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.

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