Beaver Meadow Provincial Park


A Saturday in Antigonish

We started our day with a trip to the Antigonish Farmers Market to choose supper and to fortify ourselves with the amazing $2 cupcakes, from Cakes by Ellie, mocha chocolate for me. The honey pixie sticks were scooped up for our backpacks. Heirloom tomatoes, thin-skinned potatoes, and fall baby vegetables were added to the menu.

Beaver Mountain Park is about 15 km southwest of Antigonish. Take Exit 30 off Highway 104 then go 0.5 km south on Beaver Meadow Rd, turn right on Beaver Mountain Rd and go about 2 km to the park. This is a great way to spend an 2-3 hours.

Our group consisted of my 70 something mother, 3 kids ages 12 to 15, and me of middle age. There is a paved trail that is an easy walk,  and would be great for skiing once the snow falls. The gravel roads were decent, with the exception of a few ruts. My mother insisted that old homesteads would have been here once and that there had to be apples she could find, to turn into heavenly desserts. As usual mother was right.

The views from the ridge inspired a promise to return for another visit when the leaves have reached their peak.


Big Tancook Island

6 Hours and a Bicycle

What a glorious way to enjoy a weekend afternoon. Pack a lunch and a wind breaker (if you suffer from optimism add a bathing suit and towel) in a backpack, grab your bike and be in Chester for the 1:00pm Saturday Ferry to Big Tancook Island. Or leave your bike at home as this island is a great hike too.

Sailing aboard the Wm. G. Ernst, a passenger only ferry, we stay topside to watch for whales, sailboats and seals. We are rewarded with a sailboat, loon, eagle and the company of 3 other cyclists. $5.00 and 50-55 minutes later after a very brief stop on Little Tancook we land on Big Tancook Island.

The Island is 3 miles long, and can easily be biked in an afternoon, the roads are graded and hard packed, not a piece of pavement to be found. We are the leisure seeking, stop to look for sea glass crowd, so we keep a very moderate pace. We always stop at Popplerocks Arts, for cookies, popplerocks, and to look over the treasures. We combine that with a penchant for finding as many perfect picnic spots as possible, but always leaving room for an ice cream at the end of the trip. This time we packed snacks only, and ate at Carolyn’s, my cheese burger was a homemade delight.

The island people have a brisk, no nonsense, tell you how it is attitude. Living on an island 8 km out in the Atlantic creates a rustic spirit and hardy independence. The truck, used to gravel the school road, is circa 1950 and once served as a fire truck.

So for an afternoon of outdoor adventure, biking or hiking, combined with sailing and picnicking, Big Tancook offers the perfect spot.


Sea Clams or Quahaugs, in September

Full moon, low tide, kids, netted bags and warm clothes for afterward. The kids like to use goggles. The debate rages among us Nova Scotian’s, whats the difference between a Sea Clam and a Quahaug? My research tells me that these are Sea Clams. My Acadian friends say Quahaugs, I call them by both names.

We have a large catch, a full bucket and we let that sit overnight, while we call our friends and family and invite them to a stuffed sea clam tasting.  This is my second time to prepare this dish and I give myself the 3 hour timeline. the time is in preparing the sea clams, I steam them without water, as they create their own water.  Then I remove them from the shells, and on advice from my Acadian friends, I remove the stomachs and rinse the sand away.  I coarsely chop the clams, along with fresh parsley, new onions, and fresh garlic. I pan fry the garlic and onions, add those and the parsley to the sea clams, along with leftover broth and white wine. I stuff the shells with the mixture, top with parmesan and enjoy, with a nice bottle of Chardonnay.

Happy Clamming!