The General Store
Sightseeing seems to be a crap shoot, at least for me. We don’t enjoy going to most tourist attractions (although we stopped at the Anne Murray Center in Springhill, Prince Edward Island – a highlight of JB’s day) because we enjoy exploring and finding the unexpected – where most people don’t go. But sometimes I know what I want to experience because of what I have read in material put out by the local tourism agency. Sometimes I’ve created a picture in my brain of what I want to see.
We set out to explore the southern side of the Minas Basin because I wanted to see where the highest recorded tide in the world occurred (Cobequid Bay at 17 meters or 55.77 feet). In places of high tides, like this Bay of Fundy area, the work of the water like fishing and shipping and hydroelectricity has to be scheduled according to the tides. We picked up a tide schedule but I guess the flow of tides isn’t a part of my psyche like it is for locals who grew up with them. It just never occurred to me that seeing a tidal basin at high tide would be like looking at a very wide body of water, like a wide river. A disappointment when we reached Cobequid Bay.
But not to worry, we had a lot of fun on the way to disappointment and back. Both JB and I are pretty good at navigating – we can read maps and signs and stuff like that. But we felt lost more than a few times on this drive down a coastal, country road without hardly any traffic. Maybe it was because the course changed numbers and directions several times; maybe because we couldn’t hold the names of towns in our heads because they weren’t familiar to us, and well, the towns seem elusive. We would see a sign indicating a town, it was even on the map, but there would be nothing – not even a crossroad or a house or two. Then we would come to a town sign and there would be a couple of businesses and a few houses but it wasn’t on the map. We saw a sign pointing right, with a picture of a light house. We drove to the end of the dirt road where a few cars were parked and some people fishing. There was a dirt drive going left up a steep hill, with a sign, “private property, dead end, no lighthouse.” All this kept us giggling.
We had three missions, to buy gas, get some groceries, see evidence of high tides. Early in the excursion we pulled off to walk out on a viewing pier when the tides were starting to come in. The current was rushing in, changing the flow of the river, and very impressive.
We decided to count this as experiencing the power of exceptionally strong tides. I also found us a gas station – a full service and with a very clean washroom. Bingo! Almost – we still needed to find a grocery.
We were heading back, along the same route, approaching Maitland. Maitland was the biggest town we had gone through with a crossroad, two or three businesses and a few more houses. And there was a sign letting us know there was a general store. By this time we had added another goal, to find ice cream, and JB spotted the sign indicating we had found it. I pulled over.
This is Canada’s oldest General Store and it had all the groceries we needed, including a bag of grown in Maitland mixed greens that were the best I’ve ever eaten. The store wasn’t big and the selection was limited (the cereal isle had Cheerios and oatmeal) but if they didn’t have it you could probably live without it (to paraphrase Garrison Keillor). And at the connected cafe/ice cream parlor they had the best ice cream we have ever eaten.
Mission accomplished! We accomplished all goals plus the unspoken goal of joy and spontaneous laughter.
Categories: Maritime Provinces Canada