Monday, October 12, 2009

From Halifax to Charlottetown

There was time after we'd checked out of our hotel, for a quick visit to the Halifax Farmers' Market, one of the oldest in North America. I love markets and took the opportunity to have a look at the variety of stalls and the local produce. I could tell that a visit to the market is a Saturday morning custom with Haligonians.

Before leaving Halifax we experienced another highlight of the trip with a stop in the Hydrostone Market. Initially we gathered at an interesting, well-stocked yarn shop, LK Yarns, where our group (again) discovered more yarn and patterns which they couldn't live without!

We were soon met by Kathryn Thomas, founder of the unique Fleece Artist Yarns. Kathryn divided us into two groups and in turn, we were privileged to have a tour through her studio and to see a detailed dyeing demonstration. We were all impressed by the quality of the materials and the dedication of Kathryn and her staff. (For instance, we learned that the silk in the yarns comes from Switzerland, where the quality is far superior to that from China.) Kathryn was very generous with her time and forthright in answering our questions. It gave our group a deeper appreciation of Fleece Artist Yarns and everywhere we travelled throughout the rest of the tour, many more purchases were made and orders placed.

After a light lunch at a busy bakery in the Hydrostone, we boarded our coach for the trip to P.E.I. and our hotel in Charlottetown. We anticipated a journey of no more than four hours, however, approaching the Confederation Bridge, our driver explained the significance of the flashing lights: the bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles (coaches and transport trucks) due to high winds.

Actually, in the end, our enforced change in plans was serendipitous -- it gave us time to visit London-Wul Fibre Arts, located in the countryside outside Moncton, N.B. Again, a memorable stop as it was the favourite shop of our friend Dorine Gould, who died in August. (Most of our group had travelled with Dorine a number of times, and were very fond of her and enjoyed her gentle nature.) We all miss her and it seemed appropriate that events should have meant we had an 'unscheduled' stop at London-Wul. ( Heidi Wulfraat is the owner and a visit to her shop is not to be missed. Most of our group bought her beautiful handspun yarn.

I was concerned that the Bridge wouldn't open in time for us to reach Charlottetown, and was worrying about having to make alternate accommodation arrangements for nineteen people. There was also the concern that even if the bridge opened that evening, that our coach driver might be approaching the limit of the number of hours he could drive that day. It all turned out just fine and although it was dark and the group couldn't appreciate the bridge structure, we made it to Charlottetown and received a warm welcome from the staff at the Islander Inn.

Next installment: Our time on P.E.I.

Back from the Maritimes

It's been a readjustment to settle into regular life again, after our group's tour of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I for one, really enjoyed our stay there and wanted to share some trip highlights.

For most of the tour, we had wonderful weather--starting with our stay in Halifax and the chance to explore this historical, beautiful city. I spent a great day walking along the harbourfront, visiting Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and just enjoying the day--with a stop for a lobster roll lunch at one of the many great restaurants. For those whose legs weren't accustomed to the hills and many places to see, the city offers a free bus service called FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown). This frequent service is comprised of a number of city buses which circle the central city area, stopping at museums, historic sites and major hotels. There are guides on each of the buses who answer questions and provide an interesting commentary and a historical background of the buildings throughout the route.

Our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton was conveniently located within walking distance of just about everything. The lobby was spacious, with comfortable chairs for sitting and knitting together. (As soon as I can figure out how to add photos, I'll show you the projects of our talented group.)

One evening we also visited a yarn shop called The Loop. ( It was fortuitous that we were in Halifax during their evening knitting get together, and our group enjoyed the chance to see what the shop carried. We received a warm welcome of tea, coffee and cookies. I think the shop was also happy to have us come by as our group left with arms full of purchases.

Another evening we had a special group dinner at the Halliburton Inn, a heritage property which offers charming rooms and outstanding meals. Two surprise guests, Shirley Scott and Carolyn Green, were there to greet the group and to add to our enjoyment. It was a memorable evening, both for the excellence of the food and the enthusiasm of our group!

Next: On leaving Halifax and going to Charlottetown.