Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Living in Lunenburg top 10

Today is my birthday.  Thank you, thank you.  It's been a verbal year for me, to put it mildly.  I'm just a woman filled with opinions, but there is one opinion that has never wavered and that is that I am very lucky to live in Lunenburg.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful to be here.  So, in honour of my good mood and my advanced age  I will share with you the top 10 reasons that I love living in Lunenburg.

Number 1- The Lunenburg Academy- This building is known as the castle on the hill.  When we first moved here it was still the elementary school, but is now in transition.  On the top floor is LAMP, the Lunenburg Adacdemy of Music Performance.  We play basket ball to the left of this photo and get to hear live, world class music wafting from the windows.
The Lunenburg Library will soon be moving downstairs.  This building is a two minute, bee line walk from my home.

The grounds around the Academy are my life.  Every morning begins with a dog walk through the field and then through the paths of the cemetery.  My son and I have spent countless hours playing in the playground and throwing the ball for our dog, Lego.  He is excellent at catching the ball, but does not bring it back.  I have become a well trained retriever.

2-The Back Harbour Trail - When the trail is passable, and it usually is, Lego and I walk down the cemetery hill and hit the path.  I try to mix up my walks sometimes, but find that I always fall back on the peace and quiet of the old railroad bed.  I am always amazed at how we are often alone, or may bump into only a couple of other walkers.  Such a far cry from nature trails in a city, where you are forced to learn the rules of the road or get run over.  Lego's habit of walking in a zig zag pattern bothers no one at all. The entire trail is 5 km, but it hooks up with a longer trail system and you can bike all the way to Halifax and beyond.  One day, one day.....

3-Sidewalks - After five years of living in the country, in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY,  where walking on the edge of a winding rural road meant taking your life in your hands, I vowed to find a home with sidewalks.  As a young girl, I lived in Montreal and loved the autonomy of my life on the street with my gang of children. I loved getting my weekly ten cent allowance and walking to the variety store and blowing it all on candy.  
It was very important to me that my son would be able to walk to a friend's house or the playground or the corner store to spend (my money) on candy.  Mission accomplished.

4- The Dog - Lunenburg is a dog's dream. There is no such thing as tying your dog up outside of a shop.  Bring 'im on in!  Can I give him a treat?  Town hall, several shops, the bank and the post office all have hidden stashes of treats and Lego makes sharp turns in front of his favourite establishments.

5- The Post Office - This is Lego's favourite destination, hands down.  Between Troy and Karen, who spoil him rotten and "Two Treat Fridays" I have to watch that I don't get yanked off my feet when opening the door to drop off a package.  The post office was where I first learned about "how we do things in Nova Scotia" and I mean that in the best way possible.  When I first moved here, seven years ago, I went to deliver a hat and discovered that the small box would cost $30 to ship.  I was somewhat panicked.  The man behind the counter, put up the closed sign and while seven people behind me patiently waited, he opened my box, cut it down by an inch, resealed it, taking $20 off the shipping cost.  Since that initial experience I have had postal workers carry boxes out to my car for me and even calls at home when it was known that I was anxiously awaiting a shipment of labels.

6- The Lunenburg Farmers Market - You can find me here, selling my wares for much of the year, but when I am not selling, I am shopping.  I have seen our market grow and grow.  We now have a year round market and I can tell you that it's one of the best ones in the province.  We've got it all, produce, meat, bread, flowers, crafts and of course, hats.  Every Thursday morning from 8-12 (8:30-12 in the winter) the town shows up to stock up on a week's worth of local goodness.  There is much gossip, Laughing Whale coffee sipping and music listening.  Anybody that is able, plans their week around this weekly event.

7- Swimming Pools - Yes, that is meant to be plural. We have two swimming pools in our 4 square kilometer town.  During the summer, the outdoor pool is open and Dustin rides his bike to take lessons, during the winter we head to Emocean for family swim on either Saturdays or Sundays from 2-4.  Haven't been there in a while, but we'll get back to it.  For a while, before Lego arrived on the scene, I would swim every morning.  I can't remember ever having to compete with someone for the use of a lane.  You can get a monthly or annual membership to Emocean and swim any time of the day or night.  Now that I'm writing about it, I think it might be time to take up the habit again.

8-Neighbours and Friends - This is Margaret's house, across the street.  It was designed by her son Alec Brown, an architect in Halifax. It gets quite a bit of attention and people drive by regularly to snap a photo.  Yes, the house is beautiful.  Inside is the epitome of peace and openness, but what I love best is the woman that lives within.  She is the neighbourhood grandma.  All the children ring her doorbell for cookies and if Lego could reach the doorbell he would ring it, too, because Margaret always has a biscuit for him.   I am surrounded by great neighbours.  Can I borrow an egg or maybe a dozen eggs, a cup of sugar or an onion?  These requests circulate freely around our little block.

9- Beauty - One cannot escape beauty in Lunenburg.  It's at the front harbour, the back harbour and across the harbour on First Peninsula.  It's in the next town over and  a few kilometres away in Blue Rocks. It's across the Lahave River at all our amazing beaches and it's along the road to Riverport and Rose Bay.  It's easy to forget that not everyone lives like this.

10- Last, but not least is my little studio in my home where I get to make pretty hats all day for a living.  I happen to be married to a handsome, talented wood worker who built me the most beautiful little shop.
I love showing off this amazing room in my house, so if you are in Lunenburg, please stop by for a visit. You can head to my website to see more photos of the inside.

There is so much that I left out - great restaurants and shops, festivals and performances, places to skate, play tennis and golf.

I promised a couple of blog posts ago that I would not get political here and I won't.  Really.  I just want to say that the other voice that is heard from me comes from my true adoration of this place and my desire for as many people as possible to be able to come and share this dream.  This kind of beauty needs to be shared.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Just Another Lunenburg Morning

Honest to God...No camera filter.

I don't think I could ever live anywhere flat.  Takes a bit of training to walk up these hills, but it keeps you young.

I took this photo from my studio window.  I'd be rich by now if it weren't for the time I waste just staring.

O.K., This photo has nothing to do with a view of Lunenburg, but my boys are so damn cute; I had to thrown it in there. 

Enjoy the day, wherever you may be.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Big Mouth - The Changing of The Blogs

When I was a little girl and I was scared to ask for something or stick up for myself, my mother would say, 
"Anna, God gave you a mouth.  Use it!"  I am sure she came to regret this advice, as I was known as something of a volatile child, but six months ago, after  exhausting all my other avenues of being heard, my mother's words came back to me and I took to my blog to try to bring attention to a problem affecting many small businesses in Nova Scotia.

I, naively, believed that all would be solved quickly and that in a short time I would be able to return to my love of promoting this beautiful place that I call home, other local businesses, and the ups and downs of motherhood. Fifty seven blog posts later,  I have come to terms with the fact that shutting up about things that I feel strongly about is not in my genetic make up, but I have also come to see that this blog is no longer the place to express my views and bring light to some of the challenges of people living in Nova Scotia.

Pretty hats and beauty and nature and being a parent are topics where people, who may disagree on many issues, can still find common ground.  Common ground is as important to me as speaking out, so I have decided that this blog needs to be a happy place.  

Yesterday, I moved all my politically charged blog posts over to a new blog.  I spent a lot of time convincing an algorithm that I was not a robot writing 57 posts in one day.  You now have a choice - If you want to know a little bit about the me that loves Nova Scotia, making beautiful things,  drinking wine with friends, laughing, my family, my dog and supporting all things local then follow me here.  But if you want to hear me use the mouth I was given, to bring to light the things that are uncomfortable to talk about, in the hopes that talking about it will help move these issues forward...well then, hop on over to my other blog.  Or, heck, if you want to see that it is possible to love where you are, but also want to make things better, then just flip back and forth between the channels.  
Click HERE for my other blog and I'll let you know how to stay in touch.