We left Halifax heading 190 miles to Yarmouth, NS with a short stop in Lunenburg for some lunch and some ‘quick’ sightseeing. The town, seeped in history and beautiful colonial architecture, was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. The historic core of the town is also a National Historic Site of Canada. The Lunenburg shipbuilding yards specialized in fishing schooners – the most famous built in 1921 – The Bluenose.
Unfortunately, in 1946 she struck a coral reef off Haiti. Wrecked beyond repair, with no loss of life, she was abandoned at the reef.
In 1963 a replica of Bluenose was built at Lunenburg using the original Bluenose plans and named Bluenose II. The replica was built by the Oland Brewery as a marketing tool for their Schooner Lager beer brand and as a pleasure yacht for the Oland family. Bluenose II was sold to the government of Nova Scotia in 1971 for the sum of $1 or 10 Canadian dimes and is used for tourism promotion.
This was such a pretty town that we wished we had shortened our stay in Halifax to spend more time exploring all Lunenburg had to offer. We definitely have to come back!
We were going to Yarmouth specifically to travel Bay Ferries’ newest addition – the super-fast CAT ferry from Yarmouth, NS to Portland, ME on Friday, September 9th. From Portland we would then drive 130 miles to Boston to visit Shannon, Gabe, Joseph & Celeste.
Passenger capacity on The CAT is at least 700 passengers and vehicle capacity is 200 regular vehicles including motor homes (no commercial trucks). This was a light travel day with only 47 vehicles on board and less than 100 passengers.
The distance is 185 nautical miles, which is equal to 212 miles or 341 kilometres – as the crow flies. Crossing time was 5.5 hours with another 1.5 hours for us to clear both the vehicles and customs. The coach was the last vehicle off! Good thing the ferry wasn’t filled to capacity!
Driving to Portland (from Halifax) is 554 miles or 892 kilometres. Using our average 50 mph this distance would take us +11 hours to get there or 2 days of pretty hard driving.
The cost for the coach, the truck and 2 passengers was less than $1,000. Factor in the cost of fuel, 2 nights in a campground, etc. the ferry might have been a little more expensive but it’s all about the thrills and experiences and comfort, right?
We were a little nervous that Friday’s ferry would be cancelled. The remnants of Hurricane Hermine in Florida had already cancelled Monday & Tuesday’s crossings so Chuck was constantly calling and checking the website. Fortunately, Friday morning was a go!
Clearing customs was – again – a breeze. I have my application in to US Homeland Security for my green card. Our lawyer advised the following:
When you are crossing in to the US, expect more questions about your intentions in the US, because you now have the Petition for Alien Relative pending. I would recommend having a firm date by which you plan to leave the US, and bringing proof of your ties to Canada to show that you intend to leave when you say you do.
Well, we were prepared (having rehearsed our own imagined Q&A’s) – but not 1 question! Nothing! Nada!
The trip from Portland, ME to Shannon & Gabe’s house was 130 miles. We were on the road by 2:00 p.m. and arrived at their house around 6:00.
We were planning on parking the coach in their yard (we had seen pictures) and Chuck parked the coach in a sports field just around the corner from their house and then walked over to inspect the suggested parking spot. Yes, with a little tight manoeuvring on the turn in (but not impossible), there was indeed a perfect level spot for the coach – and fully shaded. Chuck went back to get the coach and ran into a police officer at the sports park who said we could stay right there if we were gone by Monday morning. Since we were leaving Sunday afternoon we decided to leave the coach where it was and just walk back and forth – about 2 minutes – between their house and the coach.
We had a great, short visit touring the area where they live; checking out the new schools, going to Joseph’s soccer game and visiting in their new house. We played also – taking the train into Boston, exploring downtown and checking out that famous bar –
We also went on a most excellent 4 hour whale-watching expedition. [Click on the words “whale-watching” – then click on the movie.] Chuck took this amazing video with his i-phone!
Heading 95 miles to the seaport town of Mystic, CT we said our tearful goodbyes and left the Boston area around 3:00 p.m. What should have taken 2 hours… took 21 hours…