buttermilk mary

Trip to the sea con­tin­ues! :D


We were so for­tu­nate! We were told by the locals that the leaves in Cape Bre­ton were 2 weeks behind their reg­u­lar sched­ule this year, so we got to dri­ve through the moun­tains when they were the most vibrant! <3

Like many peo­ple who vis­it Cape Bre­ton Island, we drove around the Cabot Trail, which is the upper part of the island, as shown in this map here.

We stayed at the Auld Farm Inn in Bad­deck, I think the largest vil­lage on the Cabot Trail. (We high­ly rec­om­mend the B&B, the rates are very rea­son­able, and the hosts are so very friend­ly and thought­ful. I loved that they took the time to explain the his­to­ry of the farm house and referred to them­selves as cus­to­di­ans rather than own­ers of the prop­er­ty. AND they use old keys for the rooms!)


We aimed for an ear­ly start in the morn­ing, as fel­low inn guests let us know that they took 6 hours to com­plete the trail the day before. It was a sun­ny and crisp fall morn­ing when we set out on our road trip around the trail :)

If I remem­ber cor­rect­ly, we spot­ted this church near St. Anne’s Bay, not far from Baddeck.


Then we stopped at the look-out point at Lakie’s Head, with its rugged coast­line of pink rocks.


We stopped here for the wash­room I think. And I real­ly like the build­ing against the bright blue sky, and the name of the place. So honest.


This is also where we found an album named “But­ter­milk Mary”. I thought But­ter­milk Mary was the artist or the band, and I thought that’s a great stage name (or blog post title, or name for a cat, haha). It was­n’t until after we came back and Googled it that we real­ized But­ter­milk Mary is a set of jigs by the Baroque N’ Fid­dle String Quar­tet, and we total­ly regret­ted not buy­ing the album at the gen­er­al store! We end­ed up buy­ing it on iTunes :P It’s real­ly love­ly, you can watch it played here.

Can’t remem­ber the last time we nav­i­gat­ed by paper rather than GPS or Google Maps. This map was giv­en to us by a friend­ly staff when we got to the High­lands Nation­al Park office. We were ask­ing for direc­tions to water­falls on the trail. She marked her favourite spot on the trail with a heart :)


White Point Beach was her favourite spot and she high­ly rec­om­mend­ed it. Just a bit north of Neil’s Har­bour, which is a very pic­turesque fish­ing community.


This light­house dou­bles as an ice cream par­lour in warmer months!


Obvi­ous­ly Octo­ber is not one of the warmer months in the east coast. It actu­al­ly got real­ly windy when we got to White Point.


And we snapped a few more photos…


But we nev­er made the trek to the White Point Beach, because it was just too cold and windy. So we got back into our warm rental car and con­tin­ued on the trail.

There were many look-out points along the way. Pic­tures real­ly can’t cap­ture ful­ly the vast­ness of land and the majes­tic moun­tains. Can you see the riv­er weav­ing between the mountains?


We start­ed fol­low­ing one of the short­er trail to find the Black Brook Falls, but then Mike spot­ted the Coy­ote warn­ing sign and told me about it. I start­ed to pan­ic, remem­ber­ing sto­ries from our east coast friends about how east coast coy­otes hunt like wolves, in packs. So I con­vinced Mike to turn back. But we did ven­ture into the woods for a few min­utes. I love how moss seems to cov­er every­thing in these woods.


And we came across a riv­er. Mike took a bril­liant pho­to of it, which I don’t think he minds me show­ing it off :D


I also took far too many of these behind-the-dash­board pic­tures with Mike’s DSLR while he was dri­ving. The view is dif­fer­ent behind every bend! And as you can see, the weath­er was also dif­fer­ent minute by minute. It was now hail­ing. But look at the sea!!


One of the last look-out points we stopped at was the most exhil­a­rat­ing. I believe this is at or near Mar­ga­ree. The gusty wind, the sea mist, the salt in the air, the roar­ing sea — it sim­ply com­mands us to be ful­ly present in that moment of being there. I usu­al­ly have a huge fear of deep water and height (because I can’t swim). But in that moment, look­ing down into the sea and the jagged rocks from a cliff, I felt strange­ly safe, like I’ve found my place in all the cre­at­ed beings and things. Like I belong. The expe­ri­ence of that momen­t was one of the best gifts that I brought back with me.


After going around the trail we explored vil­lage of Bad­deck the next day. Aside from Bad­deck Yarns (see pre­vi­ous post :D), we vis­it­ed the Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell His­toric Site and muse­um. I nev­er knew that the inven­tor lived in Cape Bre­ton! (he and his wife are also buried in Bad­deck) And that aside from invent­ing the tele­phone, he also con­tributed to many inno­va­tion­s in avi­a­tion and ship­build­ing. The tetra­he­dron was a struc­ture that he fre­quent­ly incor­po­rat­ed into his inven­tions, from kites to tow­ers to air­crafts, because of its strength. This is a tetra­he­dron shel­ter that he would have stayed in to observe fly­ing experiments.


Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell fell in love with this view and stayed. I wish we could stay too.


Doing a bit of beach-comb­ing here before head­ing to Syd­ney.


And here we are in Syd­ney, cap­i­tal of Cape Bre­ton, home of the big fid­dle and beau­ti­ful pur­ple rocks!


Here we spent the day vis­it­ing a cou­ple of his­toric house muse­ums. At Jost House the upper floor dis­played an apothe­cary exhib­it and a marine exhibit. The house was occu­pied by fam­i­lies of mer­chants from the 1700s until the 70s.


Then we vis­it­ed the Cos­sit House, which is believed to be the old­est house in Syd­ney, built in 1787. It was the home of a min­is­ter, who lived there with his wife and 13 chil­dren. It has a love­ly back gar­den main­tained by the muse­um docents, with hand­writ­ten signs explain­ing the names and uses of the herbs in all the gar­den box­es. It real­ly was a cozy place. But when I took the pic­ture with Diana Mini it turned out sort of dark, and then it has this glow at the door­way, which makes it look like those pic­tures of haunt­ed places… or a house with a glow­ing heart…?


Not sure where the glow comes from, it is also in a pic­ture at the Jog­gins cliffs (pic­ture of my feet), so I’m sure it has to do with the devel­op­ing process or some kind of lens flare, and not the house itself :P

We then drove back to Hal­i­fax to catch our flight home, try­ing to squeeze in a few more strolls in the love­ly city before we had to leave.

Argyle Street, naturally.


If you ever find your­self vis­it­ing Hal­i­fax, and you’re look­ing for sou­venirs that are not in the shape of a lob­ster or light­house, be sure to vis­it the World Tea House and Bis­cuit Gen­er­al Store on Argyle St.!

Also, if you like East Asian food, I high­ly rec­om­mend the Beaver Sailor Din­er up the street from the har­bour! I think it’s pret­ty new, the staff was real­ly friend­ly, the noo­dles are hand­made, the prices rea­son­able, and the logo is cute! (I think they should make buttons/pins of the logo.)


Anoth­er great place where we found awe­some sou­venirs was the farm­ers’ mar­kets. We vis­it­ed the Sea­port Farm­ers’ Mar­ket for break­fast one day at one of the bak­ers’ stalls, and bought quite a few bags of sea­weed prod­ucts from Mer­maid Fare :D (the own­er is very knowl­edge­able about the sea­weed and how to cook them!) Here’s Mike’s pic­ture of a friend­ly fish mon­ger. We did­n’t bring back any fish though.


And then we ven­tured into the His­toric Farm­ers’ Mar­ket in the Alexan­der Kei­th’s Brew­ery build­ing (still haven’t done the brew­ery tour, must do that one day!). We find that it’s a small­er (but equal­ly vibrant) mar­ket with more local res­i­dents vis­it­ing, where­as the Sea­port Mar­ket can be very crowd­ed when there’s a cruise ship dock­ing at the har­bour :S At both mar­kets there are pro­duce, spices, soaps, cof­fee stalls, bak­eries, crafts, art­work, and every­one is hap­py to explain their prod­ucts even if we weren’t buy­ing anything.


This is from one of our ear­ly morn­ing strolls at the Old Bury­ing Ground in Hal­i­fax. I like how the gen­tle sun­light of ear­ly morn­ing is fil­tered through the trees and illu­mi­nat­ing the old graves. It was found­ed in 1749, and closed in 1844. We spent some time there mar­veling at the old let­ter­ing and crav­ings on the headstones.


And final­ly, part of why we were in the east coast in the first place was because I was pre­sent­ing a paper at an art ther­a­py con­fer­ence in Hal­i­fax. That hap­pened before we went on the road trip to Cape Bre­ton. And this was me, basi­cal­ly read­ing out my script because I so dread pub­lic speak­ing. But I hope what­ev­er it was that the par­tic­i­pants took from what I shared would make a dif­fer­ence one day, no mat­ter how small, how indirect.


And that was my jour­ney! I have a feel­ing that I will jour­ney back one day. Just feel strange­ly at home in the east coast. Until then, I will miss the warm hos­pi­tal­i­ty and the sea.

I hope you enjoy the pho­tos and sto­ries and trav­el tips! Thank you for jour­ney­ing with me! :D


8 thoughts on “buttermilk mary

  1. I real­ly enjoyed read­ing about your jour­ney, and loved your pic­tures! The pho­to with the glow­ing spot is wild! Right in the door­way! What was your art ther­a­py paper about?!
    Kate :}

  2. a beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten and pho­tographed post…I, too, won­der about the art ther­a­py pre­sen­ta­tion and your edu­ca­tion background…

  3. Wow- your nar­ra­tive and pho­tos (esp the one I believe 15th down- with cliff, water, humon­gous cloud in back­ground) are so stun­ning! How amaz­ing to have these mem­o­ries after­wards- good for you!! And bonus points for your pub­lic speak­ing gig :)

  4. thanks kate! the paper was titled “Telling a Dif­fer­ent Sto­ry about ‘Eating Dis­or­der­s’: Reflec­tions on His­tor­i­cal and Social Con­texts and Women’s Nar­ra­tives about Well-being and Recov­ery”. Haha, kind of wordy!

  5. thanks Patri­cia! please see my response above to Kate for the title of my paper pre­sen­ta­tion. my train­ing and edu­ca­tion have been quite a long mean­der­ing jour­ney, involv­ing fine arts, art ther­a­py and social work :)

  6. Hi Nao­mi, its Brad from the Baroque N’ Fid­dle String Quar­tet. Just stum­bled onto your blog. Glad you found our album, and that you enjoy it! All the best.

  7. Hi Brad! Thanks so much for leav­ing a com­ment :D Love the album, my hus­band and I lis­ten to it all the time and it brings us so much joy. Look­ing for­ward to more music from you guys in the future!

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