Roots and Ben and Jerry’s

My dad’s side of the family has a lot of its ancestry mapped-out, and due to that, I know for a fact that all the way back to my 6th great-grandfather on my father’s side of the family, they had lived in and around this tiny town on the outskirts of the White Mountain National Forest. I’d never been in this part of the country and with the recent passing of my grandfather, who was born there, it seemed like a spot we needed to visit. As expected, it was about as tiny as tiny gets. City-center is a post office, a small general store, and not much else. I imagine it’s been that way for quite some time. We tried to drive around to see where my grandfather had grown up but only found a baseball diamond and a propane place. We took a few pictures to document the moment, which I’m keeping for myself, family, & friends (too personal for this page). It felt good to go, and good to move on.

From there we made a beeline to a spot all of us were excited to visit, the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, VT. The place was packed because (we learned on the way over) it was National Ice Cream Day. Nevertheless, we persisted (sorry, hard to resist that) and we took the tour (on Sunday’s there’s part of the tour you don’t get but I can’t remember what it was we missed out on) and at the end of the tour, we got a tasty sample of ice cream. That, of course, whets the appetite, stokes the fire of patience, and bolsters the endurance needed to wait in the line that wraps around the building to go buy a heaping, HEAPING big ice cream cone with ANY Ben & Jerry’s favorite you want. Trust me, unless there are dietary discomforts or life-threatening allergies at play, you will totally go for the mega portions because come on, it’s Ben & Jerry’s. This became our supper. With a wistful farewell, we waved at the black and white bovine in the field as we pulled out and back onto the highway. Sometimes, life is just very sweet.

That night we drove down to a little town outside of Boston for the second sibling visit of the trip. There was something mighty welcoming about a flat driveway and a long extension cord that powered our a/c. The icing on this otherwise sweet day was my itty bitty 4-day old nephew in his daddy’s arms there to greet us.

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KID THOUGHTS ON NEW HAMPSHIRE AND VERMONT (or, Kid thoughts on Ben & Jerry’s that sound a bit like free advertising)

D~ “Ben & Jerry’s is not like other businesses. It is non-GMO and supports good treatment of animals. It also supports good treatment of the earth, too.” 

Djr~ “Ben and Jerry are still alive! They are 60!” (please note, Djr’s grandparents are still alive and over 60)

A~ “Ben & Jerry’s has ice cream that changes the world.”

Halifax and the Last Canadian Hurrah

We started out too late in the morning to catch the ferry over to Nova Scotia, so we drove back over the bridge to New Brunswick and then on to Nova Scotia. We arrived at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, but too late to take in all the exhibits and had to rush through them, which made it less enjoyable. Currently, there is a great exhibit on the Titanic, as well as The Great Halifax Explosion that happened in December of 1917. Inside, we had a very in-depth chat with the woman that was tending the Robertson Store exhibit because she could see my children wanted to know what everything was for. The store was basically your one-stop hardware store for ships. Out back behind the museum, the Acadia is worth exploring (included with the museum admission). 

We strolled around the docks for a bit and spied our chance to have real Canadian Beavertail. Don’t worry, no beavers were harmed. It’s basically a funnel cake only in the shape of a beaver’s tail (though I’m not sure the purveyors would appreciate that comparison). You can get an assortment of toppings including our family favorite- Nutella, we opted for the original.

Danny found a good lobster sandwich there, too.

Afterward, we drove over to Peggy’s Cove, rumored to have an iconic and oft-photographed lighthouse. There are not many things in this world that live up to their hype, but it was clear why this spot is a favorite. We had our shutters clicking, too, the digital ones. My kids loved hopping around the big rocks. There were signs to caution visitors against fatal wrong steps. I made sure my kids understood the price could be deadly if they didn’t heed the warning. I saw a tourist take quite a slip while hopping over a puddle. Thankfully, that space between the rocks was a shallow one and he only had to deal with sopping wet pants and a bruised ego.

We drove a little farther on to the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial. A sobering reminder to make the most of what is in front of you. The memorial is set in a gorgeous natural area that’s been preserved. It was a horribly sad and tragic way for the lives of those aboard to end, but their resting place has been given the care and respect it deserved.

That night we had our last meal in Canada for this trip and it was at our last “must” on the Canadian food list- we ate at Tim Horton’s. I didn’t link it because they’re rather easy to find, even in some northern US states. Unfortunately, we hit this location at the wrong time because they were out of just about everything but what we ate was okay. I know I saw tastier things at other locations when we were traveling around, and I’ve had better stuff at Tim Horton’s before (granted, that was over 13 years ago). Please understand I’m saying that as someone who is not a big fan of fast food. My kids were excited to finally eat there, though.

After our meal, we drove as far as we could because we had an important stop coming up, a long overdue visit to see some family.

Funky cool lampposts in Halifax

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KID THOUGHTS ON NOVA SCOTIA

A~ “My favorite thing was trying the beaver tail delicacy.”

D~ “First time at Tim Horton’s!”

Djr~ “My favorite part of today was everything of today. Maritime (Titanic), lighthouse (climbing on rocks), eating cinnamon beaver tails, eating at Tim Horton’s.”