Morning on the Bay

 

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My goal was to be up for the sunrise at our campsite on Manitoulin Island, on the water of Manitowaning Bay, just south of Sheguiandah. I feel the tug of the yarn that wants to unravel my story of exploring this island with multiple First Nation tribes but my topic sentence has tethered me to the early morning.

Our site is on Sunrise Beach, as named on the camp map, and the windows around our dinette overlook a small corner of water of this large bay, filled with Great Lakes’ water. I left the blind up so the early morning light would find its way to my bed to gently stroke my eyelids open. I refuse to let an alarm clock jerk me out of an interesting dream, before I am ready, now that I am living on retirement schedule.

The sunrise did awaken me – as I raised my head I could see the peachy-pink skyline. I would like to say that I jumped out of bed, but no, I just eased out a little more quickly than usual. By the time I slipped my clothes on and secured my Velcro sandals, the fickle early morning light had lifted most of the pink but I walked into a calm and gentle light.

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The air was still as I stood in dewy grass, with only gentle breaths to create a small, occasional ripple on the water – but not enough to sway the rushes. The only thing that seemed to be moving was the small motor boat anchored a few feet off shore. I would take a few photos of this boat, then focus my attention slightly to the left or right. When I looked back the boat was showing me a new face. The boat was always moving but never going anywhere. It moved round about, changing direction but never moving forward, anchored to that spot in the bay.

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When I became satiated on photographs, I sat and enjoyed the cool air, the warming sun, and the morning sound of fresh-water birds, along with a few gulls. In the distance I heard a loon, a smile-maker because they aren’t common where I live in Michigan. I wonder what it is about the loons’ call that plucks at our human experience and emotions. Is it a call of yearning? Maybe a call for companionship.

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Meatloaf Panini

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Our short day trip (sans trailer) was to go down Digby Neck on highway 217, that narrow strip of land between the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary’s Bay west of Digby. I expected the strip of land to be filled with vacation homes on the water with seasonal villages full of gift shops and coffee shops. We didn’t pack a lunch, expecting to stop at a little cafe for some seafood and internet. What a surprise to find a just a few homes, maybe seasonal or maybe full time residents, an occasional small cove with anchored fishing boats, and a lot of woodlands and hills overlooking the water on one side or the other.

We didn’t see any services like gasoline, groceries, or little cafes with internet. Just a two-lane road that went up and down and around the countryside. Then we saw the little, hand-made sign on the side of the road and caught the word “cafe.” A little ways down the road we pulled in – almost missing it because it wasn’t what we expected.

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We parked at the end of the school, close to the big yellow school bus. I had a mix of curiosity and maybe a little apprehension – but we like to find the unusual and it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve eaten a sandwich that was mediocre sustenance, at best. We climbed the stairs to the ranch-house type school built in the 50’s and we followed the voices that came from the room to the right – where the cafe sign was pointed to.

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It was a room I wanted to enter. There was a small counter for ordering, with pastries on covered cake plates and cookies in a glass cookie jar. People were talking and laughing. There was a family that stopped to eat, and say high to Grandma who was working in the back kitchen. A couple was chatting with the cashier about the joy of sleeping under a down comforter now that the nights have been cold. People knew each other, they belonged here but were also warm and friendly to those who were passing through, like us and a few bikers (from the motorcycle rally in Digby). We wanted to stay a bit.

The food menu for the day was limited to a fish chowder, a salad, a breakfast burrito and two sandwiches. One was a wrap and the other was a meatloaf panini. Right, a meatloaf panini. We both chuckled silently – and then both of us ordered it. I’m going to show it to you again so you don’t have to scroll up – it was one of top three sandwiches I have ever eaten – in my whole life – the whole 73 years of it. We are still talking and laughing about it three days later.

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The panini had a slice of homemade meatloaf, some barbecue sauce and a spoon of the cabbage slaw on it so there was a bit of zippy-ness without overpowering the meat loaf, that was excellent in it’s own right. JB and I both cleaned our plates – so we could split an oatmeal cookie dipped in dark chocolate, and get a cinnamon roll to take home to have with our evening sleepy time tea. My tea is a Fundy Fog made to perfection; one third steamed milk, two thirds tea, and a little vanilla – yum! The man who made it said mine was the first he had made and I replied that he shouldn’t change a thing for his next ones.

The Schoolhouse Cafe is a non-profit and all the people working (I think I saw about six including those who worked in the back kitchen doing prep and washing dishes) were volunteers. They opened in July and their goal is to be someplace local people can go to have coffee and a bite to eat together and to share whats happening around the area. They are also offering some educational sessions on topics of local interest. Having a delicious sandwich followed by a pastry and tea in a warm and friendly place – now that is priceless.

Of Farmer’s Markets and a Cemetery

Farmer’s markets are one of the great joys of summer. We stumbled upon this one when we walked through the park in Bayfield, Ontario as we are beginning a traveling vacation in Canada. We stopped for one of the light lunches out of our frig that we enjoy so much, and then set off in search of some ice cream. The ice cream was yummy and by luck we found the farmer’s market on our way back – all in close proximity to where we parked.

Our destination was Owen Sound, on the southern coast of the Georgian Bay. JB’s father is from this area so he has visited many times – and I’ve been here twice. He was doing a good job of navigating me to the city park where we are camping for a few nights – until we came to a fork in the road and he tells me to go right. We head up a very steep hill and he knows it was a wrong call. At the top I stop so we can decide to go right or left and if I have the right of way. A car honks behind me and cars coming from both directions are waiting – I decide I need to move and JB says left. He soon knows where we are and says the city cemetery is just ahead and if I turn in…

Well I am winding my way through narrow lanes with a 22 foot trailer in tow until we come to the end, and then we are bouncing along a pocked narrow lane across the back of the cemetery that he says will lead us out the back way. Wrong. I turn at the only turn available to me, leading back into the cemetery and there is a young man walking towards us. He stops us and indicates for me to roll down my window. “You are lost.”

“What was your first clue,” I say through tears of laughter as I picture the situation from his perspective.

“When you stopped on the hill.” He was the person who honked at me. “I bet you are looking for Harrison Park.” I fumble with something about whether we would be happier camping in the cemetery or the park but he doesn’t get it. He is there to rescue us and I am grateful. He says he will escort us to the park and heads back to his car.

When we get to the park he tells us about the folk festival happening in town this weekend and the best place to eat. “Be sure to order the Snowball desert.” And he is off after wishing us a great week-end.

“You are lost.” We really weren’t, not totally, but what a great pick-up line..

Tagged C – is for…

Monday North Point 090

Canada, and here’s to friends to the north of the US. This week’s letter from Frizz is the letter C and here are a few photos from our trip to Canada last summer.

Hubby stayed in cabins when he traveled with his parents – and was delighted when we found a cabin to stay in on Newfoundland – for two nights no less.

C is for Cabin

C is for Cabin

We went around many curves – these being on the east side of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.

C is for curvy roads

C is for curvy roads

We went to see where the river reverses course because of the large tides at the Bay of Fundy. This next photo of a collapsing structure was taken in Saint John, New Brunswick.

C is for collapsing

C is for collapsing

We stayed at a wonderful Provincial Park in Quebec and these canoes were inviting on a warm summer day.

C is for Canoe

C is for Canoe

And of course what we saw the most of were coastlines in the Maritime Provinces.

Coastline on Cabot Trail

C is for Coastline on Cabot Trail

To see what Frizz is up to and to join in the fun or to see other interpretations of the letter C, click here.