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Epic East Coast Adventure
Cousin's Tour


For the past couple of years, I have had a map of the East Coast, complete with push pins on my ‘vision’ board as a place we’d like to travel. We were delayed by the lingering COVID-19 viruses. In September, 2022, it was time. As I like to say, “If not now, when?”

The reason for this trip was two-fold. It was a cousin’s tour for my husband, as some he hadn’t seen in over 30 years. And for myself, I was on a mission to find inspiration for my upcoming exhibition, “Canadiana”. We made our plan, packed lightly, got a dog sitter and went off.

We left on Sept. 6th out of Nanaimo BC and eventually made it to Toronto, where we headed for VIA Rail, en route to Kingston. A couple of days rest, and we were back on the train to Toronto having lunch with my husband’s cousins. Remember that if Jeff hadn’t seen his cousins in 30 years, and we had only been together 21, these were people I have never met.

The lunch in Toronto was short and sweet, and within a few hours, we were back on the train headed once more to Kingston.The following day, we enjoyed a fabulous boat tour of the Thousand Islands.

The day was perfect, with blue skies and lots of sunshine. And did I mention they sold cold beer on the boat?

Chapter 2: we travelled by VIA rail from Kingston to Montreal, heading to Bathurst, Nova Scotia. The thought of spending 13+ hours on a train in a slightly reclining chair was not very exciting. With a little charm and the right attendant in Montreal, we could upgrade to a sleeper car. Thank you!

That meant that we would have our own little room, our own head, two little bunk beds, and access to the dining car. Once we were in our car, we could take off our masks. One doesn’t sleep on a train, but it was nice to stretch out in our jammies as the train clickily clacked along.

Arriving in Bathurst, Nova Scotia, Jeff’s cousins were there to greet us. After a tour of the town, we headed off to their lovely oceanfront summer home. I quickly realized what East Coast hospitality meant. There is no need to knock on the door before entering; you help yourself, and the story-telling is endless.

The next morning, the four of us headed off to PEI. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get there. I am not a fan of crossing bridges. The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world, spanning 12.9 km and linking the province of PEI to New Brunswick.

I found the scenery in PEI to be absolutely stunning, with the terra-cotta sand-covered beaches, sand dunes and charming countryside.

Little did we know that right after Labour Day, the whole island shuts down, and most of the touristy-things are closed. This is because the students have returned to classes. Many sights and restaurants were closed.

Back in New Brunswick, we got to experience a full-on nor- easter wind storm. With gusts of wind up to 100 km and salt spray, our hosts brushed it off at first as being a ‘wee bit windy out there.” What!! One thing35 about these storms is they sure make for a magnificent sunset.

Chapter 3. The next morning, we took the bus from Bathurst NB to Halifax NS, arriving at the Halifax Airport. There, we picked up a car rental and headed down the coast to visit our friends in Shelburne. We arrived with many hugs, stories, refreshments and a lovely suite to rest our tired travelling bodies.

After a couple of days touring around Nova Scotia it was again time for us to move on. We headed to the Halifax airport to return to our rented car, first stopping to experience Peggy’s Cove. Photos do not do it justice

We said goodbye to Halifax and flew to Montreal and back to the Vancouver Island BC.

As I watched our island come into sight, I thought about what a great country we call home. From coast to coast, each province is unique but tied together with a sense of quiet dignity and kindness that is truly Canadian.

We traveled 14,000 km and visited 7 provinces in 2.5 weeks, travelling by plane, train, automobile, bus, and boat. We visited Jeff’s family, whom he hasn’t seen in many years and whom I have never met. We shared meals, laughed, and swapped stories. And now my family has grown even more. We spent time with dear friends and made new ones along the way.

Now my vision board is bare. For now, it feels great to be home and to snuggle up with my Chace. I look forward to spending time this winter re- living our epic adventure on canvas. ~

Last Updated on: 2024-04-25