Truro to Digby, Nova Scotia

July 15, 2019

Sunday morning I left Truro to head southwest along the coast on some scenic roads.  It took me about 6 hours with stops, and after checking in to my Airbnb in Granville Ferry (east of Digby) I went back out to explore some more before the sun went down.

I took a picture of the section of the Nova Scotia map I was given upon entering the province which shows this part of my adventure.  The roads marked in yellow are scenic roads (in the province’s opinion) and mostly coincide with my “bible,” a book my friends Eric and Shawn gave me listing scenic drives in the Maritime provinces – the basis for this trip.


The map also shows (in yellow) the route I took yesterday – at the top right corner of the photo.  Today’s trip goes right to left along the lower yellow line.

First stop – the Shubenacadie River near Green Oaks:


People were arriving at a little after 8 AM to gear up at a rafting outfitter on the river.  Later today they will be going out in these zodiac boats.


You can see one raft already in the water in the photo above, with a man standing in the water near it.


It doesn’t look like much now but high tide will occur here a little before 1 PM so business, and the river, will be picking up.

Further up the road I stopped at Burntcoat Head:


If you thought the 46 foot rise at Hopewell Rocks was impressive, this is the world record holder at a whopping 53.5 feet!


If you look closely at the left side of the photo you will see a man walking.  At high tide the water will come up to just below where I was standing as I took this photo.

Here is the view looking left, towards Minas Basin (and ultimately the Bay of Fundy):


And looking right, towards Cobequid Bay while ultimately becomes the Shubenacadie River shown above.


All that open area will be filling with water over the next 4 hours or so and the formation will become a giant “flowerpot planter!”.

Further up the road I stopped near Cheverie, where schooners used to be built.


The road then took me south to an intersection with Route 1 which would ultimately take me to Digby.  I am driving on this older, original road.  There is a newer, controlled access highway – NS-101 which runs parallel and is much faster, but I prefer the slower, scenic road.

After I got on Route 1 I drove through the town of Windsor, which is arguably the “Birthplace of Ice Hockey”.  My “bible” tells the story of Thomas Chandler Haliburton who wrote about students at nearby King’s College playing “hurley”.  I have seen lots of outdoor hockey rinks which are flooded with water in the winter for people to play hockey.  It is strictly BYOZ (Bring your own Zamboni).  I have also seen lots of Curling clubs (the Olympic sport where a large puck-like object is slid over the ice and people with little brooms brush the ice frantically in front of it trying to control the trajectory.  At least I think that’s how it works…)

Mr. Haliburton was also a writer and is credited with coining the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs”.

But I digress…

Moving on up the road I took a side road (on MY list from the “bible,” not shown in yellow on the state map) to The Lookout.  The road took me up to almost 1,000 feet and provided this fantastic view of Minas Basin and the farm valley below:




I then took a side road off the side road and drove out to Halls Harbor (another book suggestion):



I saw this sign with photos showing the harbor at high and low tide.


I then drove back down to Route 1 and continued west to Granville Ferry where I checked in to my Airbnb, then drove over to Digby for dinner and to pickup maps and info at the Visitor Center there.  Digby is known for harvesting scallops and clams.  Here is a photo of their harbor as seen from a gazebo next to the Visitor Center.


Welcome to Nova Scotia

July 14, 2019


After visiting Hopewell Rocks on Saturday I spent the night in the town of Moncton, New Brunswick.  Sunday morning I headed southeast to cross into Nova Scotia.


Looking at my maps I always thought all of Nova Scotia province was an island but in fact the majority of it is a peninsula – attached to the southeast tip of New Brunswick.  The northeast end of Nova Scotia is an island.  I will address that issue further when I get there later in this trip.


(Photo credit:

The map above covers most of what I will address in this post.  Moncton, NB is off the map in the upper left corner and I crossed in to Nova Scotia just above Maccan in the upper left part of this map.  I took scenic roads (not shown) through River Hebert, southwest to Apple River then south to Advocate.  I then proceeded east through Parrsboro, Five Islands, Economy and then reached a bigger highway near Debert Station which would take me to Truro (due east of Belmont and just off this map) where I would spend the night.

When I got to River Hebert I learned something new about tides: that they can create a tidal bore.


River Hebert (the town) is at the bottom of the map above – almost the end of the line for this part of the water coming in from the Bay of Fundy.  The photos below are of the water from a bridge over the Hebert River.  The water, as it was at Hopewell Rocks, is milk-chocolate brown.  This is because of the constant churning of water and mud at this, the shallow northeastern part of the Bay which almost completely drains at low tide.



A tidal bore is something that occurs at many locations due to the force of the incoming tide pushing large amounts of water forward quickly.  In narrow areas, such as the river at this point, that “push” creates kind of a teeny tiny tsunami – a wave of water as much at 3 feet high which surges forward.  I’m sure you can find videos on YouTube.

The water here was moving rapidly towards me but I didn’t see any tidal bores – they occur about 2 hours before high tide.

Further down the road near the town of Apple River I drove over that river coming in from the Bay.  The water is clearer here because it is from a deeper part of the Bay.  The water was obviously moving rapidly inland, away from the Bay, as the tide was coming in.




And while the water in the photo above was moving “up” from this vantage point (the other side of the bridge), the marsh grass on the right was clearly matted towards the Bay (“down”) as it had moved back during the transition to low tide a few hours earlier.

The photos below are looking south from Advocate Harbour.



The water is especially calm here because there is a rock barrier separating most of this harbor from the Bay.



This is further east in the town of Parrsboro.  I am posting this photo because of something which happened shortly after I took it.  Although I was driving east this was when things started going south.


The first sign of trouble was when the road I was on turned to gravel.  Shortly after that I stopped to take these two photos – of Two Islands (aka The Brothers)…


… and of the view looking southwest (towards Clarke Head in the foreground and Cape d’Or in the distance.  If you look closely you’ll see a guy in a kayak in the lower right hand corner of the photo below.


Shortly after I resumed driving the road went from gravel to two tire tracks in the grass (and became very rocky) and I surmised I was not on the right road.  I plugged in my trusty GPS which quickly confirmed that I had gone astray.

I drove the 7 miles back to Parrsboro (no harm, no foul) and my GPS put me on a much nicer paved road to take me where I had intended to be.

East of Two Islands is Five Islands:



I overlapped one of the islands if you want to create a panorama.  The tiny “finger” sticking up on the far right of the second photo evidently doesn’t qualify as an island.

I proceeded without further delay to Truro where I found another Tidal Bore observation area (where I saw a video of a tidal bore.  It looked kind of like the water coming ashore after a wave breaks but before it reverses direction).  I was running ahead of schedule – despite the detour – and the young man I spoke with there suggested a good restaurant in town for dinner and also suggested I visit a large city park to help pass the time.  He told me there was a nice waterfall but that I’d have to climb “Jacob’s Ladder” to get there:


I was going to play my “Go ahead, count ’em – I’ll wait” game but it isn’t a fair fight.  You can’t see all the stairs from this vantage point because they slope away from the field of view as they approach the top.

187 stairs, which helped boost my Fitbit stair count for the week.

I ended up NOT going to the waterfall.  After climbing all the way up I had to go DOWN another bunch of stairs and then go right back up to get out.  I could see the waterfall and it wasn’t anything remarkable so I just marched back down the “ladder” and went to my Airbnb for the night.


Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

July 13, 2019

Further north up the coast from Fundy National Park is Hopewell Cape, home of the famous Hopewell Rocks.  These are flowerpot rocks on steroids:



Before I go any further let me give you a quick explanation of how this works.  The body of water in these photos is the Bay of Fundy which separates New Brunswick province from Nova Scotia.  The Bay covers 6,177 square miles – about 4 times the size of the state of Rhode Island.  Give it a minute to let that fact soak in.  Every day massive amounts of water flow in and out of the Bay creating huge tides. I will explain more details at the end of this post but I’m sure you want to see more photos.

But first, an example of the difference between low and high tide at this specific location.

Low tide:


High tide:


Those are actual photos posted at the Visitor Center.  The tide here rises 46 feet.  Now I know what you’re thinking – JohnBoy, if those were adults standing out there that isn’t any 46 feet…

Well, what you may not be able to tell from those photos is that the shoreline slopes downward from the formations to where the water is currently (my last few photos were taken within a few minutes of low tide, which occurred at 426 PM the day I was there).  From low tide the water had to rise 28 feet just to get to the base of the formations you are seeing.

OK – enough talk.





The photo above shows the metal stairs leading down from the walking path to the area where everyone is milling about.  A ranger told me that at high tide the lowest two or three flights of stairs are underwater.

This is what one of the formations looks like up close:



The photo above illustrates my point about the current water level at low tide.  The guy with the blue shoes is standing closer to the water than the formations.  His buddy on the left who is taking his picture is clearly lower in elevation and the water behind him is even lower yet.  Just imagine how much water it takes just in the area you can see in that photo to raise the water level 46 feet…






Every day 116 billion (that’s with a B) tonnes (which equates to 127 billion US tons) of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy.  Now I know water is very heavy, but 127 BILLION TONS of it.  That is the equivalent of the daily discharge of ALL the rivers in the world combined.

127 billion tons in and out, twice a day, every day.   Just a massive amount of water.

Full disclosure – there are not exactly two in and out cycles every single day.  A full cycle takes a little over 12 hours.  Each day the “same” high or low time is about 35-40 minutes later than it was the day before so 2 full cycles take more than 24 hours.  For example, over the next 5 days the “evening” low tide at Fundy National Park occurs at 932 pm, then 1007pm, 1042 pm, 1119pm and midnight.

The Bay of Fundy is wide and deep at the mouth and narrow and shallow at the northeast end so that is why all that water coming in raises the tide by such large amounts.  In places the tide can rise 14 feet in an hour.

Fundy National Park

July 13, 2019

After leaving St. Martins I drove northeast back to NB-1 at Sussex and went a few miles east before exiting and driving southeast again to get to the Park.


(Photo credit:



I purchased a Senior Discovery Pass when I entered the Park (at the upper left hand corner on the map).  It is good for one year and will get me in to all the National Parks I will be visiting during this trip.  Unlike US National Parks, where a higher admission is generally good for 7-consecutive days from date-of-entry, Canadian Parks charge a smaller entrance fee every day.

As I surmised from my research, there wasn’t much for me to do here other than drive on the three roads in the Park.  Fundy is heavily wooded but with lots of hiking trails and campgrounds.  There is one small lake, a golf course and beach access.  The major attraction that draws most people here is actually further up the road, outside the Park.

Here is a photo I took about 4/5 of the way down the main road just before reaching the Visitor Center.  As you can tell, much of the Park is on a hill which descends to the water.


Because of the cloud cover it is hard to distinguish the clouds from the water in the photo.  You can see a thin peninsula sticking out from the top of the large mountain on the left.  That appears to be part of the land mass on the opposite side of the Bay.

Probably the highlight of the Park was the covered bridge near the end of Point Wolfe Road (lower center of map):



This is the view from inside the bridge. looking through an opening towards the Bay of Fundy:


As I was heading back towards the Visitor Center I drove down Herring Cove Road, parked my car and walked down to the beach:



Not that much variety to see in this Park but it was still very nice and worth the visit.

After exiting the Park and stopping to eat in Alma I drove past this beach on my way further up the coast to my next stop.


That photo was taken less than an hour and half before low tide so the water is way out.




Fundy Trail Parkway

July 13, 2019


(Photo credit:

Saturday morning I set out from Rothesay (just northeast of Saint John) to drive down to the coast and check out the Fundy Trail Parkway (aka Fundy Coastal Drive). First I had to take a secondary highway southeast to the little town of St. Martins.

This was taken before I crossed NB-1, which I arrived on the day before.


And these were taken in St. Martins:



The second photo is actually a different covered bridge, behind and to the left of the first one.  I didn’t even know it was there until I was on my way back to the highway after driving the Parkway.

This is the waterfront in St. Martins:




The big circle you see in the first photo above is one of several Sea Caves:



The tide was going down so I still couldn’t have walked out to them without getting my tootsies wet, but at low tide people can walk out and explore them.

Shortly after taking those photos I continued up the road a short distance and arrived at the entrance to the Parkway.  The road getting there wasn’t too great (very rough) but the roadway once you get in is great – not paved exactly, but fairly new crushed gravel (compacted, not loose) which was in excellent shape.  Admission was $8 (for me, now a Senior!) and it was worth every Canadian nickel (they don’t use pennies – they round cash purchases up to the nearest nickel).  A gorgeous 17-mile drive with lots and lots of scenic overlooks.  No billboards or human residents – just you and Mother Nature.  On the way in I didn’t even see another vehicle except in parking areas and I saw very few people coming in as I was on the way out.  The road currently ends before reaching Fundy National Park but it will hopefully get all the way there in the next year or two.


This is the view of the Big Salmon River as it drains into the Bay of Fundy near the Visitor Center for the Parkway.


Since this is river water it is crystal clear:


I saw these Red-Breasted Mersangers swimming in the river – Mother with one young’un hitching a ride on her back and two others swimming behind.




This is a “flowerpot rock,” so named because when the tide is low you can see it is attached to the ground but when the tide is high it looks like a freestanding flowerpot with trees growing out of it:


And as seen from the other side (from further up the trail):


Pretty cool, eh?






My First Day in Canada

July 12, 2019


(Photo credit:

Friday morning I left Hampden, Maine and headed east on scenic Route 1 which would take me to the border crossing at Lubec.  It was raining and as I approached the border I thought about making a few side trips but decided that the rain, wind and low cloud cover would not yield very good photos so the first few items are photos I found online.

Just before crossing at Lubec I had a chance to drive east a short distance to see the West Quoddy Head lighthouse, the easternmost point in the United States.  Here’s what it looks like on a nice day:

west-quoddy tripadvisor

(Photo credit:

The border crossing itself was quite simple.  A short but high bridge took me into Canada’s New Brunswick province – no line, no waiting.  After answering about a dozen questions I was on my way.  The next decision was which ferry to take.  I was now on Campobello Island and had to catch a ferry to Deer Island at the top of the hour.  I had already lost an hour by crossing into Canada (Atlantic Time Zone) and decided to pass on seeing the Roosevelt Campobello International Park (which I drove past just a short distance form the border station) as well as the Head Harbour lighthouse (aka East Quoddy Head) at the northern tip of Campobello Island, which would have delayed me another hour.

Here is US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s summer cottage at the International Park (if you can call a 3-story, 34 room structure a “cottage”):


(Photo credit:

And here is the lighthouse:


(Photo credit:

Without making those sidetrips I waited only about 10 minutes for the 11 AM ferry to Deer Island.  I drove onto the ferry, which could probably hold about a dozen vehicles, for the 20-minute ride.



Those photos were taken from inside my car with the driver’s window down (briefly).  All I could think about during the ride was the scene in the War of the Worlds remake where the alien machine rose up out of the water causing a ferry full of people and vehicles to tip over….

What I should have been thinking about was the Old Sow Whirlpool which the ferry has to circumnavigate during the ride to Deer Island.

From the internet:

Old-Sow-Whirlpool divebuddies4life

(Photo credit:

This whirlpool occurs twice a day, about 3 hours before high tide.  It also occurs, but with lesser intensity, 3 hours before low tide.  It can be as large as 250 feet across.  It is the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western hemisphere and the 2nd largest in the world.  The blue ship in the upper left corner appears to be a ferry like the one I was on.  Motorized watercraft must be aware of the effects of the whirlpool but are usually powerful enough to escape it but operators of sailboats and canoes/kayaks MUST take heed of the warnings they are given or they may be drawn in to it.

I was crossing at 11 AM local time and high tide that morning was at 856 AM so we had no worries.

Once on Deer Island I drove up the east side of that island and waited for another ferry for another 20-minute ride to Back Bay on the mainland.


You can see the ferry approaching.  It held about 18 vehicles.  There were more than that in line ahead of me so I had to wait a half hour for the next one.  Once on the ferry I was parked on the inside lane (of three) next to the bridge superstructure with a large pickup truck to my left so I couldn’t see a thing as we crossed.  It rained hard just after we got underway and we weren’t allowed to get out of our vehicles (on either ferry).

Once on terra firma I drove a short ways north (passing the 45th Parallel in the process) to what we in the US would call an interstate highway, Route 1 (in Canada called a provincial highway, NB-1 in this case, and in some other cases called the Trans Canada Highway).  I took it west a short ways, then took a scenic secondary road down to the town of St. Andrews.  There I found the Algonquin Hotel (resort):



I then drove into town, a charming little coastal town:




And this is their harbor:


I was there about 145 PM and low tide would occur at 315 PM.

Next I took different scenic road back up to Route 1 and headed east towards St. John.  I passed St. Croix Island on my left but visibility was very poor and I didn’t stop to take a picture.

St. John is a large city and I knew I wanted to eat at City Market, downtown.  I found a place to park nearby and walked in light rain to the Market:


I had just eaten a late lunch and scoped out the various eateries planning to come back for dinner before heading to my Airbnb in nearby Rothesay.  I went out to explore the downtown area:



Several years ago various towns had a contest where individuals or organizations painted a themed animal or item and scattered them around town.  Richmond VA had fish, Rochester NY – rocking chairs, Raleigh/Durham NC had red wolves (though there was a timing issue so it didn’t go over very well).  St. John had salmon and while I saw quite a few I will only post 2 here:



I walked down to the waterfront and considered walking around the harbor on their nice walkway for exercise but the rain and wind intensified (wrecking my umbrella in the process) so I went to Plan B.


I went back to my car and drove across town to see the “Reversing Rapids”


Evidently the water under this bridge flows in two different directions as the tides change.  There is a huge paper mill complex off to the left in this photo which is directly across from the formal “rapids viewing area”.  I read that a few years ago some organization dubbed this the worst tourist attraction of all time…

I drove back to City Market and learned, much to my dismay, that the vendors were all closing up shop for the day (at around 530 PM on a Friday!!) so I grabbed something to eat in Rothesay before checking in to my Airbnb.


Acadia National Park – Day 2

July 10, 2019

Wednesday I drove back down to Acadia to just get my chair out and sit in the shade and enjoy the sounds & sights of the ocean.  I picked some of the nicest vantage points I had seen the day before.  I also drove through Bar Harbor but didn’t even park the car and walk around because it was so congested.

This was just past Sand Beach, looking east-southeast:



This was on the south end of the island – looking out at the ocean:


And this was at a high point, though not as high up as Cadillac Mountain – looking to the east-northeast (north of Bar Harbor), then looking towards Bar Harbor:



High Anxiety

July 11, 2019

On my way to my Airbnb on Monday I drove over this bridge south of where I was staying in Hampden.  It is called the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and on top of one of the support towers is an observatory, the only one like it in the United States and one of only three in the world.  This bridge went into service in December 2006, replacing an older suspension bridge which had been built in 1931.

These are two photos I took on Monday, the bridge itself:


And the view of the Penobscot River as it flows out to the ocean:


I am afraid of heights and initially wasn’t inclined to go up in it but later in the week I had time so I thought I’d give it a shot.

This is a view of the bridge from the town of Bucksport:


On the right is Fort Knox (no, not that Fort Knox – though wouldn’t it be a hoot if all our gold is really underground up here in Maine?) which was constructed of locally mined granite.

I rode the elevator 420 feet up to the top of one of the towers and could then see 360 degrees around from 3 different observation floors (so people can spread out and not hog the view).

This is looking down (north) at Bucksport:


And a little to the left (now looking north-northwest) is an old paper mill which, to the local residents dismay, closed unexpectedly in 2014.


And here is the view looking south, of the Penobscot River flowing out to the ocean:


And this is looking west, at the support cables:


And looking east:


Here are two shots from the parking lot area:



And here is a photo taken at night which I found online:


(Photo credit: Iggie Sanchez)

Acadia National Park

July 9, 2019

The main reason I am spending 4 nights in Maine before crossing into Canada is to visit Acadia National Park.  I have been to Belgrade Lake, north of Augusta with one of my brothers and his family on several occasions (including side trips each year to LL Bean and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse) but have never visited other parts of the state.

Tuesday I drove out to Acadia and spent a good bit of the day driving around within the Park itself and on much of the island it occupies.  I always thought the main island was exclusively the Park but learned that in addition to a major town (Bar Harbor) there are also many, many small towns and fishing villages scattered all over the island with non-Park roads connecting them.  Although the bulk of Acadia is in one place (and has a 27-mile road meandering through it) there are also smaller parts of the Park scattered about the area as well.

The first thing I did after I arrived at the Park and got my map was head up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in the Park.

This is the view towards the east-northeast.  Bar Harbor is along the edge of the island I am standing on and behind it are several more islands: Bar Island, Sheep Porcupine, Burnt Porcupine, Long Porcupine and Bald Porcupine.


Looking the other way is another, smaller mountain with a large lake at it’s base.



I drove around Park Loop Road stopping at various overlooks.  This is a short ways past Sand Beach:



And in the central part of Mount Desert Island is Somes Sound, a fjard (similar to but different from a fjord):



And further around the island (and outside the Park) was this little fishing harbor, Southwest Harbor, at low tide:


And on the south side of the island I saw some sailboats:


After leaving Acadia for the day I headed back towards Hampden, but made a side trip near where I had driven to Castine the day before, this time taking Route 15 as far south as I could go – to Stonington:



I will be going back to Acadia again tomorrow to just sit and enjoy the views at some of my favorite spots rather than just driving all day.

Coastal Maine – Updated!

July 8, 2019

POST UPDATED with new photos and commentary (finally!)

Bangor KingsleighInn

(Photo credit: + Copyright MapQuest Inc)

I arrived in Maine on Monday and when I reached Augusta I headed east towards the coast to drive some scenic roads before going to my Airbnb near Bangor.  These were taken near Camden, Maine.


I see Lobster Pounds everywhere along the coast.  These are restaurants where you may buy and eat fresh seafood on-site or take it home with you.

This is part of downtown Camden:







And further north from Camden is Belfast, another nice little coastal town & harbor:



I drove further north and east, then dropped down on some small roads to the town of Castine where I found a small lighthouse.  It was rather ordinary and I already know I have some better ones coming up soon so I’ll spare you the photo.

I finally headed north to where I would be staying for 4 nights south and west of Bangor in a nice log home in the woods near Hampden.  When I arrived there I met a fellow Airbnb traveler from the UK who is wrapping up a 6-week driving tour of Massachusetts, Maine and Canada.  Here is Tony’s motorcycle:


I’m not quite sure I’m ready to be that adventurous…