Leaving Newfoundland, we took a six-hour ferry (less than half-filled on this Post-Labor Day Saturday) across calm waters empty except for the occasional freighter and one sailboat. We landed in North Sydney, Ferry bow opening Nova Scotia, which immediately struck us as being much more urban and prosperous than any of the places we had visited in the past two months. In Moncton, New Brunswick, we walked a mall which contained Eddie Bauer, Baby Gap, and the first-ever-in-eastern-Canada kiosk selling honest-to-goodness Leonidas chocolates from Brussels. They are shipped over in specially-built thermal containers and taste delicious.
New Brunswick is determinedly bi-lingual and very successful at it. The signs are all in both languages, for example, *Ch Williams Rd* (Ch = chemin, or road in French). Everybody we spoke with knew Face in Botanic Garden both languages, many so well that it is difficult to guess their primary language. It was fun standing in Tim Horton's and listening to the staff switch back and forth from English to French with such ease. *Prochaine!*, they call out --in Newfoundland they'd say "Next!* We found ourselves thinking that children who are taught two (or more) languages from birth might have better overall intellectual development. Is that why Chinese-Americans do so well in school?
Our last stop on this Canadian trip was in Edmundston, New Brunswick, at the northwest corner of the province. Here we saw the large stone Catholic churches with silver-gray roofs and steeples, and we Edmundston Botanic Garden knew that Quebec was not far away. We spent a couple of happy hours wandering the delightful New Brunswick Botanical Garden. In addition to the colorful plantings, the garden features piped classical music.
We crossed back into the U.S. at Edmundston -- there was no line at the border station. Once in Maine, we drove to Fort Kent, the northern terminus of U. S. 1, which runs all the way south to Key West. We saw an old railroad car of the Bangor and Aroostook Railway, passed through Frenchville, and thought that the Maine side seemed identical in culture to the corresponding territory across the river. The houses and small viillages bordering Canada are very prosperous and tidy with truck gardens and some potato farms along the rich St. John River valley. There are large paper and pulp mills on both sides of the border. End of U.S. Route 1
Further south on Maine Highway 11 the country was sparsely populated, with few towns, a bit poorer and less well kept, few gas stations, less restaurants. The drivers of the cars we passed waved to us. We saw several families of wild turkeys. Finally, when we had to find lunch, it turned out to be a wonderful place with a loaded buffet -- the only restaurant in a small town. As we told the waittress, it seemed like mom was back there in the kitchen making all our favorite dishes.
Driving through Maine we noticed the odd disparity between the empty wooded countryside and the towns filled with enormous New England houses, hooked up to barns in one continuous building. But the barns were rarely used for agricultural purposes -- some had been converted to multi-car garages. About half the houses had small kitchen gardens with corn and sunflowers, pumpkins, and other vegetables JOHN YOU MISSED ONE --> already harvested. And it was clear that a good number of the buildings were summer houses or fishing and hunting camps, ranging from inexpensive to pretty elaborate. The old factory buildings standing next to the rivers were closed and boarded up.
Here and there we'd see a hay field, and a few horses. One farmer had missed a bale of hay, and his neighbor put up a sign to tease him! Other signs welcomed hunters -- moose season is beginning -- and the only place we found to stay in Dover-Foxcroft was a modern log cabin rigged up with lots of bear decorations. Next morning we saw a young moose standing among the trees. We turned around to take his picture, and another car, seeing that we were stopped, did the same. Soon the man had set up his tripod across the road, and we were momentarily frightened when a big trucking came roaring down the road. Meanwhile the moose chewed, nodded his head, and posed.