10 July 2008

See Here's the Reason I'm Glad I Moved to the East Coast

What should rightfully have turned out to be a miserable day (insomnia meant only 2 hours of sleep, and as I woke up - for the final time - the rain was falling ), actually turned into this.

"Rain is letting up. Damn, I am going to go to the shore. A little rain just means that there will be fewer people."

Get in the car, and drive for just under an hour (would have been even less time if I hadn't missed my turn-off). Arrive in Bouctouche, marveling once again at all of New Brunswick's beautiful vistas and views. Arrive at destination: Bouctouche Dunes, Irving Nature Park.

The breeze is blowing, the rain has long since passed (haha... take that PEI!), and the day is starting to warm up to a bearable-for-a-change temperature. Off I head to the dune boardwalk. The sand dunes here, like many other areas are protected environment. The grasses that grow on them help to minimize erosion, while at the same time providing a habit for other plants, birds and wildlife. Thanks for that, dunes! Without, this could have been a very uninteresting sojourn. To preserve the integrity of the dune structure and to allow for natural life to continue uninterrupted by its existence, the boardwalk has been built several feet above the ground.

But just before I arrive at the boardwalk I a hit ... hard... by the intoxicating fragrance of thousands and thousands of wild roses. These are entangled with pale pink morning glories that wind their way throughout the other flora.

The boardwalk continues for a few kilometres following the dunes and the coast. Several access points allow the wanderer to escape to the beach and follow the shoreline along. This is the option that I ultimately choose. For although the boardwalk is graced by many avian visitors:

It is also frequented by many human visitors. I am not in the mood for company. Plus the added benefit of the beach walk is that there are many additional sights to see and previous visitors to examine.

Doesn't that partially buried clam shell look like a perfect set of angel wings. And that sea urchin. I have never before seen one on a beach excursion. I let out a little whoop as I just narrowly avoid crushing it under my bare foot, and although a sign does politely request that all shells be left where they are, I surreptitiously sneak this one into my knapsack. But don't worry, I leave plenty of others for everyone else to see. And I also leave all of these guys for others to enjoy.

Bleeechhh... jellyfish. If you remember my recent snake story, you know that I am not happy about stepping on living wiggly things, especially ones that can bite or sting. I am careful to give these fellows a wide berth. This is tricky at times, because, well, lookit 'em. That is a lot of jelly-fish, and that is just one small part of this whole beach. They are littered everywhere. Double Bleeeccchh!

Eventually I have to turn back, not because I want to, or because I suddenly run out of dune and beach to stroll. It was more that when I witness seagulls enjoying an enviable feast of oysters and crab legs, I remember that breakfast is now in the very distant past and lunch needs to be in the rather immediate future. Luckily, by the time I do turn back the tides have peeled themselves back just enough to uncover a few additional treasures. The sign told me to leave behind the shells, but it said nothing at all about beach glass. And let's face it, its just someone else's litter, so by picking it up I am doing a civil good deed. I collect a nice little treasure trove.

I am not sure what the large, pale blue piece is (the one sitting beside the contraband urchin), but my best guess is a piece of a plate.

By this point, having picked over every little bit of everything on the beach, I am starving. I walk back to my car, again passing the thousands of wild roses and inhaling deeply as I do. As I steer the car out of the driveway, I suddenly see the sign that had taunted my for kilometres earlier in the morning. "Savvonnerie/Soapery". I am never one to pass up a good quality, handmade soap. And the producer of said soap, Olivier Soapworks, is well known in New Brunswick and said to be of the highest quality. Plus, they offer soap-making demos. Deciding to put off lunch just a little longer, I quickly correct my steering wheel and turn away from my planned lunch stop. I didn't think it would be quite so far, but in the end it was worth the wait.

For starters, I unexpectedly discover that a goat cheese producer whom I frequent at the Dieppe Saturday Market has a small shop set up here as well. Better still, they have four adorable goats in a pen outside. This one is eating the fence. I remain undecided if it is because the cedar log bark is particularly appealing to a goat's palette, or because they have decided to take it in turns their attempt to bust out.

Knowing that my car was too hot to keep a raw milk cheese at an appropriate temperature for more than hour, I decide I would be able to wait until Saturday (this being Thursday) to purchase some of this delicious cheese. So, instead I wander into the soapery, stomaching growling all along. Sadly, the demo has already begun, and it was in French (the language of this particular area). I head to the sales floor and what a delight meets my eyes and nose. Crates of soap were piled high, all with the most decadent scent, soothing colours, and attractive shapes and designs. Choosing just a few would be a challenge. I finally decide on an anise scent and a pear scent for myself, and since my husband has to work today while I go off to play, I treat him to a new shaving soap.

With that purchase out of the way it is finally time for a by-now-very-late-lunch. This is a lunch I have been thinking about since I first drove by about four hours earlier. Lobster roll with home-made hand-cut fries. Ohhh-ho-ho!!! Delicious. The creator of such a fine meal was the Pirate de La Mer, a teeny little place just outside of Bouctouche. The lobster was generous, the roll soft and light, and the fries, literally the best that I have had since we left behind Belgium and her frites last October.

To make lunch even finer, I sit outside where there is a lovely view over water, and across to the Pays de La Sanguoine. This is a recreated Acadian village. I have yet to visit here, and am saving it until my Mom can come to visit me. She is of Acadian heritage and since this year is a celebration of Acadian heritage world-wide, I think it will be a nice experience to share with her.

Once lunch is over, just a short journey remain, with one last planned stop. On the way out I had passed several roadside markets proffering freshly picked strawberries. Aware that the season can only last a little while longer, I know I have to take advantage while still able. Aaahhh, summer's perfect little jeweled morsels.

These actually provided inspiration for tonight's supper, which must be light after my late lunch feast. I opt for a spinach and arugula salad topped with these lovely little strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese (if only it had been fresh from Ste. Anne) and toasted pigniolli.

The perfect end to the perfect day. Now, last night's insomnia is starting to get the better of me.


LoopyJ said...

Now my stomach is growling!

Pegg said...

wow now I wish you really would have waited for me!!

you should include the recipe for that salad!!

Carol said...

Pegg: There really is no recipe. Just the ingredients which I think I mentioned in the post. I also gave the spinach and arugula a little drizzle of olive oil before topping with the berries, etc. I'm not a big dressing/viniagrette kinda gal.

jennifer reid coderre said...

Wonderful blog, string! you took us right along with you on that beautiful stroll along the boardwalk and beach. the pictures are magnificent.