It’s the May long weekend here in Nova Scotia (otherwise known a Victoria Day for the cultured types, and May-2-4 weekend for us beer-oriented, un-civilized Canadians). Unfortunately for Jason, it’s not a long weekend in the States and he works for an American company, so we decided to get our adventur-ing in early and head out on Saturday.
First stop… well, not too exciting for Kaylee, but a trip to the Army/Navy Store on Agricola Street.
When I popped my head in to ask – tentatively, and assuming I knew the answer – if dogs were allowed in the store, I was pleasantly surprised to be met with “oh yeah of course, bring ’em on in!” Awesome. About this time of year we have to start taking turns going in stores so one of us can stay in the air conditioned car with the pooch(es), so any places that lets her in automatically becomes a summer destination for us (I’m looking at you, Canadian Tire Lower Sackville and most of Dartmouth Crossing. You have our business this year.) Kaylee was enthralled with all the smells in the Army/Navy store. I imagine she had a much better idea of the history of most of the items than we did!
After picking up a couple items for an upcoming camping trip – yes, really, I convinced Jason to go actual camping, with a tent and everything – we headed out to look for a walking location. Point Pleasant was our original destination, but this is Bluenose Marathon weekend in the city and we didn’t want to get caught up in the end of the Youth Run so we opted to head down the Bedford Highway and landed at Hemlock Ravine.
Hemlock Ravine has a great history; I was a tour guide for five years, and we tell a much more.. romantic… version of the truth to out-of-towners. The gist of the tourist-version is that Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, spent some time on the estate with his french mistress, Julie St. Laurent, and formed a heart-shaped pond for her out of love. When Edward was called back to England to marry and produce an heir (later to become Queen Victoria), he was forced to leave his beloved Julie behind forever. All that remains of their love today is a rotunda and the heart shaped pond, forever sealing their love.
(Several parts of this story are distinctly untrue. You can read a little more about it here, or hit up Wikipedia. The TL:DR version? Edward wasn’t that nice a guy, Julie was already married when she left her husband for the him, they spent 28 years together but Edward had other mistresses, he ditched her in Canada when he left, and he didn’t create the heart-shaped pond, his grandson did it “in honour of their love” years later. You can see why this doesn’t make the best story for tourists.)
But I digress.
Even though it’s not so far away, we’ve never managed to get Kaylee out to Hemlock Ravine before, so this was a nice treat for all of us. You can read more about Hemlock Ravine here and here, including some maps of the trails.
One of the great things about Hemlock Ravine is that it’s largely unspoiled by hundreds of years of development. As an estate, it was untouched for many years, so there are some trees that are upwards of 300 years old inside the park. There are also lovely groomed trails and an off-leash area (yay!) so it’s really a lovely destination to go with your dog. It was also impeccably clean – they offer clean-up bags at the entrances, there are garbage cans strategically placed throughout (thank you) and the people who use it clearly care about it, because I didn’t see garbage or even dog poo anywhere – a rarity sometimes.
Kaylee was a little too interested in the ducks, but otherwise it was a nice relaxing stroll for about an hour, looping our way around the various trails and just enjoying the day.
After our walk we decided to take the long way home and go for a drive through Waverly and Fall River. If you’ve driven the area, you’ll know it’s scenic and also pretty twisty-turney, which makes Jason a fan.
Tea biscuits? Check. Peanut butter balls? Check. Ginger snap cookies – complete with still-soft-and-chewy-ness? Check. Icecream?
Ok, so I got Kaylee an icecream. Yeah, I know she doesn’t need it – do any of us? – but it was an adventure day. And, man, did she enjoy the hell out of that icecream.
Maybe not so much Jason putting icecream on her nose.
The drool… oh man… if you have a dog you understand. If you don’t…
We were all pretty beat by this point so we headed home for a group nap… and really, there’s nothing better than snuggling up with your puppy after a great adventure.
The only thing missing was a swim… next time Kaylee, I promise!