I had never heard of Grand Manan Island until my cousin Judy recommended it for our cycling trip. My first hurdle was convincing Rich to add this detour to our trip. But we're both in agreement now – it was well worth the few extra miles of cycling and two days to come here. It didn't hurt that we had a warm sunny day for the ferry trip over from Blacks Harbor and could sit outside and enjoy the view.
Approaching the island, we could see campsites perched on the cliffs. Little did we know that just minutes later, we would be setting up our own tent on that very spot! We had only one word for the location – WOW. The Hole in the Wall Campground is modest and humble, friendly and has the most phenomenal campsites. We had all the view we needed right there. In fact, I saw five meteors and two brilliant red sunrises from right inside our tent. Rich saw seals just offshore, and heard whales breaching during the night. What more could we need?
Enter the angels. Two young women, Mel and Chantal, took a campsite nearby shortly after we arrived. Heading to the grocery store, which was more than a few miles away, they offered to take us to get groceries. Offer quickly accepted! We soon had the makings for a picnic dinner and breakfast, and were able to reallocate the time we would have spent cycling to the store enjoying our environs instead.
It didn't end there. We were just about to head out on our bikes to explore the island the next morning, when Mel and Chantal came by. They were going to take the ferry over to Whitehead Island. Did we want to come along? Soon Mel was piloting us to the far end of the island. First we went to see the Southwest Head Lighthouse. While that was an unimpressive structure, it was perched on amazing cliffs. The best views were down a short trail which we might never have found on our own.
The small free car ferry took us to a small island with little more than a fishing village and an old lighthouse. We walked to a secluded beach beyond the lighthouse, relishing the solitude and quiet shore. Poking at seaweed, checking out shells, rocks and other sea litter left behind by the tide was all the entertainment we needed.
Traveling by car certainly allowed us to see more of the islands than we could have covered on our bikes. But it did far more than that. Mel and Chantal were a wealth of information and tidbits about the island, which is a favorite destination for each of them. We shared stories, laughed a lot and enjoyed a day of camaraderie. The scenery was unparalleled and the company unbeatable.
My cousin Judy was right. Grand Manan is a heavenly place. She just didn't know about the angels.
P.S. Mel and Chantal – if you leave a comment, I will send you pictures. I have some good shots of you!