Saturday, April 30, 2011

Court House Magnolias

For a number of years there has been a concerted effort to plant magnolias around Annapolis Royal. A group of diligent enthusiasts has raised the profile of the plant within the community and they have popped up on many public and private properties. Obviously, the most diverse collection is at the Historic Gardens but, magnolias are found throughout Annapolis Royal.

One of the more interesting groupings can be found in front of the Annapolis Royal Court House. Located at the main intersection of the community, this is a prime location to see the flowers. Earlier today I took a few minutes to get some pictures while the blooms are at their peak. The backdrop of the 1837 Court House makes this a very appealing location for taking pictures. I am quite fond of the ones that feature blossoms with a faded image of the building in the background. If for no other reason it is worth stopping for the opportunity to stand in the middle of the blooming trees. The smell of the flowers is almost overwhelming.

The Court House is also an ideal location to see magnolias if you have qualms about walking onto someone's private property to see flowers. Another option for seeing the blooms would be to take part in next weekend's Magnolia Festival. There are events including garden tours, a rare and unusual plant sale, magnolia talks and tours. You may even catch me pouring wine for the Wine and Magnolias event at the Historic Gardens on Friday evening.

All for now,
RGS





Friday, April 29, 2011

Champlain goes to School

When I was dropping my son off at our local elementary school this morning a piece of public art caught my eye. I must admit that I have admired this particular piece of art for some time but, I have never had a camera with me to take a photograph. When you walk into the main foyer at Champlain Elementary School in Granville Ferry you are greeted by a charming gentleman clad in a early 17th century costume. He sits in a small boat accompanied by a black cat and a mouse that rests on the brim of his hat. Perhaps greeted is too strong of a word because this particular gentleman and his companions are made of papier mache.

The gentleman in question is, of course, a likeness of Samuel de Champlain for whom the school is named. When you look around the walls of the foyer you see that Champlain also has cod, a sea serpent and a large sun wearing a pair of shades as papier mache companions. The artwork was created by local papier mache artist Rion Microys with help from students at the school. This really is a very impressive installation. In addition to being a set of very cheerful images, I have frequently seen both children and adults interacting with the artwork. The bench surrounding the boat almost acts as a magnet for people. How nice to be able to have a conversation or to gain an education under the watchful eye of the Father of New France. I will get photographs of the other elements for a future post.

All for now,
RGS

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Foggy Morning

On my way to work this morning I noticed that there was an interesting fog hanging over the Annapolis Basin. Realizing that there was the potential for an interesting picture, I turned the car into the parking lot across from the old Granville Ferry Anglican church. Within a couple of minutes I was able to snap a handful of pictures that show about 250 years of development on the Annapolis Royal waterfront. The earliest building (Bailey, Murray, Bonnett and Robertson Houses) date to the arrival of the New England Planters in the 1760s or United Empire Loyalists in the 1780s. These houses served the desperate crowds who were fleeing America in the years following the American Revolution.

The O'Dell House Museum, Pickles & Mills Building, old Post Office and the McCormick Store all date between 1860 and 1900, a period known as the Golden Age of Sail. These buildings were built at a time when Annapolis Royal was a significant port. Ships from around the world would have tied up to one of the many wharves along the waterfront. King's Theatre was built in the aftermath of two devastating fires in 1920 and 1921. Through live performances and movies, this building has served as an essential part of the cultural life of our community for almost 100 years. It really is amazing what you can find on a foggy morning.

All for now,
RGS





Monday, April 25, 2011

Faerie Houses Part 4

Another Saturday in Annapolis Royal and another visit from our faerie folk. I am actually starting to look forward to Saturday mornings, not only for the Farmer's Market, but to see where our creative faeries will have built. This week they were back at the Historic Gardens for another round of building. I have heard that a more urban crew has taken up residence by the Home Hardware building but, I have not yet had the chance to investigate this sighting. If you are interested in seeing any of the houses, Trish Fry has taken the time to load GPS coordinates for each of the sites.

All for now,
RGS




Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Egg Hunt

In recent years the Saturday of Easter weekend has become one of the busiest days of the year in Annapolis Royal. The day is truly packed with activity. Everything began with a pancake breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Legion. From there the activity turned to the Historic Gardens where, in addition to the Farmers Market, another crop of faerie houses has appeared. More on the faerie houses in another post. Events ranging from crafts and cookie decorating to a bike rodeo, geo-quest and an Annapolis Royal version of the Amazing Race spread out through the day. If asked, I would freely admit that my favorite part of the day is the egg hunt at Fort Anne National Historic Site. There is such a wonderful uncontrolled energy as the children burst through the gate and descend on the fort grounds. While the younger kids head to the parade square, the older ones run up and down the ramparts looking for eggs. It is somewhat like a miniature army arriving to plunder the fort.

A constant through most of the events was a certain large white rabbit. I was quite amused by the image at the top of this post because it appears that the Easter Bunny has its own security detail. I suppose if you are running around with baskets full of chocolate in the middle of a crowd of hungry children that there may be a certain degree of danger.

Whole hearted thanks and congratulations go to Paula Buxton and her crew of volunteers. They should be proud of this event and the place that it has quickly come to hold in the hearts of local children.

All for now,
RGS









Friday, April 22, 2011

Night on the Annapolis Basin

The other night when I was on my way home from the Volunteer Appreciation evening, I stopped to snap a photograph of Granville Ferry from the parking lot of the O'Dell House Museum. Those of you who have been reading for a while will know that this is a fairly common activity. I have taken an almost comical number of photographs of this view. Since there was an thin fog hanging over the basin, I decided to see if I could get an interesting image. If you are not familiar with our local geography, this is the image at the bottom of this post.

As I was driving home, I happened to look back across the water at Annapolis Royal. While I frequently photograph the view looking north across the Annapolis Basin, I have far fewer images looking south from Granville Ferry. I pulled into the parking lot at the Granville Ferry Community Hall and found a likely looking rock to use as a tripod. I managed to get a couple of pictures before I startled someone coming to get their mail from the boxes beside the Hall. While I really enjoy the image of the boats tied to the wharf at low tide, it is a pretty image from both sides of the Annapolis Basin.

All for now,
RGS

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Volunteer Appreciation Evening

Tonight was the annual Annapolis County Volunteer Appreciation Awards at King's Theatre. This is always a somewhat humbling event. Over the course of the evening we get to hear about the volunteer accomplishments of 30-40 individuals. Of course these people represent a much wider network of volunteers across the county. From health care and community service groups to churches, sporting groups and environmental organizations, volunteers make our community a better place to live.

I think that the spirit of the evening and of the volunteers themselves was best summed up by Barbara McArthur who was named Annapolis Royal's community volunteer of the year. After the MC read her impressive resume of volunteer work she stepped forward to say "I never thought I did that much". This is the spirit of our volunteers. People who are helping because they want to help. Featured in the photograph is the Annapolis Heritage Society's 2011 Volunteer of the year Denise Rice as she accepts her award from Phil Roberts, Mayor of Annapolis Royal. Thanks to Denise and all of the volunteers who allow AHS to continue to preserve, protect and promote our heritage.

All for now,
RGS

Monday, April 18, 2011

Through the Sally Port

If I were asked to come up with a single iconic image of Annapolis Royal I would probably need to think for a few minutes. What image could represent Annapolis Royal and only Annapolis Royal? It would need to be unmistakable to those who know the community and yet provide some insight for those who do not yet know the area. When you think about the town, we have some very impressive scenery. From the large Victorian buildings on Upper St George Street to the Historic Gardens and the waterfront, there are sights that would easily make other communities jealous. The more I think of it, there is a scene that reaches the iconic status for me. This is the view at Fort Anne National Historic Site looking through the Sally Port with the Officer's Quarters framed in the tunnel.

As I look through the AHS archival collections, I see multitudes of photographs taken from this spot. This view of the Sally Port has been used for post cards, school photos, birthday parties, public festivities and many family vacations. I will freely admit that I have taken photographs of this view many times. There is something about the way that the three chimneys of the 1797 Officer's Quarters fit so perfectly in the frame that adds to the charm of the scene. Since the advent of photography, people just seem to naturally want to pose in this spot. In this version of the image, we can see some men playing a game of either cricket or baseball on the parade square. In this circa 1895 photograph you can see damage the the brick work that has been restored today.

All for now,
RGS

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Faerie Houses Part 3

Another Saturday and another crop of faerie houses have appeared in Annapolis Royal. This week the faerie folk have colonized the O'Dell House Museum, the old train station and a tree in front of St Luke's Church. They have actually become a bit more declarative by leaving a couple of tiny signs that read "Do you believe in Faeries". I was interested to learn that they are using the older, and honestly more interesting, spelling of faerie rather than fairy as I had used. I have decided to go back to the previous posts and amend the spelling.

Once again there is a mixture of hanging and land based houses. They have also created a festive circle of mushrooms in front of the museum. Until I hear differently, I am going to refer to this as mushroomhenge. I was also impressed with the house built in front of the museum. With a large shed dormer on the roof and an entry portico featuring columns and a pediment, the faeries have clearly been seeing and adapting at some of our traditional Annapolis Royal building styles. While the origin of these houses remains a mystery, they are fun to find on Saturday mornings.

All for now,
RGS








Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ghosts of Fundy

Today was the long anticipated launch of the book Ghosts of Fundy and Fatalities of the Sea by Frank Taylor. Since I know how much effort that Frank has put into compiling this book over the last decade, I was very happy that we were able to give this book a proper launch at the Port Wade Community Hall. For years Frank has been bringing me excerpts of the book, interesting things that he has found in his research or the odd question. In turn, I have tried to pass along articles of stories of interest as I stumble across them. After years of dogged collecting, I was glad that we could have this launch in a room filled with Frank's friends and family. I must admit that I was also quite impressed with the cake which bore the image of the City of Monticello as it slipped beneath the waves. This is the same image that is found on the cover of the book.

The book itself tells the stories of Bay of Fundy sailors who have lost their lives at sea. Additionally, you will find stories of local sailors who slipped beneath the water in foreign seas. If you are looking for copies of Ghosts of Fundy, they are available at the O'Dell House Museum for $35.00.

All for now,
RGS