Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chocolate, buggies and truth

Our first real warm day and without rain! We wore shorts and sandals for the first time on our trip. It was also Memorial Day in the US so everywhere we went there were line-ups! Our day started with a visit to the Hershey Chocolate World. We enjoyed the Disney-like ride where we sat in a car and rode through a sample Hershey chocolate factory – so much that we went through twice! We also enjoyed the 4-D movie with the characters Reese, Hershey and Kiss. The gift shop was amazing – they have gone a great job marketing themselves J

Seeing how Hershey kisses are made

Wearing our 3-D glasses

"Look at this chocolate bar!"

In the afternoon we went into Mennonite and Amish country around Lancaster, PA. We enjoyed an Amish feast meal at the “Plain and Fancy” restaurant (seen on Man vs Food Nation!) and then took a buggy ride around the countryside.

On our buggy ride. Jeremy especially loved it.

Horses and buggies waiting for tourists

The kids swimming in a very cold outdoor pool! 
They had trouble understanding why I wouldn't swim with them!

Tuesday morning (another rainy day!) we drove back to Lancaster and visited the Mennonite Information Center and Biblical Tabernacle. With my Mennonite heritage it was especially interesting to learn about the Mennonite and Amish history. The tabernacle is a full size tabernacle with the different components explained by our guide – including how the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross and now we can approach God directly.

A mural on the wall depicting the Tabernacle amongst the Hebrew tents

Lifesize figures in the outer courtyard depicting a man giving a lamb as a sin offering and a priest sprinkling blood on the altar.

After the museum we needed to hit the road again – 7 ½ hours of driving to go to get to our hotel in Toledo, OH! We didn't arrive until 10:30 pm which made a late night for the kids. Only a few more long days and we'll be home in Alberta.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New York!

Thanks to Daniel, we were spontaneous on Sunday (which if you know me very well, doesn’t happen often!) and changed our plans in the morning and drove from Vernon, CT to New York, NY to go to church and see the Statue of Liberty! 

We attended the west campus of Redeemer Presbyterian Church which is Tim Keller's ministry. We enjoyed worshipping with them and appreciated the beautiful music and sermon by Rev. David Bisgrove.

Parking was a new experience for us - parking garages with valets and elevators! And expensive  - we parked across from the church (the parking garage with an elevator) and because we were extra-long with our rear car carrier on the back of the van it was an extra $10, so $35 total! Then to the harbour where the valets parked vehicles three deep - again we were considered extra long so it was $45 for two hours this time!

We were just going to take pictures from the shore line but a harbour cruise ticket agent sold us on a cruise so we bought our tickets and boarded an hour long harbour cruise! The boat was packed because it was Memorial weekend but it was a great way to see New York and learn some history through the onboard audio recording.

One World Trade Center - almost finished

Empire State Building

The Statue of Liberty

If you have been wondering where we are in the United States here is a map that shows our route on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Now to head west into Pennsylvania!

View Larger Map

Monday, May 27, 2013

Water, water, everywhere

St. Andrews, NB
After leaving Pier 21 on Thursday, we drove to St. Andrews, NB on the Bay of Fundy and it was still foggy and rainy! We drove out of it a couple of times but it always reappeared. We are not used to fog that lasts all day. Otherwise it was a good drive. We started our next book in the Chronicles of Narnia and also started listening to the stories of Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Café” with Dave and Morley. Nathan said his cheeks hurt from laughing so hard. Growing up we often listened to McLean’s stories on CBC Sunday afternoons and when I saw these CDs at Costco at Christmas I immediately thought of Dad.

Fundy Discovery Aquarium  - The kids had never been to an aquarium before and they were thrilled with the “touch pools” and seeing the seals being fed. Highlights of our time there included: holding crabs and stroking skates, asking questions of the marine biologist feeding the seals, and watching short movies on plankton, cold water reefs, seaweed and the Bay of Fundy’s high tides.

Since it poured ALL day and we weren’t able to play on the neat playground, walk the wharf, go to the beach, or take a boat tour we had a quiet afternoon. Daniel took the kids to the library while Mom and I napped and then Mom and I took our laptops to a café and enjoyed a coffee and checking our email and the kids watched TV at the motel. The internet connection didn't work well at our motel so checking email has been spotty.

Watching the seals being fed (in the rain)

Having a "picnic" lunch in our motel room! Actually we have only managed one true picnic lunch so far and even that was cold and windy!

Next day – cross the border and start our trip west! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

By the Sea

Nova Scotia
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – I estimated one and a half hours would be plenty and then we would have lunch – three and a half hours later we left because we were hungry! There was much to learn and see at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. From a history of piracy to the Ship Building Age to the Halifax Explosion to Arctic Expeditions to a Titanic exhibition to Underwater Treasures we read, watched, and learned.

Peggy’s Cove – We could see why Peggy’s Cove is the most photographed place in Nova Scotia. Even on a rainy day it’s rugged beauty and the action of the waves was compelling. We didn’t spend long outside – it as quite chilly as you can see from our coats and hoods! We were all wearing multiple layers. But we did enjoy hearing the waves crashing, watching a fishing boat come into the cove and seeing the brightly coloured homes. We explored the gift shop and enjoyed supper at The Sou’wester Restaurant  - most of us enjoyed a seafood dish and Jeremy had his standard hotdog (sigh).

'Only' 5146 km away from my Mom's farm in Alberta!

Pier 21 – It was a foggy day  - we couldn’t see far from Pier 21, not even across the harbour! Pier 21 in Halifax is where approximately one million immigrants arrived in Canada from the years 1928 to 1971, including Daniel’s Grandma Jefferies. Noelle and Jeremy stamped “passports” at each stage along the way in the small museum, we watched an excellent half hour movie on the history of Pier 21 and learned about some of the tears and joys of this piece our Canadian history.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Confederation Bridge

Twelve minutes to cross from New Brunswick to PEI now – fast compared to the ferry crossing but a long way on a bridge! It is an intriguing bridge and we enjoyed learning some of its story through a video on the PEI side. We also enjoyed walking on the beach at low tide on the NB side on our way to Nova Scotia.

A beautiful day with blue skies as we crossed from NB to PEI

Collecting shells at low tide

Our gray days begin as we left PEI and headed to Nova Scotia. 

The kids have been great on our longer drives! They look forward to their “day bags” – bags I’ve filled with two to four items (i.e books, activities and goodies) for each long drive. They also each have a scrapbook to glue in maps, pamphlets and other memorabilia from our travels that we work on every few days. Noelle has also enjoyed learning how to make friendship bracelets with Grandma. I have had the 19 CD set of Chronicles of Narnia audio drama from Focus on the Family tucked away for a few years until all the kids were old enough to listen to it. I pulled it out on our drive to Quebec City and it has been a hit! Jeremy especially loves listening to it as the stories are new to him and he asks for it everytime we are in the van! We have finished the first two books of the series so far.

Next stop - Halifax!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lobster, Cows and the Beach

That pretty well sums up our time in PEI! We enjoyed two delicious lobster suppers (a treat for us landlubbers!), visited three Cows Icecream locations and learned about how they make their t-shirts, icecream and cheese on a factory tour and spent time on the beaches of PEI playing in the sand and collecting seashells. It hasn't been very warm on our trip so far - we haven't worn sandals or shorts once but despite the cool weather the kids managed to get very sandy and a little wet during our time on the Island.

Daniel and Kevin at the Fisherman's Wharf about to enjoy a Lobster Dinner! Kevin and Marsha, friends from Edson were at their cottage this week in PEI and we enjoyed meeting up with them.

Cows Icecream is a local PEI business but if you are in Banff you can enjoy their icecream too!


Enjoying Brackley Beach, which we could walk to from our cottage!

Another highlight was visiting the Anne of Green Gables house  - Noelle even bought an Anne doll with her birthday money.

Noelle as Anne

In front of Green Gables

Noelle and her new Anne doll

Last, here is a picture of our cottage - we stayed at Shaw's Hotel and Cottages (which we would highly recommend) and a picture of us holding red soil - with fields freshly plowed and some planted it was very striking. 

Now onto Nova Scotia for two days!

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the Road

As we drove to Moncton, NB on Saturday we took a couple of detours - to the Covered Bridge Potato Chip Company where we had a tour of their factory and enjoyed some yummy fresh kettle-cooked potato chips and then to the Hartland Covered Bridge - the longest in the world! We pulled in late to Moncton, a quick swim and bed. Sunday was church at Lewisville Baptist Church (interestedly, the pastor was a professor at TBS for four years) and then onto PEI.

Chips coming out of the oil.

Seasonings for the chips!

The longest covered bridge in the world

Canada’s Beginings

Quebec City – We spent Friday walking around the beautiful old walled city of Quebec – seeing the magnificent Chateau Frontenac, sparkling St. Lawrence River, cobblestone streets, star shaped Citadel (built by the English after the War of 1812 to protect Quebec City from the Americans), unique stores and restaurants. We enjoyed a delicious supper at the French restaurant Le Lobby  - 5 courses including salmon tartar, baked brie, soup, entrees, and dessert!

Samuel de Champlain's statue

In front of Parliament

At the Citadel
The Governor General's second residence in the Citadel

Beautiful Old Quebec City

A shout out and big thanks to the Nickerson family who are generously pulling our trailer to Alberta on their holiday west.  The trailer broke in Sault Ste. Marie and they spent two days getting a new one and transfering all of our stuff before they were able to get on the road again. We are so thankful for their help and continue to pray for them for travelling mercies for them.