Day 15 – 18/09/2010 – To the sea to the sea! I have been having some serious withdrawals since we last saw the ocean as we flew over it on our way to Canada from New Zealand over 10 months ago. I have never lived so far from the ocean considering that you can only get a maximum of 150 km from the ocean anywhere in New Zealand. It was great being back near it again. However, to get there we first had to spend the day driving across the width of New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. We left Riviere-du-Loup Walmart (they are all the same even if they are in a cool little town) and unfortunately that was it. We did come across a pretty cool sign as we entered Nova Scotia though and had to take a picture just for my lighthouse fanatic Mum.
Day 16 – 19/09/2010 – Another town, another Walmart sleepover. Adela is starting to get pretty sick of not having showers every day. Had our brekky at Port Hood Beach and took some great coastal photos along the way after Inverness to Joe’s Scarecrow Theatre. What the hell. This guy has basically dressed up over 100 scarecrows in various outfits and poses. Extremely creepy if you drove past at night time but quite funny to break up the drive during the day.
MOOSE. And not just one but two! A male, who had a massive rack of antlers and a smaller, but still humongous female. They were about 20m away off the small path we were on. The male was too busy trying to get the females attention to be bothered by us while the female just wanted to be left alone and have lunch. Kind of typical behaviour I think…
DAY 17 – 20/09/2010 – A super stormy day today with strong winds and some rain. Was cool driving along the coastline though up to Bay St Lawrence, a cute fishing town with heavy seas. We had planned on camping up at the northern most point at Meat Cove camp ground and were glad that we had decided not to once we got there. The sites were overlooking the ocean right above the cliffs and the wind was howling in. Pretty sure we would’ve been blown away overnight.
The local bridge had just been semi-repaired after previous storms had knocked it out a week ago. A bit hair raising as we drove across but it held. Since it was the first day of the Moose hunting season and we were located on the edge of the national park we also decided not to go for a walk up into the bush as planned. The hunters were hooning around on their quad bikes up into the forest. Spotted a lighthouse in Neil’s harbour so had to get the obligatory photos for Mum again. I must say I am starting to become a fan myself and could imagine walking up the creaking stairs to light the lamp each night to guide the ships in to the harbour safely. Pity its all automated now!
Found a short walk at Ingonish Peninsular and trekked out for an hour on there. We were playing the fun silence game (see week 2) again for this part but cheered up when we spotted the seals playing in the stormy surf at the end of the peninsular.
Onwards to Louisbourg, which used to be one of the main ports in North America and home of the first lighthouse in Canada. Bonus! The National Louisbourg Fortress is also located on the point which we decided to head to tomorrow with our Parks Canada passes we had given to us by Adela’s parents back in Jasper. That evening we were invited by the locals to a local fiddler… Not quite sure what to expect we headed to the town hall and were pleasantly surprised and was luckily not at all what we had in mind. We forgot her name but the woman was the stand-out as she rocked all the oldies, and us, playing traditional Celtic music. Two other guys were on the guitar and piano as well and they had little backup tap dancers and the works. Was pretty cool experience and one of the highlights of the entire trip. And to make it even better they had cookies and a tea break at half-time. Although I couldn’t participate in that as I was breaking into our car to get the locked keys out of it with a coat hanger in the pouring rain. Managed to get them out and catch the second half of the show. All in all a great evening.
KM travelled = 271 km.
Spending = $12 (food), $26 (camping), $33 (fiddling show) = $71 total.
Day 18 – 21/09/2010 – We were woken early in the morning with severe gusts of 80 km/hr and were thankful we weren’t in a tent. Headed out to the 1700’s styled Louisbourg Fortress and National Historic Site which is the largest rebuilt fortress in North America. So far they have only built 1/5th of it as well. What is awesome about the site is that all the employees are dressed in period costumes and act the part of their ancestors. You can imagine how hard it would have been in those days and Adela especially liked learning about the soldiers lives, especially the hierarchy systems they had in place between Officers and general footmen. They can’t have been all that crash-hot though at being soldiers as they lost the fortress twice to the British invaders who gave it back to the French after the first time.
They had freshly baked bread for $2 a loaf so we mowed into that for lunch along with a big bowl of chilli in one of the local themed taverns as it was still howling outside. We couldn’t afford the ritzy tavern where the Officer’s were hanging out.
Huge surf was coming in through the harbour entrance by this stage so we had to drive to the site of the first lighthouse to check it out. Spectacular surf and spray coming up over the rocks and it made me really miss being back at the Mount surfing in New Zealand. Would loved to spend more time in the old fishing village but as per usual we felt pressed for time and had so much more to see along the East Coast of Nova Scotia.
KM travelled = 293 km.
Spending = $13 (lunch), $67 (petrol), $21 (supplies) = $101 total.
Day 19 – 22/09/2010 – We had been planning on going for a surf or a sea kayak along the East Coast but it was still way too windy. However it was not too cold to stop at Taylor Head Provincial Park and have my first ever swim in the North Atlantic Ocean. Holy testicles it was freezing! Excuse the language but it really was. Jumped on the bikes to warm up but most of the trails were poorly maintained so unfortunately we didn’t get too far.
Checked out the surf conditions at Lawrencetown beach which is widely known as one of the best surfing spots in North America. Even though it was freezing and super windy I again wished I had my surfboard with me. Its another regret, just like in Montreal, that I missed out on.
We camped at Glen Margaret just along from the most photographed lighthouse in the world at Peggy’s Cove. Not sure how we had come to be following the lighthouse trail but we managed to see an absolutely stunning sunset at Peggy’s Cove all topped off with scrumptious clam chowder for dinner. No surprises that my favourite of the day was swimming in the ocean while Adela’s was dinner.
KM Travelled = 544 km.
Spending = $23 (petrol), $20 (camp ground), ($30 dinner) = $73 total.
Day 20 – 23/09/2010 – We started the morning back down at Peggy’s Cove (not actually sure how it got its name) as it was a beautiful blue sky morning and we wanted to get some more pictures of the lighthouse and fishing village. Very quaint.
Halifax was only a short drive down the coast and we felt like we needed to see some civilisation and Adela was hanging out for a Latte. I stumbled across a secondhand book store and picked up a few more to read. The only pain with the car was that we had to park under street lights most nights if we wanted read as it was dark by 8pm and we only had a small wind-up torch that would last 2 minutes before dimming slowly and needing rewinding again. A bit of pain when you are in the middle of an epic book or a juicy tale. We jumped on the trusty bikes down to the historic district and on to St Marys Cathedral Basilica. Still not as good as the Basilica in Montreal and I don’t think we will see a better one until we are travelling in Europe.
Visited Pier 21 which is where all the immigrants first arrived in Canada. Although most of the waterfronts in North America are way nicer than any in New Zealand, including Wellington waterfront which I love to bits, all the water is pretty scummy so it detracts from the niceness. Definitely a shame. Last stop in Halifax was the maritime museum with a really moving exhibit on the Titanic as Halifax was one of the closest ports to the Titanic at the time the distress call was made so a lot of history involved there. Also some amazing wooden boats and a bit on the Halifax bomb disaster. We sure love to learn.
KM Travelled 178 km.
Spending = $68 (petrol), $9 (parking and showers), $8 (books), $18 (museum) = $103 total.
Day 21 – 24/09/2010 – One of the amazing features, and I really do mean amazing, are the tides in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and Newbrunswick. The tides reach insane levels of variation with an extreme range of 16.3m! The boats will often be left high and dry on the shoreline when the tide goes out and as you can see, the docks are on massive stilts.
So we spent most of the day in Truro as we waited to watch the tidal bore come roaring up the channel. It basically results from the Bay of Fundy narrowing and the tides just being pushed higher and higher. When its big enough you can actually surf it and I had been looking forward to seeing this the whole trip across Canada. Unfortunately it was only 30 cm high this time but so powerful and you wouldn’t be able to standup against it.
Drove on to Cape Chignecto but again couldn’t again kayak due to the poor and misty weather so settled on another lighthouse journey at Cape D’Or. Spotted a small black bear up on the rocks but decided not to get any closer after living near them in Jasper all year. Tonight ended up being our last night in Canada until we returned to Vancouver in a few weeks’ time on the opposite side of the country. We are really looking forward to getting into America and checking out New York for 5 days.
KM Travelled = 197 km.
Spending = $33 (food), $30 (camp ground) = $63 total.
Week 3 KM Travelled = 2,679 km total.
Week 3 Spending = $628.00 total.
The Best Way to Stay in LoDo Denver
The Mile High City welcomes all comers with open arms. Denver is a unique city, and not just because it is located exactly one mile above sea level. No, Denver is unique because of the amount of fun it contains in one neighborhood. Meet Denver’s Lower Downtown, colloquially referred to as LoDo. LoDo is the most popular neighborhood in Denver, thanks to its incredible location. A stay in LoDo puts you within easy walking distance of Denver’s Contemporary Museum of Art, the historic Larimer Square, and the always impressive Coors Field. To be honest, we don’t feel any pressure to sell you on this, because LoDo Denver speaks for itself. However, we do want to point you in the right direction when it comes to picking a place to stay in LoDo, as that is a much less discussed point. There are a near infinite number of places of various sorts for you to stay in, but today we’re going to compare and contrast two of the most popular venues: hotels and vacation rentals. Let’s begin, shall we?
Travel apartments are vacation rentals don’t have to be used by people on vacation. Travel apartments let people who are visiting a new city stay in their own private residence. Rather than having to share space with in-laws or strangers, you can stay in travel apartments, which give you own space while in LoDo. Each travel apartment comes with a private washer and dryer, along with a fully functional kitchen. Let’s examine some of the other benefits.
- Privacy. As mentioned, your travel apartment will be yours and yours alone. No housekeeping to worry about, no noisy neighbors; this is your home during your stay in LoDo.
- Amenities. And even more amenities. In addition to your private kitchen and laundry room, you get a spacious, well-lit, upscale apartment to live in. Take your pick from any of the travel apartments in Denver linked above, because each one will have a sleek design and comfortable layout. There are more small amenities than we have room to enumerate, so we’ll let you discover those for yourself.
- Location. Every travel apartment is located in the ideal spot for vacationers in a new city. Pick any one of the LoDo travel apartments and you’ll be within walking distance of the best attractions, restaurants, and bars in the Mile High City.
Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages.
- You’ll need to book in advance. If just reading this article has convinced you to book a stay in Denver right now, it’s possible there won’t be a travel apartment available for you. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance.
- You’ll have a specified leave date. Similar to the first issue, you can’t just purchase another week’s stay at the end of your trip, because someone else may have reserved the space. Be sure to book yourself a long enough stay the first time!
- You’re unlikely to get that native influence. Privacy is great, but talking to Denver natives gives you a fresh perspective on the city. You’ll need to make a point of going out and meeting some locals during your downtime!
You know what a hotel is, right? Okay, cool. Here’s the pros and cons of hotel living in LoDo Denver.
- Availability. Hotels are everywhere, with a huge range of pricing options. No matter what corner of Denver you wanted to stay in, you could find a hotel there. Moreover, with that many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget.
- Helpers. You have someone to clean your sheets and a concierge to answer questions any time of the night or day. If there’s a place to stay where you can order food straight to your room besides hotels, we haven’t found it.
- Noise. Hotels are loud, nothing to be done about it. When you’ve got people living above, below, and to the left and right of you, things are bound to get a little noisy. All you can do is hope that the kids don’t start crying…
- Unreliable advertising. Hotels all seem eager to advertise their tranquil oasis of a pool area. Sorting out which pools will actually fry your hair with hyper-chlorination can be exhausting.
- No privacy. Between housekeeping, your four sets of neighbors, and that one guy from the next room over drunkenly swiping his key card at your door, it can be hard to find space that’s yours and yours alone.
So, what’s the right way for you to stay in LoDo Denver? Hotel or travel apartment? Ultimately, the choice is yours and yours alone. Of course, if you hate being indoors, maybe glamping in Denver would be more your speed? No matter what you choose, you’ll have the time of your life flying high in LoDo Denver.
The Best Dog-Friendly Attractions in Portland, Oregon
With a green focus and an animal loving attitude, a superband many fantastic pooch-welcoming bars and restaurants Portland is one of the most dog friendly cities in the USA. Check out our top dog-friendly attractions…
1 Sellwood Riverfront Park
With a 1.5 acre off-leash area which extends to the river this is a great place to bring your dog especially if yours loves to run and play with other dogs. You’ll need to put your dog back on the leash to use the connecting paths which take you through the forest, parks and neighborhood areas but there’s plenty of places for them to enjoy sniffing around. Make sure you bring your own poop bags and drinking water for your dog. The park provides picnic tables where you can rest after your walk.
2 Wildwood Trail, Forest Park
Situated at NW Germantown Road, this wilderness area is for serious hikers and canines of a high fitness level as its 30-mile hike takes a couple of days to comfortably get around. It is recommended that you consider getting a map of the Forest Park to find the best way to get around the trails as some are more challenging than others. You’ll need to keep your dog on a leash the whole time and you’ll have to bring your own water and poop bags as these are not provided.
3 Portland Saturday Market
If you and your pooch are the socializing kind then the open-air arts and crafts Saturday Market and Farmers Market at 2 SW Naito Parkway is the place to be. You’ll have to keep your dog on the leash at all times while you’re browsing for delicious baked goods, meats and cheeses but dogs are made welcome with plenty of drinking water stations and lots of shady spots when the weather gets too hot.
4 Portland International Raceway Dog Park
If you’re looking for somewhere you can let your canine really stretch their legs, the fenced off dog park here has got to be the best place to go. This is a very well maintained area where the grass is kept short and neat and garbage is constantly cleared away so take poop bags with you at all times. Portland International Raceway is the home of drag racing, auto racing, motorcycle racing and motocross as well as Cruise-in specials and all these are held at various times throughout the year so why not make a weekend of it and enjoy plenty of thrills, excitement, music and great food and drink. Remember though that your pet must be properly supervised, on-leash at all times and must be cleaned up after. Some events do not allow pets so check before you book.
5 Plum Hill Vineyards
How about this for something a little different? Plum Hill Vineyards, situated between Forest Grove and Gaston this family-owned concern brews its own wines and not for nothing do they say it’s ‘your dog’s favorite winery’! It has to be one of the very few places where you can enjoy the company of your canine friend and at the same time sample some of the delicious wines the Plum Hill Vineyard has to offer. This place is genuinely dog-friendly as well-behaved dogs (and their humans) are allowed into the tasting room and onto the outside patio area. There is a large fenced dog run right next to the Vineyard where you and your dog can play. Poop bags, water and treats are thoughtfully provided for you.
6 International Rose Test Garden
If you love to walk around well tended gardens that are full to the brim with the sweet aroma of more than 10,000 beautiful roses, other plants and attractions then this is well worth a visit. The International Rose Test Garden, the oldest public garden in the US, is pet-friendly and extremely easy to get around on paved paths. You can take one of the free public tours or just stroll around at your own pace to enjoy the fountain, statue and gardens. Why not bring a picnic lunch and sit a while to enjoy the superb view, provided it is a clear day, over the city and Mt Hood in the distance. The garden is open all year round but to see the roses at their best you should visit in June. There is free admission and a gift shop on site as well.
7 Sandy River Delta, Thousand Acres Park
Although known to locals as simply Thousand Acres, and located just off I-84, 20 minutes from downtown Portland, this is actually 1,400 acres of doggy paradise. Consisting of open fields, wetlands, hiking trails, two rivers (the Sandy River and Columbia River) and numerous blackberry bushes you and your pooch can enjoy as much off-leash fun as you can handle. If your dog loves to swim, run or just take a leisurely stroll at your side you should come here to appreciate all that the Thousand Acres has to offer. It isn’t solely for dog walkers either – the Park is popular with birders, waterfowl hunters, horseback riders and mountain bikers. There is one part of the park that you won’t be allowed into however as one third of it is an off-limits wildlife habitat so be aware of this. The park is open all year round from dawn until dusk and there is car parking on site. The US Forest Service is responsible for the upkeep and development of the Park as well as maintaining the off-leash regulations for doggy visitors. These state that dogs should be kept on-leash at all times in the parking lot and within 100 feet of the Confluence Trail.
8 Hotel Monaco
Canine and human visitors to Portland will need a dog-friendly place to stay and the Hotel Monaco is one of the best. The hotel welcomes all dogs whether large or small, pure-breed or mutt. On arrival you and your pooch are greeted by the hotels’ own canine, a Golden Retriever, to make you all feel at home. You can order up a dog bed, food and water bowls and mats if you don’t want to take your own. The hotel’s nightly wine reception welcomes guests and their pups and you’ll be glad to know there are a good number of dog-friendly restaurants nearby.
What to Do on a Day Trip to Niagara Falls
Millions of people have added a visit to Niagara Falls to their bucket list. While some have the time to spend a whole weekend or even longer in this part of the world, which sits on the Canadian-United States border, others are short of time.
If you can only squeeze in a day trip to the Niagara area, there are ways to make the most of your trip and have a fabulous – if long – day. Whether you’ll be traveling from Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester or elsewhere, there are certain key things to do.
Journey Behind the Falls
Seeing the famous waterfalls is no doubt one of the main reasons why you’re planning a day trip to Niagara Falls. As such, buy a ticket to the Journey Behind the Falls experience. This option will get you up close to the Falls but from behind and below, as the tour takes visitors underground. You’ll travel down approximately 150 feet via an elevator and end up in purpose-built tunnels.
The hundred-year-old tunnels take you to Observation Decks that offer safe cocoons to see and hear the powerful waterfalls as they launch over the cliffs above and thunder down. As you complete the tour, check out the various posters on the tunnel walls. These detail the history of the Falls and the hallways.
Take a Boat Cruise
No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without seeing the waterfalls from the front, from a boat. Take a ride on a vessel operated by Hornblower Niagara Cruises if you’re on the Canadian side of the Falls, or hop on the Maid of the Mist when on the American side.
Both companies take passengers up close to the waterfalls, so you’ll hear the roar of the water and get drenched unless you’re wearing the supplied rain ponchos. The cruise lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes and will ensure you truly witness the wonder of Niagara Falls.
Picnic in the Botanical Gardens
Within the Niagara area, there are many excellent restaurants where you can stop for lunch and digest what you have seen. However, one way to take in more of the region while also refueling and learning something is to have a picnic in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Take a packed lunch with you and eat it within the 40-hectare site. The only problem is deciding where to set up your picnic.
The rose garden is particularly popular with visitors. There are approximately 2,500 different rose bushes here, which not only look lovely but also provide a delicate floral scent to take in while you relax. After finishing your meal, explore the Butterfly Conservatory. This enclosed space is home to over 2,000 butterflies, hailing from over 45 butterfly species.
If your legs are tired from all the walking during the day, hop on the Gardens’ horse and carriage tour. This way, you can conserve energy while seeing more of the gardens. This tourist attraction is found ten minutes’ drive from the center of Niagara Falls.
Explore Clifton Hill
Next, head to the fun suburb of Clifton Hill. It’s on the Canadian side of the waterfalls, only a block from Horseshoe Falls. Clifton Hill is a happening spot bursting at the seams with entertainment, shops, museums, and other attractions. There is, for example, a 36-hole mini-golf adventure course, a massive bowling alley, Canada’s biggest entertainment complex (it boasts 300-plus interactive games), and a haunted house.
Pick up souvenirs at the Canada Trading Company, and novelty gifts at the Fun Factory. If you need a sugar hit to keep you going, stop by the Fudge Factory for a vast array of sweet treats. When you’re ready for dinner, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Clifton Hill, too. There are dozens of excellent restaurants here, with something to suit every taste.
Ride the Niagara SkyWheel
Also located in Clifton Hill is Canada’s tallest Ferris wheel. Round out your day with another look at the waterfalls from 175 feet in the air. Ride the Niagara SkyWheel once the sun goes down so you can watch the Niagara Falls fireworks and light show. This stunning show lights up the Falls in every color of the rainbow.
The SkyWheel has air-conditioned and heated gondolas for comfort no matter the weather, and each ride includes at least four rotations. You’ll get expansive views of the Falls plus the surrounding region.
While Niagara Falls is famous around the world for the waterfalls that gave the city its name, there is much more to do in this area. Prepare yourself for a full day of activities and you’ll be ticking off items on that bucket list in no time.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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