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Moos, Moose, and a Grouse’s Caboose: A Trip to the Maritimes

For all of today’s images, you can click to enlarge

Today is Canada Day (happy Canada Day, Canadian readers!), which makes it a good day to tell you about my just-completed vacation in the Canadian Maritimes. Those of you who were following me on Facebook last week will already have seen some of this content, but there’s plenty of fresh maerial here too. Thanks in advance for dealing with some redundancy.

So: The New Girl and I flew to Halifax, Nova Scotia, two Saturdays ago and flew back the following Sunday. During the eight days in between, we covered about 1,200 miles on the road (or, as the Canadians would measure it, about 2,000 kilometers). You can get a sense of our route by following the alphabetical pins in this map:

As you can see, we spent most of our time in Nova Scotia, and especially in Cape Breton (that’s segments C through G), but we also saw some of Prince Edward Island (H to I) and briefly veered into New Brunswick (the westernmost part of the I-to-J segment). We had decided from the start that we didn’t want to spend any time in Halifax. I’m sure it’s a fine city, but we already live in a city — we wanted to see the countryside. We also made it a priority to spend some time in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which meant we wouldn’t have time to see the lower part of Nova Scotia. Next time.

Here are the highlights, broken down by category:

Transportation: Our silent partner for the trip was a little green Fiat two-door. I wasn’t expecting such a groovy vehicle, but that’s what Alamo gave us. Naturally, I was pleased with the color:


The car was the subject of great curiosity everywhere we went — people pointed at it, gave us the thumbs-up, asked us about it, etc. It drove and handled fine, although its size and low-to-the-road profile made for some bone-rattling jolts when we hit a few of Nova Scotia’s many, many potholes. (Seriously, the roads were in terrible shape, although I realize that comes with a cold climate.)

I love car ferries. Our route included two of them, including the 75-minute crossing from Pictou, Nova Scotia, to Prince Edward Island. We were surprised to find that the ferry doesn’t sell alcohol, so we took two beers from our “fridge” (a Styrofoam cooler that we purchased on the first day and kept on the back seat) and used two of the New Girl’s knee socks as concealing cozies, just in case we weren’t allowed to have booze on board:


The socks prompted some odd looks as we walked around the ship. We imagined that we might inadvertently be starting a new trend, and that lots of people would soon start using long sock cozies. Eh, okay, maybe not.

Weather: Most days had a high temp of about 70 (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less), with lows in the high 40s, which is pretty much my favorite temperature range. All the locals were griping about how the season was running about a month behind, but that was fine by us. We had one day of fairly heavy rain, but that was the day we were mostly making time in the car anyway, so we didn’t mind. In short: No complaints.

Food: We mostly stuck to seafood — lobster, mussels, scallops, oysters, halibut, etc. — which we thought would be, like, the best ever. But most of it was, frankly, unremarkable. I’m not saying it was bad, mind you, but I don’t think any of it was better than what we routinely get here in NYC (or what I grew up with on Long Island, for that matter). Actually, some it was kinda bad: a watery lobster, some badly overcooked mussels. That said, there were two meals that stood out — a great fried-seafood plate we shared on the first afternoon of the trip and a very, very good 2.25-pound lobster we shared on Prince Edward Island (the flag on the left in the first photo is the Nova Scotia provincial flag):


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When I gave the waitress my credit card to pay for that lobster dinner, she looked at it and said, “Your name is Paul Lukas? Our chef’s name is Paul Lucas! But he spells it with a ‘c.'” I asked if I could meet him but was told he was too busy, although they did try to sell me his latest cookbook. (No, I didn’t buy it.)

At one point we were told that there was an oyster bar in the town of Cape North. But when we arrived there, there was no sign of it (or of much else, frankly). We eventually went down a long dirt road and discovered that the “oyster bar” is actually a campground office run by a woman whose family has been farming oysters in the region for decades. Her husband dives, she shucks. We had a dozen and a half:

At Uni Watch reader Donnie Gould’s suggestion, we tried a New Glasgow pizzeria that’s famous for its “brown sauce” (a local concoction that’s apparently thickened with flour, like a gravy or roux). While we were there, we also ordered something we’d been seeing on menus throughout the trip: deep-fried pepperoni with honey-mustard dipping sauce (is this served anywhere in the States?). Both were okay but not life-altering:



Two other food-related notes: (1) Almost every eatery had poutine on the menu, but most of them made it with mozzarella instead of cheese curds. I asked if this was a regional variation and was told, “Nah, everyone’s just too lazy to do it the right way.” (2) Pretzels — my favorite snack — were nowhere to be found at convenience stores (although we did see them for sale at a bar). Come on, people!

Drinking: The New Girl and I both like alcohol just fine. But what we really like is the culture of alcohol — the conviviality and sociable chatter that come with a good watering hole. So we were surprised and disappointed to find that most of the small villages we passed through didn’t have pubs. Fortunately, we quickly figured out that the best places to drink and meet the locals were fraternal organization meeting places: Knights of Columbus halls (too bad I didn’t bring along this shirt), Elks clubs, local firehouses, and, especially, Royal Canadian Legion halls (which are pretty much the same as American Legion or VFW halls). Most of these are technically for members only, but we just walked in and asked if we could sign in as guests, and the answer was always yes.

Most towns had a Canadian Legion hall, and we hit about a dozen of them during the trip. They provided exactly what we were looking for: friendly, interesting people who were happy to share drinks and stories. Here are a few of these places, and some of the people we met there:

A few of the Legion folks paid us the high compliment of presenting us with ribbons and, in one case, pins — their badge of approval, literally. We proudly wore the pins for the rest of the trip:


Sports, games, and such: On our first day we came upon a bowling alley. I figured it’d have Canadian five-pin bowling and was surprised to find it instead had candlepin bowling, which I thought was found only in New England. The proprietor explained that candlepins are common in the Maritimes.

We tossed a few games and enjoyed a small detail I’d never encountered before: The scorer’s table had a metal trackball mounted in a small pool of water, so the bowlers can moisten their hands for a better grip if the balls get too slick:

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As for other sports and games, we came upon a few curling clubs and hockey arenas, but of course they were all closed for the summer. We shot pool and played shuffleboard at some of the Legion halls we stopped at. And in Sydney we stopped in at a casino, where I sat down at a $5 blackjack table, played three hands, won them all, and then walked away, happy to have made a quick 15 bucks.

One other sports-related note: When we were waiting on the airport security line for our outbound flight, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes walked by with a small retinue. Didn’t get a photo, alas, but I did shout out, “Hey, Larry Holmes — lookin’ good, champ!” (a slight lie), and he sort of grunted in acknowledgment before going on his way.

Music: We saw a traditional Celtic fiddler at the Red Shoe, a pub that specializes in that kind of thing. Not bad, but it felt more like a re-creation of the thing, not the thing itself.

We also saw a pretty decent cover band at a Royal Canadian Air Force hall. They played a mix of 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s material, which got all the oldsters dancing. And in a surreal development, one of the Legion halls we visited was having a karaoke night. Trust me, you haven’t seen serious entertainment until you’ve seen elderly Canadian military veterans singing country tunes. (No, we didn’t sing, although the New Girl was tempted.)

The Scottish thing: Scots comprise the largest ethnic group in Nova Scotia, and we saw lots of evidence of Scottish culture, including a bagpipe college, a kilt shop, and several links courses. People’s accents were a mix of Canadian and Scottish, which I found intoxicating. You can get a sense for how strong the Scottish element is by checking out the extremely “Mac”-centric officers’ listing for one of the Canadian Legion halls we visited:

The French thing: We passed through several Acadian regions and did hear a few folks speaking French, but the whole French/Acadian/etc. thing turned out not to be much of a factor. Mildly surprising.

Lodging: We booked our first and last nights in advance and made all our other lodging arrangements as we went along, which worked out fine. (If we had gone later in the summer, this probably wouldn’t have worked, but it wasn’t yet “high season,” as they say.) Five of our eight nights were spent in fairly standard motels; another was in a slightly too-cutesy B&B; and then there were two really wonderful B&B experiences that were among the highlights of the trip.

The first of these was in the home of the completely charming Margie Goodacre, who has a little seaside house in the tiny town of Port Bickerton. She has only one guestroom (complete with a “1” stenciled on the door), which we were lucky enough to have for our first night on the road. She and her sister Paula invited us to play Scrabble (with Canadian spellings — “colour,” “centre,” etc.), shared some wine with us, and basically made us feel like they’d adopted us. Thanks so much, Margie — we’re proud to have you as our new friend:



The following night we stayed on a working farm owned by 69-year-old Isaac Smith, who raises Red Angus steers for beef and lives in an 1830s farmhouse built by his great-great-grandfather. He showed us around the property (where we saw two red foxes) and introduced us to his herd:

Isaac said he sells his beef locally, and I was hoping he’d serve some for breakfast — steak and eggs, say — but it turns out that he doesn’t do that. Dang.

Wildlife: Jackpot. In addition to the two foxes we saw on Isaac’s property, we saw several deer, another fox, two snakes, a gorgeous toad (yes, toads can be gorgeous), lots of scampering little woodland rodents (one of which failed to scamper as we drove by and ended up as roadkill — oops), and more. But the highlight was definitely the day when we went hiking and saw two moose! This one was only about 25 feet from our trail and let us watch him for seven or eight minutes before he ambled off into the woods:

A few days later, while on a different trail, we saw this beautiful ruffed grouse. It foraged for a few minutes, maybe 10 feet from us, before flitting away:


We also went whale watching. There were lots of tour operators to choose from — some with “big boats” (which aren’t so big) and some with Zodiacs (little speedboats that are fast and maneuverable but give a much rougher, wetter ride). We went with a boat run by the amusingly named, which lived up to its moniker. We saw several minke whales (rhymes with “pinkie”). They moved fast, so it was tough to get good photographs. Believe me when I say it was more exciting than this photo suggests:


While on the boat, we made friends with a couple from Maryland. We bumped into them again at dinner several towns down the road, and yet again the following morning at breakfast, which I guess is the kind of thing that happens when you’re traveling in a narrow region. (We also made friends with a UK couple during the ferry ride to PEI. They actually invited us to visit them in England! Seems unlikely, but you never know — could happen.)

We noticed that the region is infested with huge, black crows, spewing their “caw, caw, caw!” chatter. (By coincidence, one of the CDs I brought along for the trip was the Unholy Modal Rounders’ 1976 classic, Have Moicy!, which includes the “caw, caw”-ish tune “The Black Crow and the Red Newt.”) The area also has hummingbirds, and one of the restaurants we stopped at had a hummingbird feeder in the window. I’d never seen hummingbirds before except on TV, and I found myself completely mesmerized by the activity around the feeder:

One type of wildlife we could have done without: bugs. The insects were pretty thick at times, even after we used repellant. The mosquitoes quickly deduced that the New Girl was the more delicious of the two of us, and her legs were badly bitten by the end of the trip (some of these bites were delivered through her tights):


Landscape and natural wonders: We encountered most of that aforementioned wildlife while hiking on trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The park and the roadway running through it, called the Cabot Trail, were spectacular, providing lots of cliffside ocean views, waterfalls, lakes, spectacular sunsets, and so on. My photographic skills aren’t up to the task of capturing this level of wide-scale beauty, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say much of the landscape was jaw-droppingly beautiful.

We did manage to get some nice shots of this waterfall, which I stuck my head under (very cold!):

One natural phenomenon we were eager to see was the Bay of Fundy’s tidal bore, which is what happens when the incoming high tide literally changes the course of a river. There are a number of places in the Maritimes where you can see this, and we ended up seeing it in the town of Truro, where the Salmon River runs. We arrived at low tide, chatted a bit with some of the other people who’d come for the same reason we had, and then watched as the bore tide came in, right on schedule. Within about 20 minutes, the water level had risen 15 feet (there are some other viewing spots where you can see it rise more than three times that much) and the river had changed directions. After another hour or so, the tide began emptying back out to the bay and the river had resumed its normal course.

I shot this video of the bore tide arriving. At this point the river was flowing out, away from me, but the bore tide turned it around. I love how it looks like a living entity, going where it wants to go:

I’m sure a good photographer could do a better job of this, but here are two before/after photos I took from the same spot. The first one, taken just before the bore tide arrived, shows the river at low tide; the second, taken about half an hour later, shows the water level after it had risen 15 feet:



It totally blows my mind that all of this is caused by the moon! Good thing I learned that when I was young and impressionable, because there’s no way I’d believe it if someone told me now.

Abandoned motel: Our viewing spot for the tidal bore was across the street from an abandoned, boarded-up motel, which we spent a bit of time exploring. A few of the rooms were unlocked, so we poked around a bit (I took a leak in one of the dilapidated toilets), feeling the odd mix of pathos and exhilaration that always comes with abandoned structures:

It was particularly strange to find this decaying facility adjacent to where we’d seen the tidal bore. Wouldn’t the location make for good business? I later did some Googling and found that the motel had shut down when the owners retired a few years ago. Surprising that nobody has bought the property since then.

Other attractions: We checked out the Alexander Graham Bell museum (good but not great), a farmers’ market (small but good), a lighthouse (always nice), a small whale museum interpretive center (mainly just used their bathroom and WiFi and bought some postcards, but the desk clerk did give us a few whale pointers), a used bookstore with two very friendly cats (don’t tell Tucker and Caitlin), and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. My only regret is that we didn’t get around to kayaking.

Commercial signage: Brutal. There was almost no neon, and most of business signs and billboards seemed almost like they’d been deliberately designed to look boring. One happy exception was this diner, where we had our last breakfast before heading to the airport to fly home:

We also came upon an intersection that featured two good-looking eateries — an ice cream shop and a fried chicken joint. They had similar names (same owner, we figured), one of which was slightly lascivious:



One final thought: In the men’s room of one of the Legion halls we visited, I saw this sign promoting the then-upcoming festivities for Canada Day Eve:

Barbecue and cupcakes at midnight? Sounds like the kind of holiday tradition we Americans could learn from.

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My thanks to the many readers who provided tips and advice when I first mentioned that we were thinking about this trip — we took many of your suggestions. Double-plus-thanks to Phil for keeping the site running while I was away. And über-thanks to the New Girl for a sensational getaway that I know we’ll both remember for a long time to come.

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Or maybe he just gained a little weight: Got an interesting note from reader Justin Bates, as follows:

During a recent game, Cubs play-by-play guy Len Kasper mentioned that the team’s road uniforms shrink faster than their home uniforms, because of the way they are laundered, and that this presents a problem for pitcher Edwin Jackson, who prefers a baggier look for his pants.

Kasper said Jackson had complained to the clubhouse staff that his road uniform had shrunk and was not as baggy as his home uniform, and they explained to him that it was because of the way the uniforms are washed on the road, which is usually done by the host team’s clubhouse crew. He said Jackson has requested a member of the Cubs traveling staff launder his uniform the same way they do at Wrigley, so that he could have it to his liking.

Faaaascinating. I’ve never heard of differing shrinkage rates (or, for that matter, differing laundry methods) at home versus on the road. I want to know more, so I’ve asked the Cubs if I can speak to Jackson and to someone on their clubhouse staff. Stay tuned.

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A little-noted footnote to a baseball life: Frank Cashen passed away yesterday. He’s widely known for three things: (1) Being an Orioles executive during the team’s late-1960s heyday through the mid-1970s. (2) Transforming the Mets from a laughingstock into a powerhouse in the 1980s. (3) Always wearing that freaking bow tie.

But Cashen is also responsible for something many fans aren’t aware of: During his time with the Orioles, he came up with the idea of playing rock music during the seventh inning stretch. This was a new concept at the time — ballpark music up until then was still the province of live organists. Who’da thunk rock and roll would be brought into the fold by someone who looked like he was on his way to see a chamber music quartet?

So all that loud music we now hear at the ballpark — that’s because of Cashen. You can decide for yourself if that’s a good or a bad thing (you can probably guess what I think), but either way, it is arguably his biggest, most lasting legacy, even if most people aren’t aware of it.

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Tick-tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath.

Baseball News: Today is Canada Day, which means the Blue Jays will be wearing their holiday jerseys for their afternoon game against the Brewers. … “The Reds are giving away a Joey Votto ‘military-themed player tee’ to the first 20,000 fans at Saturday’s game (7/5),” says Greg Hotopp. “The picture doesn’t show it, but it does have Votto and the number 19 on the back, also rendered in camouflage. Since Votto is Canadian, choosing him for this promotion strikes me as kind of strange.” … The El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres, unveiled their stars and stripes uniforms for their games before Independence Day (thanks, Phil). … The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Single-A affiliate, are wearing the most American jersey ever (and that’s not a good thing). … Here’s a look at the Korean Baseball Organization’s All-Star Game jerseys (thanks, Phil). … The Chattanooga Times Free Press covered the Tennessee Vintage Base Ball League yesterday (from Michael Vines). … Keeping it old school: Jon Bravard sent in a picture of the State College, Pennsylvania, baseball team from 1893! ”¦ Raul Ibañez’s armband number didn’t match his uni number last night (Phil again). ”¦ Also from Phil: The Vancouver Canadians are using an old-school bullpen buggy.

College Football News: The Colorado Buffalo team will continue wearing the classic look of the 1990 national championship team this fall (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: “Yesterday on a Connecticut news channel, there was a televised interview with Peter Good, the graphic designer who designed the Hartford Whalers logo,” says the Hungry Hungry Hipster. “He showed some Whalers prototypes that not many outside himself and the Whalers organization have seen. Some of them are pretty mind blowing for one reason or another.” My favorite quote from Mr. Good has to be: “I was bothered by the idea of harpoons very much because their mascot is a whale. Why would have a symbol that suggests killing your mascot?”

Soccer News: The United States will be wearing white today against Belgium in their World Cup game. … Infographic of all of the World Cup Final stadiums (from Adam Vano). … English Premier League champions Manchester City 2014-2015 home and away kits have both leaked online (thanks, Phil). … The home, away, and 3rd kits for the Arsenal 2014-2015 season were also leaked (thanks, Phil.

NBA News: Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Roy Devyn Marble — the three new draft selections by the Orlando Magic — have selected their uniform numbers (from Kyle Speicher). … The two new members of the Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart and James Young, have their uni numbers as well.

Grab Bag: The new Atlantic 10 Conference logo was released yesterday. Some are thinking that it looks similar to other conference logos. … We all know fans of team sports do wacky things, but it’s a little surprising to see a tennis fan at oh-so-proper Wimbledon going with this hairstyle (thanks, Phil). … Tennis Magazine has rated the best- and worst-dressed players at Wimbledon (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s a great interactive history of the Greyhound bus company, complete with a fantastic photo of their 1930s company baseball team (thanks, Phil). … A softball team in Minnesota has the players’ own faces on the backs of their jerseys (thanks, Phil).

Comments (121)

    TREMENDOUS travelogue Paul. Such a pleasure to read and enjoy vicariously!

    The A&K Lick-A-Chick! How many skid marks were on the road in front of that place?

    Funny that Cashen played “rock music” during the 7th inning stretch, since i started going to games in the late 70s and theyve always played “thank god im a country boy” by john denver.

    The O’s experimented with other songs for a brief period in ’75, but settled on playing “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” before season’s end. Bit of a leap to suggest that exchanging the execrable organ noodlings of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for something more contemporary & upbeat(execrable though it were) is to blame for the coercive sensory bombardment that is today’s stadium experience, though.

    Ok sports world, you can officially stop with all of the unnecessary camouflage and flag stuff now. The Timber Rattlers have won. Game over.

    Thanks for the twee hipster travelogue! Maybe next time you can go visit Mississippi. They’d LOVE you there.

    Wouldn’t the Deep South be the ultimate hipster travel destination?

    Actually the Moon would be the ultimate hipster destination…no one has been there since 1972 and there is all that vintage equipment left up there that can be re-purposed into bike frames.

    Ah, someone else remembers those days!

    If the A”10″ gets two more members they could divide the confernece into the Eastern Eight and the Eastern Eight More.

    To that point, the roof on the Maracana should look different from 1950 to 2014.

    At least they didn’t use the new Wembley to show the 1966 final venue.

    Also, the Olympiastadion is the wrong way round. The notch should be at one of the ends of the pitch rather than at the side.

    The mistake that got me is with the Olympic Stadium in Berlin for 2006. The gap in the roof is at the Marathon Gate which is at the end of the pitch, not the middle. So it should be shown at the left or the right of the diagram, not the bottom.

    Any more details on the photo of the State College team? If it was PSU’s team, or a town team? If they were in any sort of pro or semi-pro league?

    State College, PA wasn’t a ‘town’ per se until 1896, but Penn State College did have a baseball team in 1893.

    This is the rest of the information for the team, not really a lot to go on. The RMF baseball team of State College, 1893, was termed the best ever to play in State College
    It’s the first time I have ever seen lacing on a jersey like that, has anyone else seen that somewhere?

    “deep-fried pepperoni with honey-mustard dipping sauce (is this served anywhere in the States?)”

    Since you asked… I have had a similar dish at a bar in Fort Lee, NJ. It’s deep-fried kielbasa with a spicy habanero honey dipping sauce, presented exactly like the dish you have pictured.

    A harpoon is an appropriate logo for a team call the “Whalers.” They were not called the “Whales.” Whalers use harpoons.

    If they’d used an actual whaler as a mascot, then we’d have had to deal with the “Gorton’s Fisherman” look, sported briefly by the Isles, that much sooner.

    “She and her sister Paula invited us to play Scrabble (Canadian spellings allowed – “colour,” “centre,” etc.)”

    Shouldn’t this be phrased “American spellings allowed?” Since they’re the “home team,” I would think that Canadian spellings would be the default dictionary.

    I guess I don’t really think about the possible conflicts when playing Scrabble with folks from a foreign country that uses alternate spellings. It obviously makes for an interesting game. And I guess an expanded dictionary.

    “Canadian spellings allowed – “colour,” “centre,” etc.”


    Stoopid Canadians. They should just speak English or GTFO.

    The U.S. and Canada use the same official dictionary for Scrabble so both American and Canadian spelling variations can be played in both countries.

    If you don’t believe me just go to and you’ll see that Canada and the U.S. are grouped together on the map, separate from the rest of the world.

    I’ll take your word for it. And I’ll have to remember that when I play Scrabble

    I always new that Nova Scotia was “New Scotland.” But I think I just had a bit of an epiphany.

    Just a few days ago, I was hearing a woman from Ontario say that she had never heard a Canadian say words like “aboot.” I suggested that maybe it was something that say in other places “like Saskatchewan.” Then she said, “definitely Nova Scotia.” The influence of a Scottish accent would, in my opinion, be a reason why Canadians are known for pronouncing words like “aboot” like they do.

    I love that there is some rock music in baseball stadiums now. It can be used to really pump up a crowd. Some fans take interest in what walk-up songs players will choose.

    The Nationals finally decided to dump “Take On Me” in the 7th inning stretch. Yesterday, I read that they are taking suggestions for a new song. They’ve been rotating through lots of different ones lately. So I think I need to start suggesting some songs.

    I’ve generally maintained my taste in music since my youth, but that’s one song that makes me cringe and yell at kids to get off the lawn when I hear it (mostly for the refrain at the end).

    “I was bothered by the idea of harpoons very much because their mascot is a whale. Why would you have a symbol that suggests killing your mascot?”

    He didn’t have a problem with the team name, which suggests killing the mascot in and of itself?

    When did the profession of whaling fall into infamy? I thought that would have a bearing on the choosing of that nickname.

    Why was a Hartford team named the Whalers in the first place? The city is nowhere near the coast.

    Well the team was originally the New England Whalers and they were a WHA team based in Boston. I don’t know much about Boston history so I don’t know how much whaling was done in Boston but Boston is near the ocean so it makes sense there. However they weren’t the Boston Whalers, they were the *New England* Whalers and whaling was a big part of history throughout the region.

    When the team moved to Hartford and joined the NHL the Bruins demanded that the team get rid of the New England part of their name so it was either change it to Connecticut Whalers or Hartford Whalers. It is still an appropriate nickname for a Hartford team because Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and the sperm whale is the state animal. Getting rid of the harpoon imagery was a way of changing the nickname’s definition from “those that hunt and kill whales” to “those that represent and promote whales”. (The whole “Save The Whales” campaign and whales perhaps being an endangered species may have had something to do with this change in team identity. The new logo was designed in 1979 and the anti-whaling movement was well underway by then.) So basically the nickname went from Whalers to “Whale-ers” but they never inserted a hyphen because that would’ve looked really stupid.

    One more thing: yes, Hartford is nowhere near the coast but it IS on the Connecticut river and I don’t know much about the history of whaling in Connecticut but I would guess many, many whaling ships traveled up the river to Hartford to cash in on their catch.

    Also, it should be noted that a member of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club (yes, it still exists) mentioned on a public access TV show once that the original name of the team was almost the New England Lobsters. Now, if they eventually became the Hartford Lobsters, that is much more absurd than a Hartford team being called the Whalers.

    Another factor in the name that’s not explicitly been pointed out: WHAlers.

    Wondering if the Mets will add some sort of uniform tribute to Frank Cashen. The team already is wearing a Ralph Kiner patch.

    Cashen made being a Mets fan fun again after the team was in the abyss.

    As for the bow tie, I believe he said that was a holdover from his early days working at a newspaper. Back in the day, it was a pretty messy businesses, with a lot of bending over those ink-covered letter boxes — that’s where the names “upper case” and “lower case” and the expression “Mind your Ps and Qs” come from.

    Many newspaper men of the day wore bow ties because the regular ties would get dragged through the ink and mess.

    Thank you, Frank!

    And this is why you wear a black armband. To prevent your jersey from resembling a roadside memorial.

    But then they’d take it one step further and wear two armbands. And then three….

    When Bernie Carbo was playing in the Senior Professional Baseball League in Florida some years ago, he wore two memorial armbands on his left sleeve. They symbolized the passing of both of his parents.

    “Most days had a high temp of about 70 (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less), with lows in the high 40”

    Don’t you mean a high temp of around 21 with lows around four or five? :)

    And the Canadian Legion hall apparently ran out of “I”s. Or they really do have a member named Dav1D Colbourne.

    The only part of the new A-10 logo that is italic is the A. I would say this isn’t a continuation of a trend but actually a resistance of a trend. In that twitter pic every single letter in all the other logos is italicized. How is a single letter being italicized in a new logo make it look like all the other ones??? It doesn’t! This new one sticks out and is actually unique. If any more new NCAA conference logos come out that *aren’t* italicized we can all look back to this new A-10 logo as the first to start the non-italicized trend. It will then be considered the missing link transitional logo between the two trends.

    But then again, how often can non-italicized type be called part of a trend? That’s just normal text lol.

    Although he is Canadian, Votto does have a connection to the American military. He has a charitable foundation that seeks to provide families with resources and help in dealing with PTSD and, from what I understand, most of the families affected are military families.

    I have always thought this was a very genuine and thoughtful niche for Votto to fill. Given his own struggles with mental health issues after the death of his father, it’s clear Votto feels strongly about this. Since the government is not doing a particularly good job (to put it mildly) of assisting veterans with these issues, it’s a good place for a charitable foundation to fill in the breach.

    Did you fly directly to Halifax? There’s an airport in the south, as well as a ferry from Portland, but they seem to be quite a distance from the city.

    PS “Barbecue and cupcakes at midnight” would be a great title for a book.

    The last couple of days of the World Cup hasn’t been good for fans of green – Algeria, Nigeria and Mexico, all clad in green, were knocked out of the tournament, all in cruel fashion in either extra time or in the last minutes of regular time.

    The other green teams, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, are already out.

    Meanwhile, Germany, who changed their away kit from green to black/red, are still in.

    I love today’s entry. As a car guy, however, I am compelled to point out that your Fiat is not a roadster. Generally speaking, a roadster is a two-seat convertible.

    Interesting article – thanks.

    “whenever those names come up, the school gets called. ‘If you guys can do it, why can’t we?’ We’re somehow used as a justification.”

    Shouldn’t be. If Native Americans want to own the term, that’s a far cry from a corporation owned by people who aren’t part of that community deciding they have a perfect right to it.

    Your coverage of your trip to N.S. was wonderful. You obviously had a great time in Canada, and I am very glad you enjoyed a wonderful part of my homeland. It reminded me of the time I spent in New York as an undergrad down there, a city which I grew to love very quickly. Like you honestly reported about N.S (especially the food) not everything was great, but in a way that made every day a new adventure – a quest for what was truly special.Thanks for sharing Paul!

    My first serious boyfriend was from Cape Breton Island and his folks live not too far from the Lick-A-Chick/Lick-A-Treat. Damn straight I have photos of those as well.

    I envy your trip. That is a stunning part of the world and the Cabot Trail through the Highlands takes you past some of the best and least frequented beaches in North America. Also, lobster.

    was it me, or did those celtics jerseys appear to have a green outline around the numbers?

    “Elks clubs, local firehouses,”

    Am I reading too much into that, Paul, or did you and the New Girl stop and drink at fire stations?

    There was a benefit dance at a small catering hall attached to a small firehouse. We saw the sign for it, stopped in, and hung out for a while.

    Thanks for the tour – we did a similar itinerary about 15 years ago.

    Just one question: did you eat the Donair pizza?


    “During a recent game, Cubs play-by-play guy Len Kasper mentioned that the team’s road uniforms shrink faster than their home uniforms, because of the way they are laundered, and that this presents a problem for pitcher Edwin Jackson, who prefers a baggier look for his pants.”

    Since when does polyester shrink?

    Interesting that at the legions there you still have to sign in. When I go into the legions and fraternal halls in my city nobody has to sign in or be a member (at least the section of the building with the bar) . There are a couple legions in town that have closed in the last couple decades. The two that I know closed have had the buildings be used by a Native organization and a Metis organization, but most are still open for the time being (I think bucking the national and probably international trend).

    Royal Canadian Legions (Polish and Slovak), Elks, Prosvita, Moose, are one the legions/fraternal organizations locally that I can think of off the top of my head.

    Many have the older ladies making and selling bags of perogies (Royal Canadian Legions & Prosvitas) and sometime cabbage rolls a couple times a week.

    Go to the one Moose sometimes after Slo-pitch games to have a couple drinks and play darts. Can hear what I believe the bartender mentioned as disking going on above us sometimes.

    Paul and The New Girl must not be big fans of desserts/sweets since the only mention (and not eating) of them was the ice cream shop and the cupcakes at the end. No mention of butter tarts, blueberry grunt, and the like.

    Paul…great travelogue of your trip…what a great time you and The New Girl had Up North…

    Welcome back…

    Paul, glad to hear you enjoyed your trip up here. Also glad you didn’t need any assistance with unexpected crises or the like. I can’t take issue with anything you noted – our roads are always notoriously bad (the provincial govt is perpetually broke), our seafood is often hit-or-miss to my ongoing amazement (you need local knowledge as to the good spots), and there isn’t much vintage signage remaining although when I was growing up here in the ’60s, Halifax had quite a bit, almost all of which is now gone. I see a can of Keith’s beer in one picture. Did you get to try any of the local stuff otherwise? If I had known you were going to be in Baddeck I would have recommended a visit to Jeremy at Big Spruce Brewing just outside of town for some excellent organic beer.

    Loved the picture of you with the steers (Paul the cattle rancher from Brooklyn!) and was amazed that you had never seen hummingbirds before until I remembered where you live… I have them in my backyard and I guess I just take them for granted. Glad you had an enjoyable visit, and as the sign says, “Please Come Again!”.

    It’s disheartening to hear the USMNT is again donning white for today’s match considering our only victory in Group play was while wearing the Bomb Pop kits.

    Well, when you’re going up against a team who’s nicknamed the Red Devils, you can assume they’ll wear red as much as possible.

    It is a shame, though. I would have loved to see Belgium in the black alts vs. the bomb pops. Could have been one of the best mono a mono matchups ever.

    “It’s disheartening to hear the USMNT is again donning white for today’s match considering our only victory in Group play was while wearing the Bomb Pop kits.”


    Well, if you ascribe to the theory that the unis determine the outcome, then yes.

    But those white kits (which are our primary kits, remember) are gorgeous. The bomb pops? Yeah, not so much.

    I need you to stop badmouthing the bomb pops. I’m pretty sure you can be tried for treason.

    Hey, I’d say about 1/2 of the readership LOVES the bomb pops, the other half not so much. I might have had a different opinion of them had they gone (top to bottom) red-white-blue rather than blue-white-red. I’m also not big on collarless jeresys, and if the home kit were also collarless, I’d like it a LOT less.

    To Padday (below) who feels they’re “not only characterless, but completely and utterly undistinguished,” I disagree. No, they don’t SCREAM U!S!A! (thankfully) but they are quite restrained and beautiful. Yes, I’d have liked navy shorts, but I have a feeling that was more a function of FIFA than Nike.

    Restraint and beauty are all well and good for, say, a Japanese garden or an archduke’s wedding, but this is the World Cup (implied alliterative subtitle: Of Bombastic, Ball-kicking Brouhaha). It doesn’t have to scream U!S!A!, but I’d prefer if it said something… anything. And “I’m a middle aged insurance broker who golfs on the weekend but I also enjoy showing off my golf polos around the local supermarket, oh and wearing a Bluetooth headset too” doesn’t count.

    No, they don’t SCREAM U!S!A!

    But they should! There’s a reason why the American Outlaws are wearing the bomb pops in seemingly disproportionate numbers.

    Well, as people keep insisting, US soccer doesn’t have any definitive visual tradition for its soccer unis so really the “primary kit” designation is merely a functional description ie. they had to pick one, it may as well be the more conservative. From what I’ve seen in terms of cultural reaction, the Bomb Pops are the more significant look.

    And as I keep saying, the whites are not only characterless, but completely and utterly undistinguished in a competition which has featured 16 (half of the teams in the competition) donning mono-white at some stage.

    Happily, with Argentina eventually sealing the win, that pretty much guarantees Bomb Pops should the US do the business against Belgium.

    Re: the food.

    “…But most of it was, frankly, unremarkable. I’m not saying it was bad, mind you, but I don’t think any of it was better than what we routinely get here in NYC (or what I grew up with on Long Island, for that matter)…”

    This is the passage that resonated the most with me from the travelogue. It just seems that with the globalization of the food industry, food quality is evening out. I would think the little inland roadside places might not have the quality that port towns and the like would have up there though when it comes to seafood.

    Interesting point.

    NYC has arguably the best seafood in America, and I grew up in Blue Point, Long Island — namesake of the bluepoint oyster — where I caught my own fish and crabs in the Great South Bay. All o which is to say, I’m used to *really* good seafood.

    Still, I was surprised by some of what we ate. PEI is a mussels haven, but we got a bowl of them that was terribly overcooked. (On the plus side, we also had some *perfect* steamers at that same meal.)

    But whatever — food wasn’t the point of the trip.

    Great to read your travel log. Having done the trip a couple of times, including last summer, it’s fun to hear someone else’s perspective. As someone who likes good food, I agree with your assessment.

    @ Tom V. – I would disagree that what Paul experienced has much to do with globalization of food. I worked in Nova Scotia Tourism a dozen or so years ago, and one of the things we fought against constantly was the poor food experience here in tourist areas, typically rural. There was/is an attitude among some operators that “it’s good enough” is good enough because they will not likely see repeat customers regardless. We saw this in the prevalence of menu items like poor-quality frozen french fries and “fish triangles” (a locally-made frozen battered fish product) on tourist-area menus. Keep in mind that the season here is very short; most of the places are only open for 4 or 5 months, and it is difficult to keep cooks and chefs with talent under such circumstances.

    Fortunately this is changing; in Halifax now, the food culture is very strong with lots of very good offerings and the traditional tourist trap operations are quickly losing out. But in rural areas that transition takes longer. You need to ask the locals when you visit to avoid the touristy places that don’t much care and find the gems.

    I kind of thought that had to be the case, interesting to get it confirmed. I found websites like Trip advisor helped us stay clear from the really bad, nonetheless, most of the time it still had the “just good enough” feel to the place. I agree with the Halifax assessment, Charlottetown PEI, also has some good restaurants.

    Uniform minutiae: it looks like Vincent Kompany is wearing a FIFA-issued armband instead of the Belgium flag one he and Jan Vertoghen wore in the group stage.

    Mmmmm, Alexander Keith’s. The only thing that makes me nostalgic for Windsor.

    Well, that and CBC 9 with Hockey Night in Canada (and superior Olympics coverage) beaming over the Detroit River.

    So glad USA lost..
    the American radio hosts were embarrassing to listen to;
    ie.”If we (USA) were tougher in the 3rd period”…nuff said

    Exciting to watch and follow as an average soccer fan though, great job USA soccer!

    So true. I consider myself rather knowledgeable when it comes to soccer, and this dilemma tears me in two. On the one hand, I’d like to see the sport gain popularity in this country. On the other hand, what it takes to get there–getting casual sports fans & even people who don’t generally follow any sport–involves having to overhear co-workers and friends make some pretty stupid assessments about the US’ chances or the sport in general.

    Good point on the lack of local pubs in that part of Nova Scotia. You did find the Red Shoe, and that fiddler would be the “real thing” but probably more “real” at a dance not far away at the West Mabou Hall. There is a lovely small stone pub in New Glasgow, and an OK place in Sydney, and Antigonish has a couple. The parts of Nova Scotia you did not visit, the South Shore and the Annapolis Valley have a much better developed pub culture, with good locals in most towns, and some micro beers made in or near those towns. You’ll just have to come back. You should also experience more of Halifax. The city is big enough to have most of the things you want, but small enough not to have the things you don’t. And there are pubs here. That is for certain.

    Paul –

    Born and raised in Nova Scotia.

    It’s a shame you missed the beautiful south shore, Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg (featuring the Bluenose!), and the Evangeline Trail / Annapolis Valley region which has a higher concentration of French.

    The food, though, you’re right. There’s lots of great food in Halifax, as you’d expect, but the small towns just don’t deliver. A lot of very bland family restaurants, Tim Horton’s, etc. It sounds like you missed out on Nova Scotia’s semi-official provincial food: the donair.

    Hey Paul. Great travel story, and I’m glad you two had a great time.

    And thanks for inadvertently clearing up something for me — one of those oddball memory thangs that gets stuck in there — in your comments on Frank Cashen. Two weeks ago, I did a triple-birthday tribute on my radio show (McCartney, Brian Wilson and Ray Davies) and pulled out “Listen to What the Man Said.” And I flashed back to a Red Sox-Orioles game I saw on TV one Sunday night in the summer of ’75, and in between innings, I heard the familiar strains of “Soldier Boy kisses girl, leaves behind a tragic world …” The first time I ever heard music besides organ coming from a ballpark. So that item on Cashen explains it …

    Very Good reading! Nova Scotia hosts (eateries and overnight stays) need to up our game. Thanks for your kind words
    about our B&B.
    I’ll never look at a sports uniform the same again. I’m going to check out The New Girl’s work in ELLE too.

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