Little School

Day 340

One of the reasons we went to Tancook was Ann and Paula thought I’d like to see the island’s school.  It is often billed as “one of the last remaining one-room schoolhouses in Canada.”  Currently there are only five students, in grades K through 5.  After that the students take a one-hour ferry ride each way to school on the mainland.


The school is actually more than one room, but one teacher / principal is still responsible for everything.  The building sits next to the island recreation center and volunteer firehouse and emergency services building.

There’s the entryway / foyer . . .


and a classroom


which contains the library.


There’s the other room where there is one-to-one computing (something most schools dream about).


The computer room is also the music room


where the Christmas pageant items are stored (the wise men are stock characters as there are not enough students to play them).


Being sent to “the office” would only take a few steps . . . but there would be no one there if Ms. S. is already in the classroom!


It was an unforgettable visit — as I am sure it’s an unforgettable experience for the students.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Sutherland for welcoming me to Big Tancook Elementary School, as well as Lesley & Peter Stephens and Hillary Dionne for their island hospitality.


The Little Island

Day 339

The ferry for Tancook departs from Chester, Nova Scotia, which is itself about a three-hour drive from Yarmouth.  Thursday’s trip included a stop in Shelburne at both the Tim Horton’s (Shelburne is a one-Tims town) and the Whirligig bookstore.  Paula bought a hummingbird whirligig and a chicken whirligig.  I bought . . . books.

After that it was supposed to be an easy shot to Chester and the ferry, except about halfway between Shelburne and Liverpool we noticed that we were about out of gas.  Now you can get gas in Shelburne or you can get gas in Liverpool but – you guessed it – nowhere in between.  We stopped at the Seascape Restaurant in the infamous Port Mouton (“Sheep Overboard!”)  and got directions for the shortest route to gas, as well as lunch while we were at it.  We coasted into Liverpool to gas and made it the rest of the way to Chester without incident.


It’s an hour ferry to Big Tancook Island, and I spent both directions on the upper deck to avoid the motion sickness that moving and confined spaces bring on.  It was windy cold refreshing. Ann said I looked like a “real pink fisherman” (???) but I think I look like a giant Michelin Man with the wind-filled jacket.


The island is only about five miles long and three miles wide.  None of the roads are paved, and the number of islanders varies from around 100 in the winter to about twice that in the summer.

We had the cutest little guest house for the night, owned by a friend of Paula’s.  It was just the right size and right on the water, with plenty of windows and lots of wood in its construction.  My ideal.  There was even an official portrait of the queen to greet you.






The first night we went to get fresh eggs from Hillary Dionne who runs The Wishing Stones Studio and Gallery, which also houses the island lending library, game room, and museum.  (Check out the website, it gives you a great idea of the place!)  She is a photographer and craftsperson who has a wonderful little book called The Gallery Mouse.

Although it was chilly (for me) and rainy, we had a great experience.  Our time was filled with exploring the island, seeing Paula’s and Ann’s friends, relaxing with tea and knitting, and visiting the teeny tiny school.  More on the school tomorrow, as it deserves its own post.





And So To Bed

Day 338

I’ve had quite an adventure.  Although it’s only 9:30 pm here Atlantic time, the last two days have seen two ferry rides, rainstorms, a night in an island guest house, countless cups of coffee, a knit shop, and many, many miles (even more kilometers) behind me.  After a good night’s sleep and some photo editing I’ll have a lot to share, but for now just one picture of the wharf on Big Tancook Island.




The Wonder of a Summer Day

Day 335

There was brilliant, beautiful sunshine today and unusually warm weather in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit.  It was the perfect day for a leisurely lunch in town, a trip down the coast to a small family-run garden, and a stop at an antique shop.  It was also perfect for driving a winding coastal road and practicing the capture of constant surrounding beauties on camera.







The End of the Road

Day 332

After a 4:45 wakeup, I meandered north through the pine forests of Maine to the Canadian border (they let me in).  After catching the ferry in St. John, New Brunswick, it was a three-hour ride across the Bay of Fundy, followed by one more hour on the road.  Finally I was driving down a familiar dirt road and pulling into my friend’s driveway.  At last I’m set for some serious R & R: two weeks of deck sitting, deer watching, knitting, a couple of day trips, the local Canada Day celebration, and some seriously good food.  Now that I’ve stopped moving at light speed I’ll also try to include photos.  Because who doesn’t want to see someone else’s vacation pictures, right?

North of Boston

Day 331

This has been a very long day, so I’m going to keep this fairly short.  Also, the internet here at the hotel is S..L..O..W.

Let me just say I love the New York Thruway.  It shot me from Rochester to Albany in no time with no traffic trouble and great service stops.  Worth every penny.

Since I hate Boston traffic, I went north of Albany and through the Green Mountains of Vermont (I’d have a picture if I’d remembered to put my camera cord where I could get to it).  Then I cut over to Portsmouth, NH, and shot up to Maine.  I’m staying just north of Augusta and have to get up early in the morning to catch the noon ferry in St. John, New Brunswick.  Almost there!