Narrow-Gauge Geek-Out!


Cruising down Maine Route 218, I saw signs for the Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway Museum.

Although the museum wasn’t officially open and the trains weren’t running, several remarkable volunteers (thanks, Steve and the other guys!) led me on a railroad geek-out tour, and taught me all sorts of interesting stuff about narrow-gauge (two feet between the rails) railroad systems.

The advantage of narrow-gauge systems was cost. Rails, right-of-way, maintenance, and equipment were all much more affordable, and could be more easily be implemented for smaller towns. Serendipitously, narrow-gauge railroads are also easier for organizations like the WW&FRM to maintain, rebuild, and re-create.

Stationmaster's office: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
The annual Fall Work Weekend at a beautifully replicated stationmaster’s office.

Engine 9: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
Engine 9 – Admit it: you want this in your back yard.

Building a new roundhouse: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
Building a new narrow-gauge roundhouse (from the original plans).

Passenger car: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
Inside one of the passenger cars. Quite luxurious.

Spare narrow-gauge railroad wheels: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
Narrow-gauge railroad wheels.

The engine house: Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway
The workhouse.

Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington Railway Museum
Cross Road
Alna, Maine

Delightfully Maine


To really enjoy driving in northern Maine, skip I-95 or US-1 and head for the state highways.

US Route 202, Dixmont ME
Dixmont, Maine

US Route 202, Newburgh ME
Newburgh, Maine

US Route 202, Albion ME
Albion, Maine

Maine Route 9 & US Route 202
Rural Central Maine

Uniquity. That’s a word, right?


Amherst Nova Scotia is a friendly little Victorian city.

Amherst NS Train Station
The VIA Rail train station, downtown.

These wooden sculptures are all over downtown. A resident explained that they were all done out of tree trunks by chainsaw artist Bruce Hebert. Now, folks in town are trying to save them from rot, weather, and accidents.

Landlord, Victorian Lady Sculptures - Bruce Hebert - Amherst NS
The guy on the left was a landlord in town (not a well-loved landlord). That’s the Victorian Lady on the right.

Sculptures - Bruce Hebert - Amherst NS
Quite the tall gentleman.

Colonial Girl Sculpture - Bruce Hebert - Amherst NS
Colonial girl, being photobombed by my car.

Fathers of the Confederation Sculpture - Bruce Hebert - Amherst NS
The Fathers of the Confederation welcome you to Downtown Amherst.

Because I care about you, gentle reader, I looked it up. There is only one Amherst in all of Canada, but there are eight of them in the United States:

 

Along the Sunrise Trail, (Route 6)
Downtown Amherst, Nova Scotia

What does it mean?


I passed by these signs four times already today, and still don’t understand. Are they talking about earthen dams? Alternative colonial lifestyles?

Acadian Dykes 1710-1755, Sunrise Trail, Malagash NS
Road sign: Acadian Dykes 1710-1755

Along the Sunrise Trail, (Route 6)
Malagash, NS

It takes a Village to Microbrew.


Tatamagouche is a colorful town on the Sunrise Trail in northwest Nova Scotia.

Tatamagouche NS
Not that Amherst.

They like color - Sunrise Trail, Tatamagouche NS
Entering downtown Tamagouche.

Tatamagouche Brewing - Sunrise Trail, Tatamagouche NS
Gotta stop here.

Tatamagouche Brewing - Sunrise Trail, Tatamagouche NS
OMG! I had their Hippie Dippie Pale Ale in Halifax a few days ago!

Tatamagouche Brewing - Sunrise Trail, Tatamagouche NS
Everyone needs hoppy lights.

Along the Sunrise Trail (Route 6)
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Old-Timey Creatures?


They say there’s a lot of history in Nova Scotia. I guess these critters would agree.

Dinosaur on Nova Scotia, River John NS
Moss comes from dinosaurs.

Dinosaur on Nova Scotia, River John NS
Dinosaurs like freshwater ponds.

Hedgeville Road
River John, NS

Craft Distiller Ahead


The Caldera Distillery is part of what makes the Sunrise Trail so scenic. Hipsters have moved from making craft beer to making craft whiskey, with local ingredients and quality flavors.

Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
There’s the signpost up ahead. Next stope: Caldera Distilling!

Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
I don’t know about this…

Wooden Barrels, Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
One of Kentucky’s leading exports: used charred oaken barrels.

Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
The fourth bottle from the right followed me home.

The Distillery Master - Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
The Master Distiller himself.
They’ve got more all-copper gear on order to handle their growth.

Not quite how it's made - Caldera Distilling, River John, NS
I love that they got this moonshiners still.

Caldera Distilling
Just off the Sunrise Trail
River John, NS

Taking the Scenic Route


Taking the scenic route as I started to head back home. Trunk Route 6, the Sunrise Trail follows the northern Nova Scotia shore from New Glasgow to New Brunswick.

Toney River, Pictou NS - Route 6, Sunrise Trail - Nova Scotia
Toney River Harbor, Pictou, NS

Toney River, Pictou NS - Route 6, Sunrise Trail - Nova Scotia
Toney River Harbor, Pictou, NS

Along the Sunrise Trail, (Route 6)
Pictou, NS

Driving. Sometimes with white knuckles.


The Cabot Trail is the scenic loop road circling the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. I traveled it clockwise from Inverness to Broad Cove on Wednesday.

Inverness Coastline - The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
The Inverness NS coastline.

Blatant Tourist Trap! - The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Tourist Trap near my bike’s shadow. Belle Côte, NS

Pleasant Bay - The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Gotta get down the hill from way up here to way down there. Pleasant Bay, NS

Not a mussel nor an oyster: Pleasant Bay - The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Uh, sir, that’s not a mussel nor an oyster… Pleasant Bay, NS

Dingwall NS - The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Views after the hair-raising cliffside descent of North Mountain. Dingwall, NS

Along the Cabot Trail
Cape Breton Highlands National Park,
Nova Scotia

Just in case I forgot I’m out-of-shape…


I took a bike ride on this terrific little dirt road along the northern Cape Breton coast. The views were one-of-a-kind.

Broad Cove Marsh Road, Inverness Nova Scotia
“Pastoral” is the word for how the ride starts out at this country church and burying ground.

Broad Cove Marsh Road, Inverness Nova Scotia
The hills go steeply down (yay!) and the hills go steeply up (ouch!).

Broad Cove Marsh Road, Inverness Nova Scotia
And the rugged coastline views made it all worth while.

Broad Cove Marsh Road
Cape Breton Island
Inverness, Nova Scotia