Experiencing new countries, cultures, and adventures has become just as much a part of my life as family and friends. When National Geographic releases their “Best Trips” publication, I’m inspired to explore the possibilities. They brag, “Got wanderlust? We’ve got your ticket. The National Geographic Traveler editors present the new year’s 20 must-see places”, and I can’t stop dreaming about each picture, description, and location. This year, as I was imagining hopping on a plane and heading to the next place on the list, I saw it! I had no idea it was part of the list. A toothy smile was plastered on my face as I picked up the phone and dialed my mother. “Did you know that you’ve made the Best Trips 2013 – National Geographic list this year mom?” My family hotel, Highland Heights Inn, made the cut. We are part of the Best Trips 2013 – National Geographic!
Ciad Mile Failte!
For the past 9 days, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, was home to a unique celebration of music and culture called the Celtic Colours International Festival. Celtic Colours promotes, celebrates, and develops Cape Breton’s Celtic culture through concerts, outdoor events, visual art series, participatory events, community meals, and learning opportunities. You may have physically missed the 2012 Celtic Colours, but you can experience it all through my 7 days in Cape Breton at The Celtic Colours.
Today is my last day in Cape Breton. The view outside of my window at Highland Heights Inn is reflective of my mood; there is overcast with a hint of the morning sun beaming out from off in the distance. I’ll miss my sisters and brothers and my parents, including my grandparents. They bring so much happiness into my life that my heart is full. It can never be considered a bad day when I get to return to my new home and be with my husband, and my daughter, but that sinking feeling that comes when you know you are going to miss your family dearly has arrived and is in full force. As the sun comes up and brightens my day, I am reminded of all that learned by acting as a tourist in Cape Breton. Continue reading
With over 50 species of native and non-native animals and birds, a petting zoo, hiking and cross-country ski trails, wagon and sleigh rides, a “U-fish” pond, and a children’s playground, Two Rivers Wildlife Park is one of my favorite place to go with my brother and sister, and now Athena, when I’m in Cape Breton. Two Rivers Wildlife Park offers a unique experience to everyone from the avid nature lover to the casual observer. The petting zoo still holds my attention even in adulthood and we can’t help but smile at the otters as they splash and play in their habitat. It may be a little difficult to find, but two roads, and rivers, diverge into the wildlife and we’ve made them the path to be followed. Continue reading
I hail from a Gaelic area (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) but that doesn’t exactly make me Gaelic. I’m ignorant when it comes to my heritage and my culture. I wish I could say otherwise, but it would be untrue. This week, I’ve been learning about my roots and my “Celtic Colours”; I’ve become a tourist in my hometown and I’m catching up on a few things that I’d been blind to as a youth. I’ve attended The Cape Breton Fiddlers at the Gaelic College, Our Gaelic Kids in Christmas Island, and a Traditional Ceilidh in Iona (the video is to follow within the next few days). Today, I took one more step into learning about the Gaelic community by attending a Milling Frolic at the Highland Village in Iona. Continue reading
Gaelic wasn’t offered in the Cape Breton school system when I attended, but after years of effort in homes, communities, and organizations, it is on the rise again. Today, in Christmas Island, I witnessed the evidence of a thriving Gaelic culture and community. Three generations of Gaelic signers performed at the Christmas Island Fire Hall. There wasn’t a seat left in the house as students from the Core Gaelic Program in two schools joined with their elders for an afternoon of song and dance. Continue reading
Jumping right into the Celtic Colours Festival, I drove to Cape Breton this morning and arrived at the Gaelic College in enough time to experience The Cape Breton Fiddlers. I was instantly inspired by fiddlers of all ages and already felt an overwhelming desire to learn how to play an instrument. They moved in unison and harmoniously performed island songs from local artists. But it was when I saw Leanne Aucoin lead the group in musical perfection that I started to wonder, “What happened to my Gaelic?” Continue reading
After 6.5 hours of flying, Athena and I arrived at the Halifax International Airport and I still think it took us longer to pick up the rent-a-car than the entire flight time combined. It’s all well worth it though. My senses were delighted as we arrived “home”. (At least my Canadian home; Charlotte is definitely my real home where Darren and I are continuing our beautiful life together.) The smells, the sounds, the sights, the tastes… all uniquely Nova Scotian. Continue reading
We are an Island, a Rock in a stream
We are a People, as proud as there’s been
In soft summer breeze, or in wild winter winds
The home of our hearts, Cape Breton…
No matter where I go, when I go, or how long I go, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia will always be my home. I’m returning with my daughter, Athena, from October 6th-14th for the Celtic Colours International Festival, the ultimate taste of Cape Breton culture, music, and dance. For nine days in October, the Celtic Colours International Festival presents an extensive line-up of community events and concerts all over the island. Cape Breton is home to a unique combination of music, culture, and tradition; I want to become a tourist in my home town and soak up the island’s living Celtic culture. With an ambitious schedule and an open heart, I can’t wait to become part of the action and revel in Cape Breton’s spectacular Autumn scenery and entertainment. Continue reading
Flying a jetpack, seeing a wonder of the world, sleeping on the beach, taking a helicopter flight lesson, giving birth, finding the best Italian restaurant, volunteering for a new organization, and seeing immediate family may seem like an odd grouping, but it’s just part of my 2012 Bucket List. It wasn’t until this month that I’ve been able to accomplish one of the most important items (Obviously under delivering my baby girl). On July 7th, 2012, I returned to eastern Canada so Athena could meet her family. The complete happiness that filled my grandfather as he held her in his arms for the first time was one of the most memorable moments of my life; the look on my mother’s face when she gazed into Athena’s eyes warmed my heart; and watching my little sister, Gabriella, play with Athena like I played with her made me feel like I was in the Lion King and listening to Mufasa talk about the circle of life. Although only number 7 on my 2012 Bucket List, seeing all of my immediate family was one of the greatest highlights of the year. Continue reading