A day of driving. We were up at the crack of dawn (almost literally) and on the road at 6:40am. Alex took a picture of the car's clock to prove it.
We had forgotten about the 1 hr time difference between Quebec and New Brunswick, so we needed to drive fast to get to Saint Andrews on time for the pre-wedding activities. We made it, with a bit of time to spare and were able to check in and say hello to people before heading over to babysit the little ones so that Katie and Cindy were able to attend the rehearsal dinner.
The kids were lots of fun. Ben went to sleep soon after we got there, but Ewan blew bubbles, while Elias scooted all over the place on his bum so fast he was hard to keep track of. Teddy really wanted to go to sleep but didn't want to be alone either. We got him to sleep twice but he woke up as soon as we went to put him in his crib. Finally, Mim was able to get him down. Alex got Elias to sleep, and after almost an hour of bedtime stories, Chad got Ewan down. A successful night!
We then got to hang out with the adults for a little while before heading off to bed ourselves.
A morning of laundry and relaxing, and an afternoon at the Kingsbrae Gardens, which are really beautiful. There are all different sections to the gardens, with different layouts and different plants. Just a lovely chance to explore and wander. It’s the sort of place that you could go back to repeatedly and always see something different. We also found a nest box for solitary bees to put up at our house in Ottawa. We had a yummy fancy lunch at the cafe at the gardens before wandering, and then afterwards headed home for a BBQ with everyone staying at the Saint Andrews Cottages (Grandpa, Wendy, Ande, Leane, Mim, Dad, Sam, Brendan). Alex also made a new friend - the local cat was skittish at first, but is definitely starting to warm up to us.
After dinner we headed to an art gallery in Saint Andrews for the pre-wedding reception meet and greet for all the guests. It was nice to have a bit more time to chat with family, friends, and meet a few people that we'd be seeing the next day.
Wedding day for Mike and Em! But for the rest of us we needed something to do until 4pm, so we decided to head to Saint Stephens to check out the Ganong Chocolate Factory. It's been in Saint Stephens for a very long time, and is responsible for coming up with some of the chocolate related things we now take for granted - like heart shaped chocolate boxes at Valentine's day (originally created for Christmas, until it was decided it fit best for Valentine's), and the first milk chocolate nut bar. The museum showed the history of the Ganong factory itself and well as some of their chocolate making processes (the hand dipping requires 5 years of practice!), and the history of chocolate itself since the time of the Mayans and Aztecs. But there were also samples along the way, which everyone enjoyed! Their chocolate wasn't too sweet, but it was delicious. That meant a stop in the chocolate store was required on the way home of course.
We then decided that we had enough time for lunch, so went to the Spice Box and picked up sandwiches and bibimbap for lunch, then headed back to our cottage to be eat, relax and get ready for the wedding.
It was a very nice ceremony, followed by a lovely reception at the Algonquin Resort. The food was great and we all had a lot of fun. Chad & Alex ended up sitting with some of Mike's friends from Mount Alison and Saskatoon and got to hear some fun stories about him. Mike & Em tried to avoid any kissing games by saying that if anyone clinked glasses, they would have to donate $20 to the honeymoon fund, and Mike & Em would shake hands. Needless to say, this backfired big time on them, as many people were willing to step up to the plate. Then towards the end of dinner, one of their family friends Kathy collected a bowl full of money and talked them into a kiss after having both their parents demonstrate how it should be done.
We danced the night away, right until the end.
After the night of partying it was painful to wake up the next morning, but someone said they wanted eggs benedict and so off we went to a local restaurant. Afterwards we spent the afternoon exploring Saint Andrews. We went into the Sheriff's house, a preserved house from the 1700s, with guides taking visitors through. Afterwards we got to sample ginger cookies baked in the house. Delicious!
After that we explored the stores and galleries downtown, as well as a historical blockhouse.
That evening we wanted to explore Minister's Island, which is an island that can only be reached at low tide. We got fish and chips from a popular takeaway place, and drove over the temporarily passable road.
Minister's Island was last inhabited by a gentleman called Van Horne, who oversaw the building of the Canadian Pacific railway. It was his summer estate. The grounds were lovely and he even had a swimming pool that would fill up with the tide. It was a wonderful place to spend the evening and the weather was perfect.
Grandpa and Wendy headed off to Moncton this morning to sightsee before catching their flight home. Mim, Dad, Chad & Alex headed over to Kathy and Bill's to go kayaking. Their cottage is on the water, in a little bay that was lovely to kayak through. We started out at low tide and came back when it was high. Such a difference to the landscape! Kathy said you really do plan some of your activities around where the tide is at.
On the way out, we stopped at a beach that had a Native American midden on it. You could see the layers and layers of clam shells where they had clearly been piled up over many many seasons, and possibly generations. There are trees growing over the shells, which are now starting to get washed away by the tides.
We didn't bring cameras because we didn't want to get them wet, and then remembered once we were out there that Chad's phone is waterproof. Oh well!
We checked out a few other islands, enjoying the scenery from our kayaks, and then headed back to Kathy & Bill's to sit outside and chat. A lovely way to spend the day.
We had dinner at The Gables, a restaurant that we had seen earlier that served seafood green curry that Alex & Chad wanted to try. Yum!
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