One thing that holds true for many of our readers is that you don't like to stay put! Read through the exciting travel stories written by Downhome's readers and perhaps you'll be inspired to take a trip of your own!
My husband and I have been living in Alberta for 11 years. Each year for vacation, we either go to my home in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, or to his home in Fairbanks, Newfoundland. This year, we decided to go to Alaska - but not without our latest edition of the Downhome magazine!
Beverly and Darl Scott just had to take a little piece of "home" with them when they went on their third and most recent Caribbean Cruise. The Downhome magazine travelled with them to four exciting ports. Pictured here, they are enroute to beautiful Curacao.
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Jim Norman (formerly of Port Union, NL) and his wife Carol Lopez-Norman, visit Hot Springs, Arkansas in June 2012. The city features 143 degree thermal waters and the early settlers quickly realized the springs' potential as a health resort. The water is ... click to read moreJim Norman (formerly of Port Union, NL) and his wife Carol Lopez-Norman, visit Hot Springs, Arkansas in June 2012. The city features 143 degree thermal waters and the early settlers quickly realized the springs' potential as a health resort. The water is naturally sterile and has traces of minerals that give it therapeutic properties. In the 1800s bath houses and spas were built over the springs and some are still in use today (hence the nickname "Spa City"). ... Hide full submission
Pretty, Enchanting, Inviting - P.E.I. When my husband and I decided to take a trip to Prince Edward Island, it wasn't just to see the province for the first time, but to explore it as an option for a major life change we are about to explore. We have both lived our entire lives in Ontario and are looking for a change of scene, and an affordable place to buy a hobby farm. We have heard all the usual negative ... click to read moreWhen my husband and I decided to take a trip to Prince Edward Island, it wasn't just to see the province for the first time, but to explore it as an option for a major life change we are about to explore. We have both lived our entire lives in Ontario and are looking for a change of scene, and an affordable place to buy a hobby farm. We have heard all the usual negative opinions about moving "out east," citing high unemployment, high cost of living and brutal winters. Some people told us that there wasn't much on the island. That not only would we have to leave the island to shop, but would have to pay for the privilege of doing so.
What we saw during our visit to this province was quite the opposite. While it is true that there is a fee to cross the Confederation Bridge leaving the island, we didn't see a great need for leaving the island except to visit other provinces. Whether you were looking for a major chain store or some artisan crafts, it was all there. Downtown Charlottetown has a charm that mixes all the trendiness of sushi with the historic flavour of a community that is the birthplace of Confederation. Nestled in this beautiful and historic city is the University of Prince Edward Island with it's sprawling buildings and picturesque grounds. Whether you are strolling on the harbour front walk, or exploring the boutiques and varied restaurants, it's hard to believe that this tiny province has so much to offer.
Driving from Summerside to Charlottetown, we were struck by the colour of the landscape. It seems odd to say that the grass is greener, but in a literal sense it really was. The vivid emerald green in contrast to the brick red earth of plowed land, dotted with homes in bright colours was stunning. It almost felt like we were driving through a box of crayons. We imagined rustic roads and there were some out in the country, but the major streets and highways were clean and smooth, making the drive through the countryside immensely enjoyable. What made it more enjoyable was that it wasn't the high stress driving we were used to on Ontario's Highway 401. Driving along the coastal route highways we were continually amazed at the picturesque scenery dotted with tiny fishing villages. If you wanted to stop each time you saw a scenic, postcard-quality view you would never get anywhere. After awhile we gave up taking pictures and just took in the beauty and enjoyed the ambiance of this province.
We enjoyed a delicious, reasonably priced lunch at Breihaut's as we drove through Murray Harbour and marveled at the quaint knotty pine booths and charming front porch with its banner over the front door. As we continued our tour we stopped in at Rossignol Winery displaying amazing red sand sculptures at the entrance. We spent some time there sampling wonderful fruit wines like strawberry and blueberry, admiring the bottle labels that were designed by a local artist.
The coastal drives, which were well-marked, took us past numerous lighthouses, sandy beaches and small harbours, which made you want to stop, breathe in the salt air and feel blessed to see such beauty. Rather than great expanses of crowded suburban neighbourhoods, we saw small communities with quaint houses and churches dotting a lush green landscape. Even the big cities like Charlottetown were clean and well kept. If there is mass unemployment and hardship it wasn't outwardly evident as we explored the province.
Whether it was shopping at the local liquor store, walking along the beach or exploring Green Gables, we couldn't help but notice the welcoming attitude of the locals. Everywhere we went we were drawn into friendly conversations with complete strangers who treated us like next door neighbours. There is a sense of closeness and community that binds together a population smaller than some Ontario cities, who are spread out over a whole province. The population is full of artisans, artists and entrepreneurs, which certainly speaks to the pioneer spirit that this province was started with in the 1700s, when the first settlers began to build their first communities on that island.
After experiencing the people and the beauty of this land we realized that this was where we wanted to be. Where else can you find the atmosphere of a small town mixed with the convenience of the big city and the availability of affordable rural properties that are within an hour's drive of the beach, shopping malls, restaurants and some of the most amazing lobster suppers around? Prince Edward Island and its people has stolen our hearts, and it will soon be "home" for us. ... Hide full submission