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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grand Manan: vacation, part two

Photo: Tourism New Brunswick 

 Marathon Inn is a hop, skip, and jump from the Grand Manan ferry dock. We checked in early Sunday afternoon.  The Road Scholar group would not convene until suppertime. We used the free time to explore some of the island.  Here is our 35th wedding anniversary photo, snapped at South West Head.

At last it was time for Road Scholar to begin!   There were 19 people in the group. We came from
Arizona, Oregon, Montana, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Michigan, Virginia, and Illinois (us). Ages ranged from 60 to 90.  We had a variety of professions including teachers, a nurse, an engineer, two pastors, two librarians, a medical illustrator (now watercolorist).  One is a P.E.O.! Several were avid birders (the course advertised "a whaling and birding paradise").

Jim Leslie has owned the Marathon Inn since 1977 and has led Road Scholar programs since 1991.  He is the group leader, on site coordinator, bus driver, and cook. (He's also the head of maintenance, an important job in a 125-year-old resort hotel.)  He was among the best group leaders we've had -- attentive to individuals without being intrusive. And his storytelling led us to compare him to Garrision Keillor.

Our activities covered the island:
* Whale watching -- a beautiful day to be on the Bay of Fundy, but unfortunately for us the whales took the day off.  We saw some harbor porpoises (a species of toothed whale) but that was all.
I hold a stormy petrel chick
* Birding -- guide Roger Burrows has written regional birding books. He took us to White Head, an island off Grand Manan.
* Daily life on the island:  Grand Manan is an "industrial" island with active fisheries -- lobster, scallops, and salmon. The salmon are farmed and we got up close to the "tanks" where they are kept.
* Island history:  the Grand Manan Museum has comprehensive exhibits (geology, early settlement, shipwrecks, and more) -- we had one rainy morning, perfect for visiting the museum.

 Stevens "indulsed" at the dulse shop. (Dulse is seaweed gathered, dried, and packaged locally.)

Stevens and I attended the GM Rotary Club's breakfast meeting on Thursday. (I left my windbreaker behind. When we got back to the Marathon I told Jim I'd need to go back to get it. He said, "Do recall who was there?" I said, "The only name I remember is Robbie." Jim said to the front desk hostess:  "Call Robbie Griffin's wife and ask for his cell phone number. Then call him to say that our guest will be going back to the church hall to get her jacket."  The hostess did just that, and Robbie was at the church hall.  Jim knows everyone on GM!)

DJD's cottage 

Willa Cather's cottage
I knew that Willa Cather had summered on Grand Manan in the early 1900's. I mentioned that in an email to a librarian friend. She said I should try to meet DJD, a former librarian whose summer home is one of the "cottages" from Cather's era.  I was able to get a message to DJD, who reached me at the Marathon and invited us to visit.  The cottage was built by her aunts who bequeathed it to her. She's been coming to GM since the 1940's.   She warned us that Cather's cottage is a summer rental, strictly off-limits to tourists. She drove us to the edge of the property and I got a picture! (See this post for a review of a mystery featuring Cather on GM.)

Say Polar Bear!
On Friday we went to Kent Island, just southeast of GM. It is owned by Bowdoin College and operates as a research station .  Bowdoin holds a freshman orientation session there and we met a group from the class of 2019 on the dock.

And then it was Saturday: time to pack our bags and head for the next part of our adventure.

On to part three . . .

Modern lobster traps

Vintage lobster buoys

Rocks....just because.  

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a lovely vacation! I've heard so many wonderful thing about Road Scholars.


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