Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Apple Picking in the Annapolis Valley

Continuing my blog series of telling my stories through photographs, my most recent family weekend resulted in us going to Windsor, Nova Scotia for some apple picking. We don’t get together with all three kids too often, so we wanted to take advantage of the situation.

Apple Picking 1
I took a moment once I got out of the car to take a quick pic of my SKECHERS. These are the Men’s Relaxed Fit: Blais-Telen. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. The great thing about them is that I feel as good wearing them with pants as I am with wearing them with shorts.
So we wanted to pick some Honeycrisp apples, as they are our favourite type of apple, by far. We ended up at Mason's Apples, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia. This was a massive orchard with multiple types of apples to choose from. And to top it off, it was a gorgeous day...it was just awesome!
So we wanted to pick some Honeycrisp apples, as they are our favourite type of apple, by far. We ended up at Mason’s Apples, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia. This was a massive orchard with multiple types of apples to choose from. And to top it off, it was a gorgeous day…it was just awesome!
I've seen some beautiful apples in my life, but there were some unbelievably red apples to choose from on this day. The orchard was very busy, but we were able to find a pretty good spot all to ourselves.
I’ve seen some beautiful apples in my life, but there were some unbelievably red apples to choose from on this day. The orchard was very busy, but we were able to find a pretty good spot all to ourselves.
It's not often that you get to really enjoy some perfectly ripe apples at a U-Pick. By the time I usually get to one of these, most of the best apples are already taken. Thankfully, that wasn't the case on this day.
It’s not often that you get to really enjoy some perfectly ripe apples at a U-Pick. By the time I usually get to one of these, most of the best apples are already taken. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case on this day.
The kids were even able to grab a small ladder and pick from the top of some of the trees, which is where the best apples were located. They each got to pick apples on their own and everybody got their turn climbing the ladder. We definitely had some happy campers on this day.
The kids were even able to grab a small ladder and pick from the top of some of the trees, which is where the best apples were located. They each got to pick apples on their own and everybody got their turn climbing the ladder. We definitely had some happy campers on this day.
Sunshine was pretty happy with her haul...
Sunshine was pretty happy with her haul…
...as was I!!
…as was I!!
We had a great time, though sometimes I think the parents end up having more fun than the kids do.
We had a great time, though sometimes I think the parents end up having more fun than the kids do.
So when all was said and done, we had two ten-pound bags full of fresh, ripe Honeycrisp apples. But in addition to that, we had spent some memorable time together as a family. And when all is said and done, that's the main reason we went there to begin with.
So when all was said and done, we had two ten-pound bags full of fresh, ripe Honeycrisp apples. But in addition to that, we had spent some memorable time together as a family. And when all is said and done, that’s the main reason we went there to begin with.

Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Saint John, New Brunswick

Continuing my blog series of telling my stories through photographs, my most recent business trip took me to the historic city of Saint John, New Brunswick. I actually lived close to Saint John when I was a kid, out in the Gondola Point area (which is now considered part of Quispamsis).

While I wasn’t able to do a ton of sight-seeing, I still did the most to make the trip memorable…

These are my new Skechers: the Mark Nason Vesper shoe. I was a little concerned about the fit at first, primarily because they felt a little snug along the sides even though there was plenty of room near the toes. I can tell you that after two days on my feet, these shoes were FANTASTIC! The Memory Foam Lux insole made me feel as though I was walking on cushions the entire time. No word of lie...these shoes are awesome!
These are my new SKECHERS: the Mark Nason Vesper shoe. I was a little concerned about the fit at first, primarily because they felt a little snug along the sides even though there was plenty of room near the toes. I can tell you that after two days on my feet, these shoes were FANTASTIC! The Memory Foam Lux insole made me feel as though I was walking on cushions the entire time. No word of lie…these shoes are awesome!
I left the office at 1:30pm. It is a 4 1/2 hour trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous summer day and the drive went by rather quickly.
I left the office at 1:30pm. It is a 4 1/2 hour trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous summer day and the drive went by rather quickly.
My home for the next couple of days. This chain was recommended to me and, as of today anyway, its been a good choice. I never have issues staying here...and no, that is NOT a paid endorsement.
My home for the next couple of days. This chain was recommended to me and, as of today anyway, its been a good choice. I never have issues staying here…and no, that is NOT a paid endorsement.
The first stop in the city was to eat, so I went down to Market Square along the waterfront. I love this part of the city, as its very open and includes not only shopping, but also the local library and the New Brunswick Museum.
The first stop in the city was to eat, so I went down to Market Square along the waterfront. I love this part of the city, as its very open and includes not only shopping, but also the public library and the New Brunswick Museum.
I had heard very good things about Ryan Duffys, which is a surf-n-turf restaurant located in Market Square. I was famished and it had already been a long week, so I was very much looking forward to a great meal.
I had heard very good things about Ryan Duffys, which is a surf-n-turf restaurant located in Market Square. I was famished and it had already been a long week, so I was very much looking forward to a great meal.
I asked my server for a local red and was given Picaroons, which is made in nearby Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was okay...a little too dark of a red for my personal tastes. Still...I'm all about supporting local.
I asked my server for a local red and was given Picaroons, which is made in nearby Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was okay…a little too dark of a red for my personal tastes. Still…I’m all about supporting local.
This was my meal: an 8-ounce, Alberta AAA wet-aged filet mignon and a side of lobster mac & cheese.
This was my meal: an 8-ounce, Alberta AAA wet-aged filet mignon and a side of lobster mac & cheese. Trust me…you do NOT want to know how much I paid for this.
I have to be 100% honest here...the filet was a little too blackened on the outside for my tastes (the bottom was worse than the top; pictured here). The inside was my requested medium rare, but the majority of my bites were flavourless because any seasoning that was on the meat initially was seared off or lost in the crunching of black pieces of meat. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but I have had a LOT better.
I have to be 100% honest here…the filet was a little too blackened on the outside. The inside was my requested medium rare, but the majority of my bites were flavourless because any seasoning that was on the meat initially was seared off or lost in the crunching of black pieces of meat. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but I have had a LOT better.
This is Ryan Duffy's take on Lobster Mac & Cheese, which consists of Atlantic lobster, macaroni, spinach, tomatoes (which I asked to have removed), and a three cheese sauce all under a corn chip crust. If you look closely, you'll see there isn't any crust on the dish at all. Not inside...not outside. And it really could've been "mac & cheese soup" for how watery it was. The flavours were okay and lobster is never bad, but I'd rather make a batch of Kraft Dinner and throw some lobster in it myself. Hmmmm...that actually sounds REALLY good.
This is Ryan Duffy’s take on Lobster Mac & Cheese, which consists of Atlantic lobster, macaroni, spinach, tomatoes (which I asked to have removed), and a three cheese sauce all under a corn chip crust. If you look closely, you’ll see there isn’t any crust on the dish at all. Not inside…not outside. And it really could’ve been “mac & cheese soup” for how watery it was. The flavours were okay and lobster is never bad, but I’d rather make a batch of Kraft Dinner and throw some lobster in it myself. Hmmmm…that actually sounds REALLY good.
I took a quick walk around Market Square before heading back to the hotel for the evening. One of the beautiful things about Saint John is the historic architecture, as you'll find buildings that are over a century old.
I took a quick walk around Market Square before heading back to the hotel for the evening. One of the beautiful things about Saint John is the historic architecture, as you’ll find buildings that are over a century old.
Something to keep in mind if you're ever in Saint john is that it was Canada's first incorporated city way back in 1785, so the history of the city has always been something locals are proud of...and rightly so!
Something to keep in mind if you’re ever in Saint john is that it was Canada’s first incorporated city way back in 1785, so the history of the city has always been something locals are proud of…and rightly so!
After a good night's sleep, I woke to a gorgeous sunrise out of my room's window. It was a great way to start the day!
After a good night’s sleep, I woke to a gorgeous sunrise out of my room’s window. It was a great way to start the day!
After a couple of nights in this historic city, I was ready to head back home...but not before going to the best location in the entire city: The Saint John City Market!
After a couple of nights in this historic city, I was ready to head back home…but not before going to the best location in the entire city: the Saint John City Market!
Open year-round, Monday to Saturday, the Saint John City Market offers a unique shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. Nowhere else in Saint John can you experience a traditional "farmers market" while shopping for such a wide selection of local goods and imported foods.
Open year-round, Monday to Saturday, the Saint John City Market offers a unique shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. Nowhere else in Saint John can you experience a traditional “farmers market” while shopping for such a wide selection of local goods and imported foods.

Saint John 15

Saint John 17

Saint John 18

Its here that you can browse for Maritime crafts, imported items, and items hand-crafted by the City Market's own resident artists.
Its here that you can browse for Maritime crafts, imported items, and items hand-crafted by the City Market’s own resident artists.

Saint John 20

Saint John 19

Saint John 18

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The biggest reason for me going to the City Market, however, was to pick up a delicacy that isn’t available everywhere: DULSE. My wife was VERY happy to receive this gift when I got back home.
Do just what is dulse? It's a red alga that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It looks like seaweed and is a well-known snack food.
Do just what is dulse? It’s a red alga that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s a type of seaweed and is a well-known regional snack food.
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content. It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces, and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. I think it's gross, but my wife LOVES the stuff.
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content. It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces, and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. I think it’s gross, but my wife LOVES the stuff.
After two days and two nights, I made my way back home to Halifax. Thankfully, it was another beautiful day and the views between Saint John and Sussex, New Brunswick were phenomenal. But there was still one more stop I needed to make before getting back home...
After two days and two nights, I made my way back home to Halifax. Thankfully, it was another beautiful day and the views between Saint John and Sussex, New Brunswick were phenomenal. But there was still one more stop I needed to make before getting back home…
...I stopped by Moncton and surprised my son for lunch! I had spoken with his mom, who agreed it would be great for me to surprise him. It wasn't a long stop, but he'll always remember that his dad dropped by whenever he was passing by the area. When he's older, those types of memories will stay with him...and that's the kind of memory of me that I want him to have.
…I stopped by Moncton and surprised my son for lunch! I had spoken with his mom, who agreed it would be great for me to surprise him. It wasn’t a long stop, but he’ll always remember that his dad dropped by whenever he was passing by the area. When he’s older, those types of memories will stay with him…and that’s the kind of memory of me that I want him to have.

Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Grand Manan Island

Continuing my new blog series of telling my stories through photographs, I simply HAD to talk about a fantastic recent trip I made to Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. Y’see, my wife had lived there briefly when she was younger and had some really great friends who grew up there, but she hadn’t seen them in years.

We decided to meet-up with them and spend the weekend. It would be my first time visiting Grand Manan, so I knew that I had to take a TON of photos of where my shoes were taking me this time…

These are my new Skechers: the Men’s Relaxed Fit: Blais-Telen. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. On this day, they took me to a hillside in downtown Halifax to watch the 2016 Pride parade. We were VERY fortunate to find a near-empty hillside by the very beginning of the parade route. While thousands and thousands of people waited throughout the downtown core, there may have been maybe 100 people scattered along the hill. It was the PERFECT spot.
These are my new Skechers: the Men’s Relaxed Fit: Blais-Telen. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. I knew that I’d be doing a ton of walking and/or standing over the course of the weekend, so I wanted something on my feet with some cushion. These sneakers have memory foam inside, making them an EXTREMELY comfy shoe to wear on an occasion such as this one.
It wasn’t easy, but we got up at the ass-crack of dawn on a Saturday morning so we could hit the road by 6am. Needless to say, we started the car on time.
We made quite a few stops along our 5+ hour trip. The first was a pit-stop in Amherst, Nova Scotia. For whatever reason, we saw this motorcycle sign and thought it was hilarious. I mean...it looks like it's straight out of the 1950's or something. Or maybe it was just us.
We made quite a few stops along our 5+ hour trip. The first was a pit-stop in Amherst, Nova Scotia. For whatever reason, we saw this motorcycle sign and thought it was hilarious. I mean…it looks like it’s straight out of the 1950’s or something. Or maybe it was just us.
The second pit-stop was in Moncton, New Brunswick. We had gone about as far as we could go before Sunshine had to get her hands on some Starbucks. Happy wife = happy life!!
The next stop is now kind of a "tradition" for us whenever we drive through the area. This is an Irving Big Stop located in Salisbury, New Brunswick. I don't know why, but this gas station is massive and is always REALLY busy. It's just a fun stop for us to take a silly selfie.
The next stop is now kind of a “tradition” for us whenever we drive through the area. This is an Irving Big Stop located in Salisbury, New Brunswick. I don’t know why, but this gas station is massive and is always REALLY busy. It’s just a fun stop for us to take a silly selfie.
Even though it was 10:45am, we felt as though it was time for lunch (we'd been up for almost six hours by this point). Thankfully, we found a Wendy's in Saint John, New Brunswick that opened a few minutes early.
Even though it was 10:45am, we felt as though it was time for lunch (we’d been up for almost six hours by this point). Thankfully, we found a Wendy’s in Saint John, New Brunswick that opened a few minutes early.
We finally made our way to Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. This was where we would catch the ferry to the island.
The views from the ferry terminal were beautiful. It may be a very small blip on the map, but it's a very picturesque location.
The views from the ferry terminal were beautiful. It may be a very small blip on the map, but it’s a very picturesque location.
Okay…I was really stoked to see that there were “ARCADE GAMES” around the corner inside of the ferry terminal. I mean, I hadn’t seen arcade games in years, but remember just how much time I spent in arcades when I was a teenager. I couldn’t wait to go around the corner so I could…….
...see the one arcade game. Umm...okay. Not only was it just one arcade game in a tiny nook of the ferry terminal, but it was Ms. Pac-Man. No offense, but I'm just an original Pac-Man kind of guy. Oh well...
…see the one arcade game. Umm…okay. Not only was it just one arcade game in a tiny nook of the ferry terminal, but it was Ms. Pac-Man. No offense, but I’m just an original Pac-Man kind of guy. Oh well…
The ferry itself wasn't overly large, but I hadn't been on one in about 15 years. It's always a weird feeling to drive onto a boat and realize you've got zero control over your destiny for the next hour or two.
The ferry itself wasn’t overly large, but I hadn’t been on one in about 15 years. It’s always a weird feeling to drive onto a boat and realize you’ve got zero control over your destiny for the next hour or two.
Just a few views from the ferry, including the menu which had a "steak dinner" for $8.99 and a "donair" for $4.99. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust a ferry to provide me quality versions of either one.
Just a few views from the ferry, including the menu which had a “steak dinner” for $8.99 and a “donair” for $4.99. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust a ferry to provide me quality versions of either one.

Sunshine and I made our way off the ferry and found her friend’s house. After hugging her best friend (who she hadn’t seen in over a decade), we all went inside to settle-in, hear some fun stories of Sunshine in her 20’s, and enjoy a feast.

This is just a glimpse of the feast we enjoyed on the first night in Grand Manan with Sunshine's friends. Lobster dip, seafood chowder, beer-soaked ribs, and so much more. I felt bad because I couldn't eat everything placed in front of me. At least I was able to enjoy a couple of Keith's Red, which is a Halifax-made beer that is my current beer of choice.
This is just a glimpse of the feast we enjoyed on the first night in Grand Manan with Sunshine’s friends. Lobster dip, seafood chowder, beer-soaked ribs, and so much more. I felt bad because I couldn’t eat everything placed in front of me. At least I was able to enjoy a couple of Keith’s Red, which is a Halifax-made beer that is my current beer of choice.
Nothing says “Maritime nights” like sitting around a bonfire.
Can you imagine waking up to this sunset out your bedroom window every single morning? I mean, it was just spectacular and I don't even think my photo can truly do it justice.
Can you imagine waking up to this sunset out your bedroom window every single morning? I mean, it was just spectacular and I don’t even think my photo can truly do it justice.
On the morning of Day 2, we were up early and got down to a friend's fishing boat by 9:30am so we could go out and go whale watching. This was the first time either one of us had ever gone, so we were quite excited for the day.
On the morning of Day 2, we were up early and got down to a friend’s fishing boat by 9:30am so we could go out and go whale watching. This was the first time either one of us had ever gone, so we were quite excited for the day.
The view from the back of the boat. It was a beautiful day for whale watching!
The view from the back of the boat. It was a beautiful day for whale watching!
I don't know if these photos truly tell the tale of how awesome this experience was. I mean, not only did we get to see some whales, but we got to "hang out" with three of them for well over an hour...at one point being literally feet away from one of them. A lot of people pay a LOT of money to go whale watching but never get to see any. We got to see this for free. Unbelievable!!
I don’t know if these photos truly tell the tale of how awesome this experience was. I mean, not only did we get to see some whales, but we got to “hang out” with three of them for well over an hour…at one point being literally feet away from one of them. A lot of people pay a LOT of money to go whale watching but never get to see any. We got to see this for free. Unbelievable!!
I hope this photo gives you an idea of just how close we were to the whales. I mean...it's really an experience we'll never forget.
I hope this photo gives you an idea of just how close we were to the whales. I mean…it’s really an experience we’ll never forget.
This incredible photograph (if I do say so myself) is of <a href="http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=4738" target="_blank">Gannet Rock</a>. This lighthouse was built back in 1831 and was deemed a national historic property in 1991.
This incredible photograph (if I do say so myself) is of Gannet Rock. This lighthouse was built back in 1831 and was deemed a national historic property in 1991. It’s unmanned now, but remains a powerful spectacle if you have the opportunity to cruise by this tiny island.

When you’re on Grand Manan Island, you have the opportunity to see some spectacular sunsets. The next three photos were taken at three different locations on a gorgeous Saturday evening…

Grand Manan - Day 2 - 7

Grand Manan - Day 2 - 8

Grand Manan - Day 2 - 9

Our second day on Grand Manan concluded with fireworks over the water off of Stanley's Beach. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic weekend.
Our second day on Grand Manan concluded with fireworks over the water off of Stanley’s Beach. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic weekend.
This is the last memory I'll take from our time on Grand Manan...another spectacular sunrise. I mean, honestly...can you imagine this every single day??
This is the last memory I’ll take from our time on Grand Manan…another spectacular sunrise. I mean, honestly…can you imagine this every single day??
The final pic of our trip was of the ferry coming to pick us up and take us back to the mainland. It was a fantastic long weekend and Grand Manan is definitely a location I'd visit again. If you're ever traveling through New Brunswick, I highly recommend it as a place to stay for photo ops, if nothing else.
The final pic of our trip was of the ferry coming to pick us up and take us back to the mainland. It was a fantastic long weekend and Grand Manan is definitely a location I’d visit again. If you’re ever traveling through New Brunswick, I highly recommend it as a place to stay for photo ops, if nothing else.

Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Halifax Pride

As long-time readers of this blog will undoubtedly know, I’m not writing nearly as much as I used to. I think it just happens to be that when life isn’t that bad, bloggers have less and less to write about. Life is right now is good. VERY good. Things are finally coming together in a variety of ways. While I’m not writing that much, I am still taking photos on a near-daily basis and trying to appreciate everything that happens around me.

I’ve decided to do a new series of blog posts where I will try to tell a story through photos. It may work; it may not. But at the end of the day, I hope that I will be able to continue sharing my life through pictures and stories.

My shoes take me to a lot of different places. Here is the first of the series of tales about those places…

These are my new Relaxed Fit: Skech-Flex sneakers. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I've ever owned. On this day, they took me to a hillside in downtown Halifax to watch the 2016 Pride parade.
These are my new Skechers: the Men’s Relaxed Fit: Blais-Telen. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. On this day, they took me to a hillside in downtown Halifax to watch the 2016 Pride parade. We were VERY fortunate to find a near-empty hillside by the very beginning of the parade route. While thousands and thousands of people waited throughout the downtown core, there may have been maybe 100 people scattered along the hill. It was the PERFECT spot.
This was the first time my son had ever attended the Halifax Pride Parade. In fact, I'm not sure if he ever had been exposed to the LGBT community before. I tried to explain to him prior to the event what to expect, why we were going, and why there was a parade. I felt it was important for all of our kids to understand what everybody was celebrating.
This was the first time my son had ever attended the Halifax Pride Parade. In fact, I’m not sure if he ever had been exposed to the LGBT community before. I tried to explain to him prior to the event what to expect, why we were going, and why there was a parade. I felt it was important for all of our kids to understand what everybody was celebrating.

Halifax Pride 2
Halifax Pride 3
Halifax Pride 4

This was my son's favourite part of the parade. While no San Diego Comic Con, the local Hal-Con has grown in popularity over the past few years. To watch a rainbow-coloured stormtrooper walk by was really cool to him.
This was my son’s favourite part of the parade. While no San Diego Comic Con, the local Hal-Con has grown in popularity over the past few years. To watch a rainbow-coloured stormtrooper walk by was really cool to him.

Halifax Pride 6
Halifax Pride 7

The kids stood there the entire time…smiling and enjoying the entire parade. This was an experience that they weren’t soon going to forget.
As the final float went by, we dashed home for a few minutes before the second stop on our Pride Tour, the roller derby game!!
As the final float went by, we dashed home for a few minutes before the second stop on our Pride Tour, the roller derby game!!
I had never been to a live roller derby game before, but my wife had always wanted to go to one. This just seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Anchor City Rollers is the name of Halifax's flat track roller derby league. On this day, they were presenting a mixed, queer-themed scrimmage roller derby game featuring players from all over the Maritimes. It was considered an official Halifax Pride event that was made up of the UNISCORNS and the SCISSOR KICKS.
I had never been to a live roller derby game before, but my wife had always wanted to go to one. This just seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Anchor City Rollers is the name of Halifax’s flat track roller derby league. On this day, they were presenting a mixed, queer-themed scrimmage roller derby game featuring players from all over the Maritimes. It was considered an official Halifax Pride event that was made up of the UNISCORNS and the SCISSOR KICKS.


When all was said and done, the game was a blow-out. It didn't matter to the kids, though...they had a GREAT time. All of the women put on a helluva show and displayed more toughness than I could ever imagine displaying myself (I mean...I certainly wouldn't do that!!).
When all was said and done, the game was a blow-out. It didn’t matter to the kids, though…they had a GREAT time. All of the women put on a helluva show and displayed more toughness than I could ever imagine displaying myself (I mean…I certainly wouldn’t do that!!).

So this is where my shoes have taken me this time. Because I’m always wearing something on my feet, I’ll always have a way to get somewhere.