While the original goal of my summer vacation was to visit Cape Breton National Park in Nova Scotia Canada, as with most road trips, so many of the highlights were in the coming and going.
The first stop involved a couple of days on Prince Edward Island and, though it sounds like something out of a bad novel, the air actually smelled like the primroses that were everywhere on the roadsides, in gardens and along the coastal walking trails. Little did I know that just the roadsides in eastern Canada, even on the major highways, put my carefully tended flower gardens to shame. The wild lupine, thistles, asters and Queen Anne’s lace are everywhere the large primrose bushes are not. They are at least four feet high and liberally blooming in late July and early August and there are hordes of delirious bees, bumble and honey, as well as others I didn’t recognize.
Cape Breton National Park stretches from the gulf of St. Lawrence on the north to the North Atlantic ocean on the south with a little of everything. From the only road through the park you can hike to beaches, mountain tops, fresh water lakes, waterfalls, even a highland plateau bog with tiny orchids, carnivorous plants and odd looking fungi.
Our last stop before heading home was a few days in the arts district of downtown Portland Maine. Our hotel was serendipitously situated next to Congress Square Park, a charming outdoor venue for free concerts, classes and sometimes kitten therapy. The square is patrolled and kept free of the vagrant population by elderly and disabled volunteers mostly in motorized wheel chairs with the Portland police department on speed dial. The plentiful flower boxes are tended by similarly white haired but slightly more mobile volunteers. We managed to catch two concerts (steel drum band and jazz trio) but, sadly, no kitten therapy.