Road Scholar - The Best of the Canadian Maritimes
September 16 - Fortress Louisbourg
Here's more paraphrasing from the Road Scholar brochure:
Norman, our driver, let us off at the fortress and then drove the bus to a designated parking area. We met our Parks Canada interpreter, She talked about the history of Nova Scotia and the battle between the French and the English for the control of North America. Founded by the French in 1763 and abandoned by the British in 1768, Louisbourg was a place of great importance in North America. It was the administrative capital of French holdings in Atlantic Canada and one of France's key economic and military centers in the new world. It was also a center for trade with France, the French West Indies, Lower Canada (now Quebec), Acadia and New England. This site is North America's largest historical reconstruction. Unlike most colonial settlements, no modern city was built here. Thus the site preserves a massive archaeological time capsule.
As our guide led us around the fortress, I had to keep reminding myself that it is a reconstruction. Very little of the original buildings remain.
After our tour, we were free to wander around and visit the different buildings. The atmosphere was a bit like Williamsburg except there were no artisans working their trades. One exception was the baker. I bought a small loaf of bread that represented what a citizen would have bought in the 1700s. It was dry and lasted for three days before I threw out what was left.
Lunch was at Hotel de la Marine, a traditional inn. We dined as we would have in 1744 in a low-ceilinged room on long tables with only natural light. Soup, meat of the day and dessert were on the menu. I had to have a hot buttered rum to drink.
After lunch we visited more buildings until it was time to leave and bus back to Baddeck.
Dinner at the auberge was rushed because we had tickets to the Baddeck Gathering Ceilidhs. In St Michael's Hall down the street, we enjoyed traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, song and dance. We listened to a performance by Helen MacDonald (fiddle), Scott MacKenzie (guitar) and Susan MacLean (piano). Helen and Susan also demonstrated line dancing. Some of the audience were involved when they asked for volunteers for more dancing similar to square dancing. Ann and I sat on our hands and didn't volunteer.
This was a fun evening and we waked back to the auberge in good spirits.