On The Point

Words and images to capture the joy of vacation, the value of family, the chaos of kids, and the beauty of The Rock.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009 - Thank you, thank you, thank you...

I feel a bit dishonest posting this, being as how we have returned now, safe and sound, to Cape Breton. But there simply wasn't time to post before we pulled out of the driveway yesterday afternoon, what with the people coming to look for the key to the hall, phone calls from old friends, blueberry picking, and "Newfoundland style" pancakes. Somehow, though, we managed to fit everyone - and our stuff - into the van and the car and make our way out the Witless Bay Line to the TCH and on to Argentia. Amidst the sadness of departures, there was a moment of bliss when Max found Jacob's missing sandals - where else - in the liquor cabinet. Jacob narrowly escaped having to make the ferry trek in his rubber boots.

And speaking of the ferry trek, a bit of a bumpy ride this time. With ten of us squeezed in a four person cabin, the air was pretty rank. The two pukers and two poopers didn't help much.

But we left so thankful for a great time, for our incredible hosts, for the weather and the food and the water and, most importantly, the people. Until next time...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday, August 8, 2009 - Pea Soup

A couple more exciting days have passed as our vacation winds down. Yesterday the forecast was calling for a bright, sunny day, so we took the opportunity to drive "around the block". Unlike your average city block, this one takes about 10 hours to get around! The route takes us all around the Avalon Peninsula, passing through some spectacular views, little outports, caribou herds, and, most importantly, the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, where hundreds and thousands of birds (gannets, turrs, kittiwakes, and others) nest. Just a short hike and you find yourself on the edge of the land with birds literally covering the rocky cliffs down to the ocean.

The first half hour of the drive went exactly as planned - we admired the ocean views, stopped in Port Kirwan for a photo op on a cannon, then pulled over outside Cappahayden to watch at least 20 whales spouting, swimming, even breaching, in the harbour. (While in Port Kirwan, Ed found some garbage and decided to load the artillery, chicken-cannon style.)

Not long after passing through the bustling metropolis of Cappahayden, the fog rolled in. In a serious way. We had a lovely view of...absolutely nothing. And that was pretty much the way it stayed for the rest of our adventure. There was about 15 minutes of sun around New Bridge, but Max, Jen, Joan, and Ed slept through that part of the drive.

Not to say that we didn't enjoy ourselves. Even in the van there was posing for the camera.

For lunch we stopped at the Trepassey Foodland to pick up supplies, then drove to St. Vincent's, where there was a nice interpretive centre. There was an outdoor picnic table, but at that point it had started to rain, so we poked our heads in the Centre to discover a huge room of tables and chairs, totally empty. The teenagers working there informed us that it was a tea room, as they gestured towards a small supply of raisin buns on the counter. I suggested that, if they would let us bring our lunch in to eat there, we would buy some stuff from the tea room. They seemed amenable to the idea...until their manager appeared in the background and informed me, in no uncertain terms, that we could not bring in any outside food. "It's written on the sign", she declared. Ah, traditional Newfoundland hospitality.

So, we ate in the van. What can you do?

Then, on to Cape St. Mary's. Remember the aforementioned fog? I think these pictures can speak for themselves.

A few minutes past Cape St. Mary's comes Gooseberry Cove, where Silas and I had camped many years ago, and which we remembered fondly. So we all stopped there, and we were not disappointed. The view (such as it was), the beach, the water - it was just spectacular. Jen went for a swim.

Ed enjoyed tempting fate, standing at the edge of the beach saying, "Waves gonna get me? Better not get me, waves!" Not surprisingly, the waves got him. Fun times.

Then today we recuperated on The Point. Lots of visitors, a delicious meal of pan fried cod, a couple of games of Dutch Blitz, the Jeopardy Teen Tournament. The most action was for Ed, Max, and Silas, who went for a quick trip into town. Upon their return, in a kitchen full of company, Ed was asked what they had done. He recounted his adventures this way, "Went to Tim Horton's. Drinkin' beer. And chasin' women. In miniskirts!" Nice way to spend a day, I guess.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wednesday, August 4, 2009 - MEOW!!

Oh my. How many days of missed blogging before people start to get upset about not having the up-to-the-minute news of the Newfoundland vacationers? Hopefully it doesn't happen before three days, because this is the third day without blogging. So let's do a little catch-up, shall we?

Monday was a slow day. It rained, we were tired...and I think still digesting Sunday dinner and french fries from the day before. So we hung around The Point, watching TV, colouring, doing crafts, watching YouTube (Jimmy Rankin and Elvis competing for screen time) and occasionally, snoozing on the couch. Ed got a snazzy - and long overdue - haircut up at First Impressions. That was nice.

Then Tuesday we made up for lost time. With the weather absolutely gorgeous, we bundled up a little too heavily for a hike out the Ferryland Lighthouse to partake of the world famous Lighthouse Picnics. The walk out was a balance of energetic and leisurely. Jonathan was the energetic among us, always leading the pack.

Joan and I definitely provided the "leisurely" portion.

We had a spectacular picnic. The sandwich selections were ham, brie, and green apple; curreid chicken salad; goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and sprouts; all on fresh baked homemade bread. A tasty orzo salad, freshly squeezed lemonade, fair trade coffee, and a dazzling array of desserts (the chocolate cake got the best reviews) all helped to make us feel happy and stuffed.

Back in Calvert, Granda Tom was waiting to take us out on Lloyd's skiff to tour the harbour and jig for cod. Most everyone headed out on the boat. The weather cooperated; the codfish did not.

Then today we traveled in two groups to St. John's with the ultimate destination of a BBQ at Kate's. Along the way there was quite a bit of drama - a temporarily lost wallet, a temporary medical emergency, a not-temporary-enough emotional meltdown. Luckily, there was also a trip to Lester's farm (where Ed tried in vain to convince several of the animals to make him tea), some Moo-Moo's ice cream, and whale watching at Signal Hill.

Then finally, the much-anticipated BBQ. It ended up being a delicious reunion with family and friends. Jonathan and Kate picked up their snuggling where they left off on Monday, Jacob and Josh entertained with "The Cat Came Back", and Maggie got whacked between the eyes with a dinner plate. Woohoo!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009 - Can I Get You Anything, Joan?

The Sunday routine is pretty hard to beat, especially on a Sunday like today, when the sun was shining and friends and family were all around. Mass was for Clarence and Annie this morning, an opportunity to remember two lives well-lived. Then home for a big dinner.

After dinner, hot and sweaty and bloated, we suited up in our bikinis/trunks to go to Slaughters Pond for swim. But first, a little swinging.

Slaughters Pond was great, although the walk in was terribly muddy. After we'd had our swim, Max posed for a toothpaste commercial.

After swimming we came home to warm up, and Josh cast a spell on us all, posing as "The Evil Warlock of Subaru".

Uncle John and Ken went for a spin out the harbour and, after much jigging, caught themselves a wee little codfish.

And then we ate chips and gravy from the Jigger before closing out the day with a stressful game of Dutch Blitz.

Ed pulled out his signature shades at various times throughout the day, looking sharp and, eventually, inspiring a protege.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009 - Do You Mind If I Tap Your Toe?

Thankfully, the weatherman was wrong today, too, so despite the doom and gloom forecast of rain, we actually had a lovely day for a hike. We chose the LaManche Village hike out to the swinging bridge, a relatively simple walk that we figured everyone could manage. We brought in some supplies for lunch, and we were all happy to sit and enjoy the view and the meal after the sweaty walk in.

Some of us got a little too into the "relaxing".

After lunch, with a new burst of energy, we went a little further to the bridge and to enjoy the view.

We were a mighty fine-looking group.

The way out somehow seemed quite a bit longer, both as a result of our tired muscles, a slightly uphill grade, and the unfortunate beginning of the predicted rainfall. Ed exclaimed about one quarter of the way back, "Hey! I can see the van!" Ah, if only wishing made it so.

We took a few detours on the drive back, to see some of the breathtaking views along the shore. In Brigus South, though, the ducks were the main attraction! Jen cuddled one of the babies, and though at first we all "oohed" and "aahed", we quickly changed our tune when the large, aggressive, and apparently quite protective "mother goose" began to hiss at us. Scary stuff.

In Admiral's Cove the fog was literally rolling in as we drove down the steep hills into the downtown core. It was a view that could not be captured on camera, although we tried.

We finished off the first part of the day with a coffee and some partridgeberry crumble at the Ferryland Cafe. Tasty.

After a little downtime, the grown-ups were off again, this time to the Squid Jigger Lounge, Calvert hotspot. We drank beer, ate fish, and played pool. Joan proved herself to be quite a shark, playing Jen, Silas, and a couple of times, herself. When she ran out time at the pool table, she moved on to the VLTs, spending her last quarters hoping to hit the jackpot. She did win ten cents, but then foolishly bet it all again, running down a dream. As we walked out of the Jigger, Max was overheard to note that "It was the first time I had some fun in a bar." They should put that on their pamphlet...

And it seems that, again today, there is a snap of Ed in his uber-cool glasses. This picture must be shared.