Saturday was looking if-y first thing in the morning, but thank God, the sun came out in time for the ceremony at 1:30 in the afternoon. It took place in Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews, a beautiful coastal town in New Brunswick. It was small - only seventeen people in attendance, including the bride, groom and justice of the peace. Dan and Melissa wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and touching, and the justice of the peace read 1 Corinthians 13. At fifteen minutes, it was short and sweet! Everyone looked great, even though it was a very humid day, so the guys especially were suffering in their dark suits. After some pictures, everyone changed into more comfortable clothes for lunch at the Kingsbrae Garden Cafe, which was followed by a delicious chocolate cheesecake.
We then went to the wharf to board The Jolly Breeze for a whale-watching tour. It was great fun... they had dress-up clothes and colouring for the kids on board, beverages and snacks, and a fun and informative crew. I got to touch whale baleen, which is what corsets used to be made of... thank God we don't do THAT anymore! We saw seals, porpoises and whales on our four hour cruise. Finback whales (the kind we saw) are usually about 75 feet long (while the boat we were on was 72 feet) and eat 2000 pounds of krill a day. The wonders of God's creation! The only downside was that it was foggy, windy and COLD for most of the ride. Thank God they supplied blankets or we all would have froze!
We then returned to the cabins where we were staying (the newlyweds, Melissa's family and ours), which were as Dad put it, "nicer than our house!" Hardwood floors, satellite TV, a full kitchen, right by the seashore... wow. We had a barbeque that night at Dan and Melissa's cabin, freshly cooked lobsters and mussels, and steak for those of us who don't like seafood. We sat around on the deck in the moonlight, eating, drinking, laughing and telling stories and jokes - a great end to a great day.
The next morning, we went back to Kingsbrae Gardens to enjoy more of the 27 acres, as we didn't have much time to look around the day before. My favourite was this tree that looked like a giant piece of driftwood standing up, covered with cowbells. Unfortunately, the zoom wasn't good enough on anyone's camera to get a picture to really capture it. They also had an Acadian old growth forest; therapy gardens with wide paths for wheelchairs, raised flowerbeds so they can be touched, and special flowers and plants chosen for their scents and textures for the visually impaired - beautiful and well thought out; a Wollemi Pine, the only one in Canada, whose ancestors date back millions of years; a lane of silly, impressive, and strange scarecrows donated by different groups in a contest to help fight hunger; peacocks; Daisy, Dusty and Dolly, the three billygoats not-so-gruff; as well as countless beautiful flowers and plants.
That afternoon before heading home, we stopped in to visit Aunt Joyce, and Dad, Kevin and I walked the overgrown path that leads to the foundation of the house where my mom and her family lived when she was a kid. Words or even photos can't capture the beauty of this place... all the different shades of green in the trees, bushes, ferns and grass, the wildflowers, the old knobby trees, the birches, the birdsong... and the memories of where we used to pick berries when my grandmother was still alive, Dad pointing out where he used to go hunting with my uncle, the two big oak trees towering over the remains of my mom's childhood home. It all reminded me of a Lucy Maud Montgomery novel... she was so good at capturing the beauty of nature in words.
On the way home, we stopped at Comeau's for a late lunch... this is one of the best places to eat in the Maritimes! It is affordable and delicious with huge helpings. When you only eat one thing, you get to know which places do chicken fingers and fries the best... and this is one of them. The rest of the family enjoyed their meals too... if you like seafood, you really have to come to the Maritimes!
It was a wonderful weekend filled with memories for all of us.