Thursday, September 17, 2015

Can you go home again?

BY MARY JANE MAFFINI aka half of Victoria Abbott

One of my dream vacations is to go home to Cape Breton from time to time.  I grew up there and I get to make this trip every couple of years. It’s very good for the soul to go to a place that’s so laid back and natural as well as incredibly beautiful.  How about joining me for a peek at what we saw on this latest trip? After a few days with my brother in the scenic town of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, we visited my home town of Sydney and spent some quality time with old friends and my Aunt Marg (still sparkling at ninety-three) and cousin Jean.

Then it was off to the Cabot Trail and Ingonish Beach.  My reason for returning was to research some nicely dangerous scenes for my work-in-progress, the seventh Camilla MacPhee book. I felt it would be enhanced by a few mountains, hairpin turns, steep cliffs, falling boulders, and lots and lots and lots of fog.  Mmm.

 The author in me is thrilled at the thought.   I’m not alone: it’s a hugely popular spot for tourists. 

My Celtic genes care about the thunder of the waves when the surf’s up and also the soft lap of the same water on a calm morning, the shriek of the gulls and the occasional swooping eagle over head. I react emotionally to the rugged highland mountains with the sheer drops to the sea and the misty and mysterious opposite shores. Perhaps it’s the hint of Scotland.

We had a cabin near the water. It was so relaxing and reviving to take solitary walks on the beach, checking out the amazing rocks.

We napped, read books and enjoyed seafood platters at the local restaurant. 

We’re just back and already thinking about a return trip.  Next time we will go for The Celtic Colours, a wonderful festival in early October, when the trees are at their most brilliant red, gold and orange and visitors have access to more than 100 (Yes!) concerts of great Celtic and Acadian music. The concerts take place in schools, community halls, churches and homes.  Two years ago we managed to get there in time for the ‘the colours’ and loved it.   But late spring, summer and fall are all great times to visit the Cabot Trail.  Hope our paths will cross there one of these days!

To answer my own question: yes, you can go back again!
Maybe the next time, we’ll take the pooches (although that’s a long time in the car).  Still, they look fetching in their Nova Scotia Tartan scarves and Peachy the Pug will be stylish in her Cape Breton tartan version. 

 I love both tartans. That was a tough decision.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of  Scottish Oatcakes to get you in the mood!  

 This was part of my menu for a traditional Cape Breton Engagement Tea, put on by characters from my Camilla MacPhee books. Coincidentally, they are also from Cape Breton.

You will find the recipe in our forthcoming Tea Time With The Cozy Chicks, coming soon, and available for pre-order in e-book format already. Ahem.

So that’s my story: what about you? Have you been to the east coast? Do you have a special place you want to return to over and over again?  Share your stories!  We love to hear them.