Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ahhhhhh, summer......

We left Toronto enroute to Nova Scotia at 5 am Sunday. Our car was FULL. Well, actually, see for yourself -- I guess that I could have fit a tiny bit more in.....

This time, we drove south,through Buffalo and took the I90 east toward Boston, then the  I95 North to Portland, Maine. The drive is about 10 hours of actual driving -- it took us about 14 hours -- Ray ( and Andy) need frequent stops. ( please note, that if you are traveling to/from the US with a pet, you just need a note that they have had their rabies shot within the year, but also more than 30 days ago. No problem at all, we sailed through customs)
We arrived in
Portland around 7 pm -- so we had a few minutes to stop at Trader Joes ( olive tapenade, rosemary raisin crisps... You know, just the basics :) Portland is such a pretty town/city -- I hope to be able to explore it more next year.
7:30 we got in line for the ferry -- NovaStar ( from Portland to Yarmouth, NS) the Ferry is gigantic! It is touted as a "cruise ship".  We were a bit worried for Andy - who had to stay crated in our car for the 10 hour voyage. But we cracked down our windows a bit ( this is a night crossing -- and quite cool - no sweltering heat, don't worry) and wired a bowl of water to the door. His crate is his safe and happy place,so we were hopeful that he would be fine. He had his blankie. Night night Andy -- see you in the morning.
We splurged a bit and booked a cabin ( so glad), so we dropped our stuff off and then went to explore the ship ( note to travellers -- the power outlets on the ship are international, so you can't charge electronics or plug anything in). Our room had 4 bunks ( the top ones were folded up), a bedside table, a tiny desk, rack for clothes, and a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. Toiletries and towels in the WC. We booked an interior cabin because we would be travelling at night and not really needing a view.

The ferry left dock at 9 -- the sun was just starting to set. The port was beautiful. Many car alarms were going off below deck, so we worried a bit about Andy, but the ship managed to contact everyone to shut off all of the alarms. 

We stayed on deck until it was dark , and then headed off to fine some food. There are 3 places on board to find food -- a "fine dining" establishment that we never came across :) , a buffet, and a pub where you can get muffins and sandwiches. We chose the buffet ($23 each). The food was FANTASTIC. We started with salads ( Caesar, tomato) then moved to the mains. I tried some curried beef, seafood wontons and baked fish. All excellent. I had blueberry pie and Mr. B had blueberry cheesecake. 
Have I mentioned the Ferry Staff? So helpful and efficient :)
We were tired ( by then it was
10:30) , so we ambled back to our cabin. Only a small roll and rumble, so I wasn't seasick yet!
We slept like babies, and were awakened by a VERY
LOUD announcement that it was morning and we would dock in an hour and a half, and would we please vacate our rooms within a half hour.
We showered, packed and headed to the buffet for breakfast ( I was still full from supper the previous evening, but Mr. B says the breakfast ($12) was great.

Another announcement invited us down to our cars... We couldn't remember where our car was ( note to self: next year, pay attention), but we found it, and Andy seemed
JUST FINE. We drove off the ferry, and quickly sailed through customs again, and stopped at the tourist information centre to walk Andy. He hopped out of his crate, happy as can be. We walked around for about 1/2 hour, and then he happily hopped back into his crate for the rest of the car ride. What an awesome dog we have!!!!

 (that's the ferry in the background!)
We will DEFINITELY  take the NovaStar again!
Then we had less than a 2 hour drive to our summer home ( stopping in Barrington Passage No Frills for more groceries)
Yay! We are here -- the roses and peonies are beautiful. Time now to relax.
If you are reading this and have any questions about the ferry, please leave a comment, or email me, and I will get back to you asap)


Kathy Jenkins said...

Your post was very helpful, Thank you! Can you tell me about how long it took for you to disembark and did the ship leave promptly at 8pm? Just trying to finalize my itinerary and since we are only in Yarmouth for 2 days, trying to fit in as much as possible. Thanks for any information you can give me.

martha brown said...

Hi Kathy,
You didn't leave an email address, so I can't email you with answers. Please email me through my blog ( click on my profile, and then contact info, then email)
I took the ferry again this year -- it has changed a bit. I t was even better this year! I would love to answer any questions!
The ship leaves promptly -- and disembarks very quickly -- going through customs was very quick too. I don't know exact times... But I'm sure that we were in the tourist info building before 9 am.