Segway PT tours coming to Oak Island!

Wynand and Max segwaying their way down the road from the causeway to Oak Island
Wynand and Max segwaying their way down the road from the causeway to Oak Island

It’s an unusual site almost anywhere.

When we spotted two Segway PTs on the road to Oak Island, dodging the dodgy potholes, we had to find out what’s going on.

It was Wynand “Dutch” Baerken who runs the Kayak Shack over at the Atlantica Hotel and Marina Oak Island, and Max from Segway Nova Scotia.

Wynand was sporting the sleek street Segway model while Max was roadtesting the fat-tired all-terrain version, complete with racey fenders. The knobby tires give an advantage on rough roads, but there’s a sacrifice in range compared to the street model of these electric-powered standup vehicles.

Heather on a Segway in 2005

I tried out a Segway some years ago in PEI (left). While it was fun, I wondered where it would find its market. It’s slower than a bicycle and faster than walking, and usually I want the exercise.

Wynand pointed out that he goes back and forth between the Kayak Shack and the Hotel many times a day, and a Segway would be more convenient than a bicycle and save walking time.

Large airports and warehouses are other places where a Segway doesn’t go fast enough to cause accidents but can increase efficiency.

Furthermore, you can wear it with anything, though high heels might handicap your ability to maneuver it.

The Kayak Shack will be offering guided Segway tours this summer! From the hotel, which overlooks Oak Island, the rail trail leads nicely to Crandall Road which is 1.4 km long and ends at the Oak Island causeway. Tours of Oak Island itself may happen, but the view at the causeway provides a great destination itself.

So I expect to see groups of these quiet vehicles humming down our road this summer. They’re quiet enough that you can have a conversation, so we’ll hear the voices before we hear the hum.

Here’s a little video illustrating that effect. You can even hear the birds!

 

Old Man Luedecke explains why he lives here

Singer-songwriter and banjo player Chris Luedecke is not really old, but he’s definitely a cultural treasure in Nova Scotia. His songs have a charm and maturity that belie his relative youth.

Here he and his wife, potter Teresa Bergen, explains how and why they got here:

Vote for the Bay of Fundy

Only one day remains to vote for the Bay of Fundy as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.

Recognition by this international organization would help put the Maritimes on the map and boost the tourism industry.

Check out the VoteMyFundy.com website to solidify your reasons, then vote from the links you’ll find there.

If you’re on Facebook, voting through Facebook is the easiest way to do it. You’ll find the Facebook link on VoteMyFundy.

 

New power poles and our carbon footprint

Nova Scotia Power is bringing the power lines that march through the woods out to the road.

The lines will be easier to repair if they go down in a storm. And some waterfront properties will no longer have lines spoiling their view.

So we’re getting new power poles.

Nova Scotia Power workers and new power poles

Poles made from a variety of wood species are used. Some come from quite a distance. Near the water they put cedar from the west coast. Further inland they use creosote-treated pine from down the Eastern Seaboard where pine grows taller, straighter and faster. They also use Douglas Fir. Apparently the Nova Scotian pine that was once prized for masts of sailing ships by the Royal Navy is no longer good enough.

Something else to add to our carbon footprint.

“Why can’t they just bury the power lines?” you might ask. The answer, as for many questions about rural Nova Scotia, lies in the low population density. It just costs too much for the number of people who live here. So lines criss-crossing the road are just a fact of life in rural areas. We might as well embrace them, even photographically, like the fog!

The same factors that make Nova Scotia a wonderful place to live also determine its limitations. C’est la vie.

The Tattoo: See it at least once

French motorcycle team, bagpipe bands, in the Tattoo finale

“Plain AWESOME, A-W-E-S-O-M-E PERIOD.”

That was my 11-year-old’s assessment of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo which he saw for the first time on Friday.

“What is it?” he kept asking before we went. “It’s … a show,” I said, inadequately.

It’s hard to describe the Tattoo; if you haven’t seen it, I’ll refer you to its own website, which says it is “the world’s largest indoor show…. featuring over 2,000 world-class Canadian and international military and civilian performers … a fast-paced, two-and-a-half hour family show featuring music, dance, acrobatics, drama and comedy in a number of innovative acts.”

Bands to the rafters and the choir during the finale

Originally modeled on the Edinburgh Tattoo in Scotland, the Nova Scotia Tattoo was first staged in 1979 and featured primarily military acts.

Over the years, many civilian acts have been added, including guest performers from all over the world.

In common with the military marching bands and demonstrations of physical prowess, virtually all the acts involved precision teamwork.

Estonian roller skaters pose for photos after the show

We saw a fabulous precision roller skating team from Estonia, the French Guarde Républicaine motorcycle ballet, a German gym wheel team, and of course, Scottish Highland Dancers from Nova Scotia and from Australia. The latter group mixed the traditional strict forms of Highland Dance with tribal rhythms and modern innovations, which I found intriguing, having grown up partly in Antigonish where many kids took Highland Dance lessons.

The highest level of millisecond exactness was displayed by an all-female New Zealand drill team.

Talentholdet's innovative rope skipping

The loosest group was the Danish gymnastic troupe Talentholdet whose playful exuberance contrasted refreshingly with the strict discipline of the other acts while performing jaw-dropping feats of tumbling.

Even the tightest military bands had their comic routines to keep us entertained.

Musically, it was impressive that the many brass bands, the bagpipe bands, the choir and the soloists, spread across the width of the Metro Centre, could play in ensemble (almost all the time) – another testament to discipline and talent. Quite the sound!

Notably most of the civilian performers were female – dance troupes in particular, and while there were many women in the military bands, you had to look closely to distinguish them in their uniforms.

The show has a strong vein of patriotism and support for the troops, in their current mission of training the Afghan army now that Canada’s combat role has ended. Included in the honours are police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders who “serve and protect”.

Altogether, the Tattoo is a huge community effort supported by many volunteers. The audience contained people from every province in Canada and many from the USA.

It’s a show that just about everyone should experience at least once.

Doers and Dreamers 2011 is ready

Doers and Dreamers 2011 cover
Doers and Dreamers 2011

Planning a trip to Nova Scotia this year?  Live in Nova Scotia and plan to vacation in another part of the province?

The new Doers and Dreamers, the province’s flagship travel guide, is ready.

So are other guides such as the 2011 Motorcycle Tour Guide, the Halifax Guide, and Taste of Nova Scotia.

Check them out on the provincial tourism site. They’ll send them to you free.

Even if you travel for business, Doers and Dreamers is handy to have.

Summer Day Camps at the South Shore Waldorf School

Children dance with butterfly wings at the South Shore Waldorf School. Click photo to visit camp descriptions.

Looking for activities for your creative kid(s) this summer?  Maybe you’ll be visiting Nova Scotia and would like something special for the children to do while you’re on the South Shore visiting Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Chester, LaHave, Rissers Beach etc.

Every summer, a group of creative artists, theatre folk and teachers have been hosting Day Camps at the South Shore Waldorf School in Blockhouse, near Mahone Bay.  For little ones aged 3-7 there is the “Morning Glory” program, and for an older age group, variously 4-12, there is “Summer Arts“, including a week for early teens aged 12-15 in August.   You can attend for just a day or for a week at a time.  Programs and teachers change from week to week, so check out the program.

The school is in a beautiful, natural setting with fields, woods, swings and other play structures, and an enclosed play area for little ones.  The school itself is a beautiful old building with lots of character, polished by 100 years of little hands and footsteps.  A new annex has expanded the school’s capacity to provide art and nature based education in the Waldorf tradition.

Tourists are very welcome at the Day Camps.  Some of the teachers speak German or French.

A winter drive in Lunenburg Co.

Let me take you for a drive after a snowfall.

Highway 103
Heading west, past Mahone Bay, on Highway 103
Cornwall Road
Turn north at Blockhouse onto the Cornwall Road
Mushamush River
Along the Mushamush River in Middle New Cornwall
Crossroad Farm
Turn left at Crossroad Farm in Upper New Cornwall. It's for sale, by the way.
Cross Road
West on Cross Road
House on Cross Road
Another house
Along Cross Road
Further along Cross Road, heading west
sign covered in snow.
Which way now? Can't read the sign. Keep to the left.
Farm
Farm on Cross Road
Upper Northfield churches
Ah, here we are, at Upper Northfield.

All photos taken on Thursday, January 21, on my way to Pinehurst, just west of Upper Northfield.