A visit to Historic Louisbourg

Trip Start Aug 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Gagnon's Bed & Breakfast

Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8 , 2009

First thought this AM - thank goodness we’re in a B&B

Awoke after a wonderful sleep!! Quick shower in the clawfoot tub - specific instructions on the wall, “Do not spray water on the floor’. Pulling the circular shower curtain tightly around the tub, I carefully attempted to ‘do as I was told’. Hot water but very low pressure, I managed OK- Brian’s shower was much more successful - am thinking that maybe Pamela was doing dishes while I was showering hence the difference in pressure.

Down to the quaint dining area to share our bountiful breakfast with fellow guests Steve and his father Richard, travelling back to Nova Scotia from Montreal (Richard grew up in Nova Scotia) to explore Richard’s province of youth. After good stories shared over a delicious breakfast, we headed off - our destination (as highly recommended by our breakfast partners)….Louisbourg. Stopping for gas, I asked the service station attendant about directions - in that usual East Coast fashion, he said to me “You’re not lost darlin’, you just ain’t got there yet”

Went through a Cape Breton ‘check stop’ enroute to Louisbourg. In Brian’s words - “the jolliest police officers I’ve ever encountered“. Certainly not an intimidating bunch but have no idea what they were looking for.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a National Historic Site that we were very fortunate to have visited. It was the encouragement of our fellow B&B guests that sent us off in that direction and even though it ended up delaying our stay on Cape Breton by a day, it was well worth it. We are once again becoming aware of how quickly time is passing and realizing that we have to make choices - oh….but it is sooo hard!!

Louisbourg is a reconstruction of the French colonial fortress that existed at the location in 1744. Steeped in history, Parks Canada has done an incredible job of presenting information in a very effective manner. They have reconstructed approximately 20% of the original town (and even that 20% is huge and has been the largest project attempted by Parks Canada, some 25 to 30 million dollars to date)- in some areas, visitors walk on cobblestone that was used by the original residents of Louisbourg. Throughout the whole town, tourists can interact with people dressed in period costume. We were very impressed with the level of historical knowledge these individuals had. There are multitudes of reconstructed homes and businesses in addition to the huge restoration done to the governors mansion itself - each designed following the extensive records that the French very meticulously maintained (in triplicate) of the original specs and “blueprints” . Throughout the day, were numerous demonstrations such as the firing of a cannon with all the pomp that goes with it - the drummer, the marching soldiers - all dressed in period costume, all playing their roles. There was a functioning bakery, baking the bread in the same way as in the 1700’s, The blacksmith was busy forging candle holders using 18th century technology . Spent a large part of the day here and came far from seeing it all. Certainly helped to bring a small part of the French history of this country vividly to life.

Destination tonight - Port Hawksbury - last stop before we leave Cape Breton Island. Found our bed &breakfast with minimal difficulty - Gagnon B&B - (hosts, Darrell & Judy). Their quaint home is located on a very steep hill overlooking Canso causeway. Got settled in our second storey room - sharing a BR with Jim and Ginette from Montreal a lovely couple who gave us some good advice on our upcoming visit to Montreal.

Attempted to find a Laundromat as the dirty laundry bag is exploding at the seams - Nothing open this late. Grabbed a quick sandwich at Subway, then headed back to our B&B to get caught up on blogging and e-mails and a good nights sleep.

While in the BR, I heard the door handle jiggle. Assuming it was Brian, I opened the door, just in time to see “ Jim” dancing back to his bedroom in his underwear - ah, the joys of bathroom sharing. So fun!!
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