These various visits have resulted in a little more driving than usual, most recently, a necessary trip to Moncton, as Tats, who could only spare a weekend for the Island this summer due to school, couldn't find a flight home from Ch'town.
We decided to make a road trip of it with Alex and Sneakers in tow, and do a little geocaching along the way.
We also stopped in for the obligatory Cows ice cream and picked up some chocolate covered potato chips for Tats' work/school chums before joining the lineup of cars waiting to pay good money to get off the island!
Where to Sleep?
Knowing I probably wouldn't have it in me to do the long drive back home to PEI's north shore again in the same day, I had planned ahead and hunted around for a relatively affordable place to spend the night.
One of the things I love about AirBnB is the ability to find unique and interesting places to sleep, on the cheap! I figured, if I can find a $30 tree house in Crapaud, then surely there must exist a spot for a 12 year old boy, a rambunctious dog, and an old lady to spend the night!!
Sure enough, a search only a few weeks prior to our travel date turned up a barn just outside of Moncton. For $20, Alex, Sneakers and I would be dry (and safe?) for the night.
She's already begun renovating; the upstairs of the barn has had one wall almost entirely replaced with a large panel of windows that looks out over the back of the property, towards the woodlot and pond. Also upstairs are two punching bags, several small tents and a hammock, the ambiance enhanced by strings of Christmas lights hung here and there.
Seems like a pretty cool space!
Sleeping Arrangements, Starlight and Kittens
The idea on the property is that people can just pitch their tent -- if they have one -- anywhere inside or outside of the barn, and use the facilities on site (Mel was just in the process of installing a shower the night we stayed over). Lucky for us, Melanie let us use a spare room in the small house next to the barn -- we hauled our sleeping bags onto mattress there, and set up a little "nest" for Sneakers next to our bed.
Before turning in for a restless night, both Alex and Sneakers discovered the two barn kittens that lived on the property. Curious little cats, they were not deterred by an overenthusiastic dog, and held their own, offering in no uncertain terms to scratch Sneakers' eye out if she didn't back off!
The Next Morning
After a predictably restless night on an uncomfortable bed with a kicking child and an anxious, pacing dog in the room, it was finally time to pack up our things and stuff ourselves back into our rental car for the drive home to PEI. Before we left, we picked two apples (as invited to the night before by Mel) off the tree on the property; the apples turned out to be quite tasty, as I discovered two days later, when I finally got around to eating them.
As we approached the Bridge, I saw a sign that announced breakfast was being served at the restaurant on the conservation ctre just before the Bridge, and eager for something more substantial than the emergency snacks in our car cooler, I turned off the highway and into the parking lot, arousing Alex from his passenger seat slumbers with my change in driving direction and pace.
Jourimain Nature Centre
The large park that precedes the Confederation Bridge crossing was one I'd not heard of before, and I was delighted to find this space: There are trails for walking, and a beach at the base of the bridge from which one can (and we did) take some incredible photos.
After a nice time at the beach, we parked under a tree and set Sneakers up on a cozy bed in the back seat, windows open more than a crack. Then Alex and I walked through the interpretive centre and into the restaurant to enjoy some eggs and pancakes before leaving New Brunswick.
Argyle Shore... Again!
We had stopped at the red shore the day before with Tats, only to discover tide was in, so there was no "beach", and the stairs led directly into the ocean! Today our timing was a little better, and Sneakers, Alex and I were able to enjoy a nice walk along the rocky shoreline before climbing back into the car for the final leg of our trip home.