We ate breakfast in two parts: first a very nice free breakfast at the hotel, and then at the Friars’ Bakeshop in downtown Bangor, where Franciscan friars bake and serve delicious baked goods (and soups and sandwiches at lunch), complete with habits and “God bless you” greetings. I had a fabulous whoopee pie, apparently the breakfast of choice for three middle-aged men in the place (one of whom exited with a six-pack of them, grinning wildly). We also got a six-pack of chocolate chip cookies to nibble on in the car, a corn muffin, and a blueberry muffin.
Our next stop was our northernmost stop in Maine at the Lumbermen Museum in Patten—really an excellent, if completely out of the way, small museum. We saw a great film of actual footage taken during the waning of the lumbermen era, and we looked through many books of archived photographs and letters. There were also numerous buildings on the grounds with machinery from the era. Robert and my father were particularly entranced with the Model T Ford in one of the barns.
We ate lunch at the Blue Door in Fredericton, a beautifully decorated restaurant with art from a local gallery on the wall. We had quite the mix of things, from a brie and smoked chicken pressed sandwich to a seafood salad with crab cakes to an appetizer sampler with fabulous pork ribs (falling-off-the-bone and succulent, indeed) and Navajo fry bread. We then walked over to the green to see the changing of the guard in this little town which seems to think it still belongs to England. Since I’d looked up the guard schedule ahead of time, and had thought we wouldn’t be able to see it, the changing of the guard should have been our first clue that we had neglected to set our watches ahead an hour when entering New Brunswick. Yes, folks, we left Eastern time for Atlantic time, and we hadn’t even noticed. We walked around the downtown area a little, going into a few craft shops and buying a lovely hand-blown glass fish, and then over to a lighthouse on the river to look at the view and have an ice cream before heading back on the road.
It wasn’t until we got to Moncton, New Brunswick, and tried to see the local Bore Tide (“We’d thought Bore Tides didn’t exist outside of Alaska!” Robert told the woman at the information desk) that we realized our error with the time zones. I felt really silly for not having noticed this when planning the trip, but at the moment, it seemed like the only casualty would be the fact that we missed the Bore Tide (what else is new?). On the suggestion of the information woman, we decided to briefly check out Magnetic Hill nearby, a hill that you drive “down,” put your car in neutral, and then watch your car slide “up” the hill. Of course, it’s just an optical illusion—no freaky magnetic forces at work here—because of the way the road slopes relative to the hill. Again, because of the time change, it was now so late that the ticket booth was closed; we just followed four other cars and drove around it, though, to try out the hill anyway. It was a minor madhouse: cars were driving down and backing up and people were getting out and walking up and cars were turning around and trying it forwards. On one hand, everyone seemed convinced that it really was going uphill—the illusion is a good one—but on the other hand, if we’d had to actually pay for this, we probably would have been disappointed. The real treat, though, occurred when we tried to leave the Magnetic Hill area, and instead found ourselves in a maze-like warren of roads and attractions (zoos, water parks, mini golf, etc.—all of them, to a one, completely closed at this very late hour of 8:00). The only way we finally found our way out was by spotting a McDonald’s down the hill, back at the information booth, and heading toward it. Phew! Chain restaurants save the day! “I always say, Canada is confusing,” Robert observed. After a quick stop to ogle the lumber trucks we'd been seeing all day, and to fill up on gas and a root beer float at an A&W, we continued north to PEI.
We took the Confederation bridge over, a nine-mile long, pretty bridge. The sun was just setting, and we had been on the lookout for moose in the dusky time just before getting on the bridge. Once on the other side of the bridge, on PEI itself, however, we immediately noticed the further consequences of our time zone mix-up: there were no lights, no cars, no open anythings, as far as we could tell, except the occasional Tim Horton’s and one pharmacy. My parents were desperate for food, so we finally stopped at a shopping center on the outskirts of Cornwall at 9:00 and ate at an abysmal Canadian-Chinese restaurant. The menu actually had “Canadian Food” categories, which we couldn’t take seriously, but which (at least the lobster sandwich we tried from it) did seem better than the scary bright red sauces and terrifyingly fried wontons from the Chinese side of the menu. Bizarrely, the rice and the tea were perfectly adequate Chinese restaurant staples—I don’t know how the Canadian blonde people running the restaurant managed that. From Cornwall it was just a short final leg down the road to the Rodd Confederacy Inn and Suites, a hotel that was the cheapest in the Charlottetown area, and had free wireless and breakfast. I don’t recommend the place: the staff was not friendly, the rooms had minor things broken, the bathrooms were very old and not well maintained, and the “suites” were regular-sized motel rooms carved up into two parts, with the TV separated by a wall from the bed and with barely enough room to walk around the bed to the bathroom.
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Created: 8/28/07. Last Modified: 8/28/07.