Berwick Register, September 28th, 1905
Beautiful Nova Scotia.
How We Spent Our Vacation in the land of the Acadians.
So many people go to Nova Scotia nowadays and are so familiar with what is new to me, that I hesitate giving even an outline of our recent visit to that interesting section. But there are many who have not been there who would like to read something about what we saw and how we saw it and so I venture the following sketch hoping it may meet the eye of some who will enjoy the reading.
Comfortably ensconced on the steamer Prince George bound for Yarmouth, we bade goodbye to home and friends and resolved to forget as far as possible home cares and enjoy whatever we could for the time being. The sail to Yarmouth was smooth and uneventful, and occupied about sixteen hours. A clear sky and full moon added much to the pleasure of the afternoon and evening on the ocean. The sail up the harbor at Yarmouth in the early morning was very picturesque. After inspection of baggage by the revenue officer, and breakfast over, we boarded the Flying Bluenose train for a hundred miles run to Middleton, about half way to Halifax. A short stop at Digby permitted a glance at that place so much enjoyed by people from the States. From here the railroad skirts the shore of Digby Basin nearly to Annapolis Royal, the beginning of the renowned Annapolis Valley, North and South Mountains bounding it on either side, and the train made no stops, not even at Paradise station, until we reached Middleton. A carriage drive of a few miles over good roads brought us to Nictaux West where a delicious and well cooked dinner awaited our coming. The air here was soft and balmy, a pleasant contrast to what we felt in Boston twenty-four hours before. This was to be our headquarters for the next three weeks, with little else to do except to sleep, eat, and read, with occasional drives about the country by carriage, or in the school "van." One of the most enjoyable rides was an afternoon excursion to Nictaux Falls, and up the southern slope of South Mountain, from which we got a delightful view of the valley, and the dim outline of Blomidon far to the eastward. Near this point we called at the house of a thrifty farmer and spent an hour very pleasantly, doing ample justice to a good supper. From there we returned by another route over the mountain, and were at the summit in time to see the sunset and get another extended view of the valley and of North Mountain, and further still of the Bay of Fundy, and the coast on the New Brunswick side. The rough and precipitous descent of the mountain road was quite exciting but was accomplished without accident. At Nictaux nothing was left undone by our hostess and others to make our stay pleasant and beneficial, and the memory of those people will long be cherished by us.
Another pleasant experience was the unexpected meeting with Dr. and Mrs. E. P. Gerry and Miss Reagh, of Jamaica Plain, at the celebrated Wilmot Spa Springs, where they were then stopping, not a long ride from Nictaux West.
We never before had seen oxen yoked without bow as is usual here. The yoke is placed on the neck close to the horns and fastened to them by leathern straps. The farmers claim some advantages for this method, but to us it looks uncomfortable and constrained if not cruel. It is also the custom to have a little bell attached to the yoke so the driver may walk before his oxen and the better gauge his distance without turning round.
Our next move was to Halifax, one hundred and seventeen miles from Middleton. Of this city many pleasant things should be told, but it would make this sketch too long. On Sunday we attended the garrison chapel, where most of the redcoats attend divine service, and heard a good sermon, and excellent music and singing. On Monday we did the city mostly by trolley, and a three hours' ride by carriage, which gave us an opportunity to visit the citadel, the public gardens, the park and old stone fort built by the French more than two hundred years ago. From the ramparts of the citadel one gets an extensive view of the city and surrounding country as well as of the beautiful harbor, its islands and fortifications.
Our next objective point was Wolfville and Grand Pre, sixty-four miles distant from Halifax on our homeward journey. Our memories refreshed by a recent reading of Longfellow's poem of Evangeline, and some sketches of the early history of Nova Scotia, we were prepared to appreciate and enjoy our visit at this historic place. Wolfville, to us, is an ideal town and an educational centre. To see the most in the shortest time, one needs to take a carriage, and a driver qualified to point out intelligently the places of interest. We were fortunate in this respect and enjoyed a four hours' drive over the hills, along the Gaspereaux Valley and through the modern village of Grand Pre, stopping a little while to visit the old Church of the Covenanters on the hill, with its old fashioned pews and sounding board. Birch bark under the clapboards, and wrought nails, etc. We passed the traditional site of the old smithy and then went to the Willows, the well, and the burial ground near the undoubted site of this ancient Acadian village. From here we took the road leading across the productive dyke lands to Evangeline Beach, on the shore of Minas Basin, where we got our nearest view of Cape Blomidon. The return by another road to Wolfville was greatly enjoyed.
On the following day we very reluctantly left our pleasant quarters and took the train for Berwick, where we had previously decided to try the novel experience of camp life in a great forest. From here we made some excursions on foot into the surrounding neighborhood, notably to the fruit farm of Chute & son to whom we had an introduction. We were received with great cordiality, and the senior proprietor took apparent pleasure in showing us around and answering our inquiries. It was a great exhibition to look upon. The Doctor took notes of Mr. Chute's estimate of the approximate number of fruit trees, shrubs, etc., and here are the interesting figures: Seven thousand apple trees, five hundred peach trees, five thousand nursery trees three years from the seed; five acres strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, ten acres of cranberries, one and one half acres rhubarb, and thirty acres of potatoes. The nursery trees (apple) are taken up in the autumn, placed in cellars, and grafted in the winter. They have a frost proof storage house where they can sort and pack at all seasons, also a steam mill for manufacturing barrels and boxes for packing purposes. They pointed out some little cottages owned by them and occupied by their help. One of these families consists of father and mother and fourteen children.
From Berwick we went to Margaretville, a picturesque little village on the shore of the Bay of Fundy, about nine miles by carriage from Middleton, on the New Brunswick side of North Mountain. The natural beauties of this place are numerous and the people intelligent and very cordial to visitors. Accommodations for boarders are limited but the rates are very reasonable. Comparatively few from the States come here but it is much frequented by people who live in the valley away from the sea on the other side of mountain.
One does not see Nova Scotia at its best from the train nor at all seasons of the year. When the apple trees are in bloom the sight must be gorgeous. Nearly every person with whom we conversed has relatives in States or had been there themselves, and every young person contemplates going to Boston at the earliest opportunity. Just now the urgent need of harvesters in the great Northwest is being responded to by young men from here in great numbers. - Mrs. H. B. Cross in West Roxbury News.