Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jerry says "Hi"

When asked what he'd like to contribute to the blog...Jerry just said "say Hi"!

It's Wednesday. We're at Coffee Obsession in Wood's Hole. I'm enjoying a wonderful latte and Jerry is reading the paper while I blog and catch up on emails.

It's a beautiful day with only a light breeze. Yesterday I went for a long walk around Quissett Harbor and out to The Knob taking pictures and enjoying a stiff wind on a hot afternoon. I'll have pictures up here on my flickr site soon. Quissett Harbor has a beautiful fleet of wooden sail boats which are so beautiful either at their moorings or under sail.

Monday on the Cape

Sounds of Summer on the Cape Cod

Took a late afternoon nap with a gentle breeze coming in the window of the bedroom. Outside I could hear the insistent chirp of a cardinal, the raspy "meow" of a catbird, and the piercing cries of young osprey demanding parental attention from the nest down on the nearby trail.

Out to Osterville.

Took a drive out to Osterville. We took a long walk down to the marina and adjacent neighborhoods admiring fine clapboard houses. Ate lunch at Keeper's a small marina restaurant offering a great lobster salad...a pile of lobster on top of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mandarin oranges, and those chinese wonton noodle thingies.

Stopped at the historic Bay View Cemetary in Waquoit. A lot of husbands outlived several wives in these area in the late 1800s early 1900s.

2 Covered Bridges and 5 States in One DAy

Kent Land Trust Silo and Barn

Slow Bend in the Housatonic River

Villanova to Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA - Saturday, July 26th

We took a "back route" from Villanova to Cape Cod designed to see someplace new and to avoid early afternoon Saturday traffic onto Cape Cod (Saturday being the "changeover" day for weekly renters). Leaving early enough (7am) to avoid traffic on the Jersey Turnpike headed to the Jersey Shore, we drove up the Garden State Parkway to the 287 East and then up the lovely windy and green Saw Mill Parkway to the 84. At Danbury Connecticut we headed north off the interstates up into the Litchfield Hills. Took a picturesque scenic drive along the Housatonic River. Stopped at the Kent Trust Farm for fresh organic produce (where Jerry said the market workers "talked really they didn't want to disturb the produce".) The Kent Trust Farm is located on a quiet spot of the Houstonic River with hills rising on the west and the valley bottom spreading out on the east.

In close proximity to one another, there are two lovely and historic covered bridges over the Housatonic (one short, one long...both drivable). One is located at Bulls Bridge and one at Cornwall. There isn't much a town in Bulls Bridge...but little Cornwall is quite pretty sitting on the banks of the River with several cafes, a bustling Saturday market, and lots of white clapboard houses. The river was up and running very fast following several days of heavy rain earlier in the week.

We wound our way across northern Connecticut to the 84 north up to the Mass Turnpike (90) headed east where we hit the only two traffic jams of the day...BOTH at the toll booths. First...why the heck don't more people have ezpasses????? IT only costs 5 bucks for the transponder and about 25 to "load" the account. Second...what is with the almost non existent and confusing signage directing those of us smart enough to HAVE Ezpasses to where the EXpass lanes are? At the 84/Mass Turnpike tollbooths the whole traffic jam was because of people trying to move across 5 lanes of traffic (either because they didn't have a pass and were in a pass only lane or because they DID have a pass and were in a Cash only lane)...geeesh!

Took the 495 headed out to Cape Cod and after a quick stop at the BJs in Franklin , we arrived in Falmouth around 5pm where it was sunny, warm, and not a little humid. The house at Elm Street that Peg and Jeff rent each July was a cheery sight full of good friends: Peg and Jeff, Nancy and Steve, Moe, Cindi and AJ. Had a great dinner prepared by Steven and Nancy enjoying once again good food and friends in the big kitchen table in the house on Elm.

So 5 states the end of the day jerry and I retired for the night with a breeze coming in through the windows.

Sunday the 27th at the Cape.

Woke early thanks to forgetting to turn off my alarm set for 5:45 AM. But enjoyed soaking and dozing in the sheets until nearly 8. Listening to the world slowly rise early morning rain...friends in the kitchen. The need for coffee finally forced me out of bed.

Walked 3 miles down to Surf Drive walk. An osprey couple have a nest with chicks on a pole near where Elm crosses the bike/walking path. The chicks were noisily proclaiming their hunger and yelling for their parents when we passed by on our way out. Mom (or Dad...can't tell with osprey) was "on duty" at the nest when we returned. There was a nice breeze that cut down the humidity a bit...partly cloudy...busy "traffic" on the path...swans on the far side of the pond...goldfinch whizzing by across the path into the marsh flowers...and the hydrangeas....I love the hydrangeas this time of year here.

Part of the walking/biking path between Falmouth and Woods Hole

Osprey chick (on left) and parent in nest along Woods Hole/Falmouth bike/walking trail.

Lunch was at Coonamessett Farms in East Falmouth at 277 Hatchville Road. It is a "membership" organic farm where you can pay 40 bucks a year (for a family of 4) to have the right to come and pick (and pay_ for fruits, vegetables, berries, and flowers from farm (eggs too). They have about 10 acres of well tended fields. It's quite lovely. They have a small cafe with a deck that overlooks the farm. We ate lunch there...salads, chilie, quiche, sandwiches etc. Quite nice.

Jerry and I went into Falmouth for a quick stroll on Main STreet. Made the obligatory stop at Black Dog store....buying my favorite socks and a nice t-shirt. Treated myself to my first post-operation ice cream cone at the ice cream shop on Main (black raspberry...yum).

Home to watch the Philadelphia Soul beat the San Jose Sabre Cats in the Arena Bowl for the National Championship. Then a little reading, and a nap before it was time to eat again at Landfall in Woods Hole. We had thunderstorms and rain for about 4 or 5's really cooled off now...humidity least for tonight.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stay Tuned - Coming Soon from Cape Cod

Got the go ahead from the doctor to do "whatever doesn't hurt" (within reason and remembering to take more naps than usual). So we're going to be up early on Saturday and heading up to Falmouth on Cape Cod. Can't wait. July in Cape Cod? Blue hydrageneas and daylilies blooming everywhere. Long walks. Morning latte and newspaper at Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole. Sailing with Skipper and Peg. Knitting in the sunroom of the house on Elm. Getting to see Waffles the wonder schnauzer. more long walks. And as many lobster rolls as it is possible to stuff in my mouth! The favorite so far goes to the rolls at the Clam Shack at Falmouth Harbor. Picnics on the beach looking south to distant Martha's Vineyard. sitting in the sun at Nobska Light. and time spent with friends in the house on Elm. Can't wait.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What is it with gas station bathrooms along I-78 in New Jersey???

Maybe it's that I'm spoiled by the service plazas on the Jersey Turnpike which are always well maintained despite the continuous stream of people who need to deal with the latte they consumed from the Starbucks 3 service plazas before. But both coming and going to Montreal we stopped to get gas along the 78 in New Jersey (gas being cheapest in jersey)BOTH stations had absolutely gross bathrooms...the last one was unusable for any one needing to sit on a seat or frankly even hover over the seat. AND apparently Jersey State laws do not required separate bathrooms for men and women...and girls you KNOW what bathrooms look like for men who most of the time don't worry about sitting down (or even hover near the seat)! if you must fill up in Jersey don't use the facilities on the stretch of 78 between the Pennsylvania border and the interchange with the 278.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hot Tuesday does get hot in Montreal. But just not as often. But today it was hot and yes...dare I say it? Humid!. I suppose its because we're planning on going home tomorrow and it was just getting us used to Philly weather...yes that's it.

Had "lunch" at Juliette et Chocolate today. Lunch (for me) consisted of a dark chocolate/raspberry brownie with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar cream and raspberry coulee....heaven on a dish...accompanied by rich, rich, rich hot chocolate au lait. OMG. (jerry sensibly had a chicken citrus salad). But all sense leaves me when I walk into that place...let Jerry eat sensibly for both of us. Sadly by ailing gallbladder did not take kindly to my diet of chocolate and cream. so no more gorging on chocolate until I get the durn thing out...scheduled for July 18th...not one day too soon if you ask me!

Went for a walk (once I recovered from the chocolate induced gbladder attack) this evening around the port. The "Belem" a three master barque from France was in port. The Belem is the last 19th century French trading ship still under sail.The Belem was put to sea in 1896. As a merchant vessel she crossed the Atlantic 33 times from 1896 to 1913. In those days, her single deck covered 153 square metres of hold containing up to 650 tons of goods and merchandise, mainly cocoa from Brazil, rum and sugar from the French West Indies. In 1914 the Belem was sold to the Duke of Westminster, turned into a private yacht, refurbished and fitted with engines. The newly refurbished Belem was put back to sea in 1985, the Belem Foundation having decided she would sail as a training ship.

She sailed to Quebec to join in the celebration of Quebec City's 400th Anniversary...she has sailed to Montreal for a visit before sailing to Gaspe and the maritimes and then back to Europe.
(info from the ship's website:

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Lachine Canal (yes, again!)


Having walked along part of the Canal, biked along it to Atwater Market, and driven over it in the car...we decided it was time to see it from the water. We took a "tourist" boat from Marche Atwater for a 2 hour cruise (not 3 Gilligan or Mary Ann). We had an excellent guide from the Canada Park Service who possessed a lot of knowledge and alot of maps and pictures to help with telling the history of the Canal. It was a small group and except for being hot (and forgetting to wear sunscreen) it was a delight. We got to go through the St. Gabriel Locks (Lock 3) and motored as far as the Peel Basin near the Port of Montreal. Here are some pictures from the trip (more on my flickr site).

Queen of the Road

This post isn't about Montreal, but its about what I'm reading while in Montreal. Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion. This is a hysterically funny laugh out loud as well as thoughful and thought provoking book about a mid-40ish woman who was convinced by her much loved husband to get in custom bus for a years adventure around the United States (a huge step for a self-proclaimed "bus phobic" woman). Thus she tries to figure out how to fit just 1/2 of her HUGE collection of shoes, 2 cats and a dog, a satellite internet connection, a TV (which they then seldom watched) and other "necessities" of her life into the world's skinniest apartment on wheels. Their adventures (both travel and personal) and their personal discoveries into what really matters to them are heart warming and (as I said above) thought provoking. A great read!!

More Walking in Montreal

Sunday was a beautiful day in Montreal. As Jerry said "this weather is why I keep saying Montreal is the place to be in summer!. We went for two long walks...first we drove up to the around the 3800 block of St Laurent and walked up and down a quiet early Sunday morning street making mental notes of shops and restaurant to return to sometime when they are open. There are a lot of restaurants. The shops aren't typically the high end stylish ones that you find on St. Catherine's or Sherbrooke. Rather they tend to be neighborhood stores, fabulous old time "gourmet" specialty food stores, fun bordering on kitsh stores, and reasonably priced boutiques.

We burned through our small breakfast pretty fast so had a mid morning "snack" at Coco Rico...a rotisserie "take-out/eat-in" at 3907. Rotisserie ("roti") chicken and pork. YUMMY! Good cole slaw and carrot salad. Didn't have the potatoes but they looked good. As did the egg custard tarts. VERY reasonable. Apparently the "regular" would be to have sauce and spice over the crispy skinned chickien...don't know what that is like...I just wanted the chicken. The place is run by Portuguese owners which judging from the poster on the wall as you exit are related to Jano's a sit-down portuguese restaurant we ate at years ago just down the street.

After some errands (Costco, Reno Depot). We popped down to Mile's End to look for a bike shop where we can have a riser and basket put on my bike. Being Sunday, the bike shop was closed. However, it brought us in close proximity to my favorite Bagel Place...St. Viateur...and another even later morning snack. A fresh out of the oven sesame seed bagel!!! We strolled a bit on Ave du Parc and on St. Viateur. There was a festival in preparation on two short blocks of St. Viateur (at Waverly) of the patron saints of the humongous Catholic Church (St. Michael's) was going to celebrate his feast day....looked like there was going to be a lot of eating on that street last night!

After a long nap and some reading (and watching the last 2 seconds of the Nadal/Federer Wimbledon Finals match) we walked up to St. Catherine where the last day of the Intenational Jazz Festival was under way. We'll spend more time there next year. They block off several blocks of St. Catherine (and other streets) in the general vicinity of the Place d'Artes. They have numerous stages of various sizes scattered over a large area and a number of food stalls...including one where they were busily sculpting fresh whole mango into "rose lollipops"...yummmy. More hungry for dinner than music (which wasn't going to start for a bit). We headed out east on St. Catherine.

Between Rue Berri and Rue Papineau they have closed off the streets to vehicular traffic for the summer (last year they only did it on the weekends). Restuarants have built temporary summer patios out from their storefronts. During the Jazz Festival white festival tents popped up like mushrooms housing the work of artists and other craftspeople. We ate at Le Planet which had good moules and salad...but the worst service and burnt carrot/celery soup. However, we had the "best seats in the house"...the corner table on the streetside terrasse from which we watch the early evening promenade. Tourists, locals, dogs, a few "goths" and a very large segment of the Montreal Gay community who live and socialize in that area of St. Catherine. Young and old, fit and not...everyone very happy to be out on a lovely summer evening with a lovely and interesting place to walk and eat and meet up with old friends. And, no, gay men do NOT only have little "pocket" least not in Montreal...retrievers, basset hounds, were just as common.

We walked down Rue St. Denis to Old MOntreal around 9:30...spotted a few new restaurants along Rue ST. Paul...made a few appropriate mental notes...and then just couldn't pass up my favorite gelati place - Les Delices d'erable - once again enjoyed the melon and the meringue gelati.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Saturday Evening in Old Montreal

Old Montreal was BUSTLING last night filled with US tourist on their 4th of July holiday, Jazz Festival goers looking for a pre-concert meal, and even locals strolling the Old Port in anticipation of Korea's contribution to this year's International Firework Competition.

L'International des Feux Loto-Québec was founded in 1985 at La Ronde, Québec's largest amusement park, which was created for Expo '67. From the very first year, La Ronde was filled to capacity and the city of Montréal witnessed unprecedented levels of crowd movement. More than 5.7 million people (spread out over a number of evenings) attended the displays in the first season, setting a record in Canada for this kind of event. As a result of this extraordinary level of success, the Competition was repeated the following year and has been an annual event. In the beginning, the Competition included two types of shows: traditional, so-called "classical" fireworks shows; and pyromusical displays, which involve the careful synchronization of fireworks to a musical score. Since 1987, the displays have been exclusively pyromusical. (

This year there are 10 evenings of fireworks in June, July and August. "Teams" from Austria, China, Canada, the US, South Korea, Italy, and France. You can buy tickets at La Ronde and see everything close up. Or you can do what we did, walk down to the St. Lawrence River with your beach chairs (and a book to read until it gets dark). We watched the fireworks explode above (and below) the Jacques Cartier bridge and listened to the accompanying music blaring from the stereo system of a pleasure boat floating in the waters below us (nice of them to provide the background music). We saw the "team" from South Korea who were responsible for the display at the Seoul Olympics opening ceremony.

Beforehand we ate dinner at Tai Nature (Cuisine Sante Thailandaise - Healthy Thai Cusine) on the corner of ST Laurent and Rue Notre Dame in Old Montreal. Food was good, air conditioning was working, and it wasn't crowded (a blessing on a Saturday night during festival seating). However service was less than attentive...not rude...just non-existent. However, we had a good fish (poisson) stirfry (turbot) and phad thai noodles with shrimp, and a shrimp mango salad.

Carifiesta 2008 - Montreal

This is a wonderful energetic parade that we first saw a bit of several years ago when Peg and Jeff were visiting. Carifiesta is an adaptation of the traditional pre-Lenten festivities which precede the Mardi gras Carnival celebrated throughout the Caribbean. The Carifiesta is modeled after the Trinidad & Tobago carnival with large costumes, calypso music, steeldrums, and hundreds of masqueraders dressed in exotic costumes. Over the years, the festival has adapted to include many groups of Haitian origins, with their own music and style of dress. Recently by some groups from the Latin, hiphop, and multicultural communities have joined. The parade is part of a weekend long festival which is featuresy shows, dances, performances featuring different types of Caribbean music-calypso, zouk, reggae, racine-as well as the vibrant music of steelbands. Colorful "bands" of brilliantly costumed performers fill the streets with high energy, music and dance. For a frull set of pictures taken yesterday taken yesterday at the parade see:

More along the Lachine Canal

Saturday morning we got up, dusted off the bikes, pumped up the tires, fixed the bike chains and headed off to the Marche Atwater which is about 3 miles from out apartment along the Lachine Canal (see previous post for info on the Lachine Canal). Fantastic! Everyone was out biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading along the Canal. Perfect weather! The market was crammed full of berries and grapes, apples, flowering plants (including hibiscus which they must treat as an annual here unless they bring it inside for the winter!), cheeses, fresh meats and fish, and happy people happily shopping. We had something to drink and jerry had a snack of tomatos broncocini (fresh tomatoes with light pesto and mozzarello cheese) and a little chicken from Premiere Maison. Here are a couple of pics (for a full set of photos for the outing go to - Montreal collection/Montreal Markets and Lachine Canal sets).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summertime in the Old Port

Although we love the quiet of winter here in Old Montreal (and being able to get into restaurants without planning ahead to make reservations) there is a joy of life and wonderful spirit in Old Montreal in the summer...and especially in the Old Port. Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk along the water, down to the Lachine Canal and the locks (Ecluses), up around Place d'Youville and along parts of Rue st. Paul and Rue Notre Dame. Happy people were out in droves enjoying horse drawn carriage rides (caleches), long walks, bike rides, pedal trolleys, and enjoying drinks in sidewalk cafes. The temperature was perfect...mid 70s no humidity, clear, with a breeze.

The Lachine Canal is one of the most important canal and lock systems in Canadian history. First constructed (and widened and deepened several time) in 1825 it provided a bypass around the Rapids on the ST. Lawrence that restricted access up and down the St. Lawrence River. With the construction of the Canal, shipping greatly increased to the Great Lakes, making Montreal a very significant port. Manufacturing and mills also increased in Montreal and along the Lachine. At its zenith in the many as 15000 ships a year would pass through the locks. With the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway (which can handle the much larger "lakers" ships) in the 1950s, the Canal fell into disuse and was closed to shipping in 1970. The Park Service took over ownership and in the late 90s began the restoration of the locks and canals and today the canal is open to pleasure craft and kayaks/canoes. A bike path has been constructed along its 14.5 kilometer lenghth.

The Daniel McAllister is an old historic tug permanently moored in the sheltered Basin #1 of the Lachine Canal . Its quite picturesque in its dereliction and decay and yet sad that its preservation isn't resulting in its restoration. It is the largest and oldest historic tug in Canada. And the second oldest ocean-going tug to be preserved in the world. It was built and operated by the McAllister Towing Company one of the largest and most succesful marine towing services in Canada and the US Eastern Seaboard.
Also in the area of Lock 1 and Basin 1 is the rusting hulk of Grain Elevator #5. In the late 19th century, the Port of Montréal was growing in importance. With the beginning of transcontinental freight rail, the transcontinental shipment of goods, especially grain, grew significantly. With port activity increasing, grain processors and flour mills opened near the port. The Grand Trunk Railway built the older portion of grain elevator n° 5. Concrete extensions were built to meet the changing demands of the trade: Montréal had become the world's top grain-trade port.
Although out of service since 1995, this temple to commerce remains noteworthy for its unique combination of construction styles. (info from

Eating and having drinks alfresco in a fun and popular thing to do in Old Montreal in the summer. Restaurants throw tables and chairs out on the sidewalk, bars pop up at the Lachine locks and on rooftops. At the Place d'Armes square, famous for the Basilica of Notre Dame and the historic Bank of Montreal buiding there is a seasonal rooftop bar on the Hotel Place d'Armes that overlooks the historic square below.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Milos in Miles End

Drove up to Avenue du Parc between Fairmont and St. Viateur (the "bagel" streets) and had dinner at Milos, an absolutely spectacular Greek Seafood restaurant. This place has fresh fish and I mean fresh off the boat/on the plane/onto the ice/ and into the frying pan fresh...same day. Nothing kitschy about this place either...not a blue and white column to be seen...We had fresh delicately fried sardines (not those little weeny ones in the can) but good sized fresh from the sea! Then we had a fabulous tomato salad with "tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes" and barbouni (a red mullet: the fish not the hairdo). everything was delicious. As we're trying to both lose weight we didn't have dessert this time...but that also look fresh made and they appeared to have some kind of fresh fruit salad for next time...we'll leave room
Before dinner we walked up Parc and up and down Bernard street in Outremont area. Delightful area. Saw another mussels place that we will return to...had a wonderful patio along the sidewalk. Found a great gourmet grocery store called Five Spices...we FINALLY found old fashioned brown sugar...its really hard to find in Quebec...must be an American thing...we can find crystal brown sugar...but not the squishy soft kind.

Quebec's 400th Birthday!

Today at 11 am….church bells pealed all over Canada (and especially in Quebec) to celebrate the originally founding of Quebec City on July 3rd 1608…when the ship landed on the banks of what became named the St. Lawrence River (at 11am). There are huge festivities all year in Quebec City…but this week apparently they are having quite a wing ding…with the big concert tonight being headlined , inexplicably, by Van Halen (yes…Van Halen says Quebec to me…does it to you?). We were in the apartment and celebrated the moment listening to the bells of the Basilica Notre Dame and watching a steady rain outside the window.

Rose early to drive up to the Marche Jean Talon (in the Italian district)…one of our favorite places in Montreal. We stocked up on strawberries and raspberries from Quebec…blueberries aren’t ready yet due to the late arriving summer weather. Quebec tomatoes and little cucumbers. Fresh basil. Radishes…fresh brown eggs. Pumpernickel bread. Had a cup of espresso and a chocolate coconut macaroon at Maison Torrefaction at the market. They call the macaroon…”hello dolly”…it was great…

Drove home in the rain and unloaded. Sighed to find the AC not yet repaired and happy to know someone was coming at 2pm to work on it. Around 11 in the pouring rain we walked to Maison Kam Fung in Chinatown for Dim Sum. Enjoyed it as always…it’s really our favorite Dim Sum place (here or in the States). Great service…fresh ingredients…reliably good.

Now we are resting and reading (and blogging) in the apartment…happy that the air conditioning is once again working (for the moment) and contemplating another walk…as it has stopped raining.

Bonne Fete! Quebec!

July 2nd - North to Montreal

Had a lovely days drive to Montreal...9 hours (including ½ hour at Woodbury commons mall, 15 minutes at Target for crackers, yogurt, and dried fruit, 2 gas-up stops, and a stop at the upstate NY visitor center, AND the border crossing). So a “quick” and uneventful drive up.

Made the traditional “first stop” at Costco for milk, cereal, and fruit. Lugged our wordly possessions up to #204. Dropped them where they landed and set off for dinner. We had mussels in mind for dinner and decided on Moulinsart on Rue St. Paul a short 1 block walk from the apartment. We sat in the center courtyard surrounded by old stone and brick walls and other happy diners. Moules Provencales for Jerry. Moules Mulinieres for me. Only one order of frites...didn’t ask for ketchup…jerry eats fewer that way…good trick! Nice salad. A close game of dominoes (Annette won…jerry says “of course”). Then off for an after dinner stroll along rue st. paul and over to rue de la commune and the port. It was a beautifully warm and breezy evening. Clear skies…just delightful. We were saddened to see that one of Annette’s favorite chocolate places on Rue St. Paul had gone out of business since February (with no signs indicating that they had perhaps just moved). A true loss for the street!

To bed early in a warm apartment. The air conditioner was, once again, on the fritz when we arrived. It’s a sad saga and not an unfamiliar one…one shared by more than one apartment as we share this gigantic thermopump thingie on the roof that keeps getting gunked up…supposedly fixed…but perhaps not? Fortunately it was breezy and not August.

Summer came late to Quebec this year…a long winter and a long spring. Apparently, it’s just now acting like summer…lucky us.