2017 Winter Vacation

I live in Nova Scotia, which – for those of you who don’t know – is in Canada.  Nova Scotia is a beautiful province.   Doesn’t matter where you go, there is something special to see.

We are fortunate in that we really do get to experience all four seasons.

Our Spring is full of new life waking from a winters sleep.

Our Summer is full of beautiful weather days and just the right temperature nights.  As Nova Scotianers we take advantage of our summers as much as possible!

Our Fall (Autumn) is stunningly beautiful.  No matter where you go this province is full of colour.

And then there is Winter.  Yeah we get Winter, we really get Winter.

That is my son in that picture, he stands 5ft10in.

As a child, Winter was great.  As an adult, it sucks.  So every year once the temperature starts to dip we get the urge to start searching for a southern destination to escape to.  One week away from the reality of a Nova Scotia Winter.

After being away from Mexico for our last two vacations, we knew we were going back this year.  When we start searching we normally just look for where the best deals are, but this year was different.  We love the Riviera Maya area.  We really miss it when we don’t go.  It has everything we are looking for right now and the people are just amazing.  This year there was no question really, so while we browsed a few other destinations and briefly considered Costa Rica, we knew where we wanted to be.

On every trip we have taken to the area we have always made a point to get a taxi to Akumal Beach.  It is a spot we fell in love with on our very first trip.

mexico-2011-241

We have always wanted to stay on that beach so hubby could just get up every morning and snorkel to his hearts content while I soaked up the rays.  It is also walking distance to town and there are a few local spots where you grab a beer or a bite.

Problem was that staying on this beach has always been pricey.  Not that it wasn’t worth it but it just never fit our budget.  We were content with cabbing it to visit, up to now.

This year when I started seriously searching (after my agent had me on to a few really nice looking newer places opening up in the RM area) I stumbled across a deal via Air Canada on the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort, perfect for our dates and with excellent flights.  To say I was ecstatic is an understatement.  We have always wanted to stay here.  They did major renovations a few years ago and we have been watching since then.  It sells so fast that if you don’t buy the deal you want when you see it, you won’t get it.  So year after year we missed out.

Not this year!

As soon as I saw it, I got in touch with our agent and we got it done!  24 hours later that date was sold out.  Within a week anything around that date was sold out.

So happy it finally came together for us.  Might just be that this was our time to visit this amazing spot.  Maybe it wasn’t meant to be until now!

Waiting for a last minute deal when it comes to all inclusives can sometimes work out, but in our experience if you want something particular you just have to book it when you see it.  By the time you hit January forward, the deals are few and far between and generally are just on the resorts that aren’t selling or the mega-resorts that have a thousand(s) of rooms.

All the resorts are beautiful. It is the service, the quality and all the little things that make the difference.  If you want something you have to go for it!  And we did!

The next few months will be spent watching the Locogringo Akumal Bay Webcam!  Google it.  It is great!

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Heading into November

Well here we are.  Almost the end of October.  Temperatures are falling, daylight lasts a whole lot less and soon we will see the dreaded winter weather.

Firstly, let me wish you all a Happy Halloween!  May you all have fun and stay safe!

halloween

The last few weeks have seen us with some pretty decent weather through the week and seeing the tail end of tropical systems on the weekends.  We had the remnants of Hurricane Matthew on Thanksgiving weekend which saw many a turkey heading for the BBQ when the power went out.

Peggy’s Cove

West Dover

Shut In Island and Paddy’s Head

Last weekend we saw some crazy rain, winds and just bizarre skies!

The colours of fall are quickly leaving us and after another predicted storm for this weekend, they won’t last much longer.

But we still found time for outdoor fun and work.  With a burning ban on for most of the summer we didn’t get a chance for too many outdoor fires this year.  All ready for next year though!

Our first grand-baby started school this year.  She is growing fast!

Now it’s time for our winter joys!

img_20161021_192744

Our favourite treat to have while watching the game is donair nachos.  Can’t wait to try them with the donair spice this year!

To make these, get some small pita bread or cut up the larger one into wedges, wet them before layering.  You can either buy or make donair meat.  To make it use 3 parts lean ground beef, 1 part medium ground beef, some bread crumbs and 1 TBSP of donair spice per pound. ( You can make your own donair spice as well using 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp red pepper, 1.5 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp onion powder, and 1 tbsp garlic powder.  Mix well.)  Cook at 350 for 1 hour.

I do two layers of the following – Pita, donair meat, onions, tomato and cheese.  Bake at 275 until cheese is melted.

We use donair sauce as a side, which can be bought or made. If making, prepare about 24 hours in advance for best results – 2/3 cup of regular canned milk 2/3 cup of white sugar Blend together very well.  Add 1/4 cup white vinegar do not mix in, leave it sit on top.

Turns out yummy!  May try this as well, it was awesome with pulled pork in the slow cooker!

doniar-rub

It is also that time of year when the 2017 vacation search begins.  Looking like Mexico is this years destination.  Been a few years since we have been there and it is time to return!

Time to get those flipflops back in the sand and dream!

img_20160928_063710

I almost forgot!  Happy Halloween from my ladies Missy and Maxi!  Keep your pets indoors and safe on October 31!

 

Posted in Food, Home, Travel | Leave a comment

October 2016

Fall in Nova Scotia is probably our most beautiful and scenic time.  The weather is usually nice with warm to hot days and cool nights, good for sleeping.  From time to time we will see a tropical storm or a good ole Nor’easter and once in a very blue moon we get hit with a hurricane, but for the most part it is nice.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was suppose to have little rain on Sunday but nothing serious.

As the weekend approached we were watching Hurricane Matthew as it moved up the Atlantic Seaboard.   The devastation was heartbreaking.  One can’t help but feel pure sadness for the people of Haiti.  Here’s hoping that with the help of the world, they can rise from this storm.

We weren’t expecting any impacts from it here, but as often happens in a maritime area – things change.  On Monday, October 10 (Canadian Thanksgiving) saw the remnants of Matthew fuel a nasty fall storm for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.  It moved into southern Newfoundland on Tuesday.

Some areas saw significant flooding, that is still receding today.

rain

Winds were nasty.

wind

Once we lost power at home we decided to do what all Maritimers do and head to the ocean to see what the waves were doing.. Because of wind direction it was actually pretty calm.

But, as always, very pretty!

There are so many pictures and video’s of the storm and it’s aftermath – CBC News

Luckily for us no one was killed or seriously injured.  We endured as we always do.  The Thanksgiving Storm of 2016 saw lots of barbecued turkeys, pies and everything else.  But most of all it made for a Thanksgiving to remember!

Yesterday, we had over 10, 000 cruise ship visitors, including a Disney ship, that were diverted here from the Bahama’s because of the storm.  Really hope all the cruisers enjoyed their unexpected visit!

Posted in Home, Travel | Leave a comment

Vacation Wind Down

After our trip along the Fundy Trail we stuck pretty close to home for the rest of our vacation.  We are fortunate in that we live in one of the most scenic places in Nova Scotia so we enjoy being at home.

 

We have lots of wild life around. The chipmunk is a ‘rescue’ we did at the beginning of the summer and the pheasants have been visiting us daily since they were chicks.

BBQ’ing and spending time with friends is what Nova Scotia summer’s are all about!

This is a Portuguese Flattened Chicken and a Donair Spiced Beer Can Chicken.  Awesome!

We did manage to get down to Summerville beach.  Everyone was saying it was the best beach in Nova Scotia, but I think we liked Crescent (in Lockeport) and Rissers more.

We also checked out the Quarterdeck while we were there.  Friends of our had stayed here and we thought it looked interesting.  It is on the list now for a future vacation!  I would love to stay on the beach.  Your local meal options are limited but the Quarterdeck does have a restaurant.  A little bit pricey, but good.

 

My kitties are never too impressed when we leave, so they were happy we stayed.

20160812_113019

As per usual once they figure out we aren’t going away, all goes back to normal until the next trip.

 

Posted in Home, Travel | 1 Comment

The Fundy Trail

After leaving Annapolis Royal we decided to take the long (very long!) way home.  It had been a very long time since we had been down that way,we still wanted to see where Cape Split was and a friend had recommended we stop at Hall’s Harbour.

There is a lot of road work going on down that way so it was a rough ride that’s for sure!

20160811_115321

If you have ever been to any waterfront areas in Nova Scotia you have noticed that there are inukshuk’s everywhere.  An inukshuk is created in the likeness of a human and is used to signify that ‘someone was here’.  It can also mean ‘You are on the right path’.

The seaside rest stop in Port George had lots of inukshuk.

Hall’s Harbour is a small fishing village, similar to Peggy’s Cove.  What makes it special are the tides.  Situation alongside the Bay of Fundy, this area has some of the highest tides in the world.  It really is quite spectacular.

Just so you can get an appreciation of how high the tides are.   This is the difference 6 hours makes.

tides

There is a restaurant there.  It was just meh.  I have had much better fish and chips.20160811_130542

We also stopped at the Look Off on our way home.  The view of the Annapolis Valley is just amazing.

 

This is as close to Cape Split as they would let anyone get out of their vehicles.  We do plan to go back this fall when the colours are starting to change on the leaves.

20160811_144050

Our last stop on this trip was Noggins Farm Market.  We have been here many times to do the corn maze.  It is lots of fun.  But they also have a market there and well it is blueberry season in Nova Scotia, so we had to get some.  Nova Scotia has the best blueberries you will ever have!

20160811_151805

 

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

For our next vacation stop we had planned to hike Cape Split but with little to no rain in the province of Nova Scotia for most of the summer the province ended up having to close the woods.  The forest fire risk was just too extreme.

We were left scrambling to find something else at the last minute.  I stumbled across the Annapolis Royal Inn, so we booked it. It was very nice, everything we expected it to be.

 

One of the major attractions in this area is Fort Anne.  My family has a strong Acadian heritage so visiting this site was very special to me.

Annapolis Royal is a fabulous little town.

 

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Day Trip – Eastern Shore, NS

So on we continued with our vacation adventures.  We decided after seeing the beaches on Nova Scotia’s South Shore that it was probably worth checking out those on the Eastern Shore.  They aren’t as nice as the South Shore beaches, but a beach is a beach.  Great way to relax!

Lawrencetown Beach – this beach is more known for surfing than swimming.  A little to rocky for my liking.

Never know who you will see on the beach in Nova Scotia!

20160807_144242

Clam Harbour Beach – they hold a huge Sandcastle Competition every August here.  It draws big crowds and the pictures are always amazing.  Pretty quite on this day.

On a non-travel note, if you have ever Googled ‘Nova Scotia’ you know we love our donairs.  There is this new spice out that tastes just like the donair spice we make at home.

IMG_20160728_153106

Before we went on our adventure, I decided to give beer can burgers a try.  These are super easy. Use 3.5 lbs ground beef (2/3 med and 1/3 lean), 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 TBSP Donair Spice and knead together.  Dice up 1 Spanish Onion and 2 Tomatoes. Make patties and use a beer can to compress the middle. Fill with diced onion and tomato.

20160805_150043

20160805_150635

To BBQ place on a foil dish and cook on low for 30 to 45 min.  I did a few as normal burgers (mixed everything together without compressing the middle), in case the beer can ones didn’t turn out (first time trying it).

20160805_160932

Top off with fresh mozzarella. Once melted put on a bun and serve.

20160805_170438

They turned out amazing!  My son much preferred the beer can ones to the regular ones,   said they were juicier.  Hubby liked both the same!

Really worth trying!

 

 

Posted in Food, Travel | Leave a comment