I flew down to Moncton on Boxing Day to spend some holiday time with my partner Matt and his family. On our first full day in New Brunswick, Matt and I drove out to Cape Enrage where the family land is. The road up to the cottage was covered in thick ice, so we parked on the municipal road and hiked in. What with the mud from melted snow, the ice, and thick brush along the road, it was a bit dodgy at times – but that made it all the more exciting!
We checked on the old cottage, which a tree had fallen on recently. Thankfully, the cottage sustained no damage, but it will take a bit of work to remove the tree from the roof and the deck.
Next, we clambered over the ridge to the beach. The tide was out, revealing many different kinds of rocks, barnacles, shells, and deep green bladderwrack. As I walked along the wet sand, Matt pointed out how the sand underfoot expanded like a halo around my red rubber boots with each step I took as the weight of each foot pushed out the water from the sand. We followed little streams in the sand that looked like Jupiter or the veins of the earth as seen from space. Matt told me tales of his adventures as a child along the beach – climbing cliffs and playing on sandbanks until the water was up to their shoulders!
On the way back to the cottage, we studied the rocks along the cliffs, looking for signs of the ancient sea bed. We couldn’t get too close however as the risk of falling rock was great. Once aware of this I noticed how every few minutes a shatter of shale would be heard – as if the cliff was following us! I thought that might make a good children’s story for the girls.
We climbed the footpath to the new cottage. The snow had melted in parts, revealing red cranberries hidden in the moss that popped underfoot. We watched as large crows and a bald eagle flew overhead. Matt told me how his dad had seen a moose along the waters edge the other week. Funny to think of a moose on a beach!
The wind had been so strong, it had turned the lamps on the exterior wall of the cottage on an angle. We went inside and sat on the couch, watching the changing light across the bay as it lit up the farmhouses and hills. In the silence of the cottage, I was aware how accustomed I’d grown to the winter wind outside. My face, eyes, and ears tingled from its absence!
Cape Enrage Lighthouse
Once we walked back to the car, we split a granola bar and drove to the Cape Enrage lighthouse. Legend has it, Matt’s great-great-great grandfather founded the first lighthouse there. It’s now a tourist site. We drove up and took some pictures, capturing a perfect sunset behind us. Golden light was streaming through the pink and blue clouds onto the dark waters of the Bay of Fundy.
The wind was so strong that I could lean back on my heels and the wind would keep me upright. It was an amazing feeling! Matt and I ran down to the edge of the park and looked out across the cliffs just as the sun was setting. It was beautiful.
Dinner at home
After our adventure, we went on a mission for a hot bowl of seafood chowder to share between us, but all the local spots were closed for the season. So we went home instead where Matt’s father and sister had picked up some oysters to shuck. I had mentioned how my mother and I had a christmas tradition of eating oysters and champagne for brunch on Christmas day, so they had picked up some local bubbly and shellfish.
Matt’s sister, Sarah, and I shared the shucking. We then laid them out on the family silver and cheered! Matt’s mother had also cooked up the largest salmon I had ever seen of my life with some local fiddleheads and potatoes. Sarah had made a cold salad of raw shrimp, grapefruit, and dill which was very tasty. Then for dessert we had butternut squash pie (a first for me!) with warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream, minced meat pies, ice box cookies, pumpkin pie, chocolate, and gingerbread cookies!
After our feast, we sat down to watch the family’s favourite Christmas movie: A Christmas Story. I had never seen this – my family tradition being Robbie the Reindeer and Alistair Simm’s Christmas Carol. I was amused by guessing where in St. Catharines and Toronto scenes from the movie were filmed. It was a lovely end to a special day.
We woke up to Matt’s mom baking gingerbread westie cookies, followed by a ladies outing on our second day in Moncton. We hit up the health food store for me to buy some gum, then two consignment stores, and two thrift stores. There were some great finds!
Once home, Matt and I took the dogs (Tucker and Lucy, two westies) for a walk. I tried jogging with the youngest one, Lucy, but she’d much rather be sniffing the snow bank.
We went to Matt’s favourite local restaurant, Calactus, for dinner. We shared a plate of nachos as I’d been craving nachos a lot lately. Matt and I shared mushroom cannelloni for supper (it was a vegetarian restaurant). Calactus was a very cozy, friendly spot with heavy red curtains dividing the tables. Next time we go back, Matt says we should try the vegetable lasagna and black bean enchiladas!
After dinner, we went to the cinema to see the new Star Wars film, Rogue One, in 3D. I was particularly impressed by two of the human characters being completely computer generated – and the fact there wasn’t a sappy love story. Bravo there.
After the film, we finished packing and went to bed. Tomorrow we head to Halifax – then onto Paris!