My Summer Vacation

by Sava

The last time I wrote anything was in July, which seems eons ago!  I meant to write once more before we left for our trip but didn’t have a chance after all! Remember when we were little and September arrived and we had to go back to school? It seems the first thing we had to do (in elementary school, at least) was tell about our summer vacation. I was feeling a little nostalgic thinking back over our vacation so thought I would share it with you all now, even though it is October already. I apologize if it is more than you wanted to know, but once I get started…it’s tough to stop!

Dan and I arrived in Burlington, VT Saturday night where my sister Georgia and her husband Floyd picked us up. After a great night’s sleep, we talked about our pending day trip to Lake Sunapee where we would be having a reunion with “the kids”  from our old neighborhood on 40 Berkeley Street. It was such a great neighborhood where all the moms were ‘everyone’s’ moms! When one mom had to grocery shop she phoned the other moms so they could all be checking on all the kids out in the neighborhood. There seemed to be no worries about anything happening to any of them, maybe because nothing ever did! We had the BEST time reminiscing. Hope we can do this every year!

A few days later we left for Scarborough, Maine to have dinner with our cousins and our amazing 91 year-old Aunt Helene! I swear her memory is better than mine, which makes me just a little nervous!! Again, there was a lot of “remember when” going on! We actually have made this an annual stop on our way to our cabin in Nova Scotia and look forward to it so much! We set out for that cabin the next morning after breakfast and our goodbyes. This is quite a long 14 hour ride and we usually stop for an overnight somewhere over the border rather than driving straight through. Also, we like getting to the bluff in daylight for that breathtaking view of  blue, blue water and sky as we emerge from the mile long drive through the green of the trees. My brother Jim and his wife Dianne greeted us as we pulled up. They were just ending their time at the cabin as we began ours. Di had made her awesome delicious lasagna for dinner (it’s become our welcoming tradition), which we had with a lovely pinot noir. Thus we settled into the rhythm on the bluff…so relaxed and peaceful it is as if time has stopped.

We enjoy the next four days with them, visiting old friends in Liscombe, Lou and Terry (Terry built our cabin). In our immediate surroundings we visit Mike & Cindy, Anne and Joe and sons, and Florence and Doreen. These friends are the mainstay of our existence here in Hadleyville (our town), and St. Frances Harbor. They are the ones who welcome us every year for our short visit and keep an “eye” on our cabin during the rest of the year. Joe has given us the history of our land and the infamous Mae Pyle who used to own it. He is a lobster fisherman who pulls in his traps for the short two-month lobster season off this coast of Nova Scotia, unlike the Maine lobster season which is year round. He knows everyone, I think, within a 50 mile radius or even more, for that matter. He is soft spoken but keeps us mesmerized with tales of the “old days”, of the families that live here still, going back generations, of feuds and friendships, of fishing, of ship building and sheep farming on our land and nearby. We are now part of these stories and thank our dad for giving us the gift of these 140 acres, that hold this rich history. And we thank these friends of ours who have welcomed us into their lives.

And from that first day until we leave, our gorgeous view never gets old. The sunsets are a spectacular show of blazing oranges, hot pinks, subtle mauves, and streaks of deep purples…at the end of our perfect days!  The last two summers we experienced hurricanes that shook our little cabin to its core and devastated Vermont, but this summer there was no rain to speak of. The days  were full of sunshine and cool breezes, BUT…(dun dun da) our well went dry! This was a new challenge in this rustic cabin of ours where we don’t have electricity but always had water for dishes and showers. We were accustomed to driving  15 miles to the provincial park (where drinking water from a natural spring is available to the public at no charge) to get our drinking water every 6 or so days, but now we had to make that drive every 3 or 4 days since we were using this water for everything! Luckily, we are very flexible people and adjusted to that drive which also gave us an excuse to go another few miles into Guysborough to have lunch at one of our favorite places, Big G’s Pizza and Restaurant. Here is another wonderful friend who came here from Syria years ago and bought this restaurant to make a living for himself and his family. He is an educated mechanical engineer but could find no work in his profession so has become the excellent cook here in his establishment where we discovered his chicken souvlaki to be as good, if not better than any we ever had in Greece. It keeps us coming back for more! This time we tried something different, chicken souvlaki pita! It is souvlaki, tomatoes and feta cheese wrapped in what looked like filo, it was so thin. He told us he uses a Syrian bread like lavosh, I think, which is very thin, and grills it after it is wrapped. You can go to his site, “biggspizza,guysborough”, and see a picture of the place as well as check out his menu. For a mechanical engineer, he is a fabulous cook! There are other wonderful eating places, as well, such as: Days Gone By Bakery and Cafe; The Rare Bird Pub, The Skipping Stone, and DeBarre’s Bed and Breakfast Dining room. We love this town and the people here! So every time we filled our water containers we filled our bellies (so to speak).

At the end of 2 1/2 weeks we closed up our little cabin, took one long, last look from the bluff out over the bay, said our goodbyes to our friends until we meet again, and drove back to Vermont where we stayed long enough to see the rest of our nieces and nephews who live there along with their children. Then back to SoCal and our house where the back yard was slightly overgrown, ripe tomatoes and zucchini were still hanging on, and memories of our cabin on the bluff and good friends lingered!

A very sad footnote: Our dear friend Joe passed away just weeks after we left.  He will be missed. May he rest in peace.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin October 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

So sorry to hear about Joe. His family will be in our thoughts and prayers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip to Nova Scotia! Happy to hear you all had a great and relaxing time.

georgia cone October 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Great description of our summer vacation,Lil’sis!More magical moments include Celtic music at The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, Cape Breton .It has become a regular excursion even though it’s so hard to leave the porch with it’s beautiful views far and near and cool glasses of wine! The Guysboro Farmers Market on Sat. mornings has become a habit ,too.Then you must tell why we include a stop at The Maine Diner on Route 1 Wells, Maine, famous even before Guy Fieri stopped there to film a spot for his show Diners,Drive-ns and Dives. From now on the one thing mising will be Dear Joe,though his spirit will always be a part of our cabin life and his wonderful wife, Anne and sons Mike, Sean and Patrick continue to be part of the fabric of our lives there on Hattie’s Bluff.

Sava October 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

Thank you, Erin. He and his family are wonderful people. It will be difficult the next time we go to Nova Scotia and know Joe is no longer there. I am reminded of the quote, “Nothing stays the same”. Such is life…

Dan October 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

Just a great revealing of our summer vacation. Of course, you forgot about the berry picking and raspberry pancakes, and a warming glass of whiskey by the campfire in the evening-and the stars! It is a special place full of special people. Yes, Joe will be missed big time.

Sava October 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

Thanks for adding those things, Big sis! I didn’t include them only because I was afraid I had already gone on too long!! Since you brought it up, I will add that we always stop at The Maine Diner in Wells, ME either on the way up or the way back. The owners were Dick and Myles Henry. I was their babysitter for seven years and spent a lot of time on beautiful Drake’s Island with the family. So it is always wonderful to touch base with them each year, however, 2 years ago Myles suffered an untimely death. He was young and very fit, so it is hard to believe he is gone. However, Dick has carried on very successfully with the help of his incredible staff. I know he misses Myles every day. Dick welcomes us every year with open arms. We are fortunate to be offered anything on the menu we desire …his “treat”! Everything is so delicious it is always hard to choose. He still makes me laugh the way he did those many years ago. He is a gem and we love him! The Maine Diner was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diner, Drive Ins and Dives several years ago. Myles is mainly the one who Guy interviewed, so it is bittersweet to watch that video now. I have many fond memories of the entire family, needless to say.
Thanks, Dick…see you next time!

Sava October 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

I didn’t forget how you and Floyd were the BEST berry pickers on the bluff! They were so incredible this year…both blueberries and raspberries. There was a ‘glut’ of berries, for sure. I just left it up to you guys to fill in the blanks. As I said to Georgia… I was afraid I had already gone on too long so I more or less summerized! I know I could have filled a few more pages with things we did. Maybe I will have to write “Part 2”!! Course you can just keep adding things in additional comments!! Thanks, Hon!

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