He was an essayist for The New Yorker magazine, author of children’s books like Charlotte’s Web and editor of The Elements of Style, a book that has helped countless writers.
He once sent a postcard while vacationing in Utah. On the front was a photo of Bryce Canyon. On the back was this pre-printed caption:
“Sunrise at Bryce Canyon is an inspiring sight never to be forgotten. The innumerable grotesque formations appear to be illuminated, reflecting such an indescribably weird light the entire chasm appears a riot of transparent grandeur.”
In the space for the sender’s message, E. B. White wrote only three words to his friend:
“I wasn’t up.”
I’ve thought of that clever message many times over the years, usually when I fail to visit a famous landmark when I am nearby on vacation.
My most recent example was from our holiday to Nova Scotia last month.
Nova Scotia is home to The Bay of Fundy.
Not familiar with it? Here’s what their website says about it:
“The Phenomenal Bay of Fundy…is one of the 7 wonders of North America. The highest tides on earth, the rarest whales in the world, semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils. It is one of the natural wonders of the world.”
We didn’t go.
Oh, I thought about it. And researched it. And talked to people who had been there.
And then we decided not to go.
Yes, the tide rises higher and faster than anywhere on earth. But it still comes down to watching water get deeper .
So we skipped it.
But the things we did instead did not disappoint.
We flew into Halifax after a connection in Toronto. And we drove straight to the dazzling town of Lunenburg.
Talk about your picture postcard towns! Beautiful harbor vistas, colorful downtown buildings, quirky shops…the works.
We had all of our meals outdoors while we were there, overlooking the spectacular harbor. And every one of those meals—including, if not especially, breakfast—was memorably wonderful.
Oh man, if you are ever up that way, be sure to go to Lunenburg.
We made some side trips from there to other charming little ocean side towns and hamlets.
One especially memorable excursion was to the equally perfect town of Chester. Somewhere I heard that the best lunch in Nova Scotia was to be found in nearby Chester Basin at The Seaside Shanty, a tiny roadside restaurant right on the water.
Most such recommendations turn out to be exaggerated, but not this one.
The seafood chowder: best ever, chock full of delicious fresh seafood in a creamy, subtle broth. And the lobster roll: best ever, all lobster, no filler, overflowing a fresh roll. I am pretty sure I will dream about that lunch all winter.
We spent the second half of our Canadian holiday on the northern tip of Nova Scotia with home base in the town of Baddeck. From there we took leisurely drives along The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton National Park It is one of the most scenic byways in North America with breathtaking ocean vistas around every curve. We punctuated the driving with occasional hikes along the coast and into the low mountains. Simply fabulous.
Baddeck was the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and they have a not-to-be-missed museum that was as good as advertised. We liked it.
In all, Nova Scotia was a really wonderful destination. And I know we only scratched the surface of all the great things to see there.
For instance, I hear they have a place with a really amazing ocean tide.
Maybe next time.
Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.