should avoid situations that could expose them to the virus.  More information can be found on the Canadian Government Website.

Do Snakes Eat People? A trip to Little Ray's Reptile Zoo

It’s always exciting when a zoo comes to you!  Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo is located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada but this weekend they were doing a show at Exhibition Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  So we gathered up the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) and headed out in the freezing rain to see some snakes and alligators.  Our little ‘bug’ and her cousin, who are 12 and 11 months, weren’t quite sure what to make of all of the people.  There were kids and strollers and a lot of comotion, but every once and a while, the crowd would clear and there would be a turtle slowly making his way across the floor.  The $6 entry fee was more than worth the delight we had watching the surprised looks on their faces when they realized that this strange looking creature was moving towards them.  When the turtle lifted his head, you could hear little gasps escaping their mouths and then they’d turn to look us in amazement. 

 The snakes were out and about as well, but it was harder for them to grasp that there was a beginning and an end to these rope like structures around the  zoo keepers neck.  The older kids, however were completely amazed by the  African Rock Python.  The adults learned some interesting facts about snakes.  Do snakes eat people?  Well, pythons can swallow the largest prey of any snakes, but there have only been eight documented cases in history of people bein eaten.  Most of them were farmers or fisherman and they smelled of the prey of the snake.  Another important fact is that snakes are deaf, so if you come across one, there is no use begging for your life.  The snake can’t hear you anyway.  Lastly we discovered that snakes do have a bum and it is called a vent.  So the next time you are looking for a polite way to tell your kids to sit down, you can say, ‘Down on your vent’ and they’ll think this is hilarious. 

Bug had a fun time petting the alligator and watching the ferrets run around their cage.  For some reason she was also drawn to the hawk.  I think it was because it had a lot of expression in its face.  Nana, was brave enough to let the tarantula crawl on her hands, but I luckily missed out on this opportunity.  My only concern with the show, was that they did not have much signage to tell you the facts about the animals.  If we go again next year, I’ll have to brush up on my reptile knowledge before hand so I can answer the many questions I’m sure she’ll be asking by the time she’s two!  Overall, it was  a great way to spend a Sunday with our family!


 

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