Ted and I are off on another wonderful adventure. This time to Nova Scotia. We started our trip last Sunday (the 27th) from Portland Maine with a fabulous dinner at Vignola, a delightful restaurant just off the waterfront, then headed to the State Pier where we boarded the overnight ferry to Yarmouth, NS. This is the best way to get to 'Novie' (as Grampie used to call NS). We watched the lights of Portland fade into the night, had a good night's sleep in our cabin, and arrived rested and ready to head for the cottage on the south shore. We didn't have Internet for the whole week and only spotty cell phone reception which seemed odd, but also a relief.
Port Joli is a very small town on the southern shore of Nova Scotia, and not necessarily a tourist destination, although for several reasons, I was eager to visit. When a rug hooking friend and recent teacher at Green Mountain Rug School, Susie Stephenson, mentioned that she had a cottage in Port Joli, my jaw dropped. Most notably, Port Joli is the entrance to the Kejimkujik Provincial Park trail which offers spectacular views of the coast, but for me, hearing the name Port Joli (pronounced ‘jolly’) brought back many distant memories! It was a name I’d heard back in the 1970’s & 80’s from my first husband’s parents who had owned land there for many years. The land was inherited and Grampie spoke of the place in glowing terms and with a little mist in his eye. His family hailed from Lunenburg just a short way north on the coast, and I wondered if he also had family in Port Joli. He and Gramma often made a pilgrimage to their beach-front land in ‘Novie’, and although it was landlocked, they always said they’d like to built a small place. Unfortunately they never did, and after Grampie’s death, the land was sold and I never heard the name again. I have, however, always remembered the perfectly oval, smooth granite stone that sat by the fire place in their Rockport, MA, home. Using black paint and his best penmanship, Grampie had painted on the stone the words, ‘Port Joli’. Ted and I did a little sleuthing in the local cemetery and asked several local people if they knew anything about the Conrads, but we didn’t find the location of the land or any information about ancestors.