This weekend, I decided to make my long run a point-to-point trek from my favourite beach (Risser's) to our house near Bridgewater along a road that skirts the shores of LaHave River - according to Google maps, almost exactly 24kms. (In fact, my Garmin measured 25.5kms.)
It's a route I've driven hundreds - no, thousands - of times before but I knew it would be a very different experience running it. I intended to get pictures at various favourite spots along the way but, unfortunately, managed to take only two before the battery on my smart phone gave out. Perhaps it's just as well since it means I'll be motivated to run the route again soon.
It was in fact a terrific run - despite some challenging weather. Though not especially cold, the wind blew light wet snow down river and directly into my face for the entire 25.5 kms. On the upside, the damp, grey day kept people inside so there was very little traffic to contend with for the first couple of hours. And it was great experiencing familiar communities in a whole new way. My route took me from Risser's Beach, past Crescent Beach, then through West Dublin, Dublin Shore, LaHave, Pentz, West LaHave, Pleasantville and finally Conquerall Bank, As I ran, I had plenty of time to take in the architecture of the beautiful, older homes that line the river, and to think about the people that settled those communities centuries ago.
Lahave for example was originally settled by the French in the 1600s (LaHave being an altered version of La Havre of course) but the French settlement lasted only a few years so family names along that part of the river tend to be German and Dutch, reflective of the communities that subsequently settled in the area. The Dublins were originally settled by folks from Ireland presumably, but again - judging by the names on tombstones in the area - they didn't stay long.
For years, my husband and I dreamed of buying and renovating one of the big old homes along the river but we now have our hearts set on building a smaller, modern, energy efficient house near Risser's Beach instead. It's just as well since in recent years older homes in the area have begun selling for big prices - mostly to CFAs or "Come from aways", as we call residents who originate from out of the province. CFAs (mostly Americans) have owned property in the more picturesque communities along NS's shoreline (Chester, for example) for decades but recently more and more Europeans have purchased or built homes up and down the South Shore - the most popular locations being the more remote ones. It's nice to see older homes being refurbished - often beautifully - and grand new homes being built, but sad too since property has become much less affordable for local folks as a result of the upward pressure on prices.
At any rate, I must say that enjoyed exploring one of my favourite roads on foot today and look forward to getting to know other South Shore roads more intimately in the months and years ahead - hopefully with smart phone in hand so that I can share images of the beauty I find along the way. It really is a gorgeous part of the world and I feel very fortunate to live here.
PS I've just realized both the pictures I took came out looking like black and white photos - which I suppose is a testament to how grey and snowy the day was.