Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 27, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

A bald eagle sighting at Salsman Park

(Betty MacDonald photo)


You may have noticed that like many other baby boomers, I like to travel.

Actually, I have always enjoyed traveling. As children, our trips to P.E.I. in the summer were a big deal. The sport of golf took me to some far flung places. I played junior and senior hockey where almost all the travel was by car. Back in the golden days of the Montreal Canadiens in the early 70’s, I hopped on the train in Antigonish and alit in the bowels of Gare Central underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel to watch my beloved Habs. In recent years, I have vacationed in Florida, traveled extensively in the U.S. with my son, traveled to the homeland of my ancestors in Scotland and Ireland and spent six months in India.

And just a few weeks ago, Peter and I crossed our great country from Victoria to Antigonish.

Travel is educational and gives a person a broader perspective. One thing I have learned is that most ordinary citizens want the same things: a roof over their head, enough food to eat and somewhere to feel safe.

So when my wife proposed a road trip to Salsman Park in Guysborough County last Sunday, who was I to turn down an opportunity to go somewhere I’d never been. Have you been to Salsman Provincial Park?

Until the new divided highway opened in Antigonish a few years ago, I must confess that I had never heard of Salsman Park. When the new signage appeared at one of the interchanges on the outskirts of town, it mentioned the park. It is located on a small peninsula on the east side of Country Harbour. My only stipulation for going was that we would be back in time to watch the final round of golf where Tiger Woods was in the lead. This hardly seemed problematic as Google Maps indicated our destination was a mere 57 minutes away.

It was a picture perfect Sunday morning with bright sunshine and clear blue skies. We traveled in a clockwise direction driving through St.Andrew’s and Upper South River. We passed the Fraser’s Mills Fish Hatchery where staff was busy preparing for the 90th anniversary celebrations of the facility to be held that very day.

The number 316 highway meanders through Antigonish and Guysborough Counties. You have to pay attention to the signage especially if you’re a tourist. The gates to Salsman Park were closed so we parked the car and wandered in. It’s hard to describe how beautiful this place is so you’ll just have to pack a picnic and go there someday. In a few weeks’ time, it will be spectacular there when the leaves turn color. I humoured my wife by posing for the picture shown above. Minutes before this, on that very same railing, sat a majestic bald eagle. Imagine that. Two bald eagles in the space of a minute!

Exiting the park, we decided to go home by a different route, the road less traveled as it were.

Passing through Goldboro, we wandered up a side road to the gas plant. This facility has been processing offshore gas for nearly twenty years, shipping the final product to markets in Eastern Canada and North Eastern United States through an onshore pipeline. The plant is due to be decommissioned in the near future as the offshore wells reach their end stages of productivity. I have lived most of my life around these parts but this was my first visit to the plant. Go and check it out if you have a chance.

Drumhead, Coddles Harbour and Seal Harbour. These are names I’ve heard before. The scenery is stunning, at least in mid-September. I try to imagine what it must be like in the dead of winter with icy North Atlantic winds whipping through these communities.

You haven’t been to the Tor Bay Provincial Park? This is a must see if you decide to travel the 316. You have to take a 5 minute detour off the main highway to get there but it is so worth the effort. Once parked, a boardwalk takes you to one of the most picturesque sandy beaches you will ever see.

We are now three hours into our day trip and hunger is calling. We pass through Larry’s River. The road forks here.To continue on the 316 would take us through Charlos Cove, Port Felix and Whitehead and back along the 16 through Queensport and Halfway Cove. While this would be a stunning drive, it would have to be for another day. We take the road to Lundy and land in the town of Guysborough around 12:30.

The parking lot at the Days Gone By Bakery (eatery, antiques and gifts) is full, the aftermath of after mass. The food is wonderful and the service second to none. Did I mention pie? I think that the word “pie” has appeared in more of my stories than the word “the”! I am too full to eat a slice of homemade raspberry pie but with no weight restrictions on the highways, I am able to transport a piece for takeout. At the checkout, conveniently located in the bakery section (the ownership are very clever people), I spy and smell, freshly baked dinner rolls. My wife has also been lured by some antiques… besides me. The back seat of our car is occupied with goodies from Days Gone By.

Oh yes. If it is your birthday, they’ll treat you to a free turkey dinner.

The last leg of our trip takes us on the back roads through Roman Valley en route to St.Andrew’s. This turns out to be a dust eating exercise.

Nearly 5.5 hours after our departure, we pull into our parking lot in Antigonish, just in time to watch Tiger Wood’s historic win.

Guysborough County is a treasure. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience the wonders of nature. Be a tourist in your own province.

Have a great weekend.


Tor Bay


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2 Responses to Thursday Tidbits

  1. Splendid! It’s hard to tell people just how beautiful Guysborough County is, so it’s wonderful that you finally got to experience the beauty of our area!

  2. Alexander MacEachern says:

    Excellent description of some roads less traveled Len.

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