I’m writing this post from Bangor, Maine. We are taking a “working vacation” this year.
I was approved to go back to Cornell University this summer to earn the next course in my Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management. This year’s course is called, “Strategic Marketing for Restaurants and Hotels.” I am fortunate to be participating in this Executive Development Program through the overwhelming support of TIANS/NSTHRC and ACOA. There are ten or eleven Nova Scotian Tourism Industry leaders who will be furthering their education at Cornell this month. Since my course is offered during the first week of July, D’Arcy and the kids have tagged along and will explore Upstate New York while I’m in class each day.
As luck would have it, D’Arcy was chosen as a Nova Scotian representative to mark a National Science Exam in Ottawa during the second week of June. After my course is over, we’ll drive back into Canada through Niagara Falls, visiting with friends along the way before arriving in Ottawa where Evan & Alex will have the opportunity to stay with their cousins and we’ll explore the Ottawa area while he works.
Yesterday morning, as soon as the guests left, we kicked into high gear: cleaning, packing and doing laundry. We had originally intended to leave early this morning and drive straight through from Truro to Boston, but two nights ago decided to leave on the 1st instead and make it as far as Bangor on Day 1.
My plan was to leave at noon, but that was ambitious! We actually pulled away from the house at about 2:00. We aren’t camping this trip, instead staying either with friends, or in suite hotels along the way. Without packing the tent or camp stove, and without the burden of equipment that young children seem to require, we appeared to have more room than usual. It almost felt like we were forgetting something!
Ready to go – room to shop?
Our first stop before we left town was a visit with Ruth & Gerry of Suncatcher B&B. Gerry had surgery last month, and because the girls & I had had colds, we hadn’t had a chance to see him since. Because Gerry makes all kinds of beautiful stained glass creations, the kids each designed “stained glass” looking get-well cards. Sarah was especially excited to write, “Bonne sante M. Mailloux. Je t’aime, Sarah” on the back of hers! We had a good (but short) visit getting caught up. By the time we ran a couple of errands on our way out of town, it was 3:30p.m. when we left Truro for Maine.
We are lucky that our kids are really good travelers. We were on the road for about 7 hours before arriving at our hotel at 10:30 p.m. our time. About three hours into our drive, Olivia asked, “When are we going to get to Canada Day?” She was sure that we were on our way to the International Gathering of the “Clams” in Pugwash, which we’ve done the past few years. There is a highland dance competition there that Sarah has participated in. When I told Olivia that we’re not going to get there this year (it’s actually being held today, on the 2nd, or we might have stopped along the way), she responded, “So I wore my Canada shirt for nothing?” We laughed and explained that it was still Canada Day, even if we didn’t get to Pugwash!
This is the Sarah & Olivia’s first time in the United States. We had a sweet Customs’ Agent when crossing from St. Stephen into Calais. She asked each of us the normal questions and asked the girls where they lived. “5 Broad Street!” “Belgravia Bed & Breakfast!” They told her all about our trip – where we were going, what we’d be doing, and who we’d be seeing. She commented that it sounded like a lot of fun and Olivia responded, “You need to quit your job and come with us!” I think she realized that we couldn’t possibly be hiding anything with her along, and we sailed through!
The girls oohed & aahed over the scenery, which isn’t really much different than that of rural Nova Scotia. We were surprised to see how many motels, gift shops, restaurants and campgrounds were closed and boarded up on this side of the Border. It was a sad and forlorn sight. We had bit of rain in the early evening, and spotted a beautiful rainbow- which reminded me that we didn’t pack raincoats! (That accounts for some of the extra room – hope we have better weather than we did in Newfoundland last year!) We were exhausted by the time we arrived at the Four Points Sheraton at the Bangor Airport, but snacked on crackers, cheese, bread,ham, fruit, carrots,etc. before bed.
Rainbow along Route 9
We gained an hour when crossing the border from Atlantic time to Eastern time. It felt good to “sleep in” until seven! After breakfast and a swim, we will be on our way to Boston to visit our friends (and former B&B guests), Willem & Kate, in their new home. Kate met me in New York last year when I was attending Cornell, but we’re excited to have our two families together to visit this year.We have about a four hour drive from here, and will stop in Freeport and New Hampshire along the way. We’re not big shoppers, so this is our only scheduled shopping day for the next two weeks.
The weather is beautiful so off we go on another day of adventure!! Thank you to my parents who are looking after the Bed & Breakfast for us while we’re away!! We’ll give you a vacation when we get home – we promise! 🙂