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Of Mines and Beer……Two Harvest Hosts in two days

August 2022

As we shifted down to the main part of Nova Scotia we did so by way of two Harvest Host stops. the first was the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum. This would have been on our list to do anyway so getting a bonus free night stay was icing on the coal cake! The parking lot where we set up overlooks the ocean. As we walked to the museum we were greeted by a man in a snazzy paisley jacket and dress jeans. He introduced himself as a government minister (rep?) and despite his momentary stall as he discovered we were from Idaho USA and therefore not votes we had a pleasant interesting talk. As it turns out his father was a coal miner.

You start the tour in a simulated coal car with a very well done video of a retired miner and his wife (or actors thereof) presenting a balanced and moving portrayal of the history and the struggles and then the upheaval as the numerous coal mines shut down. Then you move to an antechamber where you fit up with miner hard hats under the direction of your tour guide who is an actual retired miner. It was at this point that Mr Government joined us again with an entourage that included the Fisheries minister, assorted aides and one photographer. The tour takes you down into the beginnings of an old room and pillar mine that once extended miles under the ocean. (The tour doesn’t take you that far - but far enough to have to crouch!) It was fascinating and illuminating. Outside is a memorial to miners who died in a catastrophe - one lunchbox for each - as well as old equipment and several Adirondack chairs for the view. The Atlantic provinces must have bought out the stock of several outdoor chair companies!

Later we walked the dogs along the cliff trail to a skinny beach where Jim searched for interesting rocks and the dogs got wet and sandy.

The next day we headed for the Half Cocked Brewery in Antigonish. It is set up in their families old chicken barns. We got there well before opening but the brother who brews met us and told us where to set up. There was a nice field to throw the ball. The brother who, along with his significant other, runs the food truck stopped by and had a nice conversation. That night there was also a Dutch tourist in a van who we ended up sharing some beers and conversation with. He and his wife had shipped their van over but she had gone back and he was finishing up and heading to Halifax to ship it back. I had the Farmhouse Beer ( a lemony light one that other Harvest Hosters had liked) and it was great. Apparently its based on the beers brewed on farms for the laborers. We had some delicious food and Jim played darts then off to a quiet night behind a barn.

The brewer had been a geologist and suggested we go to Arisaig Provincial Park so we stopped there on the way out as it had adequate space to park the RV. It was a gorgeous early morning with interesting rocks and geological markers. Also yet another opportunity for the dogs to indulge in their favorite thing - plunging into the water and chasing sticks in the sand! Just like near the Miner’s Museum, shown below.

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