City Market – Saint John, New Brunswick

We had a great day, the day we spent exploring Saint John. There is a St. Johns in Newfoundland – where they have the colorful houses (see links at end of post). I learned that they keep the cities straight by spelling out Saint for the John in New Brunswick. I wonder if there will ever be so many cities named St. Patricia that some need to be referred to as Saint Patricia so people don’t get confused.

A man stopped to ask if we needed some help – maybe he thought we looked like tourists (was it the camera around my neck, the bewildered, lost look on our faces, or the fact that a cruise ship had just disembarked?). He said something we really didn’t want to miss in Saint John is the City Market.

The exterior is a sharp contrast to the sights that we saw when we walked in.

It was lunch time and we had decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal in town. There were several stands preparing ethnic food that sounded tempting but we really wanted to sit down and be served for this meal. So we continued to walk around, knowing that we had seen some nice cafes close to where we had parked the car. Nice to have a back-up plan.

It is not a big market and we slowly wondered toward the other end. When we reached it, we knew we had found our destination.

This is Billy, talking to customers and filling the case with today’s catch. And these are the lobster, waiting to be eaten. Billy has the better job. Better to serve, than to be served.

The atmosphere was charming and we sat on the same side of the table on a bench against the wall. Very romantic. Jim said his fish and chips were the best he has ever had. I had a seafood gumbo that was really tasty. I had my camera all set to take a picture but when the plate came it looked so good I forgot about my camera. Maybe that is why I don’t consider myself a food photographer – I like eating more than photography. You will have to just trust me that my meal was as good looking as it was good to eat. I thought about taking a picture of my half-eaten meal but that seems kinda gross.

By the time we finished eating, most everyone who had been on the cruise ship had found the City Market. Lots of people. But I was able to buy some sweet corn for supper and some locally grown strawberries. And we started down the other side.

And then we saw it. Can you feel the magic? Something that is sooooooo hard to resist.

We bought a loaf of whole grain bread and Jim bought the pastry on the top self, on the left – cream filled.

I bought an apple turn-over. It was a really hard choice. The clerk put the pastries in a little box for safe carrying.

I also bought the hanging moose that was featured in a previous post but as we were leaving we saw the following sign.

Jim had seen some for tasting at another stand so we went back for a try. We had toasted ones and, disappointment, we didn’t care for them.

There was a picnic table outside the building and we sat in the warm sun and ate our pastries. Both were excellent – we fed each other pieces of what we had chosen.

To see the colorful homes and businesses of St. Johns, Newfoundland, click on links below.

Mysterious Wild Flower

Wild Flowers of Gros Morne

If you have been following my posts during our trip to Eastern Canada, you know I went wild over wild flowers. They were everywhere, in abundance, and beautiful. My husband made a good effort to be patient and I limited the number of times that we pulled over for photo ops. But I took pictures. While he pumped gas, I took pictures. I took LOTS OF PICTURES OF WILD FLOWERS but I only took a small fraction of the photographs that wanted to be taken.

There is one wild flower that drove me to distraction, however. It is that lavender/purple/sometimes pink flower you see in the above photo. It was everywhere and it brought a lot of drama to the fields of other flowers. Sometimes there was just a little of it, sometimes there were very large areas. And I tried to capture the beauty but was always frustrated with the results. I couldn’t get my camera to pick up what I was seeing.

The main problem is that they bloom from the bottom up and when the petals fall the stem is covered with these little bright pink twigs that are very showy until you press the shutter.

Now maybe some of you really good macro photographers could get 5 billion little pink twigs over a deep field all in tack-sharp focus – I couldn’t.

So my husband is talking to the son of the man who took us whale watching and I am photographing wild flowers between drops of rain and strong gusts of wind. They come out of the little building and Jim says to follow them. He had told this young man that I had been trying to photograph this pink flower that is all over. The young man says they have a whole field of them but his mom said no one knows its name and leads us down a short wooded path. A whole field of them is there before my very eyes – but my images are disappointing. Again.

But I keep trying every time I see them and do get some good images when I start taking photos of the parts instead of trying to capture the impact of many.

Sometimes they appear purple and sometimes more pink. It probably depends on the soil.

And then as were driving through Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland, I saw the most beautiful expanse of wildflowers but it wasn’t possible for us to stop. On the way back I drove so I could watch for them and find a place to stop. I tended to be less fussy about where I pulled off the two-lane highway.

Gros Morne National Park

Latter on the trip we found an information display that identified this wild flower as Wildfire Plant because the little sticks on the stems explode into hundreds of little fluffy seeds, similar to dandelions, and plant themselves where vegetation has burned off. They also spread through underground roots. That explained why I was seeing bright white patches among the purple/pink flowers.

Wildfire Flower Going to Seed

Now I know what it is and by chance had photographed its blooming life cycle. I also found another picture when I searched Wildfire Flower.

Broom Point – Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

I enjoy the scenery and grandeur of the physical world and Gros Morne National Park has so much of that to enjoy. According to geologists this is one amazing place to see evidence of 500 million years of our earth’s history (see But I am much more drawn to the human element – what would it be like to live here both now and in the past (there is evidence that people lived in this area for the past 4,500 years). Broom Point gave me a wonderful opportunity to see and imagine a life of fishing in this area. Of course we were here on a beautiful, sunny, pleasantly warm day.

Wind beaten trees


There is evidence that this can be a very blustery place, however. All along this cost we could see trees that were bent away from the shore from years of strong winds, winds so strong that vegetation didn’t grow on the ocean side.

Three Mudge brothers and their families lived and fished here from 1941 to 1975. The property is currently owned by the National Park and consists of a home and their fish store that serves as a place to store hand-made boats and fishing gear.

Fish Store

Lobster Traps

Tools of Their Trade

This is a three bedroom home, two bedrooms on the left side and one at the back on the right.

The kitchen contained a cook stove, a small table, and a daybed. That means that it was meant to sleep 7 people, minimum. I think things could get close and noisy on bad-weather days. I assume there were two other homes like this so each brother had a home. I wonder if the wives got along. I wonder if the brothers ever fought. Did they get together for Saturday night card games or did they just work and sleep? Did they get tired of eating fish?

There was a fire in the stove and the sweet smell of the burning wood drifted on the breeze outside. If you look closely you can faintly see the gas motor under the washing machine that provided the power to run it.

The fact that the outhouse had to be supported in this way told me that there could be some mighty strong winds and life could be harsh. I went to a one-room school without plumbing so I know what it is like to drop my pants and sit on a wood seat in freezing weather.

Braced Against a Topple

Click on Maritime Provinces – Canada to the right for more photography and stories of our trip.

Moose Stories from the Maritime Provinces

Watch out for Moose

We saw a moose – on date night on the east coast of Cape Breton Island. It was dusk and we were driving back to the campground and there she was. She lumbered down the left shoulder and across the road but my camera was behind the seat and she was in the woods before I could get it out. But we saw one – honest.

Newfoundland Moose Sign

Newfoundland Moose Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traveling up the west coast of Newfoundland and through Gros Morne National Park we saw these signs – but no moose. Funny sign.

When we reached Port au Chroix, the place where we had decided we would turn around and head back, we had hit the weary-of-riding-in-the-car-and-we’re-hungry point but it was only 3:00 in the afternoon.

Port au Chroix is a charming town, where fishing is the primary industry. And right there is this cute cafe all decorated in a nautical theme advertising good food using locally grown products and local information – just begging us to come in. No discussion needed; I was driving.

We had been told that there were restaurants on Newfoundland that served moose burgers and on a chalk board by the front door was a sign saying they were “out of moose burgers.” But it was only 3:00 and we weren’t ready for a moose burger anyway. I decided on a piece of partridge berry pie with ice cream and Jim ordered blueberry pie, both with ice cream and big cups of very good coffee (with 18% coffee cream). Here is what we learned from our waitress as we were oohing over our pie.

English: Lingonberry, cowberry, foxberry, moun...

English: Lingonberry, cowberry, foxberry, mountain cranberry, csejka berry, red whortleberry, lowbush cranberry, mountain bilberry, partridgeberry ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Tyttebær – Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our first question was what is a partridge berry. She explained that in other parts of the world they are called lingenberry and they taste something like a cranberry. My pie had the tartness of cranberry and the jam we bought later at a market selling wild blueberries is really good on toast.

Our second question was about moose burgers. They weren’t gong to serve moose burgers during the 13 days left of their summer season because they were out of meat. The owner has a license to hunt moose and also a license to serve moose in his restaurant. He kills it, butchers it, grinds it and serves it as moose burgers. Now we normally eat beaf burgers, occasionally a turkey or chicken burger, or a vegi burger and sometimes we get a buffalo burger at a local restaurant. Some local people in Michigan are raising and selling buffalo meat. We would have liked to try a moose burger, but not to be in Port au Chroix.

We didn’t find anywhere that served them on Newfoundland (maybe because we didn’t search much) and when we were pumping gas (again) in Nova Scotia we asked someone if there was anywhere in town that served moose burgers.

She explained that it was against the law to serve it in restaurants in Nova Scotia but she grew up eating it; when food was low, her dad went out and shot a moose. It was the standard Sunday dinner. No moose burger on this trip.

There were a couple of places along the highway where we saw a sign saying that there was a moose in the road when the lights were flashing. Then there would be poles just off the shoulder every few feet with solar panels and little things on the top that were probably motion detectors. There were also places where they had very tall moose fencing running parallel to the road. We saw our second moose eating shrubs just the other side of one of these fences. We couldn’t stop for a picture because there wasn’t sufficient shoulder and besides taking a picture of a moose through a medal fence would make it look like an unimaginative picture from a zoo.

Maritime Province Moose

Fast forward a few days and we are leaving New Brunswick and entering Maine. The U.S. customs officer wants to look in our trailer. After checking the frig, he poked his head in our bath (all 4×5 feet of it) and asked if we had a moose hanging. Too bad I hadn’t hung my moose ornament I purchased in St. John New Brunswick. And this is my picture of a moose from the Maritime Provinces of Canada. He posed for the picture.

Tribute to “Life on the Rocks” – the Area of Gander

A couple of weeks ago I posted my reflections of “Life on the Rocks” and today I want to pay a personal tribute to the people of that area. This is the area around Gander, Newfoundland. This name may sound familiar to you – maybe because there is an airforce base there, maybe because it was mentioned in the news during the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center.

When the airspace in the U.S. was shut down the flights that had come out of Europe were diverted to Gander. I posted about how this isn’t a highly commercialized area – there aren’t many motels and hotels. We had heard that the people of Gander put people up in their own homes and the community fed these hundreds of people.

We were talking to a man who lives close to Twillingate which is on an island north of Gander. We expressed our appreciation that the people of Gander took in the stranded travelers and he stated that it wasn’t just Gander because there wasn’t enough resources there to meet the need. People from all over the area took people in. They opened their homes in a time of need.

When we are driving down the road past lots of houses, I often wonder what is happening in them. What kind of people live there and what their life is like? We had the opportunity to talk to some of the people who lived and worked in this area and they were genuine, warm, friendly, and helpful. If you ever get stranded or lost, be sure it is in Newfoundland.