Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Hidden Gem: River Bank General Store

The beautiful Mill Village in Nova Scotia, Canada's, Queens County (South Shore) boasts one of the prettiest country stores in whole Nova Scotia.

I discovered this lovely place last March when they were just in the middle of restoring, building the coffee shop / restaurant, kitchen and renovating the adjacent artist’s showroom, featuring paintings and crafts, and the hardware store with its unique, handmade pieces from local crafters and a wide variety of gifts.

It took several months and lots of helping hands, coming from QASL clients and staff, Queens Association for Supported Living, who owns the General Store and who helps individuals acquiring life skills and offers vocational programs and community-based employment.

Restaurant with Medway River View In summer, visitors could enjoy the cosy restaurant with its spectacular view of the magnificent Medway River, which runs just a couple of feet from the big windows, and have fresh coffee or delicious ice cream. Since last autumn the “River Bank Café” offers a daily lunch during the week, including homemade soups, fresh prepared sandwiches and salads and mouth-watering fresh-baked pastries at very competitive prices.

Once a month, or maybe more often in the future, they offer a marvelous Sunday Brunch. To learn about this well-liked delicious food event, send them your email address to receive invitations, as they are quickly booked out:

River Bank Café and General Store is such a lovely place, not yet discovered by tourists, despite its proximity (2 minutes) from HWY 3 (Halifax to Liverpool and Shelburne). Get your coffee, tea or hot chocolate and stock up on groceries, bread and pastries here: Fresh, local and organic produce and meats, canned and dry goods, pies, cookies etc. 

They also carry Mike Oulton's Free Range Meats and Greek's Quality Meats and a number of Natural Homemade Foods products, such as German Bread, as well as their own store baked sweet temptations. The River Bank Café also offer take-out: I recently had a sandwich and a salmon chowder - to die for - and crispy almond croissants.

8 Medway River Rd, Mill Village, NS B0J2H0
Phone 902-677-2013 Open until 9:00 pm.
Hours Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm Sat - Sun: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm

Have also a look at “The Picture House” website and blog to learn about River Bank General Store and the QASL and see a video:

longer version:

or the NS government website:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fishermans Village at Eastern Passage, Halifax

Charming Day Trip just 30 Minutes from Halifax:

Crossing over to the Dartmouth side of Halifax you can enjoy seafood and other goodies in a restored fishing village, the "Fishermans Cove" in Eastern Passage, having seagulls sitting next to you, waiting for leftovers.



It is not only an awesome photo opportunity right at the roadside, but a boardwalk takes you out for a lovely stroll to the shore.  There is even a ferry over to McNabs Island where one can spent a few hours hiking the island.

Each of these restored fishing huts is painted in a different color and you can watch fisherman landing their catch.  A great little nautical museum explains the creatures that live in the adjacent Atlantic ocean and on the shores around Halifax.  Lots of quaint, colorful little shops, cafes and unique restaurants.  A really nice day trip to get a taste of Maritime life if you happen to be in Halifax!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Travelling with Fido in Canada

Pet owners often struggle about what to do with their pets when they travel since they are considered part of the family. There are some fabulous places in Canada where they will welcome your pets!
Pet Friendly Bed and Breakfasts across Canada:

Pacific Spirit Guest House, Vancouver,
Guest House, Smithers, BC
Two Eagles Lodge, Union Bay, Vancouver Island
Wildhorse Mountain Guest Ranch, Penticton, BC
Auberge Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
French Quarters B & B, Coquitlam, BC
Cozy for You B & B, Naramata, BC
Cougar's Crag Extreme B&B, Metchosin, BC
Suite As it Gets B & B, Blind Bay, BC
Fireflies Bed & Breakfast, Campbell River, BC
Scarecrow B & B, McBride, BC

Sage Door B & B, Edmonton, Alberta

Dreamscapes B & B, Huntsville, Ontario
The Martin House B & B, Jordan Station, Ontario
The Pritty Place Bed and Breakfast, Damascus, Ontario
Serenity Ranch Bed and Breakfast, Ancaster, ON
Taylor-Made B & B, Lion’s Head, Ontario
Holiday House B &  B, Tweed, Ontario
The Black Lab Inn, Ottawa, Ontario
Maxwell's Cabin Bed &  Breakfast, Maxwell, Ontario
Stouffer Mill Bed & Breakfast Getaway, Algonquin Highlands, Ontario
The Tymparon Inn Kingston Bed &  Breakfast, Kingston, Ontario
Willow Pond B &  B, Bowmanville, Ontario
Grant House Bed &  Breakfast, Beaverton, Ontario
Bobbi’s Place B &  B, Beaverton, Ontario
Duck Tail Inn, Ancaster, Ontario


Gite Montagne Nirvana B&B, St Faustin, Quebec
Trigonelle B & B, Mont-Tremblant, QC

The Red Roof Inn, outside Antigonish, Nova Scotia
The Nelson House Bed and Breakfast, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia

Rum Runners’s Roost, Twillingate, Newfoundland
In the USA Best Western and Super6 Motels allow dogs, and certainly many more.

These travel tips are from the American Kennel Club, Cesar Millan, the ASPC, and my own from many years of traveling through North America with my dog:

  • Get your dog used to the car by letting him sit in it with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides.
  • Carry its usual bedding and its beloved toys
  • Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. 
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. 
  • Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window.
  • Stop every half hour and let him out (that’s good for you too)
  • Place a water bowl that he can reach any time
  • Place a net between the driver/passenger seat and the rear of the car
  • Make sure there is nothing sharp or hart where your dog could get hurt in case you have a crash, upholster everything with towels and blankets
  • NEVER leave your dog in a parked car, especially when it’s warm out

Have a safe and joyful trip!


Friday, December 23, 2011


In a crowded Parisian café, a tourist is sitting alone, enjoying a crème caramel. Another tourist approaches (let's forget for a moment that neither of them speak Englisch very well. To write what they actually said would create reading problems).

Can I sit down here? No problem...Thank you, very kind of you. Are you on vacation? Yes, I arrived yesterday...What country are you from? Norway. I don't know exactly where that is. I'm from Quebec.

Québec? I don't know Québec...

Québec... near the Atlantic, next to Ontario, the Great Lakes...

No, I don't know these places.

Never mind then, I'm from Canada...

Ah Canada, Canada I know. So why did you tell me you come from Québec?

Because, my first country is Québec! Oh, you were born in Québec and emigrated to Canada? No, no, I was born in Québec and I stayed in Québec...Oh, then your father is from Canada? No, no, my father, my mother, my wife, my dog, everybody, they come from Québec....So why did you say Canada? For Christ sake, because you said you don't know where Québec is. OK, but if you said you don't know Norway, I did not say that my country is Japan...

Tabarnaque Canada isn't Japan. Canada, it's my country. Oh, your country is not Québec anymore?...My country is Québec. But my country, it can be Canada too, if the person I speak to does not know where Québec is. Tabernaque

I do not understand...Look, it's simple: I come from the Province of Québec, in the country of Canada.
Ok! But I did not ask you what province you're from, I asked you what country. I come from Lofoten in Norway, but I answered Norway when you asked me what country I come from...I know, I'm not stupid, Câlisse. But me, when they ask me what country I come from, I answer Québec. Even if it's the name of my province. For me, it's my country.

Oh, now I understand. You are a separatist, you want your Quebec province to be your country...
Are you crazy? I don't want anything to do with that crap.
Now I don't understand anything anymore.

I tell you before, it's simple. You ask me what country I come from, I answer Québec because Québec is my country, but I don't really want it to be my country, it would be too much trouble. I just want to say it. So, why don't you just let me say it?

I'm all mixed up. You have a passport from what country: Québec or Canada?

So why did you not tell me Canada right away?
Because it don't feel right. For me, Canada is Anne Murray, the Calgary Stampede, the Mounted Police, SARS... it's not my home all that. Home, it's La Famille Plouffe, Séraphin Poudrier, La P'tite Vie, Félix Leclerc, La Poune, Les Canadiens de Montréal, Les Bougons... Do you understand???
Less and less...

Listen, forget all that shit. Ask me another question.
Ok, what town do you come from?
Mmm..., I don't know anymore...
You not know what town you come from? Yes, yes, I know what town I come from, but my town was merged with another town, but soon it is going to demerge from the town that was supposed to be my town...

Oh, that's very complicated! When you write your address, what do you write?

I don't know anymore. Before, I used to write Hull, but Hull changed to Gatineau, but they tell us to wait 3 years before stopping to write Hull to not mix up the mailman. But now, the Liberals they passed a law that makes it OK for Gatineau to be Hull again, but I don't know if we have to wait 3 years more to be able to write Hull, or when the 3 years are passed, if we have to write Gatineau for 3 years, and after we write Hull. Unless, of course, the PQ come back in power and we remerge with Gatineau, then we'll have to write Gatineau for 3 years.

I have to leave now; I have a headache...
It's so simple, Tabernaque! My town is Hull, my country is Québec. But if you prefer, my town is Gatineau and my country is Canada.
OK, I think I understand. It's about time. Anyway, it was fun talking to you, if you come around where I live; maybe you come and see me...
OK, but where?
Hull in Québec or Gatineau in Canada?

You're a pain in the butt. Forget the whole thing and have a good day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gold River Tours

Gold mining brought back to life on the Gold River

While Oak Island gets all the attention these days, there was a time when Lunenburg County was gold-mining country.

The Nova Scotia gold rush of the 1860s has long been forgotten by most, only to be found in books and archives around the province. That history is coming alive thanks to the Chester Municipal Heritage Society sponsoring a guided walking tour.

"It always amazes me what these people did with dynamite and hand tools," said tour guide Danny Hennigar. The tours will visit the Stewart mine and the Colonel Briscoe Stamping mill site, among others.

It is a two-hour guided walking tour of the west side of the Gold River (Mi'kmaq name is Amaqapakikek) gold mines, part of the Nova Scotia gold rush of the 1860s. On the tour you will visit old intact gold-mine shafts, trenches, the site of a dam and electrical power generation and locations of old stamping/processing mills.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Houseboating Rideau Canal, Ontario

The oldest continuously operated canal in North America, the Rideau Canal Waterway links the lakes and rivers between Ottawa and Kingston and is a boater's paradise.

Huge pine, maple and oak shade trees to the right and left, peaceful, quiet surroundings, quaint towns, lots of house boats for rent, friendly and knowlegable lock staff - it's the recipe for a relaxing vacation.

And: it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
I travelled the Rideau Canal for several years at all seasons, paddled, cycled, skated, canoed, house-boated and went through each of the 24 locks along the 202 kilometer waterway, and it still seems to be a well-kept travel secret.

Barely any businesses, no tour-coaches, souvenir shops or tourist hords, very few restaurants, no highways or high-rises, just cottages along the way.

Read "Along the Rideau" - or better come and see for yourself.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Colors

Soon to be Seen Everywhere North of the 40:

What looks like a barren place is actually full of life:  I took these photos often just before sunset or on remote places during the week.  Fascinating how the wind shifts the snow.  All images where taken in Aylmer, Quebec, on Lake Deschennes which is in fact part of the Ottawa River and very close to Ottawa, the Capital of Canada.

Winter Activities
During the day and on weekends you will see hundreds of people enjoying Winter activities: such as cross country skiing on the frozen Lake Deschennes, snow-shoeing, ice curling and lots of ice fishing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Colors

Even in November Nova Scotia's South and East Shore are colorful and magnificant. Not a grey month here!  Good food and wine everywhere, lots of activities and the freshest air in the world.  Outdoor activities – sea kayaking, rock climbing, kilometers of hiking, sailing, surfing - all this can be enjoyed through November and sometimes even December

Hiked, walked and maybe surfed enough the high waves at this time of the year? Then visit these events:

Dartmouth: Heritage Fashion

Fashion and Accessories from the Collection of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum. Showcasing not only fashion through the decades, but the accessories needed to complete the look from head to toe.

Halifax:  22nd Annual Victorian Christmas   November 26 - November 27
Take in choral, band and dance performances, sip on apple cider and soak up some holiday cheer at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. And don't forget to visit the charming coffee shop.

Halifax: Holiday ParadeThis year’s Parade promises to kick off the season with lights, music and live entertainment on Saturday, November 19, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Antigonish: Farmers MarketIt is were locals and visitors meet and the highlight of the week for foodies: visit the Farmers Market, every Saturday morning from 9-12

Nova Scotia Dining
Sea-fresh Digby scallops from the Bay of Fundy. Plumper, juicier oysters harvested from our crystalline shores. Firmer, sweeter Nova Scotia lobster from the South Shore. Cold smoked salmon. Traditional Red Fife wheat bread. Delicious Annapolis Valley King apples. Tart, plump wild blueberries. World Class Nova Scotia Wines and Ice Wines. Local Heritage Pork. Annapolis Valley Champagne-style cider. And the list goes on. For local dining experiences and agri-outlets go to and search by region.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

White Point Resort Burned Down

This lovely, old-fashioned and very popular resort on Nova Scotia's South Shore is gone.
Hope, they re-built it soon - but it will never be same.

Fire Live on YouTube:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food Film Festival, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Melange of great Chefs and great films If Robert Redford can turn Park City, Utah, into a film festival destination, Michael Howell believes he can do the same for Wolfville, drawing parallels between the home of the famed Sundance Film Festival and Wolfville, which has the Al Whittle Theatre on Main Street. Howell, chef-owner of Tempest Restaurant in Wolfville, is organizing the second Slow Motion Food Film Fest November 10 - 13. At the first festival in 2009, 1,000 people came out for a retrospective of classic food films like Babette’s Feast and Ratatouille. Other films are: Land Awakening, set in Greece, France, Italy, Spain and Canada, the 89-minute feature is lovingly photographed and "an unbelievably beautiful view of the world." Blood into Wine, a documentary about the singer for the rock band Tool moving to Arizona and opening a winery, gets its Canadian premiere at 6 p.m. Saturday. Another Canadian premiere is El Camino del Vino, an Argentinian film about a sommelier who loses his sense of taste and his journey to recover it. The movie, which has been written up in Wine Spectator magazine, screens at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. At 8 p.m. at the Harvest Gallery, learn from an expert How to Really Taste Wine. Jason Priestley will take part in the festival’s opening "Barn Dinner" on Thursday at the Wolfville Farmers Market, joining these celebrity chefs in cooking a four-course meal. - Craig Flinn (Chives), - Dennis Johnston (FID Resto), - Peter Dewar (NSCC), - Jason Lynch (Le Caveau), - Luis Clavel (Atlantica Hotel), - Peter Jackson (formerly of Jacks Grill in Edmonton), - Renee Lavallee (The Feisty Chef), - Chris Velden (Flying Apron), - Brad Bowden (Glen Arbour) and - Jesse Vergen (Saint John Alehouse) There will be awards for best documentary feature, best documentary short, best feature and best feature short. Winners will be given papier mache snails, the symbol of the worldwide slow-food movement. Information on the festival can be found at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Impressions of Ottawa, Canada's Capital

Moving from Montreal to Canada’s Capital I did not like this city at all, in fact, I found it dull and ugly. And moving there in March didn't help.  But everywhere I saw brilliant photographs of Ottawa.  I could not see the same beauty as the photographer in his work, who must have loved Ottawa to celebrate it in such beautiful images: Malak Karsh.  The images you see here are not his, but my own interpretations of the city.

Ottawa, the Canadian Capital, is for sure not a boring government city, it is a bustling, amazing place with several universities and a very young and diverse population.  A very green city as well, surrounded by three rivers, lots of stunning parks and a great place to experience art, theatre, music and world class museums.

Festivals and year-round events such as the popular Winterlude, the Tulip Festival, Jazz Festival, and Canada Day, just to name a few, are world famous. Hang out at the Byward Market or stroll through the Glebe or take a biplane ride at the Rockcliffe airport for an aerial tour.  Ottawa is worth the trip, go and see for yourself!