This is PART 2 of the recounting of Monday May 18.
It really is remarkable, how much we managed to cram into our few days here in Nova Scotia!
This morning began with us hopping on the bus with AVHC friends, and heading to Peggy’s Cove on St. Margaret’s Bay. This is the postcard picture spot, with the lobster traps, colourful old fishing shacks, the white granite rocks and the lighthouse on the point.
First, we corralled the gang on the big rocks, and took some photos and quick video, which you will have seen on facebook by now. BTW, we have a ton of video and photos to upload, so stay tuned for that.
Singers had an hour to scrabble around on the rocks–we had really clear boundaries of where was safe and where was not, plus it was a calm day on the water. It was wild to see singers kind of disappear like black ants on the massive granite rocks there. But we would hear bits of singing and laughter and know that they weren’t too far off. After gathering, our guide took us to the dock and gave us a lobster fishery lesson.
After Peggy’s Cove, we spent lunch at the Halifax Public Gardens. Imagine a Victorian-era garden with ladies in parasols and a gazebo with lots of places to sit and look at the flowers, statues and lawns. Like a real-life version of the park scene in Mary Poppins! Well that’s where we were. Except WE were the musical entertainment on the bandstand/gazebo. Great acoustics. They sure knew how to build such structures for sound, in those old days.
Singers went to Pier 21 from there, which is the port of entry for immigrants to Canada that came from Europe and the US up until the past few years. Lots of moving stories there, about the various waves of immigration to Canada. Sadly, no time for the wonderful movie there about it all.
Back for an hour drive to Wolfville (home of Acadia University) where we got ready for our concert in Wolfville Baptist Church. WOW. WHAT A SPACE!!!
And now, I interrupt this recounting in order to bring you Celine, singer/blogger from our choir:
I have to say that I really enjoyed this trip- so many oppurtunities to learn about our predecessors and the people who built the foundation to Canadian culture as we know it today. In BC, where I usually am, I really do have to say that there is a lack of history beyond the past century or so (although our vivid aboriginal culture serves to fill in for that). In Nova Scotia there is such an abundance of stories artifacts, relics of the past- each time I stepped into a new historic site, whether it be a beautiful church to sing in at Lunenburg or a rather grim reminder of the deportation of the Acadian people such as the black cross, I really felt a connection to the people from the past who stepped where I was stepping. Now of course, there’s all of this amazing history, but I can’t forget to elaborate on the people of the present- namely all of my chorister friends, both from CSMA and AVHC, who I joined during this spectacular trip. The integration of past and present into this exchange really left so many fond memories that I will keep with me for the years to come.
And now here’s Jan. Jan has been on a SEVEC exchange before- when we exchanged with Guelph Youth Singers. So he’s experienced!
This trip has truly been an amazing experience for me. Two years ago, when the Children’s Choir exchanged with the Guelph Choir, I had an awesome time. I connected with peers, participated in several attractions, and visited many places of historic significance. This year though, on our tour to Nova Scotia, it has been an extraordinary adventure. Every day was jam-packed, whether we were visiting Grand Pré and singing the same hymn that had been sung there several hundred years ago, or singing “Bluenose” at the Bluenose 2 in Lunenberg. Everyday was a new adventure with its own share of surprises, education, and fun. Since I had experience in an exchange like this before, I was prepared for the trip, yet Nova Scotia’s glory still struck me with awe. This year I also really connected with my peers, discussing our experiences and opinions on certain historical sites. I also finally understand what this saying “Nova Scotian Hospitality” means. My host family was extremely generous and caring. I feel that a nicer week could not be achievable when you live with such amazing and kind people. I don’t know whether it is the open fields, the warm and close community, or the natural beauties, like Peggy’s Cove, but there is something about Nova Scotia that really doesn’t want to make you leave. This brings me to my final point. On this trip, many close and great friendships were made, leaving many people in tears when it was time for us to leave, and possibly never see each other again. It is a great feeling to know that the friendships you have created have become so strong so fast, that people are saddened at your departure. I would like to personally thank SEVEC and our wonderful choir directors for organizing this exchange, as well as my wonderful parents, for funding my trip. I can say for sure that on this exchange I have made some life-long friends and will keep the memories made here forever.
Okay I have to take a few moments here to dab at my teary eyes and blow my nose.
Your children–our singers– have been nothing short of AMAZING this whole trip. There has been zero whining, absolutely no complaining, lots of offers to help with stuff, lots of demonstrations of their responsibility. Honestly, I feel like we could take this group anywhere in the world, and they would be grounded ambassadors. Coming home after such a trip is always challenging. “Re-entry” I call it. Getting back to routines, but feeling like “on the inside” we’ve changed so much as people–matured, gained confidence, independence and life experiences–but “on the outside”, our lives are the same. Same chores around the house, same school work, same people asking us to do stuff. It can feel a bit rocky after such intensity and novelty to get back to our usual lives.
I have to mention our truly A++ chaperone team! They anticipated problems like they had super powers, and took actions to make sure all went smoothly. They were just the right mix of nurturers, advocates, serious-about-the-rules-keepers, medical attendants, videographers, surrogate parents and collaborators on the decision-making. They all treat your children with such respect and gentle kindness, while teaching valuable life lessons about what happens when you leave your stuff unattended! Hahaha I can’t say we didn’t play a few “head games” – some of our choristers were white-faced and panicked when they thought their stuff had been stolen. Luckily, it was always just us that were the “thieves”.
It really does take a village to raise a child, and I feel like your children are in a wonderful “village” here in the choir. So lots of gratitude to Heather, Sunni, Taco, and our excellent piano accompanist, Barry!!!
It is so totally scenic here. What they lack in Mountains, is made up for in quaint fishing towns, sailboats moored in little bays and inlets, and vast green and rust fields.
We are heading to Peggy’s Cove. We will be doing a big group photo at the lighthouse. We will NOT be walking down on the rocks!!! If you heard about the 23 year old Ontario man who was swept off the rocks last month at Peggy’s Cove, never to be seen again… (!!!!!) then you will understand why we will be staying on very high land!!! We West Coasters just don’t comprehend the idea of a big rogue wave unexpectedly grabbing someone off the shore and washing them away without a trace. We. Just. Don’t. Get. It. We naively imagine that the wave would just get you wet, or have you floundering in the water until someone rescued you. We can’t imagine a big wave coming out of nowhere, and poof, gonzo to the person standing there lookin’ at the view. So don’t worry. We aren’t taking any chances and will be very far away from that open water of the deep Atlantic.
Lots more to tell you about, but we have to be at the bus for our ride to the airport, Veeeery early in the morning! So I’m going to sign off for now, and continue the recounting of our awesomely excellent adventures, from an airport lounge tomorrow.
Well, I can now say that we’ve checked three “big things” off my Children’s Choir Bucket List:
1) singing Bluenose next to the Bluenose in Lunenburg
2) singing in Lunenburg’s famed historic St. John’s Anglican, originally built in 1758
3) singing the Acadian Hymn Tout Passe, at Grand Pré
Let me tell you about our adventures!
Sunday morning we met at Port Williams United Baptist Church-the same church that has been our meeting spot all week. Reverend Dave Ogilvie had created a service all around the concept of “Ministry in Music”. We all were inspired and reminded at how we have a duty as artists, to make the world a better place by sharing the gift of music. Sometimes we music teachers can get depressed with cutbacks to arts education, and we begin to wonder if what we do even matters. We all were reminded that we are the song holders, and that we need to share this, and pass it on, and brighten the world/ help people cope at the darkest of times. The sermon was full of musical examples, which the congregation and choirs sang heartily! Obviously music is an important part of this church congregation- the minister of music is Dr. Christianne Rushton, the vocal prof at Acadia University!
Coastal Sound and Annapolis Valley choirs sang during the service, joining together for a really rousing rendition of Brian Tate’s “Together We Are”. We jumped in to sing “Love Train” too… funny how quickly both choirs have learned each others’ repertoire!
The church ladies had made a ton of lasagna, and treated us to salad with blueberries and mandarin orange, and lasagna after the service. Then Dr. Rushton gave singers a lecture on vocal health and resonance.
We jumped on the buses and drove a few minutes to Grand Pré, the heart of Acadia and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.. This picturesque, idyllic place is deceiving. The vast green and rust coloured fields dyked from the red mud tidal flats of the Bay of Fundy, hold much painful history.
We began at the Grand Pré interpretive centre- this is a Parks Canada National Site. The movie presentation is one of those cool presentations where multi screens and seemingly “real” people depict the story of the Acadians in what seems like live action: how they were the first French speaking settlers here in the area, farming, collaborating with the local Mi’kmaw and basically minding their own business as they worked the land, engineering and building incredible dykes to hold out the salt water from the flooding the fields…
As French and British colonies sprung up all around them, and pressure from Europe to gain control of the area escalated, the politically neutral Acadians got caught in the middle. They couldn’t pledge allegiance to either France or Britain… and to make a long story short, in 1755, because the conflict was escalating, Britain ordered all the Acadian men and boys 10 years and older, to meet at the church at Grand Pré. They were read a declaration ordering them to be held captive in the hold of 5 British ships that were in the area. The women and children were eventually told to pack everything up, and get on these same boats, but families were separated, and no one knew which boat anyone was put on… and the death and illness on the boats… and as they were loading the boats, their village was set on fire, ensuring that they couldn’t easily return… then the ships set sail, deporting the Acadians to various places in the south and Europe.
Well. You can imagine there wasn’t a dry eye in the theatre by the end of the presentation. It was REALLY powerful.
You come out of the centre and walk along pathways through the fields, past “Little Boy Blue” type haystacks, past a statue of Evangeline, (you have to read the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem Evangeline) to the church. I’m talking about THE CHURCH. The stone church of the 1700’s where the Acadians were told about their fate- that they would be rounded up and deported. The church now holds paintings depicting scenes of the Acadian experience. Our guide had us act out the story of Evangeline… we were in stitches because our kids are such hilarious actors. Then we got serious.
At the time of the deportation, a priest from Halifax was sympathetic to the Acadians, and documented the hymns that they sang at that harrowing and emotional time. Tout Passe was one of these hymns. Coastal Sound taught it to Annapolis Valley, right there, in the church. The fastest song learning session ever! J Then we re-enacted the scene. We sang Tout Passe there in the church, then wandered out the front doors of the church, and down the path to a stone French cross. All 80 of us. Thank goodness there were some video cameras rolling, because I don’t know how to describe it all in words. You just had to be there. It was one of those experiences that leaves a mark on your soul. I know, by the silence and faces at the end, that your children felt it too.
We all bounced back pretty quickly… gift shops have that effect on us!
Our bus drivers went above and beyond the call of duty and took us through the farmer’s field down to the actual French Cross on the mud flats, the actual deportation site of 1755. (Deportations took place for the following 8 years too.) We used this opportunity for photos and reflection- no singing. I felt like we couldn’t possibly ever recreate what we had just done.
Another quick photo op at the Grand Pré Look- off, then to Joe’s for dinner in Wolfville.
We walked down the main street in Wolfville to the theatre, where we had seats for Mary Poppins. This community theatre company has a wonderful policy of “find a roll for EVERYONE”. The director, Mary Hannaman, just keeps adding more people to the various ensemble numbers: there was a gaggle of tap dancing youngsters as penguins that stole the show, and lots of bankers! The singing was wonderful. And they flew Mary Poppins and the chimney sweep. The costumes were also outstanding. Three hours of great entertainment. Fabulous!
A terrific day, but we all were happy to fall into bed for the night.
Tomorrow we will be making the most of our last day here.
After patting the lobster and talking to salmon, we went upstairs to hear the story of The Bluenose.
Do you think you know a lot about this iconic schooner? I did… but we were quickly schooled (and entertained) by our vivacious young guide!
Here’s a little quiz for you:
1) How did Bluenose get her name?
2) Why did the Bluenose 1 have a number 2 on her sail?
3) What was the main job of this schooner?
If you answered: “a nickname for growing and selling a variety of purple potatoe”; “because the Delawana placed second, so Canada was ranked #2 during Bluenose’s inaugural race”; and “cod fishing”… you’d be correct! If you didn’t get all the answers right, then it is your duty as a proud Canadian to watch this 1 minute video HERE.
The museum of the Atlantic is wonderful and varied. I loved the big 3D map of the Maritimes and East Coast, that also showed the elevation of the sea floor. They don’t call it “The Grand Bank” for nothing! I always thought the Grand Bank was off Newfoundland… but it is all around Nova Scotia too. Learn more about it HERE.
There was lots of artifacts and stuff to read and see and touch at the Museum.
Both choirs eventually went outside to the Bluenose, and assembled dockside of her. There, we sang The Bluenose, with the schooner right next to us! It was really something. Had we come a day earlier, she wouldn’t have been in port! So lucky we have been this entire trip!
We had a couple hours of shopping therapy and exploring the adorable Lunenburg, and in the warmth of the sun, we had lunch around town. SO BEAUTIFUL, quaint, full of history and stories of hardship. You can’t help but feel a sense of reverance there in Lunenburg. After lunch and poking around town, we boarded buses and headed up the road and around to the next bay, called Mahone Bay. This one is famous for having “the 3 churches” on the bay. There, in scenic Mahone Bay, we sang a quick set at the bandstand. More shopping therapy ensued. Totally cute town! I wondered aloud a couple times “what do men do here?” because it’s NOT a town for people that hate shopping, meandering and poking around looking in quaint little old shops!
Back to Lunenburg for dinner, a quick walk up the hill to the church for sound checks and getting ready, then THE CONCERT at St. John’s Anglican Church.
Two years ago, I visited the church with my family. It’s open for tourists in the summer because of the history of the place. (You should watch this quick documentary about it HERE.) I took a bunch of photos of the church, thinking in my mind, how amazing it would be to perform in it. And there we were… singing our hearts out under the starry domed roof along with our AVHC friends! VERY cool.
Composer Donna Rhodenizer (she wrote Call of the Ocean) came to see the concert- she has given us a stack of her music to preview. Something about that composition that is immediately appealing- everyone just loves to sing it.
We bused happily back to Annapolis Valley and fell sleepily into bed!
Where to begin. It was one of those rare perfect days where the stars seemed to align.
We snoozed our way into Lunenburg, about 90 minutes bus ride from where we are staying. Lunenburg is famous for having been settled in the 1700′s by German farmers, who became world famous for their wooden boat-building expertise.
We got off the buses and (insert fanfare music here) there at the dock, was the Bluenose II, the schooner that is a remake of the original pictured on our Canadian dime. BTW, it is the only icon on our coin currency that is made by human hands. Factoid.
Into the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic we went- we were the first tour group of the season for them- it was their opening day. A gorgeous deep blue, cloudless sky served as backdrop for the colourful seaside Victorian era homes and bay. The museum was great. Our group began in the “aquarium” area where tanks of Atlantic cod and huge salmon swam around. Our guide whipped out a big lobster, and showed us how to tell if lobsters are male or female. Get this: you rub its head to calm it down, flip it over and stroke it’s little swimmerettes. If they are feathery, its female, and hard ones mean male. ahem. Our lobster friend turned out to be female, and the kids immediately named her Shelly. hahaha
We learned about the lobster life cycle- I had no idea that the lobsters you see in the grocery stores are between 10-15 years old, (they grow a pound in 7 years) and that there is about one lobster per km on the sea floor, because they are so territorial. And there are BLUE lobsters- rare- but they exist. These are blue from a diet heavy in squid.
Did you know that lobsters molt? Imagine the ENTIRE shell- even the shell eyeball covers- crack open and the “meat” slides out, and hides under a rock until the new larger shell grows back.
I am just getting warmed up here with the stories… but it has started to rain on my laptop and we have to be at the church for our morning performance this Sunday morning… so I must sign off for now.
Today was another epic day: we did so much and learned so much that it felt like three days in one!
We started with an hour or so bus ride to downtown Halifax, with a first stop at the brand new Halifax Library. What a stunning building, with lots of natural light and criss cross stairways and open airy feeling… a totally inspiring, lively library space. We sang a short concert there on the stairways, with audience able to see and hear from all over the atrium.
Cindy from the Helen Creighton Society met us there and gave us a workshop on Helen Creighton- the folklorist who documented about 4000 different Nova Scotian songs, but about 60,000 different versions of them! Plus ghost stories. Totally interesting to imagine her life travelling around with her tape recorder gathering songs and stories from the oldest generations–our song keepers. Cindy taught us a beautiful, less traditional sea shanty, and presented us with a 2 CD set of songs collected and another collection of Acadian songs with CD. A very exciting score for Heather Fraser and I. Our choirs will be singing folk songs for years ahead! At lunch we had a chance to ponder the notion that if we music educators don’t make it our mission to pass on the old songs to the next generation, then who will? All of the culture and tradition and stories and history will be lost. Lots of thought-provoking conversations today.
Singers have been extremely responsible all day. They know that the more they are responsible, the more fun they get to have! We explored the library, then Spring Garden Road (funky shopping district) for an hour. We all met up at the Citadel Clock Tower, where we met our tour guides for the walking tour of downtown Halifax.
Our guide Andy Smith, of Tattle Tours, was a hoot. He’s a professional actor, and peppered the tour with ghost stories, gossip, and role playing. Very entertaining. Every student of Canadian Social Studies should get opportunities like we had today. We learned about the devastating Halifax Explosion, and saw the clock on the legislature still stopped at 9:06 (the time of the explosion); we saw the silouette of the ghost (!!!) in the window that was blown out by the explosion, in the first Anglican church in Canada- built in 1758. (Also saw a piece of shrapnel from a km away, that flew into the church wall and is still embedded there.) We learned about the 2 Halifax citizens that were on the Titanic, and saw the woman’s home and the older man’s Wright Building department store. We saw the funeral home (now a great seafood restaurant called Five Fish) where Titanic victims were stacked, and we learned why Halifax was the city that sent aid to that vessel. Do you know why? Because St. John’s Newfoundland, which was the closest harbor to the disaster, was iced in, and rescue boats couldn’t come in and out of the harbor. So Halifax sent emergency vessels and brought the survivors and bodies back here. 151 Titanic casualties are buried in Halifax cemeteries. We went to the “Press Gang”- now a chi chi restaurant- that has the infamous history of being a place where ship crewmen would strong arm drunk and disoriented men into working on the ships, setting sail before they sobered up and knew what had hit them. Halifax has oodles of colourful history, and Andy did a great job of bringing these anecdotes to life for us.
A cool highlight of the tour was the oldest cemetery, with tombstones dating back to the 1700’s. There, we saw the tomb of Major General Ross, a big player in the war of 1812. In fact, he’s the General who led the British troops in burning down the government buildings in Washington DC… the reason the Americans had to build “the white house”. And of course our guide Andy had to throw in a couple more ghost stories at the visit to the cemetery. If you hear someone laughing and dissing you by the split tree, that’d be the ghost of James Bosson, murdered by Smith D. Clark in 1832. You can hear the whole story here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui357Lc1INw
We ended up at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where we sang a concert in the grand hall, surrounded by wooded sailboats and a view of the Halifax boardwalk and harbour. Who should walk into the concert but Annette Coffin, who taught many of our CSMA singers as youngsters! She had made the 4 hour drive to town to see us. <3
With the sun still shining warmly for the first time in months here, the boardwalk was full of happy people. I was happy because I finally saw the actual deck chair recovered from the Titanic, at the museum!
A walk down the boardwalk, along the waterfront, took us to our “Party Boat” where all 91 of us boarded and set off for the night. We noshed on yummy lasagna and apple crisp and then danced our way for the next 3 hours, on the outdoor deck of the boat, while beautiful scenery went by. It was REALLY fun to see all the kids having such a joyful time together. They were just out there, dancing so freely and full of friendship- nothing like a school dance that I’ve ever seen. Just good clean fun had by all.
Lots of photos and video on the AVHC-CSMA group site, so check that out.
And once again, let me tell you how fabulous your kids are being. So interested to learn things, so positive, so supportive… SUPER people.
I must get to sleep- tomorrow is the big learning opportunity in Lunenburg.
Last night we heard hilarious stories of “the buzz” that is building here in small town rural Nova Scotia! One of the AVHC parents is a pharmacist, and people were coming in yesterday “did you hear about that choir here?” I can’t do it all justice, but she had us in stitches recounting the locals (and their awesome NS accents) talking about “the big bus” and “all those kids in the choir”. My google alert is going off with all of the local news coverage we have here. AVHC has totally rolled out the red carpet for us. We feel so fortunate for all of these opportunities!
Today we are off on another sunny clear day, to Halifax to sing at the Maritime Museum. Chat soon!
It’s harder to get good photos on this blog, so I encourage you to look on the Coastal Sound facebook page for photo albums and video.
What a glorious day! This scenic area today was big blue skies, rolling green fields, picture-perfect farm houses, gorgeously restored heritage homes on huge green lots, stark white birch bark trees and branches against the blue sky and green grass, dense red dirt plowed and ready for planting… STUNNING scenery everywhere we looked.
You probably don’t want to hear about our chaperone morning, and the “whipped yogurt with Nova Scotia Maple Syrup drizzle” that we were treated to at our Tattingstone Inn accommodations… so I’ll skip to the part where we met the kids at 7:30AM. Yesterday night they looked pale and wild eyed from the sleepless journey here, but this morning they looked rested, tidy and cheerful. All kinds of stories about their night floated excitedly around the bus. Did you know that you can tell what colour a hen’s eggs will be by looking at the colour of that hen’s ears???!!!??? No?? Well that was just one little tidbit of info being shared this morning- a couple of our singers are staying on property that includes a hen house!
We bused for about 90 minutes to Port Royal, the first settlement in Canada by Europeans. Port-Royal was founded after the French nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts was sent by the King of France to go set up a beaver pelt trading centre. He was accompanied by the explorer and cartographer Samuel de Champlain, whom you will know as having founded the city of Québec a few years later. We visited this Habitation and learned A LOT about what was happening at that time in the area, building construction techniques, and the relationship that these f0unding tradesmen had with the Mi’kmaq people of the area. In fact, we were greeted here with songs and sharing by Judy McEwan, sister of Chief McEwan of one of the reserves here. She taught us “Happy Chant Song” and was impressed with how quickly we picked it up and accompanied on drums and spirit sticks. :)
de Champlain kept meticulous notes and drawings of this Habitation, so in 1941 the Canadian government was able to build a replica of the Habitation. In fact, this Habitation is the first such heritage reconstruction undertaken by the Canadian government- in wartime 1941 no less. (they had thought no one would be interested! But it’s the coolest place!) It is remarkable to see how it operated like a mini city- everything 40 men would need to live and work for a year at a time. To keep spirits up through the long winters, where men fell victim to scurvy (they hadn’t yet made the vitamin C connection to ward off this disease), Champlain started the first “social club” in North America, where “the men of goodtimes” took turns hosting a meal and entertainment. This is years before the tradition of “Thanksgiving” dinners, we are told. To be clear, this Habitation doesn’t count as a “settlement” apparently, because there were no families- just small groups of 20-40 men working and trading there. Many however, did take Mi’kmaq wives so there were certainly Europeans living in the area from 1605 onwards.
We were visiting this Habitation before it officially opens tomorrow, and were told we set the bar pretty high for other visitors: we shared a song with our hosts. I’ll try to upload some photos- you will see singers with AVHC friends clogging around in traditional hand made wooden shoes, exploring the place.
We drove a few minutes down the road to the town of Annapolis Royal- one of the cutest little heritage towns ever, and everyone ate lunch on the green hills / ramparts of the Fort there. Beautiful vistas of the bay there.
From there, we bused to Greenwood, and Dwight Ross Elementary. These children were LOVELY- a captivated and friendly audience! Our AVHC friends had picked up a few of our songs, and performed with us. Lots of fun to be together. INTERESTING to see “small” (by BC standards) classes and how positive that can be with the attention you can give each child.
For the afternoon, we headed to Halls Harbour, where kids put the “FUN” in “The Bay of Fundy”. We ran around taking photos and scrabbling on the rocks and finding crabs and dipping their hands the cold water. This is the place where the tides change an average of 42 feet! The boats today were down on the sand… with their docks 25 feet in the air. Very cool.
We could see Blomidon and Cape Split off in the distance, so we drove there on the bus, and had a couple photo ops at the Look Off and the cape. If you come here with your family, plan to do the 16 km round trip hike out to Cape Split! Looks AMAZING.
Well time for me to get ready for the evening, so I’ll sign off for now.
I hope the singers are all sleeping better than I am! My mind is racing with a gazillion details. Once we get on that bus at 3:30AM, everything will be EASY, because every meal, every song, every place to be and even what to wear, are planned out! But until then, I can’t help but fuss and worry that I’ve remembered everything that needs to be done before we go!
I’m doing some more research on Annapolis Royal- after this tour we’ll all be schooled in Maritime history! We’ll be spending some time there learning about the first French settlement in 1605, and the subsequent attacks on the area- more than any other area in North America apparently.
Okay, more soon!