Archive for February, 2009

Nova Scotia: big in beauty and size

February 5, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Jan. 4, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

I haven’t been to Nova Scotia since my parents took me as a kid. This piece reminded me how it’s time to return, preferably on a bicycle!

Jane Killeen (left) and Robin Killeen at the colorful Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Jane Killeen (standing) and Robin Killeen at Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg

WHO: Sisters Jane Killeen, 60, of Lynnfield, Mass. and Robin Killeen, 54, of Kirkwood, Mo.

WHERE: Nova Scotia

WHEN: One week in July

WHY: “Robin and I live halfway across the country from each other so we try to connect once or twice a year,” Jane Killeen said. “We were both on a budget and wanted to stay closer to home, and everybody said Nova Scotia was so beautiful. At first I thought it was going to be pretty small, but we ended up driving 1,100 miles.”

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at The Fish Factory in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at the Old Fish Factory in Lunenburg

LOBSTER LAND: From Killeen’s home north of Boston they drove to Portland and put her car on “The Cat,” the high-speed ferry to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. From there they drove north to Lunenburg, where Killeen had her “best lobster dinner ever” at the Old Fish Factory Restaurant. “Lunenburg is on a lovely harbor and is a World Heritage Site,” Killeen said.

Robin is ready for bicycle ride in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Robin is geared up for the sisters' bicycle ride to Mahone Bay

PAINFULLY PICTURESQUE: From Lunenburg, they visited nearby Mahone Bay, where Killeen wanted to photograph the town’s row of three historic churches. “Robin is a big cyclist so we decided to rent bikes and ride the 10 miles there,” Killeen said. “Although I quickly got my bike legs going there, the way back was like pushing against concrete. Afterward I learned I was in the wrong gear.”

Jane (left) and Robin kayaking with guides Gordon and Mike Crimp (center) of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Jane (left) and Robin with kayaking guides Gordon and Mike Crimp of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish

TO THE CAPE: An all-day drive got them to Ingonish on the lower side of Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail, the highway that hugs the coast. “The trail is a long, hilly, winding road that encircles the national park,” Killeen said. “It’s not as scary as they make it sound, but there were a few white-knuckle moments as we drove in thick fog. Without fog, it’s truly one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The whole time you’re on Cape Breton, you’re on the water. It’s very isolated, very pristine.”

OLD-TIME CHARM: They stayed at the Keltic Lodge Resort, on a cliff overlooking the sea. “It’s from the 1940s and just charming,” Killeen said. “The carpet is plaid and the staff wear kilts. At night there’s wonderful music. You could do things in the day, or just hang out in a lawn chair.” They took a three-hour kayak tour with a guide. “We started in shallow water and glided over oyster and clam beds. At night, it’s an activity just to look at the stars. We didn’t want to leave Cape Breton. On the way home, we were already talking about a return trip.”

Where all signs point to a laugh

February 3, 2009

Wessel and I were inspired by the new book “Caution: Funny Signs Ahead,” by the fun folks at  Most of their examples are “accidentally entertaining,” such as the Dead End sign on Cemetery Lane. We’ve kept the spirit of that, mostly, with these entries.

Eternity - smoking or non-smoking; Greensboro, NC

Churches, like this one in Greensboro, NC, have the best play-on-word signs

Roxy is convinced she doesn't have to be leashed

Roxy cleverly covers the "un" at this NC state park so as not to get busted

Apache Junction, AZ

Despite the name of this park in Arizona, we found the Dutchman

Warning - Exposure to the son may prevent burning; Durham, NC

Another great message from above, in Durham, NC

Familie style restaurant Sherry's, featuring southern accents; Ramseur, NC

And let me just say, y'all, they're not kidding here in Ramseur, NC

Gifts, Books, Fatback; New River Trail SP, VA

A peck of peaches and a pound of fatback to go, please, in Galax, Va.

On *not* swimming with manatees

February 1, 2009
Manatee and her calf swim near kayaker holding a camera underwater (photo Steve Sapienza)

Manatee and her calf swim near kayaker holding a camera underwater (photo Steve Sapienza)

My piece on *not* swimming with manatees, but instead going on a kayak trip near their sanctuaries, ran on the front of the Boston Globe’s travel section today. Coincidentally, it came out a week after a New York Times’ Escapes-section story on swimming with manatees that did not even mention the controversy around intruding into the natural life of a wild creature, much less an endangered one. That breaks my heart.

With the Times’ reach, it would have been so meaningful to impart even a little bit of that information. Also, to my eye, the photo the Times ran makes it look like the guide is holding the manatee in place (strictly forbidden) so the snorkelers have time to photograph and pet it. Very sad, if not illegal. 

Manatee swims near kayaker holding a camera underwater (photo Steve Sapienza)

Manatee swims near kayaker holding a camera underwater (photo Steve Sapienza)

As I wrote here last month, the highlight of our Crystal River, Fla., manatee-themed trip was the “Do Not Disturb” kayak tour sponsored by Save the Manatee Club and led by guide Matt Clemons, owner of Aardvark’s Florida Kayak Co.

It just so happened that Steve Sapienza, the Florida sales rep for Washington-state kayak maker Eddyline, landed in town that week for the winter. He came on the kayak tour to help out his pal Matt. Steve has a water-resistant camera, and whenever manatees would come near us, he’d simply place his hand underwater and shoot. I was amazed to see the outcome! Steve was thrilled that the Globe ended up putting his mother/calf photo on the Travel section front, and he’s letting us use his photos here as well.

Manatee almost touches Wessel`s kayak

Manatee almost touches Wessel`s kayak

This made us think that we must get Wessel a water resistant camera! Nonetheless, Wessel did an outstanding job of photographing the gentle giants from above.

I heard from Globe reader Jason Viola, who said he was happy to see a story that focused on not swimming with the manatees. Jason draws “Herman the Manatee,” a manatee comic strip, of all things, and sent me this one that reflects his similarly conflicted feelings about getting in the water with the creatures he so loves.